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Aledo’s new Community Garden Parker County’s Master Gardeners Update on Oak Wilt Upcoming Events Clear Fork’s Legacy

April 4, 2014

A specialty publication of THE COMMUNITY NEWS

Welcome! Welcome to the fourth annual Home & Garden section published by The Community News.

The Community News is proud to be the only locally-owned newspaper in Parker County. We have been located in east Parker County providing our readers with information in Aledo, Willow Park, Hudson Oaks and the Annettas for almost 19 years, and we look forward to doing so years into the future. We always welcome feedback from our readers, so if you have comments or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We also invite you to visit our website and to “like” our Facebook page, both places where you will get lastminute updates to local news and events. Subscribers to The Community News not only receive our awardwinning local newspaper each week, but also receive free access to our on-line issues and archives! Visit the web site for more information.

The Community News 203 Pecan Dr. Mail: P.O. Box 1031 Aledo, TX 76008


4 April

4, 2014


Home & Garden

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Growing your own w Aledo expects

community garden to be ready by summer

By Phil Major

The Community News


ledo residents will soon have the chance to raise a garden – even if they do not have a garden space. The Aledo Community Garden is under development adjacent to the Community Center (behind The Summit) off Old Annetta Road. By summer, families should be able to claim their own raised garden bed and plant flowers, vegetables, etc. The garden is a part of the city of Aledo’s 2013 Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Master Plan. It doesn’t look like much now – just a green space adjacent to the Community Center parking lot. But it will soon be an integral part of a parks and facilities system in the downtown area. Now construction vehicles rumble nearby as the Aledo Trails traffic Turn to GARDEN, page 8 6 April

4, 2014

Home & Garden

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GARDEN from page six

couplet is completed – scheduled for May. In the center of the couplet will be a gazebo, memorial and amphitheater (which will house, among other things, the city’s farmers market). Adjacent is the city hall property, already landscaped, which one day could house a new city hall and the train depot (in need of restoration). And the Community Center, also landscaped, will undergo a major upgrade, with new play structures, a gazebo, disc golf course, upgraded basketball courts, and more. The community garden will fit right in.

Community events coordinator Lori Wedgeworth said there is a lot of work to do in a short time, to get the garden operational by summer. The Community Center parking lot will be extended with another two rows of parking. Water, which is already on site, will be available to the plots, including an old water well that is still viable and will be pumped with a windmill. The city is also in the process of finding a volunteer site manager for the gardens, and the Parks and Recreation Board plans to look at bylaws and member agreements when it meets April 14 at 6 p.m. Wedgeworth said she hopes to see construction start on the raised beds in about a month.

The beds are eight feet by 12 feet, 16 to 24 inches high, and the area will be handicap accessible. The St. Paul Luthern Church campus (The Summit), which backs up to the garden, has already expressed an interest in participating, growing vegetables for those who might not be able, as well as assisting in keeping the property clean. Individual gardeners will be responsible for planting, tending, watering and weeding their own plots. The city is partnering with Texas Health for a grant to help get the garden going.

A PLOT OF YOUR OWN How to make the best use of your community garden space • Select plants that are adapted to the local climate and water, and that their mature size will be appropriate for their location. • Apply a 2- to 3-inch-deep layer of mulch, tapering it to the bases of the plants. • Irrigate the bed when needed, letting the top inch of soil dry out between watering. If the plant species are complementary, their water requirements will be similar. • Add compost or top-dress with organic mulches twice each year in the spring and fall. This replenishes the soil and acts as a slow release fertilizer. Rake back the mulch, add the compost, and replace the mulch or add new mulch over the old. Or, add an inorganic slow release fertilizer before and during active plant growth. • Prune each plant properly according to its use and the intended design. • Control insect pests and diseases. The need for chemical treatments can be reduced by practicing integrated pest management: start with good quality plants; handle plants carefully before and during planting; select plants that are adapted to the region. • Pull weeds as they appear. Proper weeding helps plants to thrive. • Remove any spent plants. - Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service

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Home & Garden

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April 4, 2014 9

Going Native

w Society promotes

use of native plants

By Phil Major

The Community News


s its name implies, the Cross Timbers Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas promotes the use of native plants in yards and landscapes. The Cross Timbers chapter, which is centered in Parker County, seeks to educate property owners on the benefits of using native plants, which are more economical and sustainable.

Monthly programs are one way the society is spreading the word. Some upcoming programs include soil health in May, butterfly gardens in June, native plant propagation in July and rain water harvesting in August. All are open to the public. In April the program will be about the new Palo Pinto Mountain State Park that is being developed in neighboring Palo Pinto County. The society is taking an active role in helping to develop the new park’s resources, including a butterfly garden.

The chapter will be represented at Weatherford Blooms April 26 with a plant sale. The focus this year will be on plants that work well in butterfly gardens. Some of the plants are grown by the members and others are donated by area nurseries. Some features of native plants are more drought tolerance, less prone to be eaten by wildlife. more economical and better for the environment. Use of native plants also involves working with what is available, which is easier on the budget, and the back.

As members of the statewide organization, the small dues members pay gives access to a quarterly newsletter and educational seminars held around the state. The local chapter has also been involved in “plant rescues,” which involves saving native plants that might be endangered by development.

Visit the local chapter at wp/crosstimbers/. Resources include a list of suggested native plants for the region.

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Home & Garden


Red yucca (which is not a yucca) is a stalwart in the landscapes of Texas and the southwest. Its dark green rosette of long, thin leaves rising fountain-like from the base provides an unusual sculptural accent, its long spikes of pink to red to coral bell-shaped flowers last from May through October, and it is exceedingly tough, tolerating extreme heat and cold and needing no attention or supplemental irrigation once established, although many people remove the dried flower stalks in the fall. Unlike yucca, the leaves are not spine-tipped, and have fibrous threads along the edges. Red yucca is native to Central and Western Texas. A yellowflowered form has recently become available in nurseries, and a larger, white-flowered species native to Mexico, giant hesperaloe (H. funifera), which has only been found in one location in the Trans-Pecos, is also available. Hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers. - Texas A&M

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The Community News

Home & Garden


April 4, 2014 11


Terry Hyles, owner of Clear Fork Materials, visits with a shuttle driver during the Business Development Group of Aledo’s Clay Shoot in early March. Hyles has hosted the event since its inception.

Raw Materials

w Local gardeners

have counted on the Hyles family for almost 30 years

By Phil Major

The Community News


ook around at various homes and other landscaping projects in the area. 12 April

4, 2014

Chances are some of those materials originated with Clear Fork Materials in Aledo. The Hyles family company, which started with a fuel tank and a frontend loader under a shade tree in 1987, features more than 70 varieties of materials that can provide for almost any landscaping or gardening

project. And it’s coming up on the busiest time of the year. “Spring time is our Christmas,” said Terry Hyles. On the first warm weekend of the season, home gardeners will be lined up, sometimes out the front gate, buying top soil, mulch, compost and

Home & Garden

other materials by the pickup and trailer load. Hyles said he brings in an extra loader to help handle the traffic. Clear Fork also features some special blends, as well as some interesting products. Among the many types of mulch, from East Texas hardwood to pecan shells, an operator is mix-

ing up an azalea mix that is perfect for the plants that like a high acid content. Another Clear Fork specialty is a blend of top soils and sands that is just right for spreading on the infield of a baseball field. Many schools and cities specify the Clear Fork blend when drawing up specifications for new parks, Hyles said. Clear Fork sits on bottom land along the Clear Fork of the Trinity River, off Old Annetta Road on the western edge of Aledo. The former farm land has been mined, primarily for top soil, sand and clay. Trucks run in and out all day, delivering to various locations near and far. Many other materials are hauled in to account for Clear Fork’s multitude of products – sand and gravel from Wise County, mushroom compost from Madisonville, decorative rocks and such. Those pecan shells come all the way from El Paso. In addition to homeowners with do-it-yourself projects, Clear Fork services a variety of landscaping contractors, from small, independent operators to larger companies that take on big projects. And all the new hous-


A bobtail truck heads out of Clear Fork Materials with a load, heading to deliver it to a homesite or other project somewhere in the region.

ing additions in the area have been good for business, whether its fill dirt for slab foundations or the final touch landscaping products. Through the spring and early summer, 18wheel trucks bring in the mulch, and it goes out the gate just about as quickly in smaller loads. Gardeners know good mulch pays dividends, in keeping the soil moist and insulated. “It’s like spreading a blanket around your plants,” Hyles said. Clear Fork also features a compost mixture with an interesting history. The raw materials come from horse stables

THE BENEFITS OF MULCH • Mulching is essential to the survival of your landscape during a drought. Mulch will reduce the amount of water that evaporates from your soil, greatly reducing your need to water your plants. • Mulch improves the quality of your soil by breaking up clay and allowing better water and air movement through the soil. Mulch provides nutrients to sandy soil and improves its ability to hold water. • Mulch acts as an insulating layer on top of soil, keeping it cooler in the summer. Roots like that! • Mulch keeps weeds down, and the weeds that do grow are much easier to pull. Gardeners like that!

Turn to HYLES, page 14

The Community News

Home & Garden

April 4, 2014 13


A loader distributes material in order to blend a custom product.

HYLES from page 13

in the area, a company that raises lab rats, and the Fort Worth zoo. Hyles said when the elephant house is cleaned out, that load is pretty rank smelling, and he asks the crew to get that covered up as soon as possible. Buzzards can be seen scavenging the fresh pile, as the occasional dead rat makes its way into the mixture. The compost is aged and mixed, and by the time is has been worked awhile, the rough-looking 14

April 4, 2014

first pile soon becomes a fine, dark mixture that is excellent for gardens – and a lot less odiferous. Another source of mulch is from companies that trim trees around power lines. It comes to Clear Fork coarsely ground, and after aging a year, a grinder is brought in to turn the material into a consistency better for gardening. And since the only cost in the product is the grinding, Clear Fork sells it for a good price.

Bagged products are available for smaller projects. Some 26 products can be purchased by the bag, and more than half of those are bagged on site, including sands, gravels, composts and soils. Hyles has added a few varieties of decorative rocks to the product mix lately, for those wanting to add some to their landscaping. Boulders have become more popular in landscaping. He noted that Carroll Stone and Bell Stone in

Home & Garden

Willow Park and Hudson Oaks are the primary providers of landscape rock in the area, featuring a wide variety of products such as river rock, flagstone, and many decorative varieties. In addition to the Aledo location, Clear Fork has also mined sand and clay from the area that is now known as the Lakes of Aledo housing addition, with the former pits turned into scenic lakes.

Master Gardeners provide valuable information One of the best resources for local gardeners can be found at the website for the Parker County Master Gardeners: From gardening tips to frequently asked questions, the site covers virtually any aspect of gardening in Parker County. Because its contributors are Master Gardeners, who have undergone the training and internship, their wisdom and knowledge is tested and proven to work well within the specific environmental challenges of gardening and landscaping in Parker County. The monthly features address

real-world challenges, and successes, of gardening in North Central Texas. A handy calendar gives a checklist on what the gardener should be doing yearround. And there are plenty of photos showing off some of the members’ landscapes. In addition, a Master Gardener is in the Parker County Master Gardener office Monday and Thursday 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m . The telephone number is 817-5986168 and the address is 604 North Main Street, Suite 200, Weatherford. And they’re also on Facebook.

Parker County Master Gardener Association


Located in north central Texas, the Parker County Master Gardener Association (PCMGA) program is an educational and volunteer program sponsored by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service of the Texas A&M University System. Parker County Master Gardeners have received instruction in a wide range of topics including lawn care, insect and weed management, landscaping with native and adaptive plants, water conservation, etc. In exchange for this training, the Master Gardeners volunteer time to the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

Our Projects Parker County Garden Tips Plants by the Months Have a question?

Ask a Master Gardener Gardening FAQ

Q&A and Articles from the Weatherford Democrat These are questions that the Parker County Master Gardeners have answered in a weekly feature for the Weatherford Democrat. There are also articles from "Your Family" magazine.

Gardening & Landscape Terms Water-Wise Gardening

Our Projects:

The Best of Parker County

Aledo City Hall & Community Center Ashley's Memorial Butterfly Garden Azle Central Park Award Chandor Gardens Extension Demo Gardens Award Junior Master Gardeners National Vietnam War Museum Gardens Neil Collins Memorial Rose Garden Award Weatherford Public Library Literary Gardens Willow Park Cross Timbers Demonstration Garden

PCMG Speaker Bureau Parker County Herbarium Plant Sale Members Landscapes PCMG Calendar

Plants by the Months A month-by-month rundown of what you should be doing for your plants. Also check out The Seasons of Parker County in Pictures.

the real dirt: A Gardening Handbook for Parker County

Antique Milk Can With Begonias

the Real Dirt Updates

This Month's Features

PCMGA in the News

Crepe Myrtles Pruning


Growing Plants From Seeds

Become a Master Gardener

Gardening Tips for March

Member's Section Parker County, Texas County Seat: Weatherford, Texas 32.77N -97.74W (Elev 941 ft) Cold hardiness zone 8A Heat zone 9 Though the Cold Hardiness Zone for Parker County has been officially changed to 8A, winters like 2013 remind us to garden with the Cold Zone of 7B in mind.

Spring Plant Sale

Some pages require Adobe Reader A Master Gardener is in the Parker County Master Gardener office on Monday and Thursday 9:00am-Noon and 1:00-4:00pm CT. The telephone number is 817.598.6168 the address is 604 North Main Street, Suite 200, Weatherford, Texas 76086 © 2003-2014 Parker County Master Gardener Association. On the web since July 23, 2003. 817.598.6096 817.598.6168

Tips Section January through December, we've got you covered

Landscapes of PCMG Members

Texas Senate passes landscaping bill Relating to restrictive covenants regulating drought-resistant landscaping or water-conserving natural turf Looking for updates to the real dirt: A Gardening Handbook for Parker County?

Take a look at some of our member's landscapes. Pictures include landscapes, favorite plants, wildlife in the garden and container gardens.

The Best of Parker County Parker County Master Gardeners rate items they have had experienced growing or observing. Current ratings include the best trees, perennials, annuals and shrubs for Parker County. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Have a question? Ask a Master Gardener

Parker County Master Gardeners answer your questions

Glossary of Gardening and Landscaping Terms Water-Wise Gardening Water is becoming a scarce and expensive natural resource

Find us on Facebook Information and images are property of the Parker County Master Gardener Association unless otherwise indicated. Use of the information or images from this website must clearly give credit to the "Parker County Master Gardener Association." The information is provided as a reference and the PCMGA is not liable for negligence or misuse of the information.

Featuring perennials, shrubs, trees, annuals, herbs and more

the real dirt: A Gardening Handbook for Parker County Award Water usage, soil improvement, pest management, a healthy environment

3rd Place Medium Association 2011 Texas Master Gardener Awards Honorable Mention Medium Association 2010 Texas Master Gardener Awards 1st Place Medium Association 2009 Texas Master Gardener Awards 2nd Place Medium Association 2008 Texas Master Gardener Awards

Speakers Bureau Our volunteers will talk to civic groups, non-profit organizations, schools, etc. Feel free to download our Brochure for more information. Texas Master Gardener Awards 2005 - 1st Place Successful Gardening in Parker Cnty 2006 - 1st Place Rainwater Harvesting Seminar 2007 - 2nd Place The Real Dirt on Landscape Design 2009 - 1st Place Information Brochure 2010 - 3rd Place The Real Dirt on Landscape Design Homepage updated March 19, 2014

1st Place Small Association 2004 Texas Master Gardener Awards Search

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The Community News

Home & Garden

April 4, 2014 15

A County Tradition

w Master Gardeners

provide advice, programs during annual sale


he annual Master Gardener Plant Sale is becoming a Parker County tradition. Every spring, the group gathers a list of plants that are proven winners for the area. Some of the plants come from local nurser-

ies, but many of them are grown by Master Gardeners in gardens in Parker County. The event is more than just a fundraiser for the organization. It’s an opportunity to bring gardening questions and find real solutions. The parking lot isn’t just filled with plants. It’s filled with Master Gardeners who are ready to help plan for the challenge of a Parker County garden. Whether interested in

vegetables, flowers, herbs, wildflowers, native grasses, or lawns there are many great plant choices. There will be an excellent selection of native and adaptive plants, as well as exotics and tropicals that grow well in gardens all over the county. Many of these plants can be seen happily growing in the demonstration beds at the Extension Office while shopping. If questions include insects, plant diseases,

herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers, specialists are available with solutions that are grounded in the research of Texas A&M. Every Master Gardener goes through extensive, research-based training on the gardening issues that are common to Parker County. This means getting more than just an opinion but viable solutions that are safe for the environment, good for the garden, and effective for Parker County.

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April 4, 2014

Home & Garden

This year, there will be several short programs throughout the day on topics such as butterfly gardening, gardening for birds and wildlife, container gardening, honey bees and other pollinators, herb gardening, water conservation, drip irrigation, composting, and fire-wise planning in the home and garden.

These short, 15-minute classes will provide lots of creative ideas that can be easily implemented in the garden. Want to become a Master Gardener? 2014 is an orientation year. Orientation classes will be Tuesday Aug. 12 or Wednesday, Aug. 20.

For more information, contact: Parker County Master Gardeners, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Phone: 817-598-6168

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The Community News

Home & Garden

April 4, 2014 17

Calendar/Upcoming events Cross Timbers Chapter monthly meetings: All meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. at Cherry Park Recreation Center in Weatherford unless otherwise noted. April 10 – Palo Pinto Mountain State Park, John Ferguson May 8 – Soil Health, John Sackett. Meets at Harberger Hill Community Center June 12 – Butterfly Garden, Crissa Nugen July 10 – Native Plant Propagation, Manon Shockey August 14 – Rain Water Harvesting, Homer Babbitt October 9 – Owls, Michael Perez April 12 – Parker County Master Gardeners Plant Sale, 8 a.m.-noon, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Weatherford


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18 April

4, 2014

Home & Garden

April 12 – The 34th Annual Shaw-Kemp Open House will be held Saturday, April 12 from 1-5 p.m. at the Shaw-Kemp Ranch between Weatherford and Granbury on Hwy. 51. Step back in time while looking at log cabins, an original ranch house, school, church, grocery store, post office, bank, barber shop and much more. Do hope the bluebonnets will be showing off this year. Kenneth Murphree will have continuous live entertainment on the porch of the DeBeauford house while characters in costume are walking around the grounds. The actors welcome having their picture taken with visitors – bring your camera. Mary Kemp invites everyone to this free annual event and encourages folks to bring a picnic lunch and be prepared to enjoy an afternoon down on the ranch.

May 31 - The annual East Parker County Library Garden Party will be held at the AJ Hood pioneer home from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

April 26 – Weatherford Blooms Home and Garden Festival Saturday, April 26 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in historic downtown Weatherford. Vendors, entertainment, displays and demonstrations, food and fun

Gardeners Club of Parker County holds monthly meetings on the second Thursday at 10 a.m. at St. Francis Church on Ranch House Road. Watch The Community News for monthly topics. Call 817-919-6280 for more information.

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The Community News

Home & Garden

April 4, 2014 19

Annual plant sale set April 12 w Perennials, herbs,

vegetables, roses, annuals and shrubs


he Parker County Master Gardeners’ annual plant sale is set for Saturday, April 12 from 8 a.m. to noon. The event will be held rain or shine in the parking lot/lawn of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service office at 604 N. Main Street in Weatherford. There will be a tre-

mendous selection of perennials, herbs, vegetable plants, annuals, shrubs, and roses available to help get spring gardening off to a great start. Many of the plant varieties are native or adaptive to Parker County. Master Gardeners will be on hand throughout the event to provide information about the plants, answer questions and assist with plant selection to meet gardening

needs. Each year the quantity of plants offered is increased to meet the growing demand. Shoppers are encouraged to bring their own wagons or trolleys to do some serious shopping. Master Gardeners will also have demonstration booths set up featuring the latest information on drip irrigation and rainwater harvesting. Proceeds from this annual sale go toward providing horticultural education to the citizens

of Parker County and promoting sound horticultural practices in everyday gardening. Master Gardeners are volunteers for AgriLife Extension who have completed at least 50 hours of horticulture training and served a full year of internship with the local Extension office. For more information visit www.pcmg-texas. org or call 817-598-6168 to speak with a Parker County Master Gardener.


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April 4, 2014

Home & Garden

Landscape help available w Wildflower seeds,

Tree Seedlings and Rain Barrels for sale during the year


he Parker County Soil and Water Conservation District has three programs to help property owners with their landscapes. In the fall the district sells wildflower seeds, in time for germination for the spring growing season.

The district has bluebonnets and a wildflower mixture. Watch for availability beginning in September. During the winter, tree seedlings are sold, with the variety depending upon what may be available from the state forest service. A mailing is prepared in October announcing the types of trees to be available, and that lasts through the winter months, which is the best time to plant trees. Trees are normally available for

pickup the third weekend in February. The district has rain barrels for sale all year. The barrels collect rain water from roofs to help landowners with water conservation efforts. They can be ordered and drop-shipped to the resident. They come in 53- and 60-gallon sizes. The district has been involved in the tree program around 20 years. This marks the third year for wildflower seeds. Last year’s seed sales

were hampered by the federal government shutdown, which occurred in the midst of the sales period. See the district’s website for more information,

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The Community News


Home & Garden



April 4, 2014 21

Oak Wilt battle continues in the area w May be on the

wane, but pockets remain

By Phil Major

The Community News


arker County is part of the area in and around Central Texas that has been battling oak wilt for at least 25 years. Master gardener Gay Larson of Annetta said she thinks oak wilt may finally be subsiding somewhat in this area, but there are still pockets where trees

are dying from the fungal disease. Oak wilt migrated to this area from Central Texas but has not progressed much farther north. It attacks live and red oaks. Larson said she has personal experience with the disease in her landscape, having one tree treated, which eventually succumbed five years after the treatment. That treatment is not only expensive – Larson said she spent more than $500 – but it is also quite

involved, and a lot of work, exposing the roots and drilling holes for the chemical treatment. She recommended having trees professionally treated to ensure it’s done right. And she noted the treatment is not permanent, as evidenced by the five years her tree lived after being treated before eventually falling victim. The Aledo Community Center and City Hall suffered the loss of trees to oak wilt. Some of the trees were rescued, but they did

suffer some damage, which can be observed. Courtney Blevins, with the Texas Forest Service office in Fort Worth, said oak wilt recommendations for prevention included not pruning between February and June, painting pruning “wounds” (which is not normally recommended), trenching in areas where feasible (normally rural areas) and treating with a preventative injection called Alamo, before symptoms occur. “You need to watch your neighbor’s trees,” he

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4, 2014


Home & Garden


said, to know when to treat. Oak wilt can be spread through common roots (hence the trenching) and by a beetle that picks up the fungus from one tree and lands on another (the reason for avoiding pruning and painting pruned spots). Statewide control efforts have not gained much ground, he noted, though individual property owners may have success. There is no cure, but the impact can be spotty from one area to the next. The battle against oak wilt has been the subject Turn to WILT, page 24


Though the oaks in front of the Aledo Community Center have survived, they have suffered damage from oak wilt.


The Community News

Home & Garden

April 4, 2014 23

WILT from page 23

of an ongoing effort by the Oak Wilt Information Partnership – a collaboration of the Texas A&M Forest Service, the U.S. Forest Service and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Much more information can be

found at Larson noted that the devastating effects of a disease such as oak wilt can manifest in almost any type of plant. And the spread of the disease can usually be traced to over-planting. Disease seems to be nature’s way of controlling




overpopulation. For example, the red tip photinia bush that was once prevalent in the area has been decimated by disease. The popular knock out rose is another one that is beginning to suffer the consequences of overplanting. As in anything, Larson

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said, diversity is the key in landscaping. Each plant has a weakness, and when they are planted en masse, that’s when disease can make it a target. Larson said the recent drought did not have as much of an impact on residential trees, because those tend to get regular watering.

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“It doesn’t take much water,” she said, to sustain a tree through drought conditions. Maybe a couple good waterings a year can suffice.

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But she noted that in rural areas that are not part of landscapes, the tree losses may have been more substantial. Blevins noted that in 2013 the forest service conducted a statewide inventory and determined that urban areas lost an estimated 5 million trees to drought while over all the state lost 300 to 400 million trees. Losses vary by region, and this area did not suffer as much as some others. The impact of tree losses, in addition to the aesthetics, include their ability to help cool the landscape and combat pollution. There’s not much that can be done about rural trees. Those in home landscapes need supplemental watering. Blevins recommended a good, slow soaking every 2-3 weeks. The watering needs to be at least as wide as the tree’s canopy, to ensure most roots can get some water. A good rule of thumb is to be able to stick a large screwdriver into the ground. However, be careful not to overwater, especially post oaks.

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Another concern in a high growth area such as Aledo is the impact of development on native trees. Even when trees are targeted for saving from construction, improper care can result in a tree death 4-5 years after the completion of construction. Blevins said anything that impacts the area under the tree canopy can have an adverse effect. The roots should be protected by avoiding any activity under the canopy. The Community News

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April 4, 2014 25

How to Bring Sky-High Utility Bills Back Down to Earth With Just One Timely Phone Call!

Summer’s almost here, and that means... Your air conditioner is about to get cranked up and running at full speed. And your utility company is getting ready to send you monthly love notes, seeking practically every dollar you earn. So, what can you do and how can we help? In this business, we follow a simple philsophy: you’ve got to give to get. The way that works around here is like this - if we give your system a full tune up, you get reduced energy use and improved home comfort. But time is of the essence. We must get to your system before summer sets in and starts wreaking havoc on your utility bills. Call us for... Complete cleaning and 21-point adjustment to factory specs. What’s the #1 cause of equipment failure? Dirt and lack of maintenance. It’s worth every penny of our normal $129 price.

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4, 2014

Home & Garden

Local garden groups get involved in public projects Public landscaping projects are an area where local gardening groups get involved. Check out the garden areas around the Aledo City Hall and the Aledo Community Center as examples. And once the Aledo Trails couplet is completed in the downtown area, the center of the couplet will be the focus of a landscaped, parklike setting. Road construction in Aledo will also present an opportunity along the soon-to-be completed FM 1187 widening project. Master Gardener Gay Larson explained that the entrance to the city, north of Bailey Ranch Road, will have a landscaped median, and she has recommended crape myrtles, desert willows and vitex as some plants that should do well in that area, which will also feature a monument sign welcoming motorists to the city. Meanwhile the new Annetta City Hall, adjacent to Stuard Elementary School off FM 5, is also getting some beautification efforts. Volunteers have planted some trees, including oaks, Chinese pistache, Arizona cypress and Texas laurel. That will form the “bones” of the landscaping, Larson explained. Once work is completed on the grounds, such as curbing and walkways, the rest of the landscaping will be completed, along with a drip irrigation system. And of course landscaping is an ongoing effort. Larson just recently added a Mexican plum in the back of the community center.

Spring Cleaning Across the State: Get Rid of the Clutter w More

Organization Means Less Stress

By John Michaelson

AUSTIN, Texas - With spring officially arriving, many folks across the state are in the mood to do some cleaning. With a few simple

tips, the process need not be so daunting. For most people, it’s not realistic to maintain a home in perfect order each day, professional organizer Amelia Hatcher said, but they can focus on clearing out the clutter. “Clutter is anything that causes frustration, anxiety or

chaos in your life,” Hatcher explained. “It completely drains you of your energy.” “Amelia the Clutter Queen” recommended cleaning and organizing only one area at a time, to avoid being overwhelmed. Old medications should be properly disposed of, and no-longer-needed docu-

ments with personal information should be shredded to protect against identity theft, she added. More information is available at For local residents wanting to rid themselves of clutter, the Parker County Cleanup is April 5.

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April 4, 2014 27

Finding your way

w East Parker

County Library a fertile resource for the gardener


ust like soil needs tilling for a good garden, the brain needs tilling with fresh fodder or simply a reminder of what’s needed to make things grow the best. Here are some of the favorites at EPC Library. Most garden books can be found in the 630 section of libraries. Come and browse! Don’t forget to check the library website for the consortium libraries’ resources and eBooks as well.

specifically for Parker County, from the masters who know best. Includes Garden Checklist for each month; deer resistant plants; theme gardens – butterfly, vegetable, fragrant, container, hummingbird, etc.; Easy-to-read, comprehensive charts that include plant type; light; water; mature size; bloom time and bloom size.

1. Complete Guide to Texas Gardening, by Neil Sperry

**The Real Dirt: Handbook from Parker County Master Gardeners; Grow with the Masters

Spiral bound, comprehensive manual on all garden information 28

April 4, 2014

3. Howard Garrett “The Dirt Doctor”, books: Plants of the Metroplex: Texas Trees Plants for Texas Texas Gardening the Natural Way: Complete Handbook

2. Easy Gardens of North Central Texas, by Steve Huddleston & Paula Crawford

DFW & surrounding 50 counties are included in this manual that is similar to Neil Sperry’s. Colorful photos and a sidebar on each page that includes average size; growth rate; leaf; flower; spacing; colors; cautions. Opposite pages include sidebars with Growing Conditions & Planting & Maintenance

“Bible” for gardening in Texas zones. Divided into sections on shrubs, vines, annuals, perennials, lawns, trees, etc. Each plant paragraph includes a photo; zone; sun/shade; strengths/weaknesses. Also includes Texas tips and frequently asked questions.

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Howard Garrett’s books are economical in verbiage. Most entries are in chart form and include colorful photographs. And six more books of possible interest to local gardeners: 4. Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region, by Sallow Wasowski and Andy Wasowski 5. Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife, by Noreen Damude and Kelly Conrad Bender 6. Texas Gardening: Answers from the Experts, by Laura Martin 7. The Texas Flowerscaper: Seasonal Guide to Bloom, Height, Color, and Texture, by Kathy Huber 8. Growing Good Things to Eat in Texas, (Profiles of Organic Farmers and Ranchers Across the State) by Pamela Walker, photographs by Linda Walsh 9. The Southern Gardener’s Book of Lists: The Best Plants for All Your Needs, Wants, and Whims, by Lois Trigg Chaplin

Gardening Thoughts from Gay Larson w Our area’s own

‘Mother Nature’ shares her thoughts

by Gay Larson

Parker County Master Gardener


andscaping in your mind is a form of artistry and creative thinking; therefore, every garden begins with a thought. To create a total landscape idea, walk the layout of the whole property with long-term goals in mind. Take pictures

of the property with a digital camera as “before” pictures and then use that image to draw different landscaping possibilities with computer software. Be sure and take pictures after each phase is finished. Peruse neighborhoods, take pictures to get ideas or go to the Botanic Gardens in Fort Worth, or Clark Gardens and Chandor Gardens located in Parker County and see what the professionals are creating. Read horticulture books and look at gar-

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dening magazines, talk to nursery professionals and gardening friends to pick their brains for ideas. Look at the property from the most viewed direction, stand back, and imagine the possibilities. Choose the focal point, and then look at that point from all directions. Whether it is a 40-mile-an-hour drive by concept or a close-up walk through garden, a picture in your mind will develop. Remember in Parker County, we have little

Turn to LARSON, page 30

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rainfall, high temperatures, cold winters, and also alkaline water and soil. Determine how much money, work, and effort will be required to build and maintain the beds, lawn, and extras to keep a “cared for look” to a landscape. Supposedly, it takes 50 years for the water that we use to irrigate, to return in rainfall for us to use again; consequently, we must take into consideration the amount of water needed to irrigate a

Cheryl Cooper, REALTOR




Cell: 817-307-5993 •

The Community News

Home & Garden

April 4, 2014 29

LARSON from page 29

landscaping idea. Check out prices and availability of products in Parker County. We have many good landscape nurseries, garden supply stores, and rock and soil companies. As a gardener, one of the most difficult problems in creating a flowerbed from an idea is to determine how much soil to add to each bed after designing the shape. Use a garden hose to lay out the shape of the bed, then use brightly colored spray paint to

30 April

4, 2014

Check out prices and availability of products in Parker County. We have many good landscape nurseries, garden supply stores, and rock and soil companies. outline the soil or grass. This helps to keep in mind where to till and install edging. To kill the grass, use a glysophate before the cool weather comes in the fall or after the grass greens up in the spring. This product only works on green plants. Measure the square footage of the proposed bed with the depth of soil or mulch and have the soil and materials

company calculate how much is required for the project. Till the soil first, add the amendments, till again to break up the clay soil, and after that install the edging. When you plant, do so with the mature size of the plant in mind. Always, add mulch after planting to conserve moisture and retard weeds. A rear tine tiller is the

Home & Garden

best in Parker County soils because the motor is in front and that weight helps to keep the tiller from bouncing when tilling our heavy, hard clay soils. Then stand back and watch your dream come true. All plants will grow with proper watering and fertilizing, if planted in correct sun or shade and recommended for this area.


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The Community News

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April 4, 2014 31

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Home & Garden 2014  
Home & Garden 2014  

The Community News' annual Home & Garden Specialty Publication.