Gardening is equal parts art and science. Tex-Scapes Nursery and Landscaping in Ennis is here to help you master both--the art of planting the right plants and the science of treating the soil so that it's healthy and happy. We also have organic and natural herbicides and pesticides to help you fight weeds and pests.
North Central Texas soil is hard to pin down--here in Ennis, for example, you can have black clay, sandy loam, and everything in between. The trick is in knowing what the soil is like in your yard, and using the correct fertilizer for that soil type.
A natural plant ecosystem can balance itself--the soil is organically amended with leaf mulch, twigs, earthworms, and all the millions of microorganisms in the mulch and underground that you can't see. Also, plants won't thrive naturally in some soils, like a dense clay or sand--that's one of the reasons you don't see many plants in the deserts. Here at Tex-Scapes Nursery and Landscaping, we have developed our own Landscape Grower's Mix, specifically for the soil here and around Ellis County. We have spent years perfecting the balance of fertilizer, soil, and peat moss to complement the dirt common to Ennis, a concoction that will help your soil reach that eco-balance. Container gardeners can pick up a bag of our Grower's Mix, but if you have a large yard or garden plot we sell it in bulk.
Weeds Common To Ennis, TX
It's hard to avoid weeds when you garden--even containers are apt to host a straggler.
Good mulching is one way to prevent weeds, as is pulling or hoeing them--unless they're deeply tap rooted, like a dandelion. A healthy crop of grass is an excellent weed controller, hogging up all the soil and water nutrients so the weeds starve. Getting rid of weeds before they set seed is the only way to control the weed population, but there are herbicides that can help you get a head start--Corn Gluten Meal is an organic product we stock that's an excellent weed killer.
These are some of the most common weeds in Ennis, and what they look like.
- Clover--four leaf lucky clovers or not, clover thrives in soil with poor nitrogen. The little white flowers are great for daisy chains, but not much else. Some people like clover in their lawns, but the bees that accompany a clover crop are not quite as welcome for families with children.
- Spurge--has oval, oblong leaves with a red or purple center, and spread out like crabgrass.
- Dandelion--easily identified by their sunny yellow flowers and mature puffballs, the leaves are tasty in salads. Dandelions have deep tap roots so mowing doesn't help.
- Thistle--native to Scotland, thistle--with its telltale spiny pink flowers--has made itself at home here in Texas. The roots can go three feet deep, so getting rid of it takes a strong back or a good herbicide.
- Dollar Weed--also known as Pennywort, looks like a miniature lily pad, and thrives in a damp environment. You can pull dollar weed by hand and have good results.
- Crabgrass--thrives in hot, dry, Texas summers. It's a low-growing annual that grows by nodes that lie on the soil. As long as you mow before they flower, they won't produce seed and spread.
- Nutsedge--has a triangular stem and flowers in a yellow cluster. Nutsedge, like crabgrass, is a warmth-loving perennial.
The Best Ways To Control Weeds
Start your weed control before you ever see any, when the temps are below 55, with a Pre-Emergent herbicide--one that attacks the root system before the weed itself emerges from the ground. We do carry organic and natural pre-emergents at Tex-Scapes Nursery and Landscape Center, so your herbs and veggies are safe for consumption. Some pre-emergents are granular, that you sprinkle over the garden, and others spray onto the soil.
When you plant, crowd your seedlings so that the weeds literally don't have room to grow. Mulch--but no more than three inches deep--squashes weeds as they grow. You'll still have a few that breakthrough, but keep this plan of attack consistent every spring and you'll eventually eradicate the weeds.
And What About Pests?
Invasive pests are just a part of the plant ecosystem. Healthy plants in good soil can fight off most pests, but occasionally you need to intervene. Some pests are just a nuisance, while others can go so far as to even kill trees in your yard.
Most pests--about 95% are harmless, and some are beneficial--ladybugs, and lacewings,for example--eat things like Tomato Hornworms. These are the pests that give Ennis, TX, gardeners fits, and what you can do about them.
- Fire Ants--tiny, reddish-brown ants that sting. The conical fire ant nest may extend to five feet deep, and are typically 18 inches high, and about 10 inches wide. Pour boiling water on the nest if you have a small infestation, or use an insecticide with bifenthrin, acephate, or amdro if you have a colony of mounds. The trick is to get the poison to the queen, so she dies. Fighting fire ants is a season-long battle, so be prepared.
- Grubs--those little round, white bugs with three pairs of legs are the larvae of June bugs. They love grasses common to Ennis--zoysia, Bermuda, St Augustine, and Buffalo--and feed on underground roots. Only treat grubs when you find 5-10 grubs in a square foot, with organic nematodes.
- Mealy Bugs--Neem oil or insecticidal soaps will kill off these tiny little cottony bugs, and regular applications of leaf shine will keep them away.
- Bagworms--are identifiable by the spindle-shaped web they spin and hang from. They like evergreens the best, and you can get rid of them with acephate, bifenthrin, or a natural Bt toxin that's caterpillar-specific.
- Tent Caterpillar--on its way to becoming a butterfly, the homely caterpillars spin webs that look like tents and then nest in the crotch of trees, and can defoliate the tree in short order. BTK sprays are a natural bacteria that kill off the caterpillars, or you can wrap the tree trunks in sticky Tanglefoot in the fall, to discourage laying eggs in the tree. You can spray with water to dislodge the web, and drop the caterpillars in soapy water.
- Tomato Hornworm--a giant caterpillar with seven white stripes and a red horn projecting from the rear. it's an extremely destructive pest, but large enough to pick off leaves and drop in a bucket of soapy water to kill.
- Chinch Bugs--the St Augustine grass so popular in Ennis is also the host for tiny little black chinch bugs. If you have a growing patch of dead or yellowish grass, chances are good they're to blame. Birds are a natural predator, so make sure your lawn has limited chemicals and is bird-friendly. Spot treat chinch bugs with insecticidal soap.
Gardening here in Ennis, TX has all the benefits of our great Texas climate. If you need some help figuring out your soil, which type of fertilizer to use, what to plant, or landscaping plans and installation, Tex-Scapes Nursery and Landscaping Center is your one-stop source for gardening in the region.
Visit the Premiere Garden Supply Store in Ennis, Texas
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If you want to learn more about organic gardening in Ennis, Texas, or you need some organic gardening supplies, come on in and talk to us. At Tex-Scapes Nursery and Landscape, we believe that providing the best products, hometown friendly atmosphere, and superb customer service is what good neighbors do.
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We're passionate gardeners ourselves and we understand how important your organic garden is. From bagged top soil to organic fertilizers, plants, trees, and gardening tools, we've got everything you need to get going. And, if you ever have a question, or need some help, we'll be happy to lend a hand.