Inspect trees before storms hit

Hollow trees can be very hazardous if there is sufficient loss of strength in the trunk.

COURTESY PHOTO/William M. Johnson

A bit of fall weather at the beginning of August in the Texas Upper Gulf Coast?

Last weekend’s weather was nothing short of enjoyable with a cool front making its way to the coast.

Even with the cooler temperatures of late, there is no need to remind you that August is the peak of the heat season in Galveston County.

Working outside this month tends to be more tolerable during early morning or late evening hours.

Plants in the landscape and garden will require attention if they are to remain vigorous and provide us with many desirable benefits — including color, shade, beauty, etc.

The gardeners’ calendar of activities for August includes the following:

Gardening newsletter

The August-September edition of the Galveston County Master Gardener Newsletter is now available online.

Visit to read or download a copy.

Inspect trees before storm

The Gulf of Mexico has been rather quiet thus far. However, the peak season for tropical storm and hurricane formation occurs during August and September.

Inspect larger trees for broken, dead, damaged and weakly attached limbs as soon as possible before a tropical storm or hurricane threatens.

Strong winds can tear such limbs from trees and turn them into dangerous projectiles.

Also, inspect tree trunks for signs of structural damage. Obtain the services of a qualified tree care professional as needed.

Large limbs are capable of causing damage to homes, vehicles and other property, as well causing harm to people in the event of violent weather.

Staked trees

If a landscape tree were staked after transplanting, be sure to inspect for girdling damage caused by prolonged staking.

Staking systems must be periodically checked and adjusted to be certain that they are not causing tree damage.

Staking will not damage trees if installed correctly and properly maintained.

Girdling or strangulation of a tree trunk can be caused when wire fencing, nylon or steel cable has been tied around the tree for anchorage.

Whatever tie material is used, it will eventually press or cut into the bark as the tree trunk increases in diameter, and thereby restrict the movement of water and nutrients within the tree.

If a tree must be staked, all stakes and support wires should be removed between 12 and 18 months after planting, provided the tree has a well-established root system.

The most important point to remember is that the staking system must be removed as soon as it is no longer necessary for the support of the tree.

Divide perennials. It is time to divide spring-flowering perennials, such as iris, Shasta daisy, oxeye, gaillardia, cannas, day lilies, violets, liriope and ajuga.

Fall vegetables

Despite our warm summer temperatures, August is the time to plant many types of vegetables for a fall garden.

Many gardeners miss this opportunity to have a successful fall garden because they wait until temperatures have moderated to plant.

Vegetables that perform well in fall gardens include lima beans, snap beans, cantaloupes, southern peas, summer squash, winter squash and a variety of other vegetables.

At a glance

WHAT: Successful Fall Vegetable Gardening

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Aug. 16

DETAILS: Master Gardener Luke Stripling will present a seminar on growing cool weather vegetables. Topics will include soil preparation, drainage, raised beds, growing up with fence or other supports, seed planting dates, varieties, planting depth, fertilizer methods, water requirements, and harvesting.

LOCATION: Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office located in Carbide Park, 4102-B Main St., in La Marque

PREREGISTER: Email or call 281-534-3413, Ext. 12

WHAT: Gardening by the Square Foot

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 19

DETAILS: Master Gardener John Jons will present a workshop teaching the basics of small-space vegetable gardening. Come learn how much you can grow in a small 4-foot-by4-foot garden.

LOCATION: Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office located in Carbide Park, 4102-B Main St., in La Marque

PREREGISTER: Email or call 281-534-3413, Ext. 12

WHAT: Backyard Gardening — Strawberries

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 26

DETAILS: Galveston County Master Gardener Robert Marshall will cover how to successfully grow strawberries in the Galveston County area.

LOCATION: Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office located in Carbide Park, 4102-B Main St., in La Marque

PREREGISTER: Email or call 281-534-3413, Ext. 12

Dr. William Johnson is a horticulturist with the Galveston County Office of Texas AgriLife Extension Service, The Texas A&M System. Visit his website at

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