Posts In: gardening tips
April 6, 2021

Dead or Alive?

Did the winter storm hurt your plants? Accidentally left a plant unattended? Things happen, and we understand. Feel free to ask one of our super-duper staff members for tips! Here are a few tests to try yourself and see if your plants are still good to go or if it’s time to put them to rest.

Scratch Test:

Take your thumbnail and lightly scrape the bark off a branch. If it’s soft and green underneath, it’s still alive. If it’s dead, it will be brown underneath. It may also be dry and brittle or soft and mushy. A pruning cut should be made 1-2 inches into the green, just 1/4 inch about a node (the bumps on the stems where leaves emerge).

Vines:

The top of this star jasmine vine is dead, but a scratch test on the thicker stems at the base shows that part of the plant is still alive!

Woody Plants:

Woody plants include trees or shrubs, as well as Salvia greggi, rosemary, star jasmine, and many others! For these plants, prune away dead limbs back to live wood, using the scratch test to determine which parts are still alive.

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Caladium

Caladiums are known for their big, heart-shaped leaves that display amazing color combinations of white, pink, red, and green. Add them to your garden for a beautiful burst of color!

At #TomsThumbNursery, we just got some plants and bulbs in stock! Learn all about how to plant and care for them here:

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Front of Tom's Thumb Nursery in Galveston, Texas

Dormancy

We love our tropical plants and our evergreen shrubs, but dormancy and a lack of growth in the winter still occurs here. Most obviously, our lawn grasses go dormant in the “cold” weather and we don’t have to worry about cutting them. However, all plants will be less active in cooler weather. Don’t worry about plants not putting out new shoots or not growing any taller; they really shouldn’t be very active in winter. Trees like crape myrtle that are deciduous shouldn’t be fertilized now. We should wait to fertilize deciduous trees and shrubs until they are ready to leaf out again in March. Fertilizing early could cause new shoots that will get blasted off by the north wind.

Winter Pruning

Due to the shortness of the cold season and how warm it has been, we don’t recommend winter pruning just yet. February is our preferred month for those severe winter cuts. It also leaves your plants looking full for the holiday season. Deciduous fruit trees can be pruned in January; however, citrus, that have their fruit still on them, shouldn’t be pruned until after you harvest the fruit.

Is your landscape ready for the Holidays?
We continue to offer full landscaping services. Call or Email us to schedule:

  • Maintenance Rejuvenation
  • Garden Refresh

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violas

Vegetables and Herbs – Continue to plant arugula, bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, chard, collards, lettuce, mustard greens, kale and more!
Here is a link to Dr. William Johnson’s article “Harvesting Tips for Cool Season Vegetables”.

Perennials & Annuals – It’s time to plant alyssum, cyclamen, mums, pansies, snapdragons, violas and ornamental cabbages. If you haven’t done so already, work some compost into the soil before planting.

Plant Bulbs Now – Paperwhites, Amaryllis, Tulips

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October 2, 2020

Lawn Care for October

Fall Fertilization – Make a fall application of an organic fertilizer . Make sure not to over-fertilize because that can predispose the grass to brown patch. The purpose of fertilizing now is to get some nitrogen and potassium to the grass to help it prepare for winter and come out stronger in the spring.
Lawn Fungus – If brown patch is an annual problem on your lawn, apply a fungicide early this month to get ahead of the infection. Once the brown circles appear, it is too late to make them go away.If take all root rot has been a problem, it may help to apply a thin layer of finely ground peat moss early this month. Spread one or two 3.8 cu ft bales per 1,000 square feet of lawn and water in down to the soil surface.
Weed Control – If you are planning on applying something to prevent weed germination, do so early this month. We recommend using Corn Gluten for an organic weed pre-emergent.


MicroLife Solutions for Salty Soil

Our Humate Plus is a great long term product for salt remediation. You should put it out a couple of times a year for a couple of years after being inundated with saltwater.
Will not burn and is completely safe for all beneficial life forms.

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FOXFARM BUSHDOCTOR – SledgeHammer

SledgeHammer® is a unique rinse formula designed to remove concentrated mineral salt deposits.
Derived from saponin, an extract of the Yucca schidigera plant.
SledgeHammer® is designed for organic gardening and can be used for both hydroponic and soil applications.

FOXFARM Website

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Vegetables and Herbs – Now is the time to plant cool season vegetables & herbs: transplants such as arugula, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, collards, eggplant, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, onions, pak choi, spinach, squash, Swiss shard, tomatoes, zucchini and more! Also look for basil, chives, cilantro, lavender, lemongrass, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, mint and more!

Fall Planting Guide

Perennials & Annuals – Some of our favorite annuals and perennials are arriving this month. Plant those cool season flowers such as alyssum, snapdragons, mums, calendula, dianthas, ornamental kale, verbena, violas and more!

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Top tips for a successful fall vegetable garden

By Gabe Saldana
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

  • Plan for adequate sunlight. (at least 6 hrs of direct unobstructed sunlight)
  • Give roots and fruits the most sun.
  • Consider moving leafy greens into slightly shadier garden areas.
  • Amend your soil with compost. Compost helps sandy soils keep more water and it helps clay soils drain better. The quality and health of your soil will determine the health of your garden.
  • Check out the online Fall Vegetable Gardening Guide.

Lawn Care

Make a fall application of an organic fertilizer in late September. If your lawn is not dense and sunlight can reach the soil surface, weeds are likely to become a problem.
Cool season weeds start to sprout in late September. We recommend using Corn Gluten for an organic pre-emergent.
The best way to have a reasonably weed-free lawn is to build a dense turf with proper mowing, watering, fertilizing and adequate sunlight. If you don’t, you’ll be on a chemical treadmill year after year, fighting weeds.

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August 10, 2020

Water My Yard App

Tom's Thumb Nursery

Whether you are beginner gardener or have a green thumb, it can be difficult to figure out the right way to water your plants.

Tom's Thumb Nursery

Keep your yard healthy and save water with The WaterMyYard app. It can help you determine exactly how much to water and when. Get access to up to date watering recommendations and features to maximize your water conservation. You can even customize your settings to get automated recommendations based on your local weather conditions!

You can download WaterMyYard app for Android and iOS here!

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July 2, 2020

Organic Products

Medina Hasta Gro Lawn

At Tom’s Thumb Nursery, we take pride in offering lots of organic options for your lawn & garden needs. Some of our favorites include FoxFarm soils, Microlife, Medina & Nature’s Creation lawn fertilizers, Monterrey Bt & Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Spray, and Bonide Burnout weed killer. Stop in and let us help keep your yard safe for you and your pets.

MicroLife at Tom's Thumb Nursery

Tom’s Thumb Nursery is proud to now carry MicroLife products!

“We believe that healthy soils, healthy plants, healthy planet, and healthy people are all connected. As such we take great care in how we manufacture all of the MicroLife products. We make sure that all of our products have the highest nutritional value possible so that all soils, plants, and people benefit.”

Visit our website

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Milky Spore

Organic Control

Milky Spore

Milky Spore Granular is an organic long-lasting control for the Japanese beetle grub. The granular product can be applied using a drop spreader for easy complete coverage of your yard. Apply Spring, Summer, and Fall for two consecutive years. Guaranteed to last 10 years after the final application.

Learn more about the control of Japanese Beetles!

Lace Bugs on Lantana

Recently, several of our customers have brought in lantana infested with lace bugs. The following article is an excellent source of information concerning this problem.  Lace Bugs on Lantana. Recommended treatment is spinosad, horticultural oils, or garlic pepper tea.

Ladybugs are general predators that feed on a variety of slow-moving insects including aphids, moth eggs, mites, scales, thrips, leafhoppers, mealybugs and other slow-moving insects. Ladybugs are a must-have for organic gardening or organic farming.

Education: Dr. Johnson’s Weekly Garden Columns

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