Monday, February 8, 2016

Last Chance CEU Round-up

Are you still in need of CEUs for your chemical applicators license?  If so, the Travis County Extension Office is hosting a series to help you get the hours that you are missing.  Click here for more information on when and where these programs are being offered.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Feral Hog Management Workshop - February 9

The Caldwell County Extension Office is offering a Feral Hog Management Workshop on February 9 at the Luling Foundation Farm in Luling.  Cost to participate is $15 early registration (prior to February 5) and $20 at the door.  Those in attendance holding a TDA chemical applicators license will receive 5 CEUs for attending (2 hours General, 2 hours IPM, 1 hours Laws and Regs).  A copy of the agenda and information on how to Pre-Register can be found by clicking here.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Treating Oak Wilt

Oak Wilt is a fungal disease that affects red oaks and live oaks.  You can find out more about oak wilt and how to treat it by clicking here and watching this video developed by the Texas Forest Service.  Injection tanks are available for check our from the Hays County Extension Office.  Call 512-393-2120 to find out more about the Injection Tank Check Out Program.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Composting Video Series

Composting is a great way to keep those yard wastes and other organic wastes out of the land fill and put nutrients back into your lawn and garden.  To find out more about compost, check out an introductory compost video by clicking here.

With autumn upon us, it will soon be time for the leaves to start changing colors and falling off the trees onto the ground.  Too many people rake up and bag up those leaves and send them to a landfill. Don't send those valuable nutrients off your property...compost them and return those nutrients to your own soil!  To find out more about the process of leaf composting, check out a leaf management video by clicking here.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Pecan Weevil Found in Hays County

Pecan Weevils were found in Hays County back in December of 2014.  This finding has caused concern within the Texas Pecan Industry because of the ease of access to the Guadalupe River Basin and the potential impact to commercial pecan trees along the Guadalupe River.

Pecan weevils lay their eggs in the developing pecan.  The developing larva eat the meat in the developing kernel and then bore a hole in the pecan and then emerge.  They burrow into the ground before they emerge as an adult two years later.

August and September is when one would expect to begin seeing damage from the pecan weevil.  If you see a round hole bored into the shell of a pecan, chances are good that you have pecan weevil. 

If you find pecans that exhibit the signs of pecan weevil damage, please collect a few specimens and bring them by the Hays County Extension Office.  We are still trying to determine how widespread they are in Hays County.  With the sample, please provide an address or description where they were collected.

Private Chemical Applicators Training Now Online

The Private Applicator Training is now available online.  The course is designed to provide the required training to Texans who wish to obtain a Private Pesticide Applicator license but are unable to attend training provided by county Extension offices.

This training tool walks potential applicators through 11 topics related to chemical use.  At the conclusion of the course, after trainees pass a review exam, they will receive a certificate of completion and an electronic form which the trainee submits to TDA.  The cost of the online course is $75, which includes the shipping and handling fees for the training manuals.

For more information about this new training opportunity, visit or and search “Texas Private Applicator”.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mowing Your Lawn

Did you know that improper mowing habits can place significant amounts of stress on your lawn? Do you know the optimum height and frequency that you need to be mowing for your specific turfgrass variety?

Mowing is a very important part of proper lawn maintenance and plays a huge role in the overall quality of your turfgrass. If your mowing height is lower than the optimum range for your variety, undue stress will occur which may cause a steady decline of your lawn. As a result, pests (i.e. weeds, diseases, insects) may invade your site. The same goes for your frequency of mowing. If you are leaving "windrows" of grass clippings when you mow, you are probably mowing too infrequent. A good rule of thumb is to never take off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade each time you mow. So, do your homework and find out what mowing height is appropriate for your lawn grass and always remember to keep your mower blades sharpened. You and your lawn will be pleased with the results!

For more detailed information on "mowing", go to the Aggie-Turf web site at and click on "Answers 4 You", then "Mowing".

Water Conservation Tips Can Save Water and Money

The average Texan’s day starts and ends with water: wake up, use the bathroom, take a shower. Teeth need brushing, and perhaps today is laundry day. Hands get washed as many times as needed, bedtime requires brushing teeth and washing that face before bed. Sleep comes after tuning out the annoying drip-drip-drip from a leaky showerhead.

On a typical day such as this, a person uses 72.5 gallons of water inside the home, possibly without even thinking about it. But 72.5 gallons of water is worth thinking about, because it adds up: A typical family of four uses almost 300 gallons of water in one day.

But with some simple conservation strategies, a person can reduce home water use by about 30 percent, said Joyce Cavanagh, family economics specialist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Cavanagh is an expert on strategies Texans can use to conserve water and also save money in the process.

"There are the standard (tips), you know: check for leaky faucets and toilets," said Cavanagh, "and don’t let the water run when brushing your teeth."

Cavanagh said that people can save even more water by focusing on the "big three" water users in the home: showers, toilets and washing machines. "These account for about two-thirds of the water used in an average household," she said.

Toilets are the biggest offenders, using almost a third of the total water used in a typical household. "Older toilets use three to seven gallons of water per flush," Cavanagh said, "but the newer ones use only 1.6 gallons."

If homeowners have a toilet that is 10 years old or more, they should consider replacing it with a newer, more efficient one, and if replacing the toilet is not feasible, then Cavanagh suggested displacing some of the water in the tank. "People can place a plastic bottle filled with water inside the tank or get a toilet dam to partition off a section of the tank," she said.

"If people are buying new appliances, like dishwashers and washing machines," Cavanagh said, "people should look for the Energy Star (label), but also look at the amount of water the appliance uses."

Cavanagh said that, when replacing washing machines, front-loading options are ideal. "They use less water, plus they are easier on your clothes, because they don’t have as much agitation." Front-loading machines also spin more water out during the spin cycle. "Your clothes will have less water when you put them in the dryer, and thus will take less time to dry, saving you money not only in water, but also in electricity or gas from the dryer."

Cavanagh also recommended some not-so-obvious ways to save water. Some water filters, she said, produce wastewater. "Reverse osmosis filters have some wastewater as part of the process used to remove any impurities from the water, which can be substantial over time," she said.

If only filtering to improve the taste or smell of the water, she suggested using faucet or pitcher filters that don’t waste water. With those filters "the water is just filtering through and you pretty much get the same amount of water as you filter," she said.

There are also some direct economic incentives for conserving water. Cavanagh said that homeowners should check with their local utility providers; some cities will offer rebates to those who switch to water-efficient appliances or install rain barrels or other rain harvesting systems.

Some communities are also increasing rates on heavy water users. "Once you reach a certain threshold of water usage, the rate increases for the additional quantities of water that you are using," she said. Communities use this tiered-rate structure as an "incentive to get folks to use less water."

Though saving money is an incentive, to Cavanagh it is not all about the money. "It’s about making sure that we have good quality water to drink and cook with."

"When I see water running down the street from somebody’s yard," Cavanagh said, "those people, one of these days they are going to turn their faucet on to get a drink of water and nothing is going to come out. They are going to wish we had that water back to drink."

Cavanagh recommend these additional water conservation tips:
In the bathroom
• Take shorter showers, and/or turn off the shower while lathering. A shut-off valve can be used to stop the flow of water without affecting the temperature.
• Turn off the water while shaving, brushing teeth or face washing.
• Use low-flow showerheads and toilets. Look for the Water Sense label on bathroom fixtures.
In the kitchen
• Fill the dishwasher completely, or if washing by hand, use a pan of soapy water for washing and a pan of hot water for rinsing.
• Scrape, don’t rinse, the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. With modern dishwashers and detergents, there is no need to do a "pre-clean."
• Use the smallest amount of water necessary to cook foods.
• Use leftover vegetable juices for soups and the water used to cook chicken for cooking rice, pasta or vegetables.
• Limit the use of the garbage disposal. Save the scraps to run the disposal once or place them in a compost pile.
In the yard
• Water the lawn early in the morning or late in the evening. This diminishes water lost to evaporation.
• Water less frequently, but for a longer period. This allows the water to better penetrate the ground.
• Consider lawns "low priority" when it comes to watering. Keeping the grass green during hot weather wastes a lot of water. Instead, use the water for trees and shrubs, which are more susceptible to drought damage.
• If remodeling a lawn or garden, consider using native plants and grasses. Native plants need less water and fertilizer and often live longer than nonnative species. Native buffalo grass, for example, is very tolerant to drought and heat and is becoming the turf of choice in places that get less than 20 inches of water a year.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Chagas Disease on the Rise Among Pets

Chagas disease is on the rise among pets.  This disease, caused by the Kissing Bug, can have serious health threats for humans and even worse outcome for our pets.  Education about the Kissing Bug and Chagas is the first step in protecting your family and your pets. 

Research is being done with the Kissing Bug.  If you find one, carefully collect it and send it to the Texas Department of State Health Services for testing.  You can find out more information about Kissing Bugs, Chagas, and how to submit Kissing Bug samples from the links below.

News Article on the Kissing Bug and Chagas

Chagas Disease in Texas brochure

Kissing Bugs in Texas brochure

Chagas Disease, A Potential Threat to Human & Animal Health in Texas

Texas Triatomine Bug Submission Form