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Gardeners' Dirt: It's All About Trees . and More at gardening symposium

By Sara Meyer - Victoria County Master Gardener Edited by Charla Borchers Leon
Sept. 8, 2011 at 4:08 a.m.

Heidi Sheesley, owner of Treesearch Farms in Houston, widely known for her knowledge of trees, shrubs and foliage for the Coastal Bend, will speak at the upcoming fall symposium on Sept. 24. Attendees will have the exclusive opportunity to purchase many of the plants she discusses in her presentation, "Totally Tenacious and Texas Tough Plants."

Why have my trees started to lose their leaves, and it's only September? What is that white powdery stuff all over the leaves? My tree is 10 feet tall - how deep do I dig the hole to plant it?

EVENT NOT TO BE MISSED

If these questions sound familiar and you need answers, then plan to attend "It's All About Trees . and More," coordinated by Victoria County Master Gardener Association and Texas AgriLife Extension Service - Victoria County on Sept. 24, at the Master Gardener, VEG Pavilion, Officer's Club, and 4-H Activity Center (all located on Bachelor Drive at Victoria Regional Airport) from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. With 10 speakers and 12 presentations, this is one gardening event not to be missed.

ALL ABOUT TREES . AND MORE

Because of the current drought and many questions concerning care of trees, VCMGA decided to feature several Extension specialists, arborists and horticulturists discussing care, planting and pruning of trees for the Coastal Bend area, as well as pests and their control.

HEIDI SHEESLEY - TREESEARCH FARMS PLANTS AVAILABLE

Highlighted speaker Heidi Sheesley, owner of Treesearch Farms of Houston, will present "Totally Tenacious and Texas Tough Plants." Many of the plants featured in her presentation will also be available for purchase at the plant sale immediately following Sheesley's presentation.

CONCURRENT SESSIONS

Beginning at 11 a.m., several concurrent sessions will begin with attendees able to choose any one from three presentations: "Planting, Training, and Pruning Trees" by Matt Weaver, Texas Forest Service from Houston; "Rainwater Harvesting" presented by VCMGA member and rainwater harvesting specialist Kathy Chilek of Yoakum; or "Turning Your Indoor Spaces into Green Spaces: A Creative Guide to Indoor Container Gardening" by Caroline Boatman, certified landscape professional and owner of Primavera Interior Landscapes, of Houston.

JERRY PARSONS, PH.D., AMONG SPEAKERS

Over the noon luncheon hour, Jerry M. Parsons, professor and Extension horticulturist (retired) will speak about many of the "Old Plants Made New." At 1:15 p.m., the concurrent sessions resume and include "Recommended Trees for the Victoria Area" by Dr. Parsons; "Xeriscape and Earthkind Gardening" presented by Michael Potter, Nueces County Extension Horticultural Agent, of Corpus Christi; and "Outside Container Gardening" given by horticulturist Lon Smith, Vocational Director, Devereux Gardens, of Victoria. (Attendee chooses one).

The last series of concurrent sessions which the attendee can choose from include Victoria College professor and plant pathologist Molly Giesbrecht discussing "Managing Pests on Trees;" VCMGA member Ruth Anderson explaining how to "Create Backyard Habitats for Wildlife;" and VCMGA member Nancy Kramer speaking about "Jewels in the Garden: Inviting Butterflies and Hummers."

The symposium closes with Dr. Parsons discussing "Fall Gardening: It's Time to Get Your Fingers Dirty," from 3:10 to 4 p.m.

GARDENING ITEMS, RESOURCE MATERIALS

Throughout the day, attendees will be able to participate in a silent auction and a raffle as well as shop at the plant sale.

Several great books will be available for sale at the plant sale throughout the day, such as "Texas Garden Almanac" by Doug Welsh, which provides the gardener with a monthly gardening calendar with practical information for shrubs, flowers, trees and landscape design strategies and much more. Another by David H. Kattes, author of "Insects of Texas," provides a practical, non-technical introduction to insect classification.

Whether you are part of a master gardener or master naturalist program, are interested in environmentally friendly pest management, or simply enjoy knowing what to call that strange-looking bug on your back porch, this publication should be your first resource.

Interested in attracting wildlife to your garden or landscape, but don't know how? "Texas Wildscapes - Gardening for Wildlife" by Kelly Conrad Bender will answer any question you may have.

ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES WHEN YOU ATTEND

Plant Sale - Those attending will have the opportunity to purchase various plants highlighted in the presentations, especially those from Treesearch Farms in Houston. The plant sale will remain open until 5 p.m.

Continuing Education Credit - 5 CEUs for Master Gardeners and 5 CEUs for TDA Pesticide License (4 IPM, 1 General) will be available at the symposium.

Garden Pavers - VCMGA will also be selling pavers for the "Military Garden," "Pathway of Family and Friends" at Victoria Educational Gardens (adjacent to the Pavilion) or for your own personal location.

SEPT. 14 DEADLINE

Registration by Sept. 14 is $50 per person which includes catered lunch, plant sale admission, snacks and handouts. The fee is $60 thereafter, if space is available. The registration form can be downloaded at vcmga.org or stop by the Extension Office at 528 Waco Circle at Victoria Regional Airport. Register early to get your choice of concurrent sessions. Remember, the deadline is Sept. 14.

The Gardeners' Dirt is written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational outreach of Texas AgriLife Extension - Victoria County. Mail your questions in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901; or vcmga@vicad.com, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.

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