An “invasive species” is defined as a species that is non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health (Executive Order 13112).

An invasive species grows/reproduces and spreads rapidly, establishes over large areas, and persists.  Species that become invasive succeed due to favorable environmental conditions and lack of natural predators, competitors and diseases that normally regulate their populations.  Not all non-native species are bad, but some plants that look lovely in your garden might be harmful invaders that will make their way into natural areas (texasinvasives.org). 

Read more: San Antonio Area Invasive Plants

What we plant in our landscapes determines what can live in our landscapes... By favoring productive species, we can create life, and by using nonnative plants, we can prevent it.”  Douglas W. Tallamy, Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife With Native Plants

The following is based on the book (cited above) by Douglas W. Tallamy, professor of entomology and wildlife ecology at the University of Delaware.  It gives us something to consider in selecting garden plants.

Read more: Out in the Garden: May 2015

The second week of March is almost here, and that is the time when frost is usually behind us here in South Texas, based on past years. But there are those who go by other indicators. Some believe frost is possible until Easter is past. This year that is April 5. Still others say we can have frost until mesquite trees leaf out, whenever that is. Watch and note which is correct and plant tender plants accordingly. Anything is possible, as those who grow vegetables believe veggies should be planted based on the phase of the moon. Fact, fiction, ol’ wives tales, whatever – it’s all interesting.

Read more: Out in the Garden: March 2015

Household water use between November and March is generally the time period that San Antonio Water System (SAWS) uses to determine our monthly sewer charge for the next year. To conserve water and keep your utilities cost down, reduce water use as much as possible. About 40 percent of residential water use is for maintaining yards and gardens. If you have a sprinkler system, put it on its manual setting until next spring. Water lawns only about every three weeks and flowerbeds as needed when the top 2 to 3 inches of soil is dry. Moisture evaporation is slower in cooler weather.

Read more: Out in the Garden: December 2014