Predatory, beautiful and rather dainty, ladybugs seem almost fairytale like in their appearance, yet are remarkable hunters. Whether you call them ladybirds, lady beetles or even ladybird beetles, these small beetles have made a tremendous and positive impact on the world’s agriculture by eating their primary prey species, the aphid, which historically destroyed crops. It is thought that the ladybug’s name is derived from farmers rejoicing that the Virgin Mary (often shown in paintings wearing a red cloak) answered their prayers for crop protection and dubbed the small beetle “Our Lady’s Beetles”.

If you read the September SAWS newsletter that was in with your monthly water bill, you already know this.  However, for the rest, SAWS has a garden website containing tips and techniques designed to take the guesswork out of landscaping in the San Antonio area.  Go to  I do not use the Internet much, but I did go to the SAWS website so I could or not recommend it.  They must have had me in mind when they designed it.  That is, it must have been designed for dummies.  Even I could figure it out.  The part on plants was very informative.

There is always something to do in the garden.  This article has some tips for cooler weather gardening.  Although some may be repeats from previous articles, is always good to be reminded.

October and November are good months to fertilize lawns, shrubs and trees to promote healthy roots systems for new growth next spring.  With our usually warm South Texas winters, roots continue to grow even if the rest of the plant is dormant. Continue to feed outdoor container grown plants with a water-soluble fertilizer.  Use organic fertilizers, which can be found at independent local nurseries.  

The Parks and Recreation Department was quick to respond to reports of drought stress noticed on the younger trees in King William Park! Not having a current contact, Maria and Fred Pfeiffer wrote to the department’s director Xavier Urrutia, who took time to answer within several hours—and on a Sunday! Tree section manager Melinda Cerda and the new city forester Ross Hosea were right on the situation. Ross met Maria and Fred at the park and reviewed the situation. Extra watering was ordered immediately and by Tuesday tree bags were installed and all of the park trees mulched. Ross and his staff will continue to monitor the trees. He is also working with the Downtown Operations Department to water the stressed cypress trees in the park at Pancoast and Chavez. We appreciate all of the quick attention and hope it rains soon to take some of the load off the overworked Parks’ staff.

The City’s Office of Historic Preservation receives applications and issues administrative approvals for residents who wish to upgrade their landscapes. There are many contributing factors when changing or modifying a landscape within a historic district. This may include various design guidelines, tree preservation ordinances, exemptions, and the Unified Development Code.

Information about landscape modifications and administrative approvals can be found at the OHP website ( and the City’s Unified Development Code site ( You may also contact the Development Services Department, Mark C. Bird, City Arborist at (210) 207-8053, or Justin Krobot, Assistant City Arborist (210) 207-6042. Additional assistance can also be obtained by contacting OHP directly at (210) 215-9274.