Archive for April, 2008

Why Does My Crape Myrtle Look Like it Was Set on Fire?

Here in North Texas, there is a pest called “Azalea Bark Scale.” It is a white insect that sucks the life right out of Crape Myrtles. The results will leave your Crape Myrtles looking like they are charred and black. This is a fungi called sooty mold that grows on the insects’ waste. This type of infestation can weaken the tree and open up the possibility for more fatal disease and insects.

The solution is a systematic pesticide and insect killer. Add some Terra Firma TLC, and we can get those Crape Myrtles looking beautiful again.

If you’re a do-it-your-self-er, you can buy these treatments at Home Depot; along with a soapy water solution you can wipe the black film off.

Most Builders Install Cheap Landscaping

Most homes in the Dallas Fort Worth area were probably built by a corporate builder. There are hundreds of them out there, but they all typically put in the same type of landscaping: cheap and fast growing. They will typically plant Bermuda grass (usually a cheaper variety). For bushes, builders will use hawthorns, nandinas or a burford holly and for the trees some type of maple, live oak and the popular bradford pear.

Why does it matter? Some of the above plants can look just hideous in flower beds. When they start to mature, they outgrow the beds and grow into each other. There might be different textures, but there is usually not a lot of color contrast.

The tree will usually be planted in the exact center of the front yard, eventually providing a lot of shade. That would be a great idea, except your Bermuda grass will die because it needs full sun to thrive. So the trees grow and your grass dies. Your flower beds look hideous and your wishing Terra Firma installed your landscaping.

These types of landscapes are inevitable when buying a new home. Landscaping is the last element installed on a new home or remodel. The building/remodel budget is almost always used up at that point, so they try to just break even. So the builder puts something in that will look good up front, but in the end will cost you more when you hire a new landscaper to undo the careless damage.