Posted by: Highland landscaping | November 8, 2018

November 2018


November 2018                                       EDITION 117

817-488-2718  Phone |



Although army worms ( also known as army caterpillars) are not a new phenomenon, they are making their presence known this fall because of the timing of their arrival.  Like numerous customers have reported, we have seen unusual brown patches in our own lawns as well.  Upon investigation, we have observed tiny caterpillars feasting on the grass blades.  Generally these caterpillars arrive later in the fall.  In fact, the  common name is “fall armyworm”.  Infestations can be found somewhere in the state of Texas every year.  The wild card is the temperature and the amount of rain.  The adult is a gray moth with mottled markings on the wings.  There is a small white dot in the center of each tiny fore-wing and dark margins on the hind wings.  The entire wingspan is only 1/2 to 1 1/2  inches.  It seems the hot, dry temperatures earlier in the summer, followed by the uncharacteristic cool rainy weather, may have confused the moth.

   Thinking fall had arrived,  eggs were dropped in the dark of night at the base of host plants.  The tiny white eggs are in clusters of 50 or more.  The female can drop as many as 1000 eggs at one time.  As the life span development leads to caterpillars, they meet up and form an “army”.  The worms are only about one inch in length and may be brown, gray, green or yellow green.   A distinguishing marking is a white inverted Y between the eyes and three white stripes behind the head.

They appear to march side by side causing destruction in their path.  Grass is preferred, but the caterpillars may also eat other plants when grass is not available.  Army caterpillars have been known to wipe-out large agricultural fields.  Where there is a heavy infestation, a lawn the size of a football field can be consumed in two to three days. Picture2

Damage is seen first at the tip of the grass blade.  The blade becomes transparent as the plant cells are eaten.  From there, the caterpillars make their way down the blades leaving brown patches in the lawn next to green healthy grass.   One might initially think the brown is due to drought.  Upon close inspection, the tiny caterpillars can be seen munching away on green blades nearby.  They are the most active in the early morning and late afternoon, and easiest to spot during these times.    Established, healthy Bermuda grass will typically recover from such an infestation.  Its own energy source is strong enough to withstand such an attack.  Other types of grass may or may not be able to recover.

There are numerous treatments available; both chemical and organic.  Because the various life stages:  egg, larva, pupa and adult, may require a specific treatment one should inquire as to what is needed.  In addition, as one group is being treated, more are hatching.  Multiple treatments are usually needed, as there are, on average, six generations per season.

The good news is that the army worm cannot withstand freezing temperatures;  and therefore, cannot overwinter and be a problem next spring.

When one door closes, another opens; 

but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us.”

                     -Alexander Graham Bell


Plant trivia

The name “wind flower” refers to which fall blooming perennial?(look for the answer at the end of our blog)


Featured project

IMG_8059 (2)IMG_8071 (2)

This Fall involved an incredible commercial new construction project.  Downey Publishing’s new property was a blank canvas ready to be painted. The entrance is what steals the show  with over flowing  native and adapted plants and beautiful varieties of river rock.  This astonishing giant island bed is  filled with decomposed granite, Aztec, and Arizona river rock. The Arizona rock was strategically placed to give a dry river look throughout the island ,while drought tolerant plants and boulders outline the border. The Agaves, Cacti, Sotols, Candellia, and much more will stay evergreen while keeping the property low maintenance.  Proceeding to the front door, the beds are filled with a variety of plants and trees to give dimension and color. Some awesome clean-shaved Yucca Rostratas are placed on both corners of the building along with Vitexs, Spanish Daggers, Hollywood Junipers, Agaves, and Salvia Greggii, to give it a unique, clean, native look.  You will also find a variety of Spineless Prickly Pear Cactus, Black Diamond Crape Myrtles, and Texas Sage to  screen and detail the rest of the property.


Brooke Sugden Photography : 817-948-6428

The 2018 North Texas landscape in these early days of November exudes the vibrant color and abundant growth of our blooming beauties.  Soon they will be nodding off for their winter slumber.  It is during this period of dormancy each year that energy is stored for the next growing season.  We can assist  our bloomers by giving them attention now that will nurture them as they rest.  See our suggestions in the Task list below.  Despite the weather we are currently enjoying, the first “arctic blast” could arrive by the end of the month.  Plans to protect vulnerable plants should also be made.

 Seasonal color this month…

Anemone, Beautyberry, Bellis, Carolina Snailseed, Cheiranthus, Cyclamen, Delphiniums, Dianthus, Late Mums, Ornamental Peppers, Poppies, Stocks

November Landscape Tasks:

  • Plan landscape projects
  • Plant spring bulbs
  • Plant winter seasonal color
  • Plant trees, shrubs and groundcovers
  • Divide spring-flowering perennials
  • Fertilize lawn
  • Apply pre-emergent for spring weeds
  • Schedule yard clean-up
  • Mulch landscape beds to 3”
  • Purchase winter goods like frost cloth and ice melt
  • Bring tropical plants into garage for freezing temperatures
  • Water landscape beds before a freeze

Trivia Answer


Featured plant—IRIS

Iris is both the common and scientific name that refers to a much beloved perennial flower that is found throughout the temperate Northern Hemisphere (including Alaska and Canada).  Irises emerge in the spring just as tulips and daffodils are beginning to Picture3fade, and may continue to bloom into early summer.  Irises can be rhizomes, bulbs or tubers.  The rhizome resembles a bulb, but is a modified stem that grows at or just below ground level.  When planting, the rhizome should not be deeply planted, but have only a light sprinkling of dirt on top.  This is the energy source for the plant.   These hardy growers will continue to bloom for generations once established.

Attractive sword-shaped green foliage emerges mid-spring, followed by stems from which the Iris flower blooms.   The flower has three “standards” (upright petals) and three “falls” (downward arching petals) with a fuzzy nectar “guide” for pollination.  Irises attract pollinators and other beneficials.  Depending on the variety chosen, blooms may be blue, purple, white, yellow, pink, orange, brown, red or black.   The foliage remains an attractive grass plant throughout the growing season.   There are about 325 different species worldwide and 50,000 registered varieties.  Many of the species are natural hybrids.  Iris need a half day of sun, and require little water.  They are drought tolerant, so they can be planted in numerous WaterWise landscapes.  The rhizomes which grow underground may be divided and transplanted any time during the year.

“Iris” is the name of the Goddess of the Rainbow in Greek mythology.  The word Iris itself means “rainbow”.  The rich history of the Iris has been documented to 2100 B.C. with the visible “fresco” in King Mino’s palace on the Greek Island of Crete.   A fresco is painting done with watercolors on wet cement, thus melding the paint with the cement lasting forever.

The “Fleur de Lys” is an ancient rendering (right) of an Iris bloom.  For centuries, this graphic represented French royalty.  In the Christian world, the emblem was associated with the Virgin Mary and purity.   During the 14th century, Edward III of Great Britain added the motif to his royal coat of arms.  Holland had developed many varieties byPicture4 1492.  The Iris flower is favored second only to the rose with many well known artists.  Renoir, da Vinci, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Monet, and others  brought the beauty of the Iris to life in their works.

Iris rhizomes were brought to the New World by early European settlers in the 1600’s.  The flower was a favorite of Thomas Jefferson, as one observes in his garden journals.  Until about 1910, American Iris were known as “Flags” or German Iris.  This may be due to the name Iris Germanica that Carl Linnaeus assigned after finding Iris in German gardens.  Before WWII, new hybrids came from Europe;  and have since become an American passion.  There exist several national organizations in the United States for those who are avid Iris growers.  Members have the opportunity to exchange information with like groups in other countries.  The Iris is the state flower of Tennessee;  and, the Fleur de Lys is the emblem of New Orleans.


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