First, a programming note for this weekend's radio show. I'm working on getting a couple of experts in for the Saturday program who can discuss citrus greening disease, detected recently in a Harris County retail nursery by the Texas Department of Agriculture. It's a very serious citrus plant disease that has prompted a ban on nurseries selling their citrus trees to anyone outside the county. After our interviews, and once I've have a chance to digest all the info I've been receiving, I will likely put out a detailed account of what's happened and outline what we can expect for the future. In the meantime, if you would like to read more, here's a news release from Texas A&M's extension horticulturists.

Now, this week's post is a reminder about the disease known as cotton (or southern) root rot (LEFT). I have been besieged lately with emails and pictures of perfect examples of it.

I'm not surprised, because this soil-borne disease always pops up when we go from one moisture extreme to another. Remember how wet June was? And have you noticed how hot and dried-out everything has been since mid-July? As a result, lots of evergreen shrubbery is dying out in sections. And that, my friends, is almost always cotton root rot.

Here's a tip sheet we did on the topic a year ago. If you follow the protocols outlined in it, you can save almost any plant that is less than 50 percent infected. So, read up and get busy.

By the way, if you don't want to ever worry about cotton root rot, the horticulturists at Texas A&M have compiled a list of plants resistant to the disease.

Finally, I just had to share this listener's email. If it has an effect on at least one more listener or newsletter subscriber, publishing it here will be well worthwhile. Let's just say it falls into the category of "folloing your advice on 'better late than never'." I love the honesty!

Good morning Randy,

I finally followed your suggestion to raise my lawn mower to the highest setting (from 2.5 to 3.5 inches), and the results are amazing. My lawn went from the worst on the block to the best on the block in four months. I had to hold up to the initial skepticism by my wife (the lawn looked very uneven and uncut at first), but now she raves about how thick and plush our lawn looks. My water usage also has gone down. I water two times a week (vs. every day last year, and the grass still looked dry) and the grass is holding up to the heat.

Thank you,
Matt Berg