There are lots rules out there for one to be successful in gardening. Books and neighborly advice will often say you must do this or you can’t do that if you want a successful yard or garden. And yes, good advice should be well headed.
There are weather patterns, soil types, certain pests and other factors that have a huge effect on what grows well here and what doesn’t. Matching plant varieties to our environment is key to the success of many outstanding gardeners.
And yet I get the question, “can I plant this here?” or “will this work at my place?” While I used to be all about saying, “No, you must follow the rules!” I’ve lately started suggesting, “Why not give it a try!”
Let’s look at some successful examples first. Vineyards had for ages thought to only able to grown in near idyllic areas such as France or Napa Valley. Our humid East Texas was thought to difficult a climate for the proper grape production.
But travel to Tyler, Palestine, and Jasper (to name a few) and you’ll find successful commercial vineyards producing an excellent product. Simply identifying those varieties that do well in our climate has allowed those barriers to be broken.
Citrus was forever reserved to the warmer climates of south Texas and Florida. Today, Meyer lemons, Satsuma’s and other can be successfully grown if moved indoors during cold spells or covered and protected when left outdoors. As folks continue to branch out, there are several more citrus varieties are being experimented with successfully.
To be clear, experimentation will have its failures. Some of the wonderful plants that are found in other parts just do not perform well in our area. Some arid climate types won’t tolerate our humidity. Many plants adapted to northern climates won’t tolerate our heat.
Even some species that are identified as adapted may or may not work well in your specific locale. Pecans and other fruit trees that are very well adapted to our area may not work in some of our shallow soils. Most fruit and nut trees demand a well-drained soil. Much of Angelina County has good sandy-loam top soil that is very shallow. Underneath is probably a red or gray clay soil that holds moisture and does not drain well at all.
Even still, with good soil structure, you’ll find that many varieties of the will not work well here due to other factors. Peaches and other fruit trees do well in certain weather conditions and not in others. Peaches that perform well in Houston may bloom too early for Lufkin. Peach trees that do well in Dallas would certainly wait too long to bloom for our conditions.
So can you grow it? I’ll advise you to stay with the tried and true varieties, and follow the sage advice that exists to be successful. But push me a little and I may encourage you to branch out, break a few gardening rules and see if your efforts thrive.
The Angelina County Extension office will be holding a seminar on southern bulbs on Monday, Oct 20 at 6:30 pm. Chris Wiesinger will be speaking on bulbs that have naturalized and thrive in our area. Cost is $10 per person, kids come free.
Educational programs of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, or national origin.
Cary Sims is the County Extension Agent for agriculture and natural resources for Angelina County. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.