The Benefits of Having a Real Christmas Tree
Texas A&M Forest Service
Christmas trees have been embedded in western holiday culture for hundreds of years, but it was only within the past several decades that artificial Christmas trees entered into the fold. Technological advancements in the plastics industry led the Addis Brush Company, a toilet bowl brush manufacturer, to use the same plastic fibers from their brushes as the needles for a Christmas tree. The artificial Christmas tree industry has been expanding ever since thanks to its convenience and affordability. As we head into a new holiday season, Texas A&M Forest Service is shedding light on the benefits of real Christmas trees.
According to Marsha Gray of the Christmas Tree Promotion Board, an average of 20-25 million Christmas trees are sold in the United States every year: roughly one tree for every five households. The real Christmas tree industry also employs around 100,000 people.
“Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states,” said Gray. “But the top producing regions are centered around Oregon, North Carolina, and Michigan.”
Trees from those areas are the ones you’re likely to find at retail lots, garden centers, and your standard home improvement store. Nevertheless, many Americans prefer going to local Christmas tree farms, picking out their favorite tree, and then carrying it back to their homes. And thanks to the hardiness of Christmas trees, Americans are able to do that almost everywhere.
Artificial Christmas trees, meanwhile, are almost entirely imported. Eighty-five percent of them are made in China, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. They are made of metals and plastics—typically PVC, which, according to the National Christmas Tree Association, “can be a potential source of hazardous lead”—and they are almost impossible to recycle.
“If you wanted to recycle an artificial tree,” says Gray, “you would have to pull each individual needle off of the entire tree.” Otherwise, you would have to throw it away, where it would remain in a landfill indefinitely.
Real trees are entirely biodegradable (thousands of organizations will actually take the tree off your hands to convert it into mulch or composted soil), and, while it might seem counterintuitive that cutting down a live tree would be beneficial, sustainably managed forests actually have immense environmental benefits. Christmas trees are grown for an average of 8-10 years before they are cut down, and over 350 million trees are currently growing on Christmas tree farms alone, with only a fraction of that number being harvested each year.
Beyond converting CO2 into breathable oxygen, Christmas trees filter water; reduce runoff and the chance of flooding; and provide homes, food, and protection for wildlife. They cool the average temperatures around them by almost 10 degrees Fahrenheit, reduce erosion and pollution, and they produce food for animals and the wood that we use to build homes and businesses.
Christmas trees are also hardier than most trees, and they can grow where other trees might not have grown. Take the Virginia pine, for instance—the Christmas tree of choice for Fred Raley, Tree Improvement Coordinator for Texas A&M Forest Service.
“Virginia pine is native to more rocky or sandier soils,” explained Raley. “It’s very hardy, and it grows very quickly.”
Virginia pine trees were selected by the Texas Christmas Tree Growers Association for their survivability, growth, and form, and they are favored for their ability to grow across the state. This is crucial in Texas, since over 90% of all forested land is privately owned. In order for that land to remain forested (or, in some cases, to become forested), landowners need an incentive to maintain it. The Virginia pine provides that incentive. For one, they can grow to a standard Christmas tree size in half the time—just 3-to-5 years—and, according to Raley, they don’t need much care.
“For long term survivability, they like to be left alone. They don’t like it wet. They don’t even require a bunch in terms of nutrients,” said Raley. “In their native range, they grow in very poor soils, and that’s one of the thoughts behind bringing this species to Texas.”
Texas A&M Forest Service is leading the way in Virginia pine improvement and development. Thanks to a recent grant from the Christmas Tree Promotion Board, they’re currently working to make the Virginia pine even more adaptable, beautiful, and enticing to land owners across the state. But that doesn’t always offset the mentality of consumers, who are often drawn to artificial trees for the very fact that they aren’t real trees. Allergies to pine pollen and tree mold deter many potential buyers, along with the convenience of an artificial tree, including its price and reusability.
Ultimately, though, you can’t put a price tag on the personal and environmental benefits of having a real Christmas tree in your home. From improving mental health, productivity, and happiness, to boosting your immune system and lowering anxiety, research has proven time and again that living plants and trees are invaluable.
“There’s something special about having a live tree in your home,” said Raley. “Especially now, during the pandemic—when families are spending lots of time together and are looking for ways to enjoy that time together—I think going out and finding a live tree is something that really has a lot of value.”
Raley has brought home a live tree with his family every Christmas for 25 years, and his children have carried that tradition on to their families.
“It’s a very unique and very special experience, during a special time of the year.”
The choice is yours: spend money year-to-year buying a real Christmas tree and enjoy endless environmental and health benefits, or invest in an artificial tree, and try to make it last as long as possible. In the end, having a tree central to your celebration—whether real or symbolic—is our favorite way to enjoy the holiday.
Texas A&M Forest Service
Trees are remarkable plants, and at no time is that more apparent than in the fall, when deciduous trees—bracing themselves for the winter—begin their transition into dormancy. The result is a vibrant and magnificent display of colors that, more often than not, feels like the trees are putting on for us. (Everyone loves a good shot of fall foliage reflecting off of a lake, anyway.)
The reality, of course, is that it’s not just an act of visual poetry – it’s chemistry. And while that might not explain the more existential questions we have about life and beauty and the cyclical behavior of nature, it can at least explain a.) why some trees turn the color they do and why some turn more vibrantly than others, b.) why some regions have better displays of foliage, and c.) how that changing of colors benefits the tree itself.
According to Regional Forest Health Coordinator Allen Smith, the answer to all of these questions is: “it depends.” Trees are surprisingly sensitive, and the reasons for a tree’s behavior in the fall could depend on the conditions it faced six or even nine months before. “Trees are entirely weather dependent,” says Smith. A drought in May could lead to a quick, underwhelming ting of foliage in November; a relentless heat wave in August can scorch tree leaves badly enough that they drop early and suddenly come autumn; and an early freeze from a cold front has the potential of sending trees into a panicked, sudden dormancy. In simpler terms, Smith says that “the healthier the leaf is to begin with, the more vibrancy you’re going to see in the fall.”
A more literal answer to “why leaves change color” is that they are colored by the same compound that makes up our complexion – pigments. The difference, of course, is that a tree’s pigmentation is predominantly influenced by the act of photosynthesis. Chlorophyll is a molecule used in photosynthesis, and it’s responsible for the green pigment. That is why green is the dominate color of any tree leaf for the majority of its life cycle. What you might not know is that the other pigments—xanthophylls (yellows), carotenes (oranges), and anthocyanins (reds, purples, even blues and blacks)—have also been there all along. It’s only when the tree begins to prepare for dormancy that these other pigments are allowed to shine – mostly because, in preparation for winter, the tree stops producing chlorophyll, the green pigmentation fades, and the other pigments are made visible.
The question of why some trees change certain colors has a more tenuous answer. Asking why one tree turns orange, and another turns orange or red, is the same as asking why some squash are green and others are yellow, or why carrots are orange. The answer is in the question. Carotenes are pigments found in endless amounts of fruits and vegetables, including carrots, oranges, some bell peppers, even pumpkin squash. Xanthophylls meanwhile, the yellow pigment you’ll see in most transitioning trees, is the same pigment that colors egg yolks and, occasionally, parts of the human eye (that ring of gold that sometimes surrounds the iris). It is produced exclusively in plants, though, so it appears in humans and animals only through consumption.
The last of the primary pigments, and the most impressive of the fall colors, comes from anthocyanin. This is the same pigment that can be found in blueberries, blackberries, and red or violet roses. The coloration of the pigment depends on the PH level of the plant. The higher the PH level, the darker the coloration (from red, to purple, to blue, to black). This is the color you’ll see in red maples, black cherry trees, and Shumard oaks, etc.
All of these pigments are attached to chemicals that serve a purpose for the plant. Carotenoids (carotene and xanthophyll) help trees absorb light energy, which is key when transitioning into dormancy because—once the act of photosynthesis shuts down—the tree turns its focus to salvaging the energy in its leaves before they fall. Without photosynthesis to transform that light into sugar, the sunlight hitting the plant can actually become harmful: just as it can be harmful to us when we stay out in the sunlight too long. Carotenoids absorb that light to prevent sun damage, but anthocyanins go the extra mile. Unlike carotenoids, anthocyanins are generated for the sole purpose of shading the chlorophyll, preventing it from producing excess light energy. That’s why trees with anthocyanins are so much more vibrant: because that red pigment is being actively and intentionally produced to block sunlight.
Unfortunately, only 10% of trees in temperate climates produce that red pigmentation, so it’s a rare enough adaptation before you look into subtropical climates (e.g. most of the American south), where that number begins to drop. Very few areas of the country have a higher rate of anthocyanin-producing trees. New England, being the most pronounced, has forests with as much as 70% of its trees producing anthocyanin. The result is an autumnal woodland that mirrors the colors of an extraordinary sunset.
While it’s difficult (if not impossible) to match that level of color in the south, Texas does have its pockets of forest that defy their subtropical climate and produce magical, color-shifting leaves. The Lost Maples State Park, for instance, hosts a whole forest of native Texas Red Maple trees; Bald Cypresses along the Guadalupe and Comal Rivers turn a gorgeous rust in the fall, outlining rivers across the Texas hill country; and pockets of hardwoods in the eastern forests of Texas stand vibrantly yellow, orange and red against the evergreen sea of longleaf pines.
“It just really depends on the tree and the ecosystem,” says Sam Rhodes, a staff forester with the Texas A&M Forest Service. “We do have wonderful fall foliage down here, we just don’t have a lot of forest cover types like they do in the northeast.” Instead, the majority of Texas is occupied by oak and juniper woodlands. You can find pines and other hardwoods in the eastern regions of Texas, where more diverse forests provide to opportunity for fall foliage. The oak-mixed ecosystems of central-to-west Texas, however, tend to not be as showy as their counterparts further east. This can occur for a multitude of reasons: everything from heat scorching to the amount of carotenoids each tree produces. “Every tree is different,” says Rhodes, “so every tree is producing different quantities of those chemicals. If a tree doesn’t produce a whole bunch of it, it might not turn a whole bunch of colors in the fall. It might just turn brown, and then the leaf might fall.” And it almost always depends on their environment –everything from climate and the length of the summer, to the type of soil the trees are growing in.
One perk of living in the south, though, is the delayed and sometimes prolonged period of transition that our trees experience. THIS FOLIAGE MAP will show you how, even while the fast majority of the country has passed its peak display of foliage, Texas trees are still predominantly in the early stages of transition. While the rest of the country is hunkering down for the winter, we still have many trees, and so much color, to look forward to.
Download the TEXAS SCENIC VIEWS app to find a fall foliage hotspot or a road-trip route with gorgeous seasonal scenery near you.
Upcoming Garden Events
If you would like your organization's events included in "Upcoming Garden Events" or would like to make a change to a listed event, please contact us at Garden Events. To ensure inclusion in this column, please provide complete details at least three weeks prior to the event.
The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has caused the cancellation of many events. Because SEEDS has a long lead time, events listed below may have already been cancelled. We strongly encourage you to take care of yourself by practicing social distancing. If you do wish to attend any of the events listed below, please contact the presenters in advance to determine if the event has been cancelled or if it will take place as planned.
Online: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is helping Texans explore beekeeping anytime through an online course – Beekeeping 101. Beekeeping has increased as a popular hobby and a way to reduce property taxes on smaller tracts of land. The four-hour online course for beginners will cover beekeeping basics, including how to start a beehive. Cost is $45.50 per person. Participants will learn how to raise bees in their backyard and how much it costs to start beekeeping. The course will answer questions about honeybee biology, beekeeping equipment and suit options, and what to expect during the first year of beekeeping. To enroll: https://agrilifelearn.tamu.edu/product?catalog=ENTO-025
Online: Home Grown Lecture Series: Food Preservation presented by Amanda Krippel, Texas A&M AgriLife County Extension Agent—Family & Community Health, Thursday, Dec. 3, 10:00-10:30 a.m. Register at homegrown2020november.eventbrite.com. Deadline to register is 7:00 a.m. on Dec. 3. For more information, visit harris.agrilife.org.
Hempstead: The John Fairey Garden, 20559 FM 359 Rd., Hempstead, will host a sale of rare and uncommon conifers beginning Saturday, December 5, at 9 a.m. Conifers for sale include podocarpus such as: latifolius, ensiculus, nakai, matudae, forestii and totara subsp. Waihoensis. Also for sale are lush green Cryptomeria such as Albospica, Pompom, Gyokuryu, Araucarioides, Yakushima, Tarheels Blue and Yoshino. Additionally, shoppers will find cupressus, juniperus and calocedrus. The Nursery will be open until 5 pm. The garden will also be open for docent-led tours on the hour beginning at 9, 10, and 11 a.m.
Online: With holiday season around the corner, Houston Rose Society will hold December virtual meeting on making holiday gifts and will also give decoration tips. Mary Fulgham is an expert at making potpourri and has made this process an annual tradition in her home. She will describe the process of drying your rose and other flower petals, selecting spices and essential oils to add to the mix, as well as, hosting a party with children to help you bag the finished product. If you have ever had a need for a flower arrangement quickly and a trip to the grocery store resulted in a bare shelf, never fear. Gaye Hammond will demonstrate how to build three eye-catching arrangements that are easy to put together in minutes using flowers and plant material from your own garden. While these are being done for the holidays, they are all easily adapted for other times of the year as well. Maria Trevino has been instrumental in decorating and assisting with hosting our annual holiday party each December. She has many great holiday decorating tips to share with us this evening. Attend on December 10 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. via GoToMeeting. Join meeting using computer, tablet or smartphone with access code: 864-464-213. https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/864464213 or dial in using the phone: +1 (646)749-3122. New to GoToMeeting? Get the app now and be ready when your first meeting starts: https://global.gotomeeting.com/install/864464213. For more information, visit www.houstonrose.org.
Fruit Tree Sale, shop online through December 31.
Pick up fruit trees Saturday, January 23 at Richard & Meg Weekly Park, 19110 Logenbaugh Road, Cypress. Order online at HCMGA-online.company.site
Fruit Tree & Tomato Sale, shop online through January 31
. Pick up fruit trees and tomato plants Saturday, February 20 at Campbell Hall, Pasadena Fairgrounds, 7601 Red Buff Road, Pasadena. Order online at HCMGA-online.company.site
Round Top: The Pioneer Unit of the Herb Society of the Herb Society of America will hold a plant sale 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m., March 19, and 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., March 20, on the grounds of the Round Top Festival Institute, 249 Jasper Road, Round Top. For more information, visit http://www.herbsocietypioneer.org/.
Galveston: The Young Gardeners Program is a school garden and healthy eating program operating on Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula. Every Saturday, 9-11 a.m., they host a garden Community Day at one of the schools. It's an opportunity for community members to work and play in the garden and it's kid-friendly. First Saturday - Crenshaw, 416 State Hwy 87, Crystal Beach; Second Saturday - Rosenberg Elementary, 721 10th St., Galveston; Third Saturday - Morgan Elementary, 1410 37th St., Galveston; Fourth Saturday - Oppe Elementary, 2915 81st St., Galveston.
Hempstead: The John Fairey Garden Conservation Foundation, 20559 F.M. 359, Hempstead, hosts Open Day Tours at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Saturdays. Closed major holiday weekends and winter months. No registration is required for tours, $10 Adults, Free for children 12 and under, as well as members of the garden. Weekday Tours free to members only, please call for registration, 979-826-3232 or visit http://jfgarden.org/ for additional information.
If you would like your organization's events included in "Monthly Meetings" or would like to make a change to a listed meeting, please contact us at Monthly Meetings. To ensure inclusion in this column, please provide complete details.
Jasper: The Jasper County Master Gardeners meet on the first Monday of each month at St. Michael's Catholic Church from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The evening begins with pot luck social and then guest presentations and/or educational class to conclude. Visit https://jasper.agrilife.org/jasper-master-gardeners/ to verify meeting date for any given month, as circumstances could require a change, and to find information on the speaker and topic scheduled for each meeting; Visit https://mastergardener.tamu.edu/become/ to become a member.
Kaufman: The Kaufman County Master Gardeners meet the first Monday of each month at the First Community Church at 1401 Trinity Drive in Crandall. January through April and August and September meetings are at 9 a.m., with the remaining meetings beginning at 7 p.m. For additional information, visit http://www.kcmga.org, call 972-932-9069 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Houston: The Harris County Master Gardeners meet at noon the first Tuesday of each month at a location in Houston to be determined. For additional information, visit http://hcmga.tamu.edu/Public/ or call 713-274-0950.
Schulenberg: Schulenburg Garden Club meets the first Tuesday of each month, at 11:30 a.m., September-May, at the Schulenburg First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 110 Upton Ave., Schulenburg.
Dallas: Garden Masters, Inc., meet the first Wednesday of each month, Sept.- May, at North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven Rd., Dallas, 75230. The club hosts different speakers each month from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Come early and order lunch from the The Cafe, which features a healthy menu, fresh local produce and sustainably produced meats and fish (or call in advance to order 972-338-2233). For more information about Garden Masters Inc, email Marcia Borders at email@example.com.
Kerrville: Hill Country Master Gardeners meet the first Wednesday of each month at 1:00 pm at Hill Country Youth Event Center, 3785 Hwy 27. For more information visit www.hillcountrymastergardeners.org.
Midland: The Permian Basin Master Gardeners (Ector/Midland counties) have monthly meetings at noon on the first Wednesday of each month at the West Texas Food Bank, 1601 Westcliff Drive in Midland. For more information call 432-498-4071 or 432-686-4700.
Navasota: The Navasota Garden Club meets on the first Wednesday of each month (September through May) at 10:00 a.m., usually at the First Presbyterian Church Family Life Center, 302 Nolan Street, Navasota. If not meeting at the church, a change of meeting notice will be placed on the door of the Family Life Building. Guests are welcome. Members are from Grimes County and surrounding counties.
Allen: The Allen Garden Club meets at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month, February through December, at the Allen Heritage Center, 100 E. Main St., Allen. For more information, visit www.allengardenclub.org.
Atlanta: The Cass County Master Gardeners meet the first Thursday of each month at the Atlanta Memorial Hospital Conference Room, State Highway 77 @ S. Williams St., Atlanta. A business meeting is followed by an educational program. The public is welcome to attend. For additional information, call 903-756-5391 or visit http://cass.agrilife.org.
Fort Worth: The Native Plant Society of Texas - North Central Chapter meets the first Thursday of each month, excluding January and July, at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd., Fort Worth. Meeting begins at 6:30 p.m., program begins at 7:00 p.m. Guest speakers present educational programs on topics of interest. Members, friends, family, guests and the public are welcome. For a list of speakers and topics or more information, visit http://www.txnativeplants.org.
Hempstead: The Waller County Master Gardeners usually meet at 9 a.m. the first Thursday of each month at the Waller County AgriLife Extension Office, 846 6th St., Hempstead. For more information on the meeting schedule, visit http://txmg.org/wallermg or call 979-826-7651.
Gonzalas: Gonzales Master Gardeners hold their monthly meeting at noon on the first Thursday of each month at 623 Fair Street, Gonzales. Bring a bag lunch, drinks provided. Contact AgriLife Extension Office at 830-672-8531 or visit http://gonzalesmastergardeners.org for more information.
New Braunfels: The Comal Garden Club meets the first Thursday of each month at 9:30 a.m. at Southbank Clubhouse, 222 Southbank Blvd., New Braunfels.
Austin: Austin Organic Gardeners Club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second Monday of each month (except December) at the Austin Area Garden Center, 2220 Barton Springs Road, Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; club business begins at 7:00 p.m., followed by a presentation. For more information, visit www.austinorganicgardeners.org.
Jacksonville: The Cherokee County Master Gardeners meet on the second Monday of each month at 9:30 a.m. at The First Methodist Church, 1031 TX-456 Loop, Jacksonville. For additional information, contact Kim Benton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cedar Park/Leander/Liberty Hill: The Hill Country Bloomers meet the second Tuesday of each month (except December) at 7 p.m. at the Cedar Park Recreation Center, 1435 Main Street, Cedar Park. Arrive at 6:30 p.m. to socialize and swap plants and seeds. Meetings feature guest speakers on a variety of topics for the home gardener or landscaper. They host a plant sale in the spring and a garden tour in the late summer/early fall. Throughout the year they contribute time and expertise to local projects. Those with any level of experience are welcome. Non-members are invited to their first meeting at no cost. Membership and speaker info is available at www.hillcountrybloomers.com.
Glen Rose: The Glen Rose Garden Club meets at 10 a.m. on the second Tuesday of each month (September through May) at the Somervell County Community Center in Glen Rose. For additional information, email email@example.com.
Glen Rose: The Prairie Rose Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets at 6 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the Somerville County Citizen Center, 209 SW Barnard St., Glen Rose. For additional information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harrison County: The Harrison County Master Gardeners meet on the second Tuesday of each month in the Harrison County Annex building, 102 W Houston St. (south side of the square), Marshall. Meetings are held in the 2nd floor AgriLife Extension meeting room. For more information, call 903-935-8413, or email email@example.com.
Marion: The Guadalupe County (Schertz/Seguin) Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets on the second Tuesday of each month except July, August and December at St. John's Lutheran Church in Marion. Directions to St. John's Lutheran Church: From FM 78 turn south onto FM 465 and the church is just past the Marion School on the right. From IH-10 go north on FM 465 towards Marion. The Church will be on the left, just before you get to town. A plant exchange and meet-and-greet begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by the program at 7 p.m. Visitors are welcome. For more information or an application to join NPSOT visit www.npsot.org/GuadalupeCounty/ or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quitman: The Quitman Garden Club meets at 2 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at the Quitman Library on E Goode Street, Quitman. It is a diverse group that welcomes all visitors. For more information, e-mail email@example.com.
Denton: The Denton County Master Gardener Association meets from 9:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. the second Wednesday of each month. Meetings are open to the public. For complete details, visit http://dcmga.com/.
Humble: The Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Garden, 22306 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble, hosts a Lunch Bunch the second Wednesday of each month from noon until 2 p.m. Take a sack lunch or order a box lunch from Starbucks when you call 281-443-8731 to reserve your spot. Master Gardeners and Masters Naturalists may earn CEU credits by attending.
Jacksboro: The Jacksboro Garden Club meets at 9:30 a.m. the second Wednesday of each month (except June, July and August) at the Concerned Citizens Center, 400 East Pine Street, Jacksboro. For more information, call Melinda at 940-567-6218.
Longview: The Gregg County Master Gardeners Association's Learn at Lunch program meet the second Wednesday of each month. The business meeting begins at 11:30 a.m., with the program at noon, at the AgriLife Extension Office, 405 E. Marshall Ave., Longview. The program is presented for horticultural education and is free to the public. For further information call 903-236-8429, visit www.txmg.org/gregg, or like us on Facebook at Gregg County Master Gardeners.
Rockport: The Rockport Herb & Rose Study Group, founded in March 2003, meets the
second Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m. at 619 N. Live Oak Street, Room 14, Rockport, to discuss all aspects of using and growing herbs, including historical uses and tips for successful propagation and cultivation. Sometimes they take field trips and have cooking demonstrations in different locations. For more information, contact Linda 361-729-6037, Ruth 361-729-8923 or Cindy 979-562-2153 or visit www.rockportherbs.org and http://rockportherbies.blogspot.com.
Woodway: The McLennan County Master Gardeners meet on the second Wednesday each month at noon at the Carleen Bright Arboretum, 9001 Bosque Blvd., Woodway. Educational programs follow the business session. For more information, call 254-757-5180.
Beaumont: The Jefferson County Master Gardeners meet at 6 p.m. (social) 7:00 (meeting) the second Thursday of each month except in July in the AgriLife Extension auditorium, 1225 Pearl 2nd floor (downtown Beaumont next to the Court House). For more information contact: 409-835-8461 or txmg.org/jcmg.
Georgetown: The Williamson County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. the second Thursday of each month at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. 8th Street. Georgetown. For additional information, contract Kathy Henderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.npsot.org/wp/wilco.
Orange: The Orange County Master Gardeners Association holds their monthly meeting on the second Thursday of each month. A short program is presented. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the new Orange County Expo Center on Hwy 1442 in Orangefield. Enter the building in the front entrance, first door on the right, Texas AgriLife offices. Pot luck supper at 6 p.m. Visit http://txmg.org/orange for more information.
Pasadena: The Harris County Precinct 2 Master Gardeners hold an educational program at 10 a.m. on the second Thursday of each month at The Genoa Friendship Garden Educational Building at 1202 Genoa Red Bluff, Pasadena. The programs are free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://hcmgap2.tamu.edu.
San Antonio: The San Antonio Herb Society meets at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels (corner of Funston & N. New Braunfels). For more information on programs, visit www.sanantonioherbs.org.
San Marcos: The Spring Lake Garden Club meets the second Thursday of each month at 9:30 a.m., September-May, at McCoy's Building Supply Headquarters, 1350 IH-35, San Marcos. Contact Terri Boyd (512) 395-66644 x6134.
Smithville: The Smithville Community Gardens meets at 5:30 p.m. the second Thursday of each month at the Smithville Recreation Center.
Angleton: The Brazoria County Master Gardeners meet at 11 a.m. on the second Friday of each month at the Brazoria County Extension Office, 21017 County Road 171, Angleton. There is a general business meeting followed by a brief educational program each month. For further information call 979-864-1558, ext.110.
College Station: The A&M Garden Club meets on the second Friday of each month during the school year at 9:30 a.m. in the training room of the College Station Waste Water Facility building at the end of North Forest Parkway, College Station. Expert speakers, plant sharing, and federated club projects help members learn about gardening in the Brazos Valley, floral design, conservation, and more. For more information, visit http://www.amgardenclub.com/.
Houston: The Spring Branch African Violet Club meets the second Saturday of each month,January through November, at 10:00 a.m. at the Copperfield Baptist Church, 8350 Highway 6 North, Houston. Call Karla at 281-748-8417 prior to attending to confirm meeting date and time.
Killeen: Youth Backyard Gardening Initiative holds community engagement meetings the second Saturday of each month at 2:30 p.m. at Monarch Academy, 4205 Old Florence Road, Killeen. To learn more, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/ybkydgarden/.
Dallas: The Rainbow Garden Club of North Texas meets the second Sunday of each month at 2 p.m. Everyone is welcome. Meetings are held at member's homes and garden centers around the area. For more information, visit www.RainbowGardenClub.com.
Arlington: The Arlington Men's Garden Club meets from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. on the third Monday of each month (except December) at the Bob Duncan Center, 2800 S. Center Street, Arlington. For more information, contact Lance Jepson at LJepson@aol.com.
Cleburne:The Johnson County Master Gardener's meet on the third Monday of each month at McGregor House, 1628 W Henderson, Cleburne. Meeting times are at 2 p.m. October through April, except December and at 6 p.m. May through September. An educational program precedes the business meeting. For additional information, contact Elaine Bell at 817-309-8052.
New Braunfels: The Comal Master Gardeners meet at 6 p.m. the third Monday of each month (except April and December,) at the GVTC Auditorium, 36101 FM 3159, New Braunfels. An educational program precedes the business meeting. The public is invited to attend. For additional information, call 830-620-3440 or visit comalmg.org.
Texarkana: The Four Corners Chapter of Native Plant Society of Texas meets at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at the Southwest Center, 3222 W. 7th St. (U.S. 67), Texarkana. Visitors are welcome. For additional information, contact Belinda McCoy at 903-424-7724 or email@example.com.
Abilene: The Master Gardeners meet the third Tuesday of each month at the Taylor County Extension Office, 1982 Lytle Way, Abilene. For more information, contact Big Country Master Gardeners Association at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corpus Christi: The Nueces Master Gardeners meet at noon the third Tuesday of each month,except December, at Garden Senior Center, 5325 Greely Dr., Corpus Christi. An educational program precedes the business meeting. For further information call 361 767-5217.
Evant: The Evant Garden Club meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 10 a.m., usually at the bank in downtown Evant. To confirm the date, time and place of each month's meeting, call 254-471-5860.
New Braunfels: The Lindheimer Chapter (Comal County) of the Native Plant Society of Texas meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 pm at the GVTC Auditorium, 36101 FM 3159, New Braunfels. Meetings include an informative speaker and a Plant of the Month presentation. Meetings are free and visitors are welcome. For more information, visit www.npsot.org/w/lindheimer. Note: there will be no meeting in June or December.
Rockport: Monthly meetings of the Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardeners are held at 10 a.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at Texas AgriLife Extension Service - Aransas County Office, 892 Airport Rd., Rockport. For additional information, e-mail email@example.com or call 361-790-0103.
Sugar Land: The Sugar Land Garden Club meets on the third Tuesday of each month, September through November and January through April at 10 a.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 702 Burney Road, Sugar Land. The club hosts a different speaker each month. For more information, visit www.sugarlandgardenclub.org.
Denton: The Denton Organic Society, a group devoted to sharing information and educating the public regarding organic principles, meets the third Wednesday of each month (except July, August and December) at the Denton Senior Center, 509 N. Bell Avenue. Meetings are free and open to the public. Meetings begin at 7 p.m. and are preceded by a social at 6:30. For more information, call 940-382-8551.
Glen Rose: The Somervell County Master Gardeners meet at 10 a.m., the third Wednesday of each month at the Somervell County AgriLife Extension office, 1405 Texas Drive, Glen Rose. Visitors are welcome. For more information, call 254-897-2809 or visit www.somervellmastergardeners.org.
Granbury: The Lake Granbury Master Gardeners meet at 1 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at the Hood County Annex 1, 1410 West Pearl Street, Granbury. The public is invited to attend. There is an educational program each month preceding the business meeting. For information on topics call 817-579-3280 or visit http://www.hoodcountymastergardeners.org/.
Brownwood: Brownwood Garden Club meets the third Thursday of each month, 11:30 a.m.- 1 p.m. The club meetings are at Southside Baptist Church, 1219 Indian Creek Road, with refreshments and a speaker presentation. Visitors are welcome. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 817-454-8175.
Hallettsville: The Hallettsville Garden Club meets at 2 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month from September through May, at the Hallettsville Garden and Cultural Center, 107 Fink Street, Hallettsville. Each month, the club hosts speakers that provide informative programs on a wide range of gardening subjects, and refreshments are provided by member hostesses afterwards. Visitors are welcome! Please email Sharon Harrigan at email@example.com for more information.
Houston: The Native Plant Society of Texas - Houston Chapter meets at 6:45 pm on the third Thursday of each month at the American Red Cross Building, 2700 Southwest Fwy. For more information about meeting presentations and native plants, visit http://npsot.org/houston.
The Fannie Marchman Garden Club meets at the Mineola Civic Center, 9:30-11:30 a.m. the third Wednesday of each month from September through May. For additional information, find them on Facebook or email FannieMarchmanGardenClub@gmail.com
San Antonio: The Bexar County Master Gardeners (BCMG) meet on the third Thursday of each month at the Texas AgriLife Extension Office, 3355 Cherry Ridge Dr., Suite 208, San Antonio. During the months of Jan., March, May, July, Sep. and Nov., an evening meeting with presentation is held 6:00-8:00 p.m. During the intervening months (Feb., April, June, Aug., Oct.), afternoon educational seminars/general meetings are held from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Check http://www.bexarmg.org/ to verify meeting date for any given month, as circumstances could require a change, and to find information on the speaker and topic scheduled for each meeting.
Seguin: The Guadalupe County Master Gardeners meets at 6:30 p.m. the third Thursday of each month, at the AgriLife Building, 210 East Live Oak, Seguin. After a brief social hour, the meeting and guest speaker begins at 7 p.m. The meeting is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 830-303-3889 or visit www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org.
Fort Worth: The Greater Fort Worth Herb Society meetings are held the third Saturday of each month at Texas Garden Club Inc, 3111 Old Garden Club Rd., Fort Worth (located next to the Fort Worth Botanic Garden), 10:00 a.m. to noon, September through June. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Braunfels: The New Braunfels Chapter of Native Plant Society of Texas meets on the fourth Monday of each month except July and December. Meetings are held at the Westside Community Center, 2932 S. I-35 Frontage Road, New Braunfels. Meetings start at 6:15 p.m. with a meet and greet time, followed by a short business meeting. Programs begin around 7:00. Native plant and seed exchanges are held monthly. Expert speakers present educational programs on topics of interest. Meetings are free and open to the public. For more information or to join, visit www.npsot.org.
Brackenridge Park: The Native Plant Society San Antonio Chapter meets every fourth Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Lions Field Adult and Senior Center, 2809 Broadway at E. Mulberry, Brackenridge Park, except August and December. Social and seed/plant exchange at 6:30 p.m. Free and open to the public. For more information, contact Bea at 210-999-7292 or visit www.npsot.org/sanantonio.
Bryan: The Brazos County Master Gardeners, a program of Texas AgriLife Extension, meet the fourth Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Brazos Center, 3232 Briarcrest Drive, Bryan. There is a public gardening program at each meeting and pertinent information may be found at brazosmg.com or 979-823-0129.
Edna: The Jackson County Master Gardeners present their "Come Grown With Us" seminars on the fourth Tuesday of each month, January through October, beginning at 7 p.m. at 411 N. Wells, Edna. The seminars are free, open to the public and offer 2 CEU hours to Master Gardeners or others requiring them. For additional information, contact the Jackson County Extension Office at 361-782-3312.
Linden: The Caddo Wildflower Chapter of Native Plants Society meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at the senior citizens building at 507 S Kaufman St. in Linden at 6:30. Visitors are welcome. For additional information, contact Karen Tromza at email@example.com.
San Antonio: The Native Plant Society of Texas San Antonio Chapter meets the fourth Tuesday of each month, except August and December, at the Lions Field Adult & Senior Center, 2809 Broadway, San Antonio. Social and plant/seed exchange at 6:30 p.m., program at 7:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.npsot.org/sanantonio or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Houston: The Houston Native Prairie Association meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month (except November and December) at the Houston Red Cross Building, 2700 Southwest Freeway, Houston. Refreshments served at 6:30 p.m. For more information, contact email@example.com.
Austin: The Garden Club of Austin meets at Zilker Botanical Gardens auditorium, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin, at 7:00 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month. 7:00-7:30 p.m. Refreshments and Social, followed by a presentation at 7:30 p.m. Free. For additional information, visit http://thegardenclubofaustin.org/.
Leander: The Leander Garden Club meets on the fourth Thursday of each month (except June, July and August) at 10:30 a.m. in the Fellowship Room of the Leander Presbyterian Church, 101 N. West St., Leander, unless there is a special event planned. Following a program and short business meeting, there is a pot-luck luncheon. To confirm the meeting place and time, please call President Kathleen Tully at 512-422-8580 or email LeanderGardenClub@gmail.com.
Dallas: The Dallas County Master Gardeners meet the fourth Thursday of each month at 11:30 a.m. For location and program information, visit http://www.dallascountymastergardeners.org/ or contact The Helpdesk, M-F, 8 to 4:30 214-904-3053.
Arlington: The Arlington Organic Garden Club meets from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month (except November and December) at the Bob Duncan Center, 2800 S. Center Street, Arlington. For more information, contact David at 817-483-7746.
Hempstead: The Peckerwood Garden Conservation Foundation, 20559 F.M. 359, Hempstead, hosts a garden Open Days from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the fourth Saturday of each month. Drop-in tours are permitted but pre-registration is encouraged. Docent led tours are $10 for guests, free for members. For more information, http://peckerwoodgarden.org/explore/visit-peckerwood-garden/.
Dallas: The Greater Dallas Organic Garden Club meets at 2:30 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of each month (except November and December) at North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven Road, Dallas. For more information, visit www.gdogc.org.
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And check out these other great books available from Texas Gardener:
Worms Eat My Garbage
Grow Great Vegetables Texas
Wicked Plants Coloring Book
A Kid's Guide to Keeping Chickens
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Texas Gardener's Seeds has been published each Wednesday since April 26, 2006.
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