Many of us have seen majestic and productive pecan trees in neighborhoods near us. Seeing these lovely trees thriving can be quite the motivator to try growing pecans at home.
While the idea of growing pecans can be quite attractive, unfortunately, the effort to grow them can make the reality less pleasant. Pecans are messy; they attract pests, most notably squirrels and bag worms. They can have spurts of growth that lead to brittle branches. Also, they are the first to drop leaves in fall, and the last to bud new ones in spring. They certainly aren’t always the best bet for a residential, lawn-centric landscape.
With that out of the way, if you aren’t scared off from growing this important Texas native hardwood, here are a few tips to help increase your chances of sucess.
Blackberries – the whole plant, not just the well-known and tasty fruit – are amazing. Birds spread them, so they are found growing on almost every continent. In Australia, they are prized for their incredible power to reduce erosion, so you will find thousands of blackberry plants for which there is no intention of eating a single berry.
Here at the Garden, we have an experimental thornless variety called Arkansas Prime. Their huge berries taste great, and the harvest season lasts almost a whole month. Take a look at the leaves, as well. Blackberry, and dewberry, leaves have been used as an herbal tea plant for milennia in North America, and the herbal tea is still a valued beverage by Indigenous peoples.
Try blackberry tea for yourself:
1. Boil water (around 80º C/ 176º F) in a kettle or pot.
2. Put the heaped teaspoons of blackberry leaves into a tea bag or infuser, and set it in your cup.
3. Pour the hot water over the tea bag or infuser, and let steep for 5 minutes covered.
4. After 5 minutes, remove the tea bag.
*Start with a mild brew; blackberry leaf tea can be quite potent.