New year starts with educational programs

Published on Wednesday, 15 January 2014 23:53 - Written by By Keith Hansen Keeping It Green

This is the time of year that is loaded with opportunities to sharpen your skills or learn more about gardening, landscaping and related topics. The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service provides a variety of educational programs and topics to the citizens of our great state. Here are two of some of the many upcoming programs and topics that might be of interest to you.



The annual all-day East Texas Turfgrass Conference will again be held at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center in Overton Feb. 6.

Dr. Casey Reynolds, the new Extension turfgrass specialist from College Station, will present several topics, including Turfgrass Weed Identification and Control, Managing Various Turfgrass Species and Calibrating Sprayers for Efficiency and Safety. Other topics include Efficient Irrigation Practices by Brad McCullough, licensed irrigator with Ewing Irrigation; a demonstration of pesticide drift control by Shane Colston, with Winfield Solutions; and a Pesticide Laws and Regulations update by Dr. Mark Matocha, Extension specialist, Agriculture and Environmental Safety, from College Station.

Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license holders can earn four continuing education units (bring your pesticide license number; driver’s license numbers will no longer be accepted). Registration starts at 8 a.m. and the programs begin at 8:30 a.m. Cost for the program is $30 and includes lunch.



The 2014 East Texas Garden Lecture Series of seven monthly morning programs kicks off on Feb. 22 with Easy Modern Roses — It’s More Than Knock Out, and How to Prune Your Roses.”

Mark Chamblee, owner of Chamblee’s Roses, will host this morning at his nursery, on U.S. Highway 69 North. The program will highlight the newest rose varieties being bred for outstanding garden performance combined with superior disease resistance and easy maintenance. Plus, he will demonstrate pruning techniques for the various classifications and types of roses, and end with a tour of the nursery and a question-and-answer session.

The program registration starts at 8:30 a.m., with a starting time of 9 a.m. Cost is $15, or $45 dollars for a season pass to all seven of the lectures in the series.

For more information on the 2014 East Texas Garden Lecture Series and a flyer, go to the calendar on the Smith County Extension website, or call the office at 903-590-2980.


Keith Hansen is Smith County horticulturist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. His web page is http://EastTexasGardening.ta His blog is



A no-cost Texas Watershed Steward Workshop on water quality issues related to the Neches and Sabine River basins will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Feb. 17 at the Smith County Cotton Belt Building, 1517 W. Front St., Tyler. The training is open to anyone interested in improving water equality in the Tyler region. Participants are encouraged to pre-register at

Along with the free training, participants will receive a copy of the Texas Watershed Steward Handbook and the certificate of completion. The program also offers four CEUs in soil and water management for certified crop advisers, four units for professional engineers and certified planners and four continuing educational credits for certified teachers. It also offers three general CEUs for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license holders, four for certified landscape architects and three for certified floodplain managers



On Feb. 20, the first of a series of webinars (seminars delivered by Extension specialists via the web) will cover Aquaponics: Principles and Practices. The webinar will be 9 a.m. to noon at the Smith County Extension. Registration is $20 for the entire series, or $10 per individual session. For a listing of the other five webinars, visit the calendar, or call the Extension office.



The annual East Texas Commercial Fruit and Vegetable Conference is Feb. 25 in Nacogdoches at the Nacogdoches County Civic Center.

Topics include New Peach & Nectarine Varieties, Common Pecan Problems in East Texas, Variety Trials (Blueberry, Fig, Persimmons and Citrus) in East Texas by Dr. David Creech, Starting a Commercial Vegetable Operation, Organic Certification for Fruits and Vegetables, Alternative Ways of Marketing Your Produce via Social Media, Insecticides and Fungicides for Fruits and Vegetables and Laws and Regulations update.

Three TDA Pesticide CEUs will be provided. Registration is $30 (includes lunch), starting at 8 a.m., with the programs starting at 8:25 a.m.

For a look at other upcoming programs, check out the Smith County Extension online calendar at and/or the Programs page at


Keith Hansen is Smith County horticulturist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. His web page is His blog is