The landscape committee is compromised of volunteer residents. The current chair is Carol Deeb. We are always looking for new volunteers, and you don’t have to know about plants, irrigation, and gardens to be helpful.
The Landscape Committee is tasked with researching requests from the Board of Directors of the Homeowners Association, recommending beautifications and improvements in our neighborhood on HOA property, and responding to residential concerns, and ideas. We also have a library of Frequently Asked Questions on this website to help residents with some common homeowner landscape related concerns. The committee may be contacted through our community email address.
When & Where
How can I get involved or get in touch with the committee?
Please feel free to come to a meeting (no RSVP required) or email the committee at [email protected].
Kindly note that the landscape committee is not responsible for enforcing HOA rules and guidelines pertaining to resident maintained landscapes and property conditions. If you have questions regarding modifications to your lot’s landscaping or property, please reference the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions and the Residential Urban Design Guidelines.
Winterizing Home Irrigation
While Texas is known for its hot summers, our winters often reach freezing temperatures. Below is a video on how you can drain your irrigation system and prepare it for winter weather.
Need to know more about watering your yard? Here’s a link with great information:
RECOMMENDED PLANT LIST FOR THE UPPER TEXAS COAST TO ATTRACT BIRDS BUTTERFLIES AND BENEFICIAL POLLINATORS
ABOUT THESE RECOMMENDATIONS: Many other native plant species could be added to the list below, but I’ve chosen the following species based on three primary criteria: 1) they grow well in Harris and all surrounding counties, 2) they attract and beneﬁt birds, butterﬂies, and pollinators, and 3) they are very attractive and visually pleasing in the landscape. These plants will prove attractive throughout the year, as they ﬂower in spring, change leaf color in fall, and produce berries and seeds in winter. In turn, these same attributes will attract many species of birds, butterﬂies, pollinators and other wildlife throughout the years to come.
NATIVE TEXAS WILDFLOWERS
Blue Mist Ageratum Conoclinium coelestinum ( formerly Eupatorium coelestrum )
Goldenrod Solidago canadensis or S. altissima or Solidago sp.
Seaside goldenrod Solidago sempervirens Joe-pye Weed Eutrochium ﬁstulosum
Cardinal Flower Lobelia cardinalis
Eastern purple coneﬂower Echinacea purpurea Bluebell Eustoma exaltatum
Frogfruit Phylla nodiﬂora or P. incisa American basket-ﬂower Centaurea americana Gayfeather Liatris pycnostachia
Blue sage Salvia azurea Scarlet Sage Salvia Coccinea
Indian Blanket Gaillardia pulchella Texas coneﬂower Rudbeckia texana
Lemon beebalm Monarda citriodora Missouri ironweed Vernonia missurica Green milkweed Asclepias viridis Partridge Pea Chamaecrista fasciculata
Gulf Coast Penstemon Penstemon tenuis Winecup Callirhoe involucrata
Standing Cypress Ipomopsis Rubra (dry areas) Drummond Phlox Phlox drummondii
Prairie Verbena Glandularia bipinnatiﬁda
NATIVE TEXAS GRASSES
Little Bluestem Shizachyrium scoparium
Knotroot bristlegrass Setaria parviﬂora
Gulf Coast Muhly Muhlenbergia capillaris
For thousands of years humans have depended on pollinators to provide the essential service of pollinating the many plants that provide our food: vegetables, fruits, berries, nuts, oil, coffee chocolate and many others.
Now, pollinators need us to help them. Why? What can we as Fall Creek residents do? And what is a pollinator, anyway?
Flowering plants produce pollen which is a component of their sexual reproduction cycle. Any organism that comes in contact with the pollen from a species of plant and transfers that pollen to another plant of the same species which enables that species to be fertilized and produce fruit
or seed is a pollinator. This process is called pollination. Pollinators include bats, other mammals, birds, beetles, bees, flies, butterflies and many other insects. The overwhelming majority of pollinators are insects.
According to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, 35 per cent of the world’s food crops “require ” animal or insect pollination! Up to 75 per cent of the world’s food crops “rely at least in part” on pollination by some pollinator! So much of our food today comes from other areas of the world and what happens in other countries impacts us. But we still grow many of our fruits and vegetables. More importantly we are talking about a significant portion of the food people eat. Additionally, we also rely on flowering plants for forage for livestock, construction material, fibers, and medicines. This is no small matter, economically we are talking about hundreds of billions of dollars involved in the production and delivery of foods, all due to pollinators.
But pollination is so much more than just providing us with food. Nearly 90 per cent of wild flowering plants depend to some degree on animal pollinators (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). Just stop and think what our world be like if we lost 75 per cent of the flowering plants! For example, would you miss the flowering of the Southern Magnolias growing in Fall Creek? Magnolias are one of the oldest (125 million years old) flowering trees still in existence! They are pollinated primarily by beetles. We have enjoyed the beauty of theses trees, their dark green leaves with the cinnamon undersides, their huge bright white flowers, and their soft, clean, fragrance on our walks this spring when they were in flower. Their continued existence depends on the health of beetle populations.
Can you imagine a world without coffee and chocolate?! Coffee and chocolate also depend on pollinators.
Decline in Pollinators:
Research in Germany shows a 76 per cent loss in insect (pollinators) biomass (population) between 1989 and 2016. Significant declines have been reported in North America, Europe, Asia, Central and South America, Africa, and Australia. Butterflies and moths constitute more than half of all insect species listed as endangered (http://ecos.fws. gov/servlet/TESSWebpage) These alarming declines are thought to result from loss of habitat (loss of native flowering plants, living areas, and reproduction habitat), fragmentation and degradation (pesticides) of the little remaining habitat, competition from invasive species, and introduced diseases.
What We Can Do:
The number one action that we can take to help our butterflies and other pollinators is to plant flowering plants that are “native to the region” that you live in. “Loosely speaking “ a native
plant is one that occurs naturally in a region (not brought in by humans), and especially that is not imported from other countries. Native flowering trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, and
wildflowers are what we need to plant. Be sure to select a variety of plants so that you have flowers in the spring, summer, and fall. Additionally, the greater the diversity of native plants
you have the better the habitat for pollinators.
The second action that we can take to help pollinators is to eliminate (or at least dramatically reduce) the use of pesticides and other chemicals used in the landscaping industry. Rest assured you will not be overrun and your family’s health will be much better for it. The only pesticide I use (sparingly) is to rid my yard of the non-native fire ant.
A third action we can take is to create suitable habitat for insects to nest and live in our yards. Planting native plants is a good start, but you can also add a bee box or bee chalet (see photo) for our plump, adorable native bumblebee to nest and sleep in. I took this image in a Costco. Additionally, leave a small patch of soil exposed (no grass or plants), as
some of our native bees nest in the ground. A small brush pile in a corner of your yard is like a natural bee chalet where they can rest, sleep or nest. Each of these efforts will provide nesting/housing for pollinators. Our native bees do not nest in large hives like the imported European Honeybee, so usually a small family of 5-7 bees will take up residence if you are lucky!
There are several other actions you can take to create a better habitat for pollinators in your yard. Please email me if you would like more information: [email protected]
Most people are pleasantly surprised by how much they enjoy their own little nature preserve they’ve created and they look forward to discovering the new butterflies and other pollinators that show up throughout the year. Creating a haven for pollinators is also a great way to get children outside!
All of the these plants are good for the soil conditions that occur in Fall Creek In the general yard area. These plants will grow in the clay-based soil (gumbo) common here. If you have more sandy soil, these plants will grow there also.
Here are a few plants available in the nursery trade that would be great to start with:
Passionflower vines: Sun to light shade. Host Plant. (But not the ones from South America)
Goldenrod: Full Sun, half day sun, filtered sun. Normally Grows to 4-7 feet tall.
Milkweed: Full sun, half day sun, light shade. Host Plant.
Lantana: Full sun, half day sun, light shade. Small shrub.
Frogfruit: Full sun, half day sun, light shade. Ground cover. Host Plant
Turk’s Cap: Half day sun, filtered sun, light to heavy shade. Host Plant. (Note: the Native species is a small shrub, whereas the non-native Mexican variety with large blooms grows to small tree size (the larger version is easier to find, but may not be as helpful to hummingbirds).
The plants above flower at different times and support a wide variety of butterflies and other pollinators. Not all of them are butterfly host plants. There are many more plant families that butterflies use , but these provide a good starting place. Here’s where you can purchase these plants:
- Wildscapes Workshop (pick-up in Central Houston in mid-September): https://npsot.org/wp/houston/event-overview/wildscapes-workshop/
- Houston Audubon Natives Nursery (in West Houston, pickups on Fridays): http://www.birdfriendlyhouston.org/get-started/the-basics/native-plants/natives-nursery/
- Buchanan’s (in the Heights): https://buchanansplants.com
- Joshua’s: https://www.joshuasnativeplants.net
- Native American Seed: https://www.seedsource.com
Two books recommended to get started are “Butterflies of Houston” by John and Gloria Tveten and “Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region” by Sally Wasowski.
Prepared by Glenn Olsen
Have standing water in your yard? This is normal for the Texas Gulf coast. Instead of planting non-native plants that struggle in standing water, save time and money by planting natives that are designed to thrive in our region’s moist soil conditions.
Here are ten attractive plants that will do well in wet areas of your yard:
Trees: Swamp chestnut oak, water oak, Black gum, Willow
Shrubs: Buttonbush, arrowwood viburnum, Indigo bush (Amorpha fruticose)
Flowers: Louisiana iris, Texas hibiscus, Fall and spring obedient plant, aquatic milkweed
Recommended Fruit Trees for Fall Creek from TAMU
Fig - banana, celeste. brown turkey, Texas Everbearing, black mission, alma, are just a few of the varieties
Loquat (Japanese Plum)
Citrus We are in a border zone for growing citrus fruit and selecting a cold hardy Mandarin or Satsuma orange variety will give you the best chance for success. Other types of citrus trees are less cold-hardy and can be killed by a heavy freeze and should be planted only if you are willing to take the chance. Meyer lemon - This and other citrus trees are host plants for swallowtail butterflies. This means caterpillars eating the leaves! The leaves will grow back, the plant will be fine, and you will still have lemons—plus, butterflies! Meyer lemons are best grown in large pots which can be moved into a garage in case of a freeze
Apples Many fruits can do well here providing that they get enough chill hours to grow and set fruit. Apples adapted to this area include "Anna" and "Golden Dorsett".planted together for pollination.
Peaches, plums. and nectarines Select these trees that have required the least chill hours
Pears Select varieties that have low chill hours and are Fire Blight disease resistant
Cherry trees do not do well here
For more information, please check out this Texas A&M University link https://hcmga.tamu.edu/files/2022/01/2022-Final-Tree-Sale-Catalog-WS.pdf
Written articles for many issues of “The Leaves of Fall Creek”
Developed an on-line library of articles on www.FallCreekHouston.com for commonly asked questions on landscaping and gardening in Fall Creek
Was responsible for color swap-out choices at the main entrances through 2019
Initiated and conducted surveys of the mailbox areas including eyebrows and cul-de-sacs and made recommendations for refurbishment for safety and aesthetics with recommendations for priority and plantings.
Reported irrigation issues, water wasted at the large pond/lakes throughout Fall Creek
Added benches and trash cans in non-playground areas throughout the community.
Initiated and coordinated Yard of the Season, Halloween Spooktacular and Winter Wonderland contests commencing in 2015-2019.
Surveyed needs and made recommendations for additional trees/shrubbery throughout the community including plants that can withstand temperature and water extremes to reduce replacement costs including on Mesa Rd., Fall Creek Bend, Redstone Bend, Lake Point Park, Fall Creek View and Fall Creek Preserve.
Collaborated with Pool Committee, Tennis Committee, Parks and Trails Committee, Social Events Committee and WCID 96 on a variety of projects including a Master Plan for the community.
Initiated and carried out “Garden Party”, a community event from 2017-2018 with master gardeners, bee expert, and vendors related to homes’ exteriors
Nursing home/rehabilitation center screening project completed July, 2019
Carried out refurbishment and enhancement of village entrances.
Sponsored two Nature Walks in the Sports complex in 2020
Butterfly Garden Project currently in planning stages, waiting for budget availability.
Collaborated with the tennis committee to add shade trees to the tennis court areas and Clubhouse playground areas
Refurbished entrances to several villages that had sight-line issues and/or dead and dying plant material.
Added screening of the Clubhouse parking lot from Mesa and Fall Creek Bend with low shrubbery, many varieties of trees etc. Added trees to common areas of the newer villages, and Lake Point Park.
Participated in NNO to offer residents information in making their homes more secure through landscaping decisions.
Held a virtual on-line event, Landscaping for Fall Creek Butterflies" in 2020.