Personal Column

Janet Laminack
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
Denton County

Agents in the Denton County AgriLife office share a weekly column; each agent contributes monthly. The article, with photos, is sent to the Denton Record-Chronicle for publication on Fridays (circulation of 17,400). It is also published online (DRC average daily webpage views of 12,000) where it can be shared on social media.

The column is sent to other news outlets and used in printed and online editions. We use the column to educate on timely topics and promote educational events and opportunities. Most articles point readers to additional information through our office, including the Master Gardener help desk or online resources.

Denton County is one of the fastest growing counties in the United States, with most people moving in from out of state. Thus, many of these residents are unfamiliar with horticulture practices for our region. Water conservation and watershed protection remain big issues facing our area.

I write my columns with the goal of making them entertaining, understandable, and timely. Topics have included: storm-damaged trees, reducing yard waste with new city policies, watering your landscape during a drought, lawn diseases management, winter preparation, and growing vegetables, fruits, and herbs.  

The bagworm column was in the Top 10 most-read Denton Record-Chronicle stories for that weekend. It was also posted on the Denton County Master Gardener Facebook page reaching 937 people, with 107 engagements and 6 shares. On the Denton County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Facebook page it reached 572 people with 107 engagements.

A community member requested I write about pesticides after the City of Denton announced no glyphosate use in their parks and they began a completely organic maintenance program at one location. The citizens of Denton are environmentally conscious, but often do not have a clear understanding of pesticides, integrated pest management, what organic means, and how to protect our watershed. The story was well-received, including requests for more information on IPM by city employees.