Registration Open for Spring Classes

The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department kicks off the New Year with a packed calendar of programs and events. We are ready to plant trees, create water-saving lawns, get our hands dirty in the garden and more. From virtual programing to socially-distanced events, there is something for everyone.  


45th Arbor Day Tree Giveaway Drive-Through 

Saturday, January 23, 20201
9 a.m. to noon
Sawdust Park and Ride
701 Westridge Road, The Woodlands, TX 77380

One of the longest running community events celebrates 45 years. Cruise through the line in your car and select from twelve varieties of native tree seedlings. Help reforest our community by planting these seedlings in your yard and nearby green spaces. Don’t miss this free event.  


Walk in the Woods: The Weird and Wonderful World of Mushrooms 

Thursday, February 11, 2021
6 to 7 p.m.
Free online class

Take a virtual Walk in the Woods with Teri MacArthur, Texas Master Naturalist and discover The Woodlands’ rich and diverse array of mushrooms. Then dive into the critical role they play in healthy ecosystems and yes, even healthy lawns and landscapes.  Registration required.


7th annual Community Tree Planting 

Saturday, February 13, 2021
9 a.m. to noon
The Woodlands High School Parking Lot

Take part in the community’s reforestation program by planting native trees around your home or in a nearby green space. Reserve your free, 3-gallon trees online and then pick up at the community drive-through event. Registration opens January 11 (supplies are limited).  For more information or to register follow the link below.


Invasive Species Training  

Saturday, February 20, 2021
8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Free online class

Volunteers are needed to join the Invasive Species Volunteer Task Force. This training is a great place to start:  learn how to identify and remove non-native plants common to our area. Upon completion, you’ll be ready to volunteer alongside your neighbors, helping to keep The Woodlands environment healthy. The training is free but registration is required.


Spring Organic Vegetable Gardening Class 

Saturday, February 20, 2021
9 a.m. to noon
Free online class

It’s that time of year! Start planning your spring vegetable garden now. Whether you’re a beginner or advanced gardener, a great first step is to join Dr. Joe Masabni, Texas A&M Extension vegetable specialist in this free online (Zoom) class. Participants will take away new strategies for managing soil, selecting the right plants, companion planting, managing pests organically and more. Registration is required.


Don’t miss out, register today. For a full list of upcoming programs, visit www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/environment or subscribe to receive a weekly email with the latest happenings.   

Did you miss one of our fall programs? 

View past recorded programs on The Woodlands Township YouTube channel HERE.

Questions or comments? Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov 

Don’t Fear the Fungus

Some are scary or downright disgusting when you first encounter them. Is that dog vomit? No, it might be an aptly named slime mold, Fuligo septica. Technically not a fungus, this protist appears suddenly, much like a lawn mushroom, and disappears almost as fast. If you knew the gargantuan effort it takes to assemble this many single-celled organism you might just leave them be to finish out their lifecycle.   

While fungi come in a wondrous assortment of colors and forms, the vast majority are not only beneficial but necessary. They’re also beautiful! Consider the delicate banded Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor), the lacey petticoat of bridal veil stinkhorn, or the artists’ favorite, Amanita muscaria

Situation Normal 

Mushrooms in your lawn is not a sign of something wrong! They’re simply the visible part of a much larger network of underground mycelium, breaking down dead and decaying organic matter. Look around – is there a stump nearby? 99% of fungus won’t harm a living tree; they’re there to help with decomposing dead or dying wood, along with leaves, wood chips, branches, and fallen fruit. Mushrooms are a good sign! They’re proof the soil is alive, diverse, and rich in nutrients – the foundation of a healthy lawn and landscape. 

What to Do 

Resist the urge to treat it and grab your phone instead. Easy-to-use apps such as iNaturalist or Google Lens will help you identify which mushroom is flourishing in your flower bed. iNaturalist will even help you filter by location to see what others are seeing nearby. 

Fungicides are not recommended. The mushrooms typically aren’t causing damage and the chemicals are largely ineffective since the bulk of the mushroom exists belowground – think multiple square feet. It’s that extensive network of hyphae throughout the soil that comprises the true fungus from which the fruiting bodies – mushroom caps – arise. They’re a natural part of spring and fall when moisture abounds and temperatures cool. As weather conditions become unfavorable mushrooms retreat on their own, often as quickly as they appeared. You can discourage mushrooms by watering less frequently and pruning to reduce shade. 

Treatment 

If you really want them gone – perhaps you have a toddler or dog that puts everything in their mouth, here’s how: 

  • Cut or pull or mow the fruiting bodies to limit the number of spores and therefore future mushrooms. The rest of the fungal mycelia will persist underground until conditions return for another round of fruiting – likely not for a while.  
  • When trees are removed, the roots persist and begin to decompose with the help of insects, bacteria and fungi. The only way to permanently stop the continual upcropping of mushrooms is to dig out the soil containing the decaying matter, 12 to 18 inches deep and 2 feet outside the mushroom cluster. If that seems like a lot of work, leave the mushroom power houses there. When they’ve done their job of devouring all that underground material, it – and the mushrooms above – will disappear for good. 
  • Take care to wash hands thoroughly after handling mushrooms, as even some edible types can cause irritation. 

Mushrooms are a good sign. Delight in their ephemeral presence next time they make an appearance in your yard. Most are no “truffle” at all. 

Discover More! 

iNaturalist Mushrooms of Texas 

North American Mycological Association has an extensive list of recommended books. While you are there check out their stunning photography contests. 

All about dog vomit slime mold 

Questions or comments?

Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov

Invasives are on the run!

Plants can’t run, but they surely can spread! If you haven’t already heard, The Invasives Task Force is hot on their trail here in The Woodlands.

In 2019, more than 40 volunteers attended trainings to learn about the problems with invasive species, particularly those impacting our Township pathways and green spaces. That group of hard workers has already put in over a thousand hours this year removing air potato vines, elephant ears, nandina, Japanese honeysuckle, and many more invasive species.

A group of volunteers spent the morning removing invasive plants in Grogan’s Mill Village. Photo taken in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Perhaps you’ve seen the volunteers or noticed their sign when working. Have you wondered if their efforts really matter? The answer is a resounding YES! Removing these invasives, which steal nutrients from native plants and trees, supports the health of the forest and the critters that depend on it. Our community founders were passionate about preserving trees and fought to save the vegetation native to The Woodlands. Now it’s up to us to continue the fight!

If interested in this ongoing project, join the next training class on February 20, 2021.   It’s free but registration is required. Find more information and a registration link HERE.

Are you excited to get involved right now? Great! We can pair you with trained volunteers who can help you learn on the job. Contact Teri MacArthur at tmacarthur@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov to find out how.  Note:  We still recommend you attend the February 20 training to further your knowledge and effectiveness.

5 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2020

As the year draws to an end, we reflect on many things, from the pandemic, to the election, to working from home. 2020 will be a year we won’t easily forget.  It will also be remembered as a year when people reconnected with nature, spending more time outdoors.  Or a year when we found more creative ways to volunteer and give back: sewing masks, virtual fundraisers for great causes, or even sharing a roll of toilet paper with the neighbors. 2020 hasn’t been the easiest year, but there was a lot of hope and positive messages being shared.  Remember all those painted rocks on the pathways?

We want to share some of this year’s highlights from our department. Below are the top 5 most read articles published on The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department Blog in 2020.  Maybe you missed this content the first time around or it’s been months and you would like a refresher. Either way, these top-rated reads are worth a review.

1. Heat Loving Perennials

Many people took advantage of being home this year to work on their gardens.  Maybe you started a vegetable garden, a pollinator garden or just enjoyed getting your hands dirty and being outside. But for anyone who has experienced a Houston summer, you know that the heat can be brutal, especially for your more delicate plants. Instead of watching your plants wilt or running up the water bill, select native plants that thrive in harsh conditions. 

Click the image to view the #1 blog of 2020

2. Venomous Snakes

Texas is home to over 105 different species of snakes. That may send shivers down your spine, but it doesn’t have to: snakes are one of nature’s most misunderstood creatures, posing little danger and playing a vital ecological role including control of pests. Only 3 venomous species reside in our area. If you’re concerned about interactions, take a moment to review our May Creature Feature.

Click the image to view the #2 blog of 2020

3. A Guide to Community Service While Social Distancing

Many community events were reformatted in 2020, including The Township’s annual Earth Day GreenUp.  With the traditional event no longer an option, many residents reached out asking how to participate in volunteer efforts throughout the community while adhering to social distancing guidelines. Luckily, any day is a good day to pick up litter. If your family wants to help keep our community clean while enjoying the outdoors, this guide is worth a read.

Click the image to view the #3 blog of 2020

4. Recycling Dilemma #1005: Take-Out Containers

Restaurants were hit hard in 2020 and many of our favorite places were quick to adjust. From curbside pick up to new delivery options, take-out has become one of the safest ways to satisfy our cravings. But, many are left wondering what to do with all the packaging. We’re here to help, with a simple-to-follow guide for all you take-out connoisseurs.

Click the image to view the #4 blog of 2020

5. Recycling Dilemma #1006 – Online Shopping

Staying home means more shopping online. Avoiding crowds while getting a great deal is just a click away. In 2020 more of us than ever turned to online retailers for everything from paper towels to TVs, and with it came an abundance of packaging in all shapes and sizes: cardboard, packing peanuts, air pillows, Styrofoam and more. We help you solve this recycling dilemma in this quick read.

Click the image to view the #5 blog of 2020

That’s it! Our top 5 most viewed articles for 2020. Check back weekly for new articles and hot topics in 2021. 

The internet is a big place to navigate. If you get lost or distracted easily, sign up to receive a weekly email with the latest from The Woodlands Township Environmental Services. Simply click the button below, enter your email address and be sure to look for a confirmation email.  Once you confirm, you’ll hear from us weekly, or until you decide otherwise.  However you want to manage your subscription, we will be here, creating new content for you to enjoy.

Questions or comments? Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov

3R Drive-thru Results

Woodlands residents saved over 17,000lbs of waste from the landfill at the 3R Drive-thru event.  

The Woodlands Township hosted the 3R Drive-thru on Saturday, November 14, 2020 from 9 a.m. to noon at The Woodlands High School. 750 vehicles drove through the event for free recycling of select items and secure document shredding.  

With the help of local partner organizations, more than 17,000 pounds of material was collected for recycling including 9,547 pounds of shredded paper by Shred It, 5,114 pounds of batteries by U-Waste Recycling Solutions, 2,692 pounds of textiles by Simple Recycling, 1,800 pairs of eyeglasses by The Woodlands Lions Club, 100 pounds of oral care products and two pounds of disposable razors by Junior Girl Scout Troop #108094, 10 pounds of snack and drink pouches by Hailey Elementary PTA and Wilkerson Intermediate PTO, and 1,200 cubic feet of block Styrofoam.  

$2,534 and 1,010 pounds of canned food items were also collected and donated to Interfaith of The Woodlands Food Pantry. Volunteers from National Charity League Texas Laurels (NCL) and National Charity Roundtable (NCR) assisted with event operations. 

Congratulations Grogan’s Mill Village for first place!

The 2020 Recycling Village Challenge item was batteries. The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N. awards money to each village scholarship program based on pounds of batteries collected per capita (pounds of batteries collected per household in each village). 

Between annual 3R events, residents are encouraged to recycle rechargeable batteries at the Montgomery County Precinct 3 Recycling Facility (Montgomery County residents only), Batteries Plus Bulbs, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s or a Walmart Super Center. Single-use alkaline batteries can be recycled at Batteries Plus Bulbs or the Precinct 3 Recycling Facility. For more opportunities to recycle items not accepted in curbside recycling carts please check out the Recycle More Guide

The 3R Drive-thru is a free program of The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department with sponsorship from Chevron Phillips Chemical, Waste Management, Woodlands Water, Woodlands G.R.E.E.N. and Woodlands Wholesale Nursery. For more information about recycling, please visit www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/recycling or contact the Township Environmental Services Department at enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov.  

Questions or comments? Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov