Monday, October 20, 2014

Ocean Forest Potting Soil

Since many of you will be changing out containers this fall, here is a little information about a top selling potting soil that is perfect for your high value plants, flowers, window boxes, hanging baskets, containers or vegetables. This soil is used by serious professional growers whose livelihood depends upon a great product.

Ocean Forest Potting Soil

Ocean Forest Potting Soil is an all-natural organic potting soil. With all the composted material, there are plenty of available nutrients to keep many plants thriving without the use of fertilizers. For heavy feeding plants, Ocean Forest blend will keep your plants fed for about one month before a fertilizer is needed. Another great feature to this potting soil is its ability to resist compacting over the season. Although all potting soils will eventually compact, Ocean Forest seems to have just the right amount of humus and perlite to keep compaction to a minimum. Less compaction allows for better water and oxygen penetration to the root system and helps keep the micro-organisms in the soil alive.
Ingredient Breakdown: Composted forest humus holds moisture in the soil. Sphagnum peat moss helps aerate and loosen soil allowing healthy root growth. Pacific Northwest sea-going fish  is an organic fertilizer that provides amino acids, enzymes, and nutrients. Crab meal is an organic fertilizer that suppresses pest nematode activity and also a good source of calcium. Shrimp meal is an organic fertilizer. Earthworm castings provide all the micro-nutrients necessary for plant growth. Sandy loam provides good water retention and drainage. Perlite provides optimum moisture retention for plant growth. Fossilized bat guano  is rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, and zinc. Granite dust has minerals and trace elements that plants need. Norwegian kelp meal  is a source of naturally chelated trace elements. Oyster shell aids in pH adjustment and provides calcium.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Some things Need Repeat Applications & Need to be Written about Repeatively!

Sod Webworms
With the rain, treat for insects.  Sod webworms like to feed at night and on cloudy overcast days.  Obviously they have been chowing down the last month or two!  They will feed on all types of grass (Centipede, St. Augustine, Zoysia, Bermuda, Bahia).  If you have a lot of moths that fly a zigzag pattern then quickly sit back down, chances are you have an adult sod webworm laying eggs in your grass.  The damage that the sod webworm does looks like someone scalped an area of the grass with a very dull mower blade.  The grass is very ragged looking and you can see where the larva chewed on the grass.  If you look in the thatch area, you can see the feces and sometimes the worm itself.  Sod webworms are easily controlled with Bifen or Sevin.

Fire ants
With all the rain, the fire ants have come back with a vengeance!  If you put out bait in the spring, it is probably a good time to apply another application.  Baiting large areas (your entire property), is a very effective way to control fire ants and very inexpensive.  Using contact killers like Sevin or Bifen are also best used over a large area.  Most of the time mound treating simply chases the ant from one area to another.

Mole crickets
Mole crickets are young adults with their wings and are up near the surface tunneling ferociously!  Scout your yard for potential damage and treat as needed.  You can scout your yard by using soap flush (2 oz. of liquid dish detergent in a 5 gallon bucket of water, spread over a 2 ft by 2 ft area).  Wait 5 minutes to see what comes up.  To control these pests, use Mole Cricket Bait, Intice perimeter bait (NOP approved, LEED Tier 3), or Sevin.

Large Patch (the disease formerly known as Brown Patch)
With all the rain and the cool weather, Large Patch has exploded!  Cleary’s and Disarm provide a good one-two punch. If you know the areas that get brown patch, we get great reports about Neptune Harvest’s Crab Shell, Nature’s Blend, and Cotton Burr Compost suppressing the disease in areas that it has been perennial problem.  

If you are planning on transplanting a tree this fall, now is the time to root prune.  For root pruning trees, a good rule of thumb is for every inch in diameter of tree, you want twelve inches of root ball.  Sometimes this is not practical because you are usually transplanting an over-crowded tree or a tree located too close to a house or sidewalk.  At this point outline the biggest ball you can possibly move and just dig straight down severing the roots without actually removing the soil.  Come back in a month and dig away from the area that you severed leaving your tree in a little moat.  Spray the tree with transfilm (anti-transparent) and remove the tree. Use DieHard Transplant in the new hole.

Spray horticulture and neem oils now to kill over-wintering insects, this will put you ahead of the insect game in the spring.  

When buying gas for your lawn mower, be sure use ethanol free gas and to include a gas stabilizer to help prevent your carburetor from getting varnished over the winter.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mike Williams and Tea Olives

I would like to start this week’s article with a shout out to Charleston RiverDogs’ head grounds superintendent Mike Williams. Mike (Riley Park) won the South Atlantic Leagues’ ‘Field of the Year’ honors for 2014. This is quite an achievement considering that the Citadel plays at Riley Park as well and the SoCon tournament was held there in May and many other concerts and special events. With the amount of play this field gets, an award like this illustrates Mike’s dedication to perfection.

With the amount of games and events on Riley Park, Mike is always very busy. There has been more than one time that we get on our cell phones and while I’m walking around the field looking at something on the grass, he is on a piece of equipment trying to finish up something before the players come out on the field. This summer in that period when it was 95 plus degrees forever, I was walking along the side of him while he was edging the warning track which is basically little pieces of brick. He is wearing shorts and his legs are being shredded by these little brick pieces. We are talking, we are sweating, and his legs are bleeding from these brick pieces. No big deal to Mike, he just wants the field perfect!

Wow, right after I wrote last week’s Horticulture Hotline, I went outside to get in my car and I was blasted with the wonderful smell of fall. I’m not talking about week old shrimp heads and three day old bait balls. I’m talking about Osmanthus fragrans, the Fragrant Tea Olive. What a great plant!

The Tea Olive does not like wind or being sheared; however, if planted correctly in well drained high organic matter soil, I have never seen any disease or insect issues. Tea Olives just sit there all summer as an evergreen, then boom, in the fall these small flowers show up and fill the air with a wonderful fragrance.

The fall is a great time in the Lowcountry (my favorite). There are festivals (this past weekend alone I know there was Oktoberfest, Latin American Festival, and Greek Festival), plantations, city, county, and state parks, three different “waterfront” parks and many more on the water, piers, bridges to walk, trails to walk, football games to go to, many boats you can go for a ride on or rent, farmer’s markets, work in your yard, well you get the idea.

If you missed last week’s article, go to and look under the Horticulture Hotline tab for the 9/29 Under Attack article. Sod Webworms and Brown Patch (Large Patch) are still very active. Unfortunately, these are not problems that you put out one product and you are done. Depending on environmental conditions, you may have to treat several times. Between the army worms in the summer and the sod webworms in the fall, I have talked to professionals that have treated up to 6 times and still fighting them. As long as the weather is cool and rainy, brown patch is going to be an issue.