Monday, October 19, 2020

Preparing For Winter


Horticulture Hotline 10/19/20

By Bill Lamson-Scribner


This is a great time of year to work in your yard. First spray your shrubs with Cyonara (just connect to your hose and spray) and say cyonara to mosquitoes, so you will enjoy your time outside. EcoVia is an organic option to spray and Possum’s Mosquito Swatter (Goat Island approved) is an organic option to spread.


Disease usually attacks the grass in the fall and spring so now is a great time to apply a systemic fungicide to prevent those attacks. Strobe G or T-Methyl are a couple of good options.


The cooler Fall temperatures are perfect for controlling weeds. Weed Free Zone is great if you like to spray. Dollar Weed Control is a granular that works on some really tough weeds including Florida Betony, Virginia Button Weed and Dollar weed. I wiped out an area of Virginia Button Weed in my yard with one application.


Preemergent herbicides will keep you ahead of the weeds. Broadleaf Weed Control with Gallery will control a wide variety of broadleaf weeds and 00-00-07 Dimension is good for the grassy weeds.


Forever people have used Dormant oil or Horticultural oil on their shrubs and trees in the fall and spring for overwintering insects. Now is a great time for that. I have started to use Neem oil because it is an organic oil that gets some fungi too.


Yes, it is time to winterize your turf. Look for a product with a 00 for the first number (nitrogen). A 00-00-25 with sulfate of potash and minors would be great. If you do not need the potash, consider SeaHume a wonderful combination of seaweed and humic acid. The seaweed has over 60 minor nutrients, amino acids, and bio stimulants. The humic acid is also full of bio stimulants that help make nutrients that are in the soil available to the plant, help with soil structure, grow roots, and feed the microorganisms in the soil. Both these products can be used together and will help your yard this winter and next spring. Possum’s Minors will also put your grass to bed happy.


Beware of the national ad campaigns talking about winterizing fertilizers. These products are usually formulated for cool season grasses (rye, fescue). I saw one over the weekend that was a 22-00-14. Not exactly what we want to put on our yard in mid-October in the Lowcountry.


When buying gas for your lawn mower, generator, or chain saw, be sure to include a gas stabilizer to help prevent your carburetor from getting varnished over the winter. Try to purchase gas from a gas station that has ethanol free gas for your mower as well as your two-cycle hand held equipment.


Hold off putting out pine straw or mulching the beds until the leaves in the trees have dropped, so the leaves do not mess up your new straw or mulch. If you recycle the leaves that drop in your yard instead of bagging them and setting them by the curb, you will gain some free nutrients and organic matter.


Watch out for worms munching on your grass. The worms are slowing down, but there are still some out there.


Fleas seem to be particularly bad this fall. Remember the 3-step approach – treat the yard, treat the house and treat the animal. Using a product that contains a growth regulator in the house and in the yard will greatly increase your success.


Rats that used to have plenty to eat at restaurants are now showing up at people’s homes.


Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law.


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Transplanting For Success


Horticulture Hotline 10/14/2020

By Bill Lamson-Scribner


Now is a great time of year to prepare for transplanting and to plant new plants. Many people are asking me the best way to transplant shrubs and trees. Here are some guidelines for successfully transplanting plants and trees or planting new ones:


·         Decide the size of you root ball. For every inch in tree trunk diameter you want a foot of root ball. If your tree is three inches in diameter, your root ball should go in a circle one and a half feet from the trunk of the tree. You could tie a string around the tree leaving eighteen inches of string – then draw a line walking around the tree measuring with this string. Root balls can be very heavy so consider a hiring a professional. Be prepared to pay top dollar to move a plant because moving plants requires much more work than planting them out of containers. If your plants are way too crowded, get as much root ball as possible, and if they are so crowded that you cannot even get in there to work, you may have to sacrifice a few plants, so you do not kill them all. Always take as large a ball as possible. Sometimes you have to thin out plants for the overall health of the landscape.

·         Spray the plant you are going to move with an anti-transpirant (Cloud Cover, Wilt Proof, or Transfilm). These products will hold moisture in leaves and stems. 

·         Drench the ground with SeaHume and SuperThrive. These are bio stimulant products that encourage rooting. Repeat monthly until you move the plant.  

·         Root prune the plant. Go to the area that you determined your ball to go out to and push a shovel straight down – do not pry on the shovel – just cut the roots. Repeat this root pruning all the way around the plant. If the plant has been in the ground a long time, you may have to skip a shovel width each time you root prune to lessen the shock. Apply SeaHume granular (Humic acid and Seaweed bio stimulants) to decrease stress. Repeat monthly until you move the plant.

·         Keep an eye on the plant for the next month. Be sure to water it as needed.  When watering the soil, spray a fine mist on the foliage of the plant.  Since the roots have just been severed, this will help the plant absorb the water through the foliage and water the roots as well. 

·         After thirty days or if you could wait until a cooler time (February), dig away from the plant in the area that you root pruned. Resist the temptation to pry up on the plant. You should have a ball in a mote when you are finished. Try to have the plant moved a month before it sends out new growth or flowers in the spring (early February to be safe).

·         Water the ball so the soil will stick to the roots.

·         Severe the ball from the area underneath the plant.

·         Always handle the root ball – do not grab the plant by its trunk.

·         Move the plant onto a tarp or some burlap.

·         Be sure when you move the plant to its new home, you plant it above existing grade.   Plants buried too deep are the biggest problem I see in landscapes.  A plant that is planted too deep is starved for oxygen which affects many other plant processes (ability to absorb nutrients or causes root rot). 

·         Be sure not to pile mulch up against the trunk of the tree or shrub as this will also kill the plant over a period of time. Consider using Cotton Burr Compost or Nature’s Blend as a mulch to get the nutrition associated with these products.

·         Spray the leaves and stems with anti-transpirant.

·         Use Diehard Transplant (contains a friendly fungus inoculum, wetting agents, water holding gel, humic acid, Sea Kelp, root stimulating vitamins and beneficial bacteria) should also be added to increase the surface absorbing area of root systems with the back fill. Spray foliage with BioRush as it is a special blend of natural organic ingredients designed to help transplant survival. Drench with SuperThrive.

·         Apply the right amount of water.  Be sure to spray the foliage.

·         Apply the right amount of Cotton Burr Compost or Natures Blend mulch.

·         Apply granular SeaHume after you have moved the plant to encourage new root growth.

·         Stake the tree or shrub if needed.

·         Good Luck!


Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law.


Monday, October 5, 2020

Winterizing The Landscape


Horticulture Hotline 10/05/20

By Bill Lamson-Scribner


After smelling the wonderful Tea Olive the other day, I’m not going to mention #$)^worm or Bro%n P@tch. Here are a few things to do while enjoying the beautiful Lowcountry weather.


Did you put out a preemergent product to your lawn and beds for winter annual weed control in August? If yes, depending on the product and the rate you used, it is time to reapply. If no, now is the time to get it spread onto your lawn and beds. Preemergent products control weeds as they germinate making your life and your plants’ (including grass) life easier. It is never too late to put out a preemergent product because weed seeds germinate all year here in the Lowcountry. Once you get it out, new weed seeds will stop germinating.


Winterizing trees and shrubs with either a few products individually or as a multi prone approach will help insure the health of your landscape investment.


A witch’s brew is a good fertilizer for trees and shrubs this time of year. A fertilizer that mainly arborists use with special equipment to inject into the ground can also be used by the avid “Do It Yourselfer”. The DIY can apply “the brew” to the top of the ground and water it in, or make it into a slurry in a bucket and pour the fertilizer around the plant or tree. If you go with the slurry in a bucket method, you can always add SuperThrive, BioRush, SeaHume, Fish / Seaweed blend, Vermaplex, Yucca Wetting Agent … “The Brew” will promote good root growth and fast spring green up without stimulating soft growth that is susceptible to cold damage. A professional’s machine will add some hydraulic aeration and other benefits. The hydraulic aeration is a huge benefit. Just writing about this project makes me want to get some out on my yard!


SeaHume (granular is best this time of year, liquid still very good),

00-00-25, Cotton Burr Compost, nature’s Blend, SuperThrive, Fish / Seaweed Blend, 04-00-10, Possum’s Minors are a few products that will benefit your lawn, trees and shrubs this winter. If you haven’t fed your trees and shrubs in a while 17-00-09 might be appropriate. Like people, trees and shrubs, like to have some nutrition, so they do not go to bed hungry. Ornamentals usually have a nice flush of growth at this time.


For trees and shrubs, you can get ahead of the insect battle by using Neem oil or Horticulture oil. Neem oil has some fungicide benefits also which is a bonus. If you have a tree or shrub with a history of scale, twig borer, aphids, white flies …, apply a drench of Dominion Tree and Shrub now to protect the new growth next spring.


Leaf spot diseases have been a big issue this summer with all the rain. As the leaves fall, rake them up to remove overwintering fungus. If you had any major problems, you might want to remove your old mulch, spray with lime / sulfur, and replace the mulch with Cotton Burr Compost or Nature’s Blend.


Transplanting on you winter project list? Stay tuned.


Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law.