Sunday, February 12, 2017

Early Spring Check List

Horticulture Hotline 02/12/17
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

Are you ready for the 2017 season in your yard?

Here are a few things to do on the nice winter days (you know Charleston, one day nice next day not so nice).

·         Get soil tested – how do you know what to apply if you don’t know what you have in the soil already. Think of taking a soil test like your doctor taking a blood test – the doctor must know your levels of different things before he or she can decide what medicine you might need.
·         Kill winter weeds now while they are young and your grass is dormant.
·         Preemerge now if you haven’t already. Kill small seeded summer annual weeds before they take over your landscape.
·         Take mower in to have serviced to beat the Spring rush. With the new ethanol gas lawn mower engines and other engines have had issues. No one likes their mechanic to tell them, “pick it up in 4 weeks.”
·         Keep leaves off lawn areas. Keeps moisture from being trapped and if you or your lawn service are applying products, you will have a more uniform coverage without the leaves.
·         Move any shrub or tree now before it is too late. Root prune now, move before they start putting on new growth. Try DieHard Transplant to help survival.
·          Spray trees and shrubs with paraffinic oil (ultra-fine, Omni Supreme oil) as opposed to petroleum oils (Volck) to control over-wintering insects. Watch temperatures. If you have ongoing issues with scale, aphids, white flies, or other sucking bugs, try Safari or Dominion for long term control. Neem oil works on diseases as well as insects.
·         Have you tried Lime / Sulfur spray around the ground of deciduous plants that get diseased (do not spray foliage – just the ground)? Roses and blueberries or any plant that gets leaf spot disease are good examples of plants that benefit from this sanitation practice.
·         Sharpen pruning tools or purchase new ones.
·         Apply SeaHume to turf, trees, flowers, and shrubs. Adding organics now will help your turf and shrubs in the spring. Cotton Burr Compost?
·         Re-do bed lines to reflect maturing landscape.
·         Get bird house ready for nesting birds.
·         Have moles, get Mole Patrol – it really works. After you use Mole Patrol, use a repellent like Repellex monthly to keep them out.
·         Have deer, get Deer Stopper – it really works.
·         Check irrigation or get on professional’s list to check. Be sure the heads are pointed the right way. Can you eliminate (turn off) the zone watering the shrubs and trees? Have you tried wetting agents to lower your water bill (we hear between 30 and 60 percent)? Less water equals less disease.
·         Prune Crepe Myrtles – don’t butcher them. Remove crossing (rubbing) limbs, inward growing limbs and diseased limbs. Topping or reducing their height is not considered proper pruning.
·         Hold off on pruning plants damaged by the cold – we could still have freezing temperatures.
·         Test well for salt, if you own a well.
·         Attend meetings of the Rose, Camellia, Horticultural Societies and other like horticultural societies.
·         Get out and enjoy our County, State and City parks as well as our local plantations.

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

Monday, February 6, 2017

Proactive Weed Control

Horticulture Hotline 02/06/17
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

The soil temperature indicates that it is just about time to apply preemergent products to your beds and turf. Valentine’s Day and the running of the Daytona 500 are just around the corner. The time to apply the magical weed preventer is coming up fast, and this year, since our winter has been pretty mild and the ground has been insulated with moisture,
the time might come a little early.

Depending on which Phd doctor you believe, crabgrass germinates when the soil temperature (3 inches deep) stays above 55 degrees (some people say 57 degrees), for 3 straight days provided adequate moisture in the soil. Now some doctors say remains 57 degrees or above for 24 hours at a depth of 3 inches with adequate moisture.  If you are not in to monitoring the soil temperature, Valentine’s Day or the running of the Daytona 500 should work for you. Spreading a preemergent product now could save hours of spot spraying later.

The turf areas as well as the landscape bed areas will greatly benefit from the use of preemerge products. Not only will the yard look better, but your plants will not have to compete with the weeds for sun, nutrients, and water. If you are controlling weeds with preemergent products, there are less weeds there for you to spray or pull, saving you time. There is also less stress on you trying to find time to control the weeds in your yard later once the weeds have emerged. Control them now with a preemergent control product!

For those new readers of the Horticulture Hotline, preemergent control products kill weeds as they germinate.  The weeds never come up and you never have to worry about them.  Crabgrass, goosegrass, barnyardgrass, crowfootgrass, dallisgrass (seedling), foxtail, annual bluegrass, smutgrass, barley, kikuyugrass, wild oats, bittercress, carpetweed, chickweed, Carolina geranium, henbit, knotweed, lespedeza, marestail, black medic, mustard, oxalis, pineappleweed, pigweed, redroot, parsley-piert, purslane, rocket, shephardspurse, speedwell, spurge, and woodsorrel are examples of weeds controlled by preemergent products.  Small seeded annual weeds are controlled by preemergent products.

Read the label of the specific product that you are using to get an exact list of weeds that the manufacturer has tested and shown to control. Preemergent products applied now do not control winter annual weeds that are already up like annual blue grass. To control annual bluegrass, you would have used a preemergent in August and again in October (this could vary with products and rates).

Clover, Florida Betony, Nutsedge and Dollar weed are not controlled by preemergent control products.  These are perennial weeds. Weed Free Zone is a liquid that will do a good job on controlling many of your broadleaf weeds. The Nutsedge will require a different product and is most likely not visible right now.  It is important to control these weeds now before they go into their reproductive stage.  A weed in its reproductive stage is harder to control than a weed in its vegetative stage. By controlling the weed now you avoid having to deal with more weed seeds next year.

It is very noticeable when you ride through the Lowcountry which homeowners and which businesses used preemergent products last fall at the correct time. One business or home lawn will be nice and brown and dormant without a spec of green in sight. Right next to it will be brown turf mixed with green weeds. Again, it is very important to control those weeds now before they begin to flower.

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

Monday, January 30, 2017

Weeds, Weeds, and More Weeds

Horticulture Hotline 1/30/17
  Bill Lamson-Scribner

Winter weeds seem to be in rare form this year. Chickweed is what I’m seeing most as a broadleaf weed and that annoying annual bluegrass is maintaining its place at the top of the grassy weeds division. Right now is the time to kill these weeds before they produce seed for next year’s crop.

With the warm winter, we have had, you will probably get your best results if you mow your lawn (and weeds), wait 2 or 3 days, apply a weed killer, then wait a week or two before you mow again. You want the weeds to be actively growing, so they absorb the control product. Then you want to give the weed time to translocate the active ingredient before you mow it again.

Henbit, clover, Florida Betony, lawn burweed (definitely want to kill before the burr is sticking your feet – Gamecocks call it Spurweed)), hairy bittercress, Carolina geranium, thistles, dandelion, and the list goes on… are some of the weeds being a pain in the grass.

Weeds are much easier to kill now while they are actively growing in the vegetative part of their life cycle then when they are in the reproductive part of their life cycle (usually March  / April here depending on the weather – this year seems a little early). Kill the weeds now! The PHD doctors have figure that one annual bluegrass plant produces 2500 viable seeds. Think about what happens if your weeds are not maintained for a year or two. In one year that is 6,250,000 weed seeds, after that my calculator errors out!

Your grass doesn’t usually like to be treated with herbicides while coming out of dormancy (in transition) either, so it is much better to control the weeds now while the grass is dormant.

With preemergent time for summer annuals coming up so quickly, I plan to treat for the winter weeds that are growing now and put out a preemerge at the same time. By putting out the pre and post emerge, I will prevent any sneaky late germinating winter weeds that will try to pop up and re-seed themselves this spring.

At Possum’s (and many other local stores) we have many different herbicides to meet your needs to kill your weeds!