Monday, December 10, 2018

Bedbugs - They Are Just Looking For A Meal


Horticulture Hotline 12/10/18
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

While working locally at the 3 Possum Stores, a common issue at all three stores are people whose houses are infected with bedbugs. My go to product is ActiveGuard Mattress Liners. This product has made so many people be able to fulfill the saying, “good night, sleep tight, and don’t let the bedbugs bite” that it is unreal. There are many other products that we sell and techniques (using heat for example) to manage bedbugs, but this product has you sleeping in your own bed immediately.

The situation that I heard twice this week at Possum’s at two different stores was that their child had another child spend the night and the child brought bedbugs with them. Bedbugs, roaches, and rats usually have the customer leaning over the desk and talking in a very quiet voice (hush tones), like at a pharmacy when you don’t want to share your situation with the whole line. With all the Holiday and Bowl Game travelling coming up and since the kids will be out on break and spending the night with friends, be aware of the bedbug.

ActiveGuard Mattress Liners also control dust mites that can trigger asthma, which is a huge problem in itself. Have you ever looked into your kids eyes when they say, ”I can’t breathe”? Been there, done that, not fun, scary, paid the ER bill.

ActiveGuard Mattress Liners were developed as an extension of the globally use mosquito nets (many of which Bill Gates has funded to wipe out malaria).

These mattress liners are easy for one person to put on a bed or box spring. The liner is basically a fitted sheet and is way easier to deal with than an encasement that requires you to put a mattress or box spring in a ‘big bag’ that zippers shut (mattresses are heavy and big, so not too easy for most people). Mattresses and box springs are very expensive. With the ActiveGuard Mattress Liners you do not have to throw away your mattress and box springs.

I look at ActiveGuard Mattress Liners as the preemergent / post emergent control of the bedbug world. If you have an infestation, you can put on an ActiveGuard Mattress Liner and many of the bedbugs will be dead within 24 hours. Some of the more resistant bedbugs could take up to 72 hours. The liners also have a growth regulator effect on bedbugs where the liners effect reproduction. Many hotels are using ActiveGuard Mattress Liners preventively to control bedbugs. The revenue lost in one night quickly pays for the liner.

ActiveGuard Mattress Liners work 24/7 for up to 2 years. Amazing! While you try to control the bedbugs in your house, you will be able to sleep easy on your own mattress. With the amount of people in tears that we have seen in Possum’s this is pretty inexpensive control. This product is EPA Toxicology Category IV by all routes of exposure. Therefore, no signal word nor Hazards to Humans and Domestic Animal Statements are required.

If you have bedbugs or know someone who does, let them know about ActiveGuard Mattress Liners.

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

Monday, December 3, 2018

Transplanting 101 Plus A Little More


Horticulture Hotline 12/03/18
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

Wow, where has the time gone? I can’t believe I’m writing a 12 on the above date! The late fall rains have certainly caused the large patch / brown patch to explode.

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 or trees:

·         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 BioRush 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 (January, 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 (late January 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!

Now is a great time to go visit the many parks and plantations in the area, or just take a walk around downtown. The award winning Charleston County Parks Festival of Lights is a must see.

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

Monday, November 26, 2018

Strange Brown Areas In Your Yard?


Horticulture Hotline 11/26/18
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

While walking and driving around it seems that brown patch/ large patch/ Zoysia patch has invaded the Lowcountry. From the questions I’m getting and the sales of fungicides at Possum’s, I would feel safe to say many of your lawns are being attacked by this disease. With the sunlight hours getting less, the grass will begin to transition into a dormant state. As the cooler weather comes and the grass growth rate slows down, large patch / brown patch / zoysia patch fungus will begin to show up in our lawns. This disease is always present in the lawn, it just manifests itself when the environmental conditions are right and your grass cannot outgrow the damage.

Since this disease is a big problem in the Lowcountry, knowing that it is a soil borne disease can help you with control strategies.  Being a soil borne disease, you know that it will reoccur in the same areas year after year.  If a leaf blade with large patch is moved from one part of the yard to another (lawn mower), this can begin a new infection area (although not very common); however, these are not spores flying through the air.

As a soil borne fungus, if you map the areas that you have the disease, you can concentrate your control efforts (dollars) into a smaller area, putting less control products into the environment.  If your yard is 5,000 sq ft usually you might have a few infected areas which might total approx. 500 ft.  Instead of buying control products to treat 5,000 sq ft, you can concentrate your efforts into the 500 ft (i.e. 10% of your total yard).  If Large Patch was an air borne fungus with spores, you would have to treat the entire yard because air borne fungus spreads a lot quicker than soil borne fungus.

As your grass is going into dormancy and the temperatures begin to cool at night, large patch will be ready to attack your grass.  A good granular one-two punch control strategy is T-Methyl and Fame (all systemic fungicides that get into the plant).  Use these products in areas where you have had Large Patch previously at the preventive rates and intervals recommended on the labels. Be sure to use T-Methyl with Fame so you are switching chemistry classes and mode of action. Good control early on can help avoid flare ups in the spring also.

Large patch usually likes wet, heavy thatch, improper nutrition, and/or compacted soils.  Culturally you need to manage your irrigation system, raise any low areas, and correct drainage problems.  Reducing thatch (we have a great organic granular product for controlling thatch), maintaining proper fertility levels, and aerating to alleviate compaction, will also help control large patch. A healthy turf (following soil test derived feeding schedule) with a soil with a lot of bio-diversity (use of cotton burr compost, SeaHume and other organics) has shown to help manage this disease.  

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