Sunday, August 13, 2017

Transition in Your Yard



Horticulture Hotline
  Bill Lamson-Scribner 08/13/17

Treat for mosquitoes in your yard! Scout around your yard for potential breeding sights. It is amazing how many places that collect water and a mosquito can lay an egg. Old tarps, tarps on boats, saucers under flower pots, a dent in a trash can lid, old fountain, bird bath, tires, refrigerators, old cars, and even half - filled rain gauges all provide enough water to help mosquitoes breed. If you do not have time to do scout your yard, hire a professional, and they will help make your yard safe.

Eco Via is a new broad spectrum, NOP (National Organics Program) compliant product that will control mosquitoes. Mosquito Repelling Granular has a good residual and is organic. Cyonara and Bifen are broad spectrum insecticides and are very effective.    

Large Patch fungus has raised its ugly head again in the Lowcountry.  The decrease in daylight hours and rain have been great for Large Patch disease to kick in.  Water only as needed and apply T-Methyl or Fame.

Sharpen lawnmower blade?

If you have any bushes or trees that need to be transplanted, you can begin to prepare to root prune them.  Ideally if you transplant a tree you would have a ball that is 12 inches for each inch in diameter of the tree (i.e. 3 inch tree would be 18 inches on either side of the tree).  Take a shovel and dig straight down without prying and just sever the roots of the tree.  Depending on the size of the tree, whether it was planted or a volunteer seedling, how long it has been in the ground, and whether it is in a group of other plants, will dictate how big of a root ball you will be able to dig. Add some SeaHume and other rooting biostimulants to the area to encourage new roots.  Root prune now and for the next few months for transplanting in November-January.

It is getting close to the time to switch over from summer annuals (crops) to winter annuals (crops).  When amending your annual beds or garden this year try Back to Nature’s Flower Bed Conditioner.  It’s balanced blend of cotton burrs and cattle manure along with feather meal, cotton seed meal, alfalfa meal and sulfur will surely make your winter annuals a hit.  The alfalfa contains Triacantanol, a natural root growth enhancer and may aid in the control and suppression of certain fungal diseases.   Unlike wood and wood by-products, composted cotton burr and composted cattle manure do not tie up valuable nutrients in the soil and help neutralize the soils pH.  Cotton seed and feather meal provide added nutrients for the plant. If you are planting bulbs for next spring, consider using Back to Nature’s Flower Bed Amendments as well.

The change in weather will also bring on the winter annual weeds.  Now is the time to put out preemergents in your lawn as well as your beds. If you have had Florida Betony in the past, consider using a preemergent that contains Dimension. Many of our customers have noticed a decrease in Florida Betony in lawns that they have used Dimension in late August and again in October. Over ten years ago, I put out some test plots for Dow AgroSciences, and I saw about an 85% reduction in Florida Betony the first year! Dow AgroSciences did not add Florida Betony to the label because of the costs of dealing with the EPA; however, I say, “try it you‘ll like it!”

Watch out for mole crickets, grubs and sod web worms in your turf.  Mole crickets are just developing their wings and will begin their fall flights soon, which means they will be up near the surface tunneling (damaging) your grass. Grubs are near the surface and easy to kill before they become a food source for moles or damage your root system themselves.  Sod web worms and army worms can eat a huge amount of grass in a short period of time.  Look for moths as you walk around your lawn in the evening.  These moths will come up from the ground, fly erratically for a few feet, then land, almost like a quail.  Treat with Lebanon Insect Control or 07-00-14 Allectus and you will take care of both of these guys as well as fire ants and many other insects. 

Always read, follow and understand the product label before applying any products.

Bill Lamson-Scribner can be reached during the week at Possum’s Landscape and Pest Control Supply. Possum’s has three locations 481 Long Point Rd in Mt. Pleasant (971-9601), 3325 Business Circle in North Charleston (760-2600), or 606 Dupont Rd, in Charleston (766-1511). Bring your questions to a Possum’s location, or visit us at http://www.possumsupply.com. You can also call in your questions to “ The Garden Clinic”, Saturdays from noon to 1:00, on 1250 WTMA  (The Big Talker). 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Football Starting Means Fall is Coming



Horticulture Hotline 08/07/17
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

A friend of mine that grew hay used to say he could hear army worms munching on the pasture as they crossed the fields. Since army worms eat the green leaves off the plant, he would lose big hay dollars to this worm. Athletic fields, golf courses, and home lawns lose the aesthetic value of the green grass, and the worms thin the canopy of the grass where weeds will move in if given a chance. Prostrate growing weeds like spurge, lespedeza and Virginia Buttonweed seem to come in the fastest.

What bothers me the most is you work all summer on your grass to have it looking nice, and once it starts to slow down for the winter, fall army worms and then sod webworms attack the grass. Look for areas that appeared to have been mowed low and with a dull blade. You can see that the leaf blades have been chewed. Also thatch type debris will be churned up on the surface. Birds and low flying wasps are also predators of army worms. Thanks to cell phones last year, I took a cool picture of a wasp attacking the head of an army worm. I think my definition of ‘cool’ has changed over the years.

Since army worms are in direct contact with the ground, they are very easy to control. Bug Blaster, Bifen, Sevin, Cyonara and Acephate will all put a hurting on army worms. Thuricide (Bt) and Spinosad are organic products that will also work well if you get them while the worms are small. Since the population of worms is so high and hit so hard, keep your eye out for a second hatching.

For those of you with St. Augustine and Centipede, keep your eye out for the sod web worm. Watch for moths in your yard around dusk. If you begin to see a moth that gets out of the grass, flies for 6-10 feet then lands again (like a bobwhite quail for you bird hunters) you may want to consider using one of the above mentioned products. Usually sod web worms would not come out until September / October; however, with the crazy weather we are having, scouting for them could not hurt.

Now is the time to put out preemerge products in the lawn and beds to prevent those small seeded annual weeds. Henbit, chickweed, Poa annua (annual bluegrass), cudweed and lawn burweed are a few of the winter weeds that would like to occupy your lawn and flower beds. Poa annua (the green grass that is very visible in February and March) and lawn burweed (the prostrate growing weed that develops a sticker) are usually the most hated of the winter weeds. Some people use profanity while describing them at the counter of Possum’s! 

If your yard has thatch, drainage, or compaction issues, now is a great time to aerate your lawn (and beds where possible) before you apply your fall preemerge. Aeration is a great cultural practice, which will among other things help your roots grow throughout the winter giving you a head start for the spring. 
 
In my travels this week, I saw brown patch (large patch) fungus in several yards, and the “nasty rascal the chinch bug” is still sucking the life out of many lawns. Gray leaf spot is still alive and doing well. With all the rain, fire ants are mounding up everywhere – be careful where you step!

With all the rain, mosquitoes are out and biting, and the grass is growing like crazy. Does your mower blade need to be sharpened or replaced?

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

Monday, July 31, 2017

Insects That Mess Up Your Lawn That You Have Worked So Hard On This Year



Horticulture Hotline 07/31/17
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

‘The Nasty Rascal, The Chinch Bug’ is about impossible to see (about the size of fine ground pepper), the damage can be confused between fungi, dry areas, and just dead areas and although they are easy to kill once identified, the chinch bug keeps coming back. Chinch bugs limit their diet to St. Augustine grass (AKA Charleston Grass).

In the old days (Dursban, Diazinon), you could put out a product in May and pretty much control chinch bugs for the season. Now depending on the product, if you get two to three weeks control you are lucky. Most of the products work on the adults and do not affect the eggs that are waiting to hatch.

 There are a lot of cases of resistance to certain control products in Florida, so be sure to rotate chemical families of your products (not just product names). Since some of our sod comes up from Florida, we will most likely experience these resistant chinch bugs before long. If you talked to some of the people I talk to, you would swear they are already here.

‘The Nasty Rascal, The Chinch Bug’ got this designation from attacking family’s lawns during the summer while families were taking their summer vacation. The fact that this very small insect and a lot of its buddies can wipe out a beautiful yard in a very short period of time is ruthless. Hard to control weeds like bermudagrass and Virginia button weed always seem to move in on the weaken areas.

There is a fungus in the soil that controls chinch bugs. When the soil dries out the fungus in the soil that keeps chinch bugs in check dies. When the fungus dies, the chinch bugs go crazy. The reason you see chinch bugs along the road, driveway, sidewalks or in the sunniest part of the yard is because that is where the fungus dies out first. Chinch bugs rarely attack grass in the shade because the fungus keeps them in check. We have had regular rains this year, so there hasn’t been the explosion of chinch bugs that we have seen in years past. With about 50 people moving to the Lowcountry a day, I wanted to make people aware of ‘The Nasty Rascal, The Chinch Bug’.

Since chinch bugs attack the grass along the road, driveway, and sidewalks, when people treat for them, they often throw product on hard impermeable surfaces (roads, driveways, and sidewalks). Always be sure to sweep or blow any particles back into the grass to avoid any unwanted runoff. This particular runoff situation would be another reason to refer to this pest as ‘The Nasty Rascal, The Chinch Bug’!

While working in my yard yesterday, I noticed more moths than last week that could be laying the eggs of grass eating worms. It was late in the afternoon, so I went to the closest Possum’s and picked up a little ammunition for my preventive attack. I picked up enough for two applications, so I would be ready in case I thought another application was needed.

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