Monday, November 20, 2017

Preparing Your Yard For Winter



Horticulture Hotline 11/20/17
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

Happy Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is usually considered the most travelled vacation of all holidays. Watch out for bedbugs. You might get bedbugs where you stay or someone might bring bedbugs with them when they stay with you. If you notice bedbugs, call a professional immediately or head to Possum’s – The Bedbug Killing Capital Of The Lowcountry. If you would like a few tips about dealing with bedbugs, you can reference the 5/1/17 Horticulture Hotline at possumsupply.com.

Moles are doing their fall tunneling, and they are everywhere! The three step method of control still gets the best results. Kill the mole. Traps, Mole Patrol or Talprid seem to work best. Manage the moles food source. Sevin, and Grubz Out are very good at killing moles food supply. The third step is to apply a repellent to keep new moles out of the yard. Repellex Mole and Vole repellent does a very good job. With the repellents, you can create a barrier around your property, so you use less repellent and save money compared to treating the whole yard.

Large Patch / Brown Patch / Zoysia Patch have been in lawns this fall; however, the lack of rain was keeping it to a minimal. The recent rains made it explode in some yards with those all too familiar circles of disease. In our warm season grasses, these diseases can be in irregular patterns as well as the circles. Map the areas you see the disease, since the disease is in the soil it will tend to reappear in the same areas. Turn off the irrigation. Correct any thatch, compaction or drainage issues. Apply T-Methyl, Prophesy, Serenade (organic) or Fame. Add Neptune Harvest’s Crab Shell (organic) product to the area to add beneficial organisms to the soil to combat the bad organisms. We have also seen for ourselves and heard from customers that the use of Cotton Burr Compost and / or SeaHume really helps with this disease.

Yes, you can still winterize your turf – it is not too late. 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.   

Now is the time to collect soil to get on a program for 2018. If it has been 30 days since you applied a fertilizer, why wait? Beat the spring rush of soil tests at the lab (and my desk if you use Possum’s). If you have any amending to do (lime, etc.), you do it over the winter and be ready for spring. Having a soil test and program is like having a landscape design; it gives you a roadmap to follow, so you are applying the right products at the right time for your soil. Here is what Greg Lienert said, “I started using Possum’s recipe for my lawn 3 years ago and I have never had a better lawn in the 35 years that I have been trying to grow the perfect lawn. Possum’s is awesome! I have the best lawn in the neighborhood.” 

Yes, you still have time to plant bulbs. A little 04-04-04 Bolster, Bio-Tone Starter Plus  and  / or SeaHume should get them off to a good start.

Do not forget your Neem oil or Horticultural oil for your plants. With all the leaf spot diseases this year, I really like the Neem oil, since it acts as a fungicide as well. If you had any plants that had leaf spot this year, rake up the leaves as they fall (and destroy them), and spray Lime / Sulfur on the ground to help kill overwintering spores.

Hopefully, you have applied a preemergent herbicide to your lawn and beds. If not, why wait? Applying these products now can save you a lot of time this spring and your lawn and plants will thank you for removing the weed competition.

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

Monday, November 13, 2017

Another Year Flies By - Time for The Holidays



Horticulture Hotline 11/13/17
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

Another year has almost gone by. What a year! Irma (and we were how many miles away)! The great weather for people doing activities outside, led to fall armyworms, sod webworms and large patch / brown patch on our turf. Does anyone / everyone have moles? This week I started seeing tents going up in parking lots and people wearing Christmas Hats, so I figured it was time for the yearly Christmas tree article. I saw a tree in the back of a pickup truck yesterday. I was over at a friend’s house and his family already had their tree decorated, so I guess he figured if you are going to pay for a tree, might as well enjoy it for Thanksgiving too.

I’m looking forward to my trip through the Festival of Lights at James Island County Park. I’m sure I will be treated to another outstanding display of lights this year, plus the sand castle, train, walk around displays, shops and all the “fair food!” If you’re a kid, does Christmas still seems like it takes forever to get here? It sure comes up quick to me! 

I wanted to get this yearly Christmas Tree article out early, so you could make plans to go to a local Christmas Tree Farm, find a local source for a cut tree, or use a live tree that you could use in your landscape after the holidays, if you were so inclined.

After Thanksgiving, many of you will be searching for a Christmas tree.  If you are going to buy a cut tree, consider buying it from a local business that is here year-round like an independently owned garden center.  If you buy it from a tent, or a temporary site, look for one that is run by the Exchange Club, Optimist Club, Rotary Club, a local church, a local school club, a local landscaper or another local organization.  Many local organizations that sell trees give a portion of the profits to local charities such as Camp Happy Days.

There are some people from out of state that set up tents in grocery store parking lots. They take their profits out of state when they leave. If you support our local businesses, then you keep our money in our local economy and maybe save a local job. Very important to always keep profits local, especially these days.

Many of the local garden centers offer great Christmas gifts along with trees this time of year.  They have purchased many seasonal items that would be a great present for anyone. Gift certificates are usually available for the hard to shop for gardener. I know I felt like a professional athlete, signing Possum gift certificates last week. Shopping at a garden center is a great way to avoid long lines.  The parking is free and plentiful this time of year.

Have you ever considered a live tree? Different Hollies (right now you can tell the females with beautiful berries), Eastern Red Cedar, Little Gem Magnolias, Osmanthus, Deodara Cedar and many more make great trees and after the holidays you can plant them in your yard instead of throwing them to the curb. Leyland Cypress have been removed from this list.

Local tree farms are also an option. A ride in the country is always a good family event (young children, “how much longer will it take to get there?”).  Noel’s Christmas Tree Farm on Johns Island, Lebanon Christmas Tree Farm and Toogoodoo Tree Farm on the way to Edisto are a few local tree farms.  Picking out your own tree is fun for the whole family and usually involves hot chocolate and hay rides. You know you are getting a fresh tree when you cut it yourself. 

If you go with a traditional cut tree, make sure it is in water at the place you buy it (unless it is coming fresh off of the truck), and make sure it stays in water until you take it to the curb after the holidays.  Once you bring the tree home, cut an inch off of the bottom of the tree, and place the tree in a five-gallon bucket of water.  While the tree is still outside, consider spraying the tree with Transfilm, Cloud Cover or Wilt Proof to keep the water loss through the leaves at a minimum. If you notice any insects on the tree, blast it with a strong stream of water or consider an insecticidal soap. Let the tree dry before bringing it into the house. 

Locate your tree within your house away from heating ducts and the fireplace.  A stand that can hold a lot of water is a big plus because a fresh cut Christmas tree can drink 1-2 gallons of water per day.  Have one responsible adult in charge of watering the Christmas tree daily to avoid ruining the carpet or floors.  If you can, fill (2) one-gallon milk jugs each day and let them sit for 24 hours, this will allow the chlorine to evaporate out of the water.  Letting the chlorine evaporate from the water you water your plants is a practice you should use when watering all house plants.  

There are many secrets to keeping a tree fresh.  Having a fresh cut and keeping water above this cut at all times is the most important thing you can do for the tree.  The water conducting vessels quickly close up if the tree does not have constant water.  Using a drop of Super Thrive in each gallon of water will help the tree stay fresh. Many people use 7-up and an aspirin in the water. You might want to save the aspirin if you drink Uncle Joe’s egg nog.  

Thank you for shopping at Possum’s Landscape and Pest Control Supply and for all of your letters, questions and for reading The Horticulture Hotline!

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

Monday, November 6, 2017

Another Beautiful Fall in the Lowcountry



Horticulture Hotline 11/06/17
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

The weather has been as nice as I can ever remember it the Lowcountry the past few weeks. Visiting the State, County, City, and Town Parks is a must this time of year. Walking through the peninsula of Charleston or other Lowcountry cities can be most enjoyable with the weather we have been having. The Plantations are another great place to spend a morning or afternoon. Shoot, Ol’Boy (my pound hound) and I have enjoyed just walking around the neighborhood. While walking, always keep an eye out for a cool plant, fountain, bird feeder, or other landscape item to bring into your yard or just enjoy in your neighbors. The sweet tea olive fragrance has been off the charts.

After last week’s article on winter kill, I have talked to many of my experienced (old), senior (old), knowledgeable (old), been in business over 25 years (old), member of AARP (old), well you get the idea, friends of mine (old), and we reminisced (what old people do) about the tragedy that a bad case of winter kill can cause to a yard. Whole turf areas can be wiped out (dead) and need to be re-sodded ($) overnight! Think of your whole yard dying overnight. Sodding 5 to 10 thousand square feet – not fun – not to mention removing the old dead grass. If you missed last week’s article, you can go to possumsupply.com and click on the Horticulture Hotline tab.  

As the leaves fall off the Crepe Myrtles and other trees, it is a good time to identify rubbing and crossing limbs. Any damaged limbs from Irma should be more visible.  Pruning now can save you some work during the busy spring.

If you had aphids, white flies or other insect problems on Crepe Myrtles or other plants, now is a great time to get ahead of those critters with Neem oil and Dominion Tree and Shrub drench. Dominion will be absorbed into the plant and be ready to protect the new leaves in the spring.

Try to keep up with the leaves as they fall. Leaves on your turf can lead to disease by holding moisture on the grass blades. If you (or a lawn care company) are applying products, the leaves will prevent an even application. If you can, try to compost or mulch the leaves on site. Your soil will thank you and you will enjoy the money saved on fertilizer and water.

Since the grass has slowed down, now is the perfect time to re-establish your bed lines and edge along your sidewalks and driveway. A little work now could be enjoyed for several months.

November and December are great months for planting bulbs, corms, rhizomes, and tubers. If you have had trouble with squirrels in the past, try Squirrel Stopper.

The great weather has brought on Large Patch disease in many yards. With any luck an application of a good systemic fungicide (T-Methyl, Fame and Prophesy) should get you through these favorable environmental conditions.

Soil testing in the fall allows you to amend the soil over the winter and be ready for spring. The better soil testing facilities and the people who need to interrupt the results of the test (that would be me if you soil test with Possum’s) have a little more time in the fall to get your information back to you.

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