Monday, August 23, 2010

Mosquitoes and other August Happenings

As any of you know that listen to the radio show (“The Garden Clinic” on WTMA 1250 am Saturday mornings from noon until 1:00 pm), Paul is always kidding me about being cheap. I like to think of it as living within my means, being practical, letting companies work the bugs out of products before buying them, and helping the environment.

Helping the environment worked real well until Ol’ Boy, the family dog, was the only one in the family that would ride with me in my 1994 minivan, Ol’ Rusty. I remember being at a radio remote in Mt. Pleasant, and I was parked next to one of Paul’s classic convertible cars (1960’s Camaro, Firebird, and / or GTO). The salespeople at the store were checking out his car under the hood and really admiring it when I went over and “popped the hood” and slide the back door open on Ol’ Rusty. Needless to say, it was good for a laugh.

A few weekends ago my daughters were going to have some friends over to sit around our fire pit. Again nothing fancy, just a hole the ‘hose murderer’ and I dug in the yard. Thinking about the get together and all the mosquitoes that have been sucking the blood out of me when I’m outside in the evening or any other time, I decided I was going to make my yard a mosquito free area. I had to fight my practical urge to think that the smoke from the fire was going to keep the mosquitoes away from the girls.

At Possum’s we sell many products that control mosquitoes. We sell these products to event planners, caterers, cemetery superintendents, people that treat other people’s properties for mosquitoes, The Charleston Battery, wedding reception places, schools, daycares, people that go camping, people with pools and other people that like to be outdoors.

I have always heard really good things about two organic products, so knowing the girls would end up barefoot, I tried them. Mosquito Repelling Granules and Mosquito Beater did a great job. Two weeks later and much rainfall, the mosquitoes are still repelled. After walking in some yards and parks this past week, I wish more people would give them a try.

Reduce thatch in your grass now. Thatch encourages Large Patch fungus and winter kill. Thatch can act like a down jacket, holding cold air around the crown of the plant, damaging the grass.

Topdressing with Cotton Burr Compost now will greatly reduce your thatch by winter. SeaHume G will also reduce thatch. Bio Grounds Keeper is a granular product that has cellulose (thatch) degrading bacteria and enzymes as well as humic acid. Aeration combine with any of the above will improve your results greatly. If your thatch levels are way out of control, mechanical dethatching might be your only choice. Mechanical dethatching is very stressful to our warm season grasses, so if this is the route you are going to take, do it now so the grass can recover by winter.

Watch out for worms in the lawn. Sod webworm and army worms will attack turf at this time. The yard will appear like it has been mowed when really worms have just been eating it. They will munch down on a lot of grass very quickly, so be ready for them. Carbaryl or Tirade will kill them quickly and easily. A good organic product would contain Bt or Spinosad. If you use Carbaryl you might kill some of the Japanese beetle larva that attacked our landscape this past June.

As the weather cools and the nighttime temperatures drop, watch out for fall Large Patch (Brown Patch). With daylight hours getting less, the grass will begin to slow down making it more susceptible to this fungus. Large Patch is a soil borne fungus that usually appears in the same areas every fall and spring. With a good systemic fungicide like Cleary’s or Dual Action Fungicide along with PCNB, you can make your control of Large Patch easy.

Rhapsody or Serenade are two organic fungicides that work well against this disease. Applying Neptune Harvest’s crab shell product will increase the chitin eating bacteria in the soil. Fungi’s outer shell and nematode eggs contain chitin so this product is good to put out in areas of known for disease or nematodes. Using BioRush with its Trichoderma fungi, will also help fight off Large Patch. Eliminating any wet, poorly drained, compacted or thatchy areas will aid in the control of Large Patch.

Hurry up and get preemergent weed control out in your lawns and beds. You do not want to miss another year.

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