Thursday, October 31, 2013

Shrubs, Trees and Sod Webworms

Well, last week I wrote about the unforgiving little worm, the sod webworm, and I’m glad to report my grass seems to be on the road to recovery; although, very slowly with the shorter days and cooler temperatures. The Lowcountry, once again, proves that it is a very difficult place to maintain a lawn. The high temperatures, long growing season, humid weather, varying soil types, fungi, insects, and disease are just a few obstacles in having that perfect lawn.I left for one weekend and the back yard got chowed on.

After spraying with Bifen and MSM (a herbicide for weeds), spreading Turf Ranger, spreading SeaHume G and spraying a light dose of Fish / Seaweed blend, the lawn is looking up. I wonder the economic impact of the sod webworm in the Lowcountry, and in Florida, where in areas, they treat for it year round along with the nasty rascal the chinch bug.

Shrubs and trees are generally neglected. Do you care for them like you do your lawn? When I ask people about feeding their shrubs, they usually have that “are you crazy look in their eyes.” Then I’m asked, “why would I feed them? I would just have to shear them (shearing plants is another article for another day) more often.”  Thank you Mom, for still feeding me after I hit 6 feet tall, so I did not get a disease and die. Plants need nutrition. Have you winterized your trees and shrubs for the winter? They like to go to bed with a satisfied ‘belly’ too.

Soil testing always gives you the best information for fertilizing, so you know exactly what product to use and how much of the product. If you do not have any recent test results, plan to get a soil test done. If you are not a soil testing type person, a few good products this time of year are 00-00-25 with 10% iron, SeaHume G, Excell, Possum Minors, Cotton Burr Compost, Nature’s Blend and  / or Flower Bed Amendment.

Do you use preemergent products in your beds to lower competition with weeds and lower your time spent pulling weeds? Neglected - those beds!  Do you manage insects and disease on your plants? Or do you walk by a dying plant and think, “oh, that plant looks like it is dying, but I’m too busy right now to mess with it.” This thought process continues until the plant is a clump of sticks. If you kid gets spots on him / her you rush them to a Doctor, but a plant not so fast.

Trees are neglected as well. They need food, aeration, and mulch. The trees in your yard are different than the trees in the woods. Trees use food to make leaves, roots, trunks, and branches. In the woods all these parts of a tree get recycled on the forest floor; however, in your yard, all these parts leave (pun intended) your property. Trees in an urban landscape get their roots severed by cable lines, irrigation lines and other utility lines. Sidewalks, driveways, decks, and pools also reduce the trees root space. Competition from grass and compaction from mowers, people and rainfall also hurt trees. Not to mention, scaring their trunk with a mower or trimmer. Be nice!