Monday, October 6, 2014

Mike Williams and Tea Olives

I would like to start this week’s article with a shout out to Charleston RiverDogs’ head grounds superintendent Mike Williams. Mike (Riley Park) won the South Atlantic Leagues’ ‘Field of the Year’ honors for 2014. This is quite an achievement considering that the Citadel plays at Riley Park as well and the SoCon tournament was held there in May and many other concerts and special events. With the amount of play this field gets, an award like this illustrates Mike’s dedication to perfection.

With the amount of games and events on Riley Park, Mike is always very busy. There has been more than one time that we get on our cell phones and while I’m walking around the field looking at something on the grass, he is on a piece of equipment trying to finish up something before the players come out on the field. This summer in that period when it was 95 plus degrees forever, I was walking along the side of him while he was edging the warning track which is basically little pieces of brick. He is wearing shorts and his legs are being shredded by these little brick pieces. We are talking, we are sweating, and his legs are bleeding from these brick pieces. No big deal to Mike, he just wants the field perfect!

Wow, right after I wrote last week’s Horticulture Hotline, I went outside to get in my car and I was blasted with the wonderful smell of fall. I’m not talking about week old shrimp heads and three day old bait balls. I’m talking about Osmanthus fragrans, the Fragrant Tea Olive. What a great plant!

The Tea Olive does not like wind or being sheared; however, if planted correctly in well drained high organic matter soil, I have never seen any disease or insect issues. Tea Olives just sit there all summer as an evergreen, then boom, in the fall these small flowers show up and fill the air with a wonderful fragrance.

The fall is a great time in the Lowcountry (my favorite). There are festivals (this past weekend alone I know there was Oktoberfest, Latin American Festival, and Greek Festival), plantations, city, county, and state parks, three different “waterfront” parks and many more on the water, piers, bridges to walk, trails to walk, football games to go to, many boats you can go for a ride on or rent, farmer’s markets, work in your yard, well you get the idea.

If you missed last week’s article, go to and look under the Horticulture Hotline tab for the 9/29 Under Attack article. Sod Webworms and Brown Patch (Large Patch) are still very active. Unfortunately, these are not problems that you put out one product and you are done. Depending on environmental conditions, you may have to treat several times. Between the army worms in the summer and the sod webworms in the fall, I have talked to professionals that have treated up to 6 times and still fighting them. As long as the weather is cool and rainy, brown patch is going to be an issue.