Sunday, February 12, 2017

Early Spring Check List

Horticulture Hotline 02/12/17
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

Are you ready for the 2017 season in your yard?

Here are a few things to do on the nice winter days (you know Charleston, one day nice next day not so nice).

·         Get soil tested – how do you know what to apply if you don’t know what you have in the soil already. Think of taking a soil test like your doctor taking a blood test – the doctor must know your levels of different things before he or she can decide what medicine you might need.
·         Kill winter weeds now while they are young and your grass is dormant.
·         Preemerge now if you haven’t already. Kill small seeded summer annual weeds before they take over your landscape.
·         Take mower in to have serviced to beat the Spring rush. With the new ethanol gas lawn mower engines and other engines have had issues. No one likes their mechanic to tell them, “pick it up in 4 weeks.”
·         Keep leaves off lawn areas. Keeps moisture from being trapped and if you or your lawn service are applying products, you will have a more uniform coverage without the leaves.
·         Move any shrub or tree now before it is too late. Root prune now, move before they start putting on new growth. Try DieHard Transplant to help survival.
·          Spray trees and shrubs with paraffinic oil (ultra-fine, Omni Supreme oil) as opposed to petroleum oils (Volck) to control over-wintering insects. Watch temperatures. If you have ongoing issues with scale, aphids, white flies, or other sucking bugs, try Safari or Dominion for long term control. Neem oil works on diseases as well as insects.
·         Have you tried Lime / Sulfur spray around the ground of deciduous plants that get diseased (do not spray foliage – just the ground)? Roses and blueberries or any plant that gets leaf spot disease are good examples of plants that benefit from this sanitation practice.
·         Sharpen pruning tools or purchase new ones.
·         Apply SeaHume to turf, trees, flowers, and shrubs. Adding organics now will help your turf and shrubs in the spring. Cotton Burr Compost?
·         Re-do bed lines to reflect maturing landscape.
·         Get bird house ready for nesting birds.
·         Have moles, get Mole Patrol – it really works. After you use Mole Patrol, use a repellent like Repellex monthly to keep them out.
·         Have deer, get Deer Stopper – it really works.
·         Check irrigation or get on professional’s list to check. Be sure the heads are pointed the right way. Can you eliminate (turn off) the zone watering the shrubs and trees? Have you tried wetting agents to lower your water bill (we hear between 30 and 60 percent)? Less water equals less disease.
·         Prune Crepe Myrtles – don’t butcher them. Remove crossing (rubbing) limbs, inward growing limbs and diseased limbs. Topping or reducing their height is not considered proper pruning.
·         Hold off on pruning plants damaged by the cold – we could still have freezing temperatures.
·         Test well for salt, if you own a well.
·         Attend meetings of the Rose, Camellia, Horticultural Societies and other like horticultural societies.
·         Get out and enjoy our County, State and City parks as well as our local plantations.

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