Sunday, September 17, 2017

More Irma Aftermath

Horticulture Hotline 09/17/17
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

It is after the storm and so much is happening. I’m going to try to stay within my column inches allotment (newspaper talk), but no promises.

Mitigate salt damage as soon as you can! Salt is not good for plants and can kill them. Leach the salt out of the soil profile. Give us a call – we can help.

With all the rainfall, we have had all summer, some ditches have stayed wet - breeding mosquitoes all summer. I have been seeing frogs for the first time in years hanging out in and around ditches! With all the mosquitoes to eat, the frogs are happy; however, the mosquitoes eat us, making us not so happy.

With the flooding we had, all those little holes that you can see in the pluff mud as you drive over a bridge that are usually dry are now full of water and are a breeding area for the mosquito. Remember a mosquito needs less than a bottle cap of water to lay eggs into to breed.

Chikungunya, Dengue (still in the tropics), Zika, West Nile Virus … now it is time to wage war against the mosquito!

First, I’m going to give you a shopping list. Pick up these items then wage war on the mosquitoes and their breeding places in your yard. Mosquitoes & Gnats Are Gone, Cyonara Lawn and Garden, Mosquito Beater, Mosquito Dunks, and Altosid Pro G are some of the basic weapons that you will need to wage war against these blood suckers.

Apply the Mosquitoes & Gnats Are Gone to yourself. This product is organic and does an unbelievable job against mosquitoes, gnats, no-see-ums, ticks and other biting insects. Mosquitoes & Gnats Are Gone is non-greasy, DEET-free, and safe for the whole family. If you would rather go old school, Sprayon Insect Repellent II (23.75% Deet) or our 95% Deet Mosquito Repellent should do the trick. Now you are ready for the yard.

Scout around the yard for anything that holds water. Old tires, saucers under potted plants, bird baths, old flower containers or pots stacked in a corner, dog toys, kids toys, a container by the grill you use to soak wood chips in, a cooler, an old fountain, an upside down 5 gallon bucket that has a lip that holds water, a trash can lid with a dent, brick work that needs repointing, a hole in a tree and a dogs water bowl all make great places for mosquitoes to breed. Empty the water out these areas (refill the dog bowl and the bird bath daily). A tarp covering a boat or wood pile can have many pockets that hold water. Sagging gutters hold water.  A few empty bottles or cans can end up being thousands of mosquitoes! A bottle cap can be a breeding area. Many mosquitoes can breed in just an ounce of water.

If you have bigger areas of water like a ditch or a low area of the yard that holds water, apply the Mosquito Dunks or the Altosid Pro G. The Mosquito Dunks are an organic Bt product that kill larvae and the Altosid Pro G is a growth regulator product that contains the same active ingredient that is used in the Precor products for controlling fleas. Although Altosid is not organic, it is considered to be very safe and labeled to be used in very sensitive areas like marshes. Turn off your irrigation when you can and correct any drainage problems.

Any pruning you can do to increase air movement and sunlight penetration will also help. Mosquitoes like moist stagnant areas. Mosquitoes are very weak fliers, so they do not like wind or air movement (big fans for parties help). Mosquitoes are a public health issue, so  you might be able to get some help from a government agency.

Next, you want to mow your lawn then spray the lawn, shrubs, trees, and mulched areas with Cyonara Lawn and Garden. This product not only kills mosquitoes but also kills chiggers, fleas, ants, ticks, spittlebugs and roaches just to name a few other problem insects out right now.  If you include a growth regulator like Pivot or Nyguard, your control will last much longer.

If you would like to stay organic apply Mosquito Beater or Mosquito Repelling Granules. These organic products really do a great job. They are university tested and has also proven itself in the Lowcountry. Many of our customers at Possum’s have reported control for over three weeks! We sell these products to people putting on large fundraisers, other outdoor festivals, sporting events, and individuals. We always get positive feedback! If you would rather spray, try EcoVia EC. A natural product that works!

Rats and snakes go together like shrimp and grits. After the storm, we have had a surge of questions at Possum’s about ridding people’s houses of these two pests. We have some great organic rodent repelling products (Rodents Are Gone Liquid, Granular, for the Exterior and Interior), traps, lures for the traps, and various baits. We have organic repellents for the snakes as well, but it is best to get rid of the rats, so the snakes have to look elsewhere for food.

I’m seeing a lot of army worm damage. If your grass looks like it has been mowed and you haven’t mowed it, bend down and pull up several leaf blades and see if something has been chewing on it. Also look for moths flying around your yard. Chinch bugs in St. Augustine are still very active. EcoVia is an organic product that will take care of both of these and mosquitoes. Bug Blaster or Bifen are a couple of other products you could use.

Time to fall fertilize your trees and shrubs. 17-00-09 should work good for you. A soil test will provide the best information to determine what fertilizer to use.

If this sounds like too much work, hire a professional. Always read and follow product label.