Monday, December 17, 2018

License To Kill

Horticulture Hotline 12/17/18
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

While in Possum’s the other day, I was amazed we were already getting hit with the question, “who is a good lawn care company?”

I have been hit with some variation of this question a lot recently in different situations. Since we sell products to many different companies, it is best to ask your friends. We rarely see the end results of our customer’s applications to various yards. Also, we wouldn’t want you to be at a family reunion talking to your distant cousin that is also a good customer of ours, and say that Possum’s recommended a different company other than your distant cousin.

Lawn care companies can spray several different products to solve several different issues at once. In order to tank mix different control products, they need to make sure the products are compatible with each other.  Also, the lawn care applicator must calibrate the sprayer to make sure they are getting the proper amount of product out, in the given amount of square feet according to the product labels.  Knowing the correct amounts to put into the sprayer to control what you are trying to control is critical.  Does this all sound “Greek” to you?

A professional lawn service regularly mix several control products together to control many issues in the lawn at one time.  They are licensed by the state to apply control products and they apply control products on a daily basis.  Many applicators have years of experience putting out products as well.   Most companies have different programs and they will either treat your yard on an “on call” basis, quarterly program, or complete yearly programs.  Check with the individual companies for what they have to offer. Just beware that if your yard is all green weeds and they kill all your weeds, then your yard will be brown. I have been told, “Bill, they came out and killed my yard!” When in reality the yard was weeds and they killed the weeds.

When choosing a lawn care company or any contractor, it is good to get references from neighbors and friends.  With lawn care companies, it is especially important to find one that is doing good work in your neighborhood.  Most applicators that work for a lawn care company have a route in a certain area and different applicators have different abilities and experience.  If you sign up with a company who is doing a good job at your neighbor’s two doors down, chances are you will get the same applicator that they have. Whereas if your friend from across town recommends a company, you might be assigned an applicator with more experience or less experience – a little bit of a gamble.

One thing to remember, even though your house is right next to another house, the results of lawn care can be totally different because of sun / shade patterns. Trees and the way your house is positioned on your lot can greatly affect the way the grass grows. A sunny yard is best for good grass growth. The type of grass and soil could vary as well.

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

Monday, December 10, 2018

Bedbugs - They Are Just Looking For A Meal

Horticulture Hotline 12/10/18
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

While working locally at the 3 Possum Stores, a common issue at all three stores are people whose houses are infected with bedbugs. My go to product is ActiveGuard Mattress Liners. This product has made so many people be able to fulfill the saying, “good night, sleep tight, and don’t let the bedbugs bite” that it is unreal. There are many other products that we sell and techniques (using heat for example) to manage bedbugs, but this product has you sleeping in your own bed immediately.

The situation that I heard twice this week at Possum’s at two different stores was that their child had another child spend the night and the child brought bedbugs with them. Bedbugs, roaches, and rats usually have the customer leaning over the desk and talking in a very quiet voice (hush tones), like at a pharmacy when you don’t want to share your situation with the whole line. With all the Holiday and Bowl Game travelling coming up and since the kids will be out on break and spending the night with friends, be aware of the bedbug.

ActiveGuard Mattress Liners also control dust mites that can trigger asthma, which is a huge problem in itself. Have you ever looked into your kids eyes when they say, ”I can’t breathe”? Been there, done that, not fun, scary, paid the ER bill.

ActiveGuard Mattress Liners were developed as an extension of the globally use mosquito nets (many of which Bill Gates has funded to wipe out malaria).

These mattress liners are easy for one person to put on a bed or box spring. The liner is basically a fitted sheet and is way easier to deal with than an encasement that requires you to put a mattress or box spring in a ‘big bag’ that zippers shut (mattresses are heavy and big, so not too easy for most people). Mattresses and box springs are very expensive. With the ActiveGuard Mattress Liners you do not have to throw away your mattress and box springs.

I look at ActiveGuard Mattress Liners as the preemergent / post emergent control of the bedbug world. If you have an infestation, you can put on an ActiveGuard Mattress Liner and many of the bedbugs will be dead within 24 hours. Some of the more resistant bedbugs could take up to 72 hours. The liners also have a growth regulator effect on bedbugs where the liners effect reproduction. Many hotels are using ActiveGuard Mattress Liners preventively to control bedbugs. The revenue lost in one night quickly pays for the liner.

ActiveGuard Mattress Liners work 24/7 for up to 2 years. Amazing! While you try to control the bedbugs in your house, you will be able to sleep easy on your own mattress. With the amount of people in tears that we have seen in Possum’s this is pretty inexpensive control. This product is EPA Toxicology Category IV by all routes of exposure. Therefore, no signal word nor Hazards to Humans and Domestic Animal Statements are required.

If you have bedbugs or know someone who does, let them know about ActiveGuard Mattress Liners.

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

Monday, December 3, 2018

Transplanting 101 Plus A Little More

Horticulture Hotline 12/03/18
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

Wow, where has the time gone? I can’t believe I’m writing a 12 on the above date! The late fall rains have certainly caused the large patch / brown patch to explode.

Now is a great time of year to prepare for transplanting and to plant new plants. Many people are asking me the best way to transplant shrubs and trees. Here are some guidelines for successfully transplanting plants or trees:

·         Decide the size of you root ball. For every inch in tree trunk diameter you want a foot of root ball. If your tree is three inches in diameter, your root ball should go in a circle one and a half feet from the trunk of the tree. You could tie a string around the tree leaving eighteen inches of string – then draw a line walking around the tree measuring with this string. Root balls can be very heavy so consider a hiring a professional. Be prepared to pay top dollar to move a plant because moving plants requires much more work than planting them out of containers. If your plants are way too crowded, get as much root ball as possible, and if they are so crowded that you cannot even get in there to work, you may have to sacrifice a few plants, so you do not kill them all. Always take as large a ball as possible. Sometimes you have to thin out plants for the overall health of the landscape.
·         Spray the plant you are going to move with an anti-transpirant (Cloud Cover, Wilt Proof, or Transfilm). These products will hold moisture in leaves and stems. 
·         Drench the ground with BioRush and SuperThrive. These are bio stimulant products that encourage rooting. Repeat monthly until you move the plant.  
·         Root prune the plant. Go to the area that you determined your ball to go out to and push a shovel straight down – do not pry on the shovel – just cut the roots. Repeat this root pruning all the way around the plant. If the plant has been in the ground a long time, you may have to skip a shovel width each time you root prune to lessen the shock. Apply SeaHume granular (Humic acid and Seaweed bio stimulants) to decrease stress. Repeat monthly until you move the plant.
·         Keep an eye on the plant for the next month. Be sure to water it as needed.  When watering the soil, spray a fine mist on the foliage of the plant.  Since the roots have just been severed, this will help the plant absorb the water through the foliage and water the roots as well. 
·         After thirty days or if you could wait until a cooler time (January, February), dig away from the plant in the area that you root pruned. Resist the temptation to pry up on the plant. You should have a ball in a mote when you are finished. Try to have the plant moved a month before it sends out new growth or flowers in the spring (late January to be safe).
·         Water the ball so the soil will stick to the roots.
·         Severe the ball from the area underneath the plant.
·         Always handle the root ball – do not grab the plant by its trunk.
·         Move the plant onto a tarp or some burlap.
·         Be sure when you move the plant to its new home, you plant it above existing grade.   Plants buried too deep are the biggest problem I see in landscapes.  A plant that is planted too deep is starved for oxygen which affects many other plant processes (ability to absorb nutrients or causes root rot). 
·         Be sure not to pile mulch up against the trunk of the tree or shrub as this will also kill the plant over a period of time. Consider using Cotton Burr Compost or Nature’s Blend as a mulch to get the nutrition associated with these products.
·         Spray the leaves and stems with anti-transpirant.
·         Use  Diehard Transplant (contains a friendly fungus inoculum, wetting agents, water holding gel, humic acid, Sea Kelp, root stimulating vitamins and beneficial bacteria) should also be added to increase the surface absorbing area of root systems with the back fill. Spray foliage with BioRush as it is a special blend of natural organic ingredients designed to help transplant survival. Drench with SuperThrive.
·         Apply the right amount of water.  Be sure to spray the foliage.
·         Apply the right amount of Cotton Burr Compost or Natures Blend mulch.
·         Apply granular SeaHume after you have moved the plant to encourage new root growth.
·         Stake the tree or shrub if needed.
·         Good Luck!

Now is a great time to go visit the many parks and plantations in the area, or just take a walk around downtown. The award winning Charleston County Parks Festival of Lights is a must see.

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