Monday, February 19, 2018

Organics And Exercise

Horticulture Hotline 02/19/18
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

For all the gym rats and exercise guru’s out there, I contend that working in the yard is some of the best and most rewarding exercise out there. Yard work requires many different muscle groups and when you are finished, you can see a visual difference in your yard. When you walk away from a swimming pool, stair climber, tread mill, spin bike, elliptical machine, rack of weights, or road you just walked or ran on, they look exactly the same as you found them unless you didn’t wipe your sweat off...

Since a contractor doing work at my house decided he needed my chain saw more than I did, I have been doing most off my pruning with a Wolf Garten Hand Saw / Pole Saw Combination. Yesterday, I was pruning limbs away from my house for air movement, to keep the limbs from rubbing on my paint, and to keep the squirrels from climbing on my roof and trying to knawel their way into my attic. Depending on where the limbs that I was removing were in relation to my ladder, I was sawing with my right hand or left hand at all different angles while balancing on the ladder.

Then, I’m dragging these cut limbs to the area where the City picks them up and re-cutting the limbs that are too long. Next, pushing a lawn mower, priming a well, lifting a 50 pound bag, spreading a preemergent, lifting a 50 pound bag, spreading SeaHume, lifting a 50 pound bag, spreading more SeaHume, dragging a hose to water in, loading my dog in the truck, drive to Possum’s for more organics since I notice the buds on my bald cypress were swelling, lift more 40 to 50 pound bags of organics to put around my shrubs and trees, lift a bag of 07-00-09 for my sago’s and lemon tree, drive home, unload the dog, unload the organics into a wheelbarrow (of course the tire is a little low on pressure), push the wheelbarrow across the yard to the trees and shrubs, lift the bags and spread the “good stuff”, rake down the high piles and even the organics out, then pump up the sprayer and do a little spot spraying of weeds… Multiple muscles used, can instantly see results in the yard and know there are more results to come.

When I see those buds on my bald cypress swelling, I think of one thing – ORGANICS!
Cotton Burr Compost, Flower Bed Amendment, Nature’s Blend, composted chicken manure, composted cow manure, 09-00-00 Corn Gluten, Blood Meal, Bone Meal, Feather Meal, Cotton Seed Meal, 08-02-04 Sustane, 05-04-00 and / or SeaHume are great products to use now on your ornamental plants and turf. If you plan to use just one product, I would go with SeaHume now. After the oaks lose their leaves, use Cotton Burr Compost, Flower Bed Amendment or Nature’s Blend as a mulch instead of pine straw (low nutrition) or bark (nutrition not available). If you use Cotton Burr Compost, Flower Bed Amendment or Nature’s Blend as a mulch, every time it rains your plants will get a drink of compost tea, and you know how we like our tea around here!

For best results spread over the whole bed; however, you can spread the products around individual plants. If you plan to do individual plants, be sure to cover where the roots are and out a little past where you think they are. Remember to keep compost or mulch off the trunk of trees and shrubs.

As microorganisms break the organics down into a usable form to the plants, organic products feed the soil. When the soil is cold, these microorganisms are inactive. As the temperatures warm up, the microorganisms begin to break down the organic material and make the nutrients available to the plant. The plant is beginning to grow and put on new leaves as the temperature warms up, so like magic there is food available to the plant right when it needs it most. The forest with its leaves, twigs, limbs, and microorganism population is fertilized in this manner.

Cotton Burr Compost, Flower Bed Amendment, Nature’s Blend, composted chicken manure, and composted cow manure are all composted to the point that they do not tie up nitrogen. Some organics can actually steal nutrients away from the plants while they decompose fully. Wood chips, fresh raked leaves, or grass clippings are best put into a compost pile until you are unable to tell what they were originally, and they are fully composted.

Flower Bed Amendment not only contains Cotton Burrs, but also composted cattle manure, feather meal, cotton seed meal and alfalfa meal.  Alfalfa meal is high in nitrogen and contains Triacantanol, a natural growth enhancer, and may help in the suppression and control of certain fungal diseases.

SeaHume is a combination of cold water kelp (Ascophyllum nodosum) and humates.
The seaweed is full of sixty major and minor nutrients, amino acids, carbohydrates and natural occurring plant growth promoting substances (bio stimulants, gibberellins) that increase plant vigor, quality and yield. Humates increase the availability of nutrients in the soil, increase root growth, keeps nutrients in area that roots can reach (increase CEC), make the soil more friable and many other benefits.

Since SeaHume and Flower Bed Amendment have a cocktail of good organics, I’m starting with them this year. I’m hoping to bring my cold damage plants back and have them healthy to repair themselves from the severe pruning back some of them will get.
Control summer annual weeds before they emerge with preemergent herbicides. Crabgrass will be germinating soon, so get your preemerge of choice out now! Kill winter weeds that are up now before they produce viable seed for next year. Try not to prune azaleas now or you will be removing their flower buds and their spring flowers.

Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law.
Bill Lamson-Scribner can be reached during the week at Possum’s Landscape and Pest Control Supply. Possum’s has three locations 481 Long Point Rd in Mt. Pleasant (971-9601), 3325 Business Circle in North Charleston (760-2600), or 606 Dupont Rd, in Charleston (766-1511). Bring your questions to a Possum’s location, or visit us at You can also call in your questions to “ The Garden Clinic”, Saturdays from noon to 1:00, on 1250 WTMA  (The Big Talker).