Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Time To Work In The Yard!

Horticulture Hotline 03/31/20
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

At Possum’s we are “essential”. Whether we are selling to a landscaper that is keeping your yard free of fire ants, … a pest management company protecting you from mosquitoes, rats, termites, or your pet from fleas, … or the farmer that needs to fertilize or protect his crop from insects or disease, safety for you and the people I work with is our number one concern. We are open and practicing “social distancing” and taking other steps to make sure everyone stays safe.

Today’s article is not as much of a “to do list” as a have you done it list.

I have been asked some form of this question a lot recently. “Should I mow down lower than I usually mow (scalp) and or bag my clippings on the first cut of the year?”

Congratulations, you must be using a preemerge product for winter weeds or you would be mowing weeds! A lot of people will mow lower and collect the clippings to get rid of the "brown" in the grass. Not needed for good grass, just appearance. By mowing lower, you remove the brown grass (your green grass from last fall), and your lawn will appear greener – basically you are removing the brown leaves from your grass like raking up leaves from your trees. If you did nothing different, the new leaf blades would come through and the brown leaves would decompose.

If you have a whole lot of leaves or brown grass that does not look like it is going to decompose in a reasonable amount of time, using a bagging mower may be a good option for the first cut. Get back to your mulching mower as soon as possible, so your grass benefits from the returned organic matter and nutrients.

If you have been waiting for the weather to warm up, here is a brief checklist of things that should have been completed around the yard:
·         Test soil. You might be wasting your money. Over fertilizing or under fertilizing could affect your landscape. Soil test provide valuable information for accurate fertilizing!
·         Have you applied SeaHume G to lawn and beds for a healthy start?
·         Have you fertilized your trees and shrubs?
·         Have you applied a preemergent to lawn and beds (this late use Dimension if it is your first application)? Remember it is never too late to start a preemerge program. It is never too late to preemerge, with our mild climate weeds germinate almost every day of the year. It is never too late to start a preemergent program.
·         Have you drench Dominion around plants with a history of insect problems?
·         Have you applied a preventive fungicide to turf if you have a history of fungus (T-Methyl, Strobe G)?

·         Mole Crickets overwinter as adults and do their mating flights right now. Have you killed them now before they can make babies? Be sure your lawn and beds are free of fire ants, and if you have pets, fleas and ticks should be controlled. If you live near the woods, chiggers may be an issue. (Granular Sevin will work on these pests. If you prefer organic, check with a Possum’s near you to find a product or products that will work in your situation.)
·         Have you gone through your irrigation system to be sure everything is operating correctly? In my travels through the Lowcountry, I have noticed many broken heads (geysers) and heads that are spraying into the street. Although they have been calling for rain, where I live, we have had very little. These low humidity days will dry out your grass and plants quickly. Plants and grass are putting out new leaves and need water! Wetting Agents will help get the water into the soil.
·         The little fury terrorist of the yard is having babies now. Have you killed a mole recently or at least repelled one out of your yard?
·         Is your lawn mower ready for another season? New Blade? New Air Filter? New Spark Plug?
·         Have you measured your turf and bed areas so you know how much product you need to buy and apply to your yard? Getting the right amount of product on your lawn will determine the success of your efforts.

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