Monday, May 31, 2010

The “green” list continues…

EcoPCO WP-X is a newer product made from three botanical insecticides that can help fill in the gaps (or cracks and crevices – a little Pest Control Manager lingo) of a “green” program. EcoPCO WP-X can be used indoors and outdoors. Chinch bugs, spiders, fire ants, cockroaches, carpenter ants, carpenter bees, wasps, aphids, Japanese beetles, lace bugs, white flies, thrips, fleas, pantry pests, fruit flies, fungus gnats and many, many others pests are controlled with this product.

A good place to start with this product is to establish a barrier around your house. Spray a six to ten foot band of a solution of this product over the mulch and soil around the house. Use at least one to five gallons of the spray solution per 800 to 1600 square feet. The more water you use while spraying, the better penetration into the mulch or soil you would get, giving you a better kill. Down in the mulch is usually where the critters live. Good penetration is important for any product you want to use as a barrier treatment (always read and follow product label).

Spray the sides of your house two to three feet high as well. This band will keep the cockroaches and other critters from crawling up your house and slipping into your home through a crack or crevice. Around doors, windows, porches, screens, eaves, patios, garages, around porch lights, pipes entering the house, and other points of entry are also good places to spray EcoPCO WP-X.

If some insects or spiders got through your barrier, you can treat inside with this product as well. Identify the pest and follow the label on the EcoPCO WP-X tub.

Armyworms, chinch bugs, sod webworms, chiggers, fire ants, mole crickets and many other insects that you might find in your yard are controlled with EcoPCO WP-X. For controlling chinch bugs in St. Augustine grass, EcoPCO WP-X provides a good “green” alternative. Again, you would want to use a lot of water with the product to get the product down into the thatch where the critters live.

Aphids, Japanese beetles, thrips, lace bugs, mealy bugs, white flies and many of your ornamental pests can be controlled with EcoPCO WP-X. No more free lunch!

Always read, understand, and follow product label.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Organics - Seaumic, Serenade
Horticulture Hotline 05/24/10
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

Last week I got a little side tracked writing about the amazing job that Tony Bakker and his team of people at The Charleston Battery have been able to accomplish through “going green.” This week I’m going to concentrate more on some of the newer products available and some of the old favorites for the new readers.

Seaumic has proven itself worthy in the Lowcountry in very short time. Seaumic is a granular organic product that is 45% humates and 10% cold water kelp (seaweed). Rose growers, sports turf field managers, landscapers, vegetable gardeners, home lawns and landscapes, and annual flower beds have all improved with the use of Seaumic.

Seaumic provides humate to the soil. Humate is compressed organic matter over thousands of years that is mined from the Earth. Humates in the soil increase fertilizer efficiency, make nutrients that are in the soil more available to the plant, reduce leaching of nutrients, increase the CEC of the soil, feed microbes in the soil, and encourage root growth. This is a short list of the benefits that this biostimulant can provide for your landscape.

The seaweed in Seaumic, Ascophyllum nodosum, provides a host of plant growth hormones and micronutrients to the plant. Cytokinins, Purines, Indoles, Abscisic Acid, and the plant growth hormones (auxins and gibberellins) just to name a few will get your plants and turf super healthy. Have you heard of human growth hormones?

One of our landscape customers worked at Clemson University for Dr. T.L. Senn while he was developing this product. When the customer found out we were selling the product, he ordered over 100 bags. Enough said!

Serenade is an organic fungicide that can be used on plants, flowers, trees, fruits and vegetables. Serenade is a bacteria strain that controls harmful plant diseases. It controls or suppresses Black Spot, Powdery Mildew, Rust, Gray Mold, Late Blight, Scab, Leaf Spot, Fire Blight and many other diseases.

Black spot on roses, Powdery Mildew on roses and Crepe Myrtles, and Leaf Spot on Indian Hawthorne are always a challenge. Give Serenade a try. As an OMRI rated product for organic gardening, it would be a good product to rotate in with others for a different mode of action to avoid resistance.

Some much to write, so little time. Next week I'll write about more organics.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Charleston Battery, Organics

Horticulture Hotline 05/17/2010
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

While tending our booth at the Charleston Battery’s “Go Green Expo” May 9, 2010, it reminded me how far we have come in the last few years with “green” products. Some of these products may have been available in the past; however, I have been paying closer attention to them since Possum’s is the official supplier to The Charleston Battery who tries to be as “green” as possible.

The Charleston Battery has geo-thermal wells, solar panels, fish for aquatic weed control, mostly an organic playing field, recycle, electric cars, control gnats and mosquitoes with organic products, and they do not sell bottled water at the games, but give away filtered water. . . The Charleston Battery is serious about “green”.

Getting a soil test and having a knowledgeable person interpret the results for you, is the first step towards a great landscape. Incorporating organics into your fertilizer program will go a long way to “fixing” the soil instead of putting a band aid on the problems.

After several years of using organics at The Battery, Kevin Duris (Head Grounds Superintendent) and Shannon Summersett (Assistant Grounds Superintendent) have been able to maintain a high quality playing surface and reduce the costs by a half. The first year the budget was higher; however, every year following that the budget has come down significantly.

For drainage and footing, The Battery is a sand based pitch (English soccer lingo for field). They actually have to remove organic matter as it builds up in the soil because the organic matter slows down the drainage. Core aeration and topdressing with sand (the field is sand based) is a cultural way they remove thatch and organic matter. They also use BGK 7500, an organic product that contain thatch eating bacteria, to remove unwanted organic thatch buildup.

I do not recommend that homeowners top dress with sand because that can cause more problems than you are trying to fix. Aerate with a coring aerator and leave the plugs on top of the ground and apply BGK 7500 will help with the thatch. Cotton Burr Compost and Seaumic will also help reduce thatch.

Next week, I’ll write about other organic options to “fix” situations in the landscape. Also, remember to remove products (organic or not) from sidewalks and other hard surfaces, so rainfall will not wash the products into our storm drain system.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Leaf gall

Here is a question that the guys in the store and I have been hearing repeatedly this spring.

I have a camellia whose leaves are 2-3 times the normal size and are real thick. Can you help me with this?

This is a very common disease that affects camellias. This disease affects Camellia sasanqua (the small leaf camellia that blooms in the fall) more than Camellia japonica (the large leaf camellia that blooms in the winter). The cool nights, overhead irrigation and rains we had in the early spring made this disease flourish. This disease is caused by the fungus Exobasidium camelliae. There is another Exobasidium fungus that affects azaleas in a very similar way.

Leaf gall is the common name for this fungus. The leaves become very large and fleshy. The new growth is much thicker than normal and then the leaves break apart and release spores. When the leaf breaks apart, you can see the lower part of the leaf turns white. The disease spreads by wind and splashing water. A good layer of mulch will help with the splashing water.

The best control for leaf gall is to pick the infected leaves off as soon as you see them in the spring. If you can pull them off before the spores develop, you can prevent the disease from spreading. Once you pull them off, place them in a plastic bag (the one your newspaper comes in is handy or a dog poop bag) and throw them away in the garbage or burn them.

Usually this disease does not require chemical treatment. The manual pulling off of leaves and limiting overhead irrigation in the spring, when the nights are cool, will keep it in check. If you have a severe problem year after year, you could apply Mancozeb at bud break. This should be your last resort.

For this year, pull off as many infected leaves as you can. Soon your plants should go back to producing its normal size leaves. The leaves that were affected by leaf gall will soon wither, turn brown and fall off the shrub.

While eating lunch the other day, I also had a question about a Christmas cactus and the fertilizer for it. A 10-30-20 water soluble fertilizer would be a good start. The nitrogen (the first number) should be 20% or less of the phosphorus (the second number) and potassium (the third number) added together. As I told you then, less is better or the cacti will get diseased.