Monday, February 28, 2011

The Weed's Cycle

Have you put a preemergent product out on your lawn and in your beds? The time is now! Keep weeds away before they take over your lawn and ornamental plantings. It is a whole lot easier to control weeds before they come up with a preemergent product, than after they come up with a post emergent product.

If you enjoy pulling weeds in the flower and shrub beds, skip the preemergent product in these areas. The beauty of pulling weeds! Sweating (the lady folks glowing), then swatting at that mosquito or gnat that is flying about your face, and ending up with a nice dirt smudge (in that split second soil change to dirt) on your face. So much fun!

Pulling weeds by hand is like bailing water out of a boat with a hole in the bottom of boat. Weed seeds are very small for the most part (usually over 2,000,000 seeds per pound), so they need to be right near the soil surface to germinate. For the more technical, these seeds do not have enough endosperm (stored food supply – energy) when they germinate to fight their way up to the soil surface where their new leaves can begin to manufacture their own food.

These weed seeds just wait in the soil until the soil gets disturbed and they get their chance to become a full grown weed. Dogs digging, birds pecking, moles tunneling, you planting or transplanting a plant, tilling, and yes, you pulling a weed will bring weed seeds to the surface where they can germinate.

Think of the process of pulling a weed. I’ll skip the part about applying sun screen, applying bug spray, taking medication for back, arthritis, and knee pain, looking for the other glove for your pair, fighting with your spouse over how weedy the yard is, telling your friend that you cannot go fishing, shopping, golfing, etc. until you pull the weeds and paying the fine to the homeowner association for not keeping up the proper appearance.

When you pull a weed, you want to pull up the roots as well. Everyone’s mother taught them that, “be sure you get the roots or they will grow right back!” Attached to the roots is soil. The roots may go several inches into the ground, so you bring soil up to the surface from several inches below the surface. When you pull out the weed, you shake the soil off of the weeds roots. In this soil are weed seeds that you were nice enough to bring to the soil surface where they could germinate. Yes, by pulling weeds, you have just given weed seeds that would have stayed in the ground unnoticed, a chance at life.

Understand why it is like bailing water out of a boat with a hole in the bottom of it? Make your life easier and use a preemergent product in your lawn and beds this year!

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

Monday, February 21, 2011

SeaHume Granular

Another nice weekend to be in the Lowcountry! The gnats haven’t figured it out yet either! I took a walk through Hampton Park downtown and the Tulip Magnolias were just starting to show some color. I can remember, in warmer times, when they would be fully open in late January. I can also remember a hard frost in February nailing the blooms of the Tulip Magnolia into a black tuft at the end of the limb.

Dr. Tee Senn spent most of his adult life (he is 94 and still going to Clemson football games) after WWII studying seaweed and humates. He has traveled the world looking for the seaweed that contains the most naturally occurring major and minor nutrients, carbohydrates, amino acids and natural plant growth promoting substances (bio stimulants) which enhance crop yields, quality and vigor.

There are many types of seaweed floating around in the world’s oceans and the one that Dr. Senn determined to be the best was Ascophyllum nodosum (aka An, Cold Water Kelp). This species of kelp comes from the cold North Atlantic waters and is a natural storehouse for the minerals washing off the mountains in this pristine area.

These amino acids, carbohydrates, minor nutrients, major nutrients, and bio stimulants can really help your turf, flowers, shrubs, trees, and vegetables come out of dormancy in the spring. Now is a great time to apply Ascophyllum nodosum.

Humates are also mined throughout the world. Dr. Senn determined the best humates he could find were right here in Utah. The organic matter that was compressed over millions of years to form these natural deposits offered a higher quality humic acid product with more bio stimulant activity than other deposits throughout the world.

Humates do wonders for the soil (maybe next week’s Horticulture Hotline). A few highlights are reduces thatch, increases water holding capacity, makes soil more friable, increases aeration of soil, makes insoluble nutrients in the soil into forms available to plants, acts as organic catalyst, increase viability and germination of seeds, accelerates cell division and root development, contains a lot of micronutrients, and increases photosynthesis.

After I gave a talk at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center for the SC Nursery & Landscape Association on organics, I was approached by Dr. Senn’s son David. About a year later SeaHume was developed. SeaHume granular is a powerhouse of natural, organic, plant growth substances combined into one product (the best of the land and sea). We have a liquid SeaHume product as well; however, you would have to spray the liquid 675 times to get the equivalent amount of humic acid and 278 times to get the equivalent amount of Ascophyllum nodosum. I will write about the advantages of the liquid later.

Since introducing this product, we have heard many big time success stories. Give your trees, turf, shrubs, vegetables, and flowers a boost this spring with SeaHume!

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

Monday, February 14, 2011

Spring Time is Coming

The late winter / early spring is a very critical time of year in the landscape. A lot of project work can be done now to make the rest of the year easier. Some planning will also go a long way towards making your landscape tasks run smoother.

If you have some disease prone plants that you plan to rake the mulch out from under for sanitation purposes (ex. Roses), add preemergent products and SeaHume after you have remove the mulch. If the mulch is going to stay in place, you can add your preemergent and SeaHume right over the top of the existing mulch.

With your turf areas, get up the leaves and other winter debris before you apply preemergent products and SeaHume. A blanket of leaves will throw off the uniformity of your application, resulting in spotty results.

The new ethanol / gas blend is hard on small engines. Ethanol is an alcohol that attracts moisture from the air. This moisture can give you engine trouble with your lawn mower, string trimmers, chain saws, edgers, blowers, boat motors….any small engine.

Before the season for mowing begins, you may want to start your mower and be sure it is ready to mow. If you wait until April, your small engine mechanic might be backed up for weeks.

Getting a general inspection for your mower and other gas powered equipment is a good idea during this late winter time frame. A new blade for the mower, spark plugs and new air filters (if needed) always makes pulling that cord nicer when you are ready to use your equipment. Again, beat the crowds at the small engine repair shop.

Get ready to mow down the Liriope (monkey grass). Hedge shears or a lawn mower with a sharp blade is great for doing this. Holly fern and cast-iron plant will also benefit from cutting back to remove old discolored foliage.

Plants grow. Redefining bed lines, removing plants, adding plants, changing plants and removing or adding grass is just like buying new shoes for an adolescent child. The landscape is dynamic and ever changing. Get these changes made now before the temperatures become your enemy.

Wait for the water oaks and the live oaks to drop their leaves and finish any pruning projects or new plantings before you freshen up your mulch. Remember to prune your ground covers as well as your trees and shrubs. New fresh mulch and oak leaves do not get along.


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

Monday, February 7, 2011

Early Spring To Do List

The days are getting warmer, and people are ready to start doing something outside in their yards. I’m going to try to keep this as a list without too many details, so I can get more tasks listed. If you have any specific questions, contact a Possum’s and they can help you further or get me a message. The Super Bowl is over, The Daytona 500 and SEWE is coming up, and March Madness is just around the corner, so “Git er done” while you have a chance.

Stop small seeded summer annual weeds now with a preemergent herbicide. Get them before they get you. Winter weeds are emerged; however, summer annual weeds have not come up. Use a preemergent now and get summer weeds before they emerge. Use a preemergent in turf and beds, so you are not battling weeds. We even have an organic product that affects the young root system of a developing weed. PREEMERGE NOW!

Did you forget about some daffodil bulbs someone gave to you or you purchased? Get them in the ground ASAP! Plant them with a tablespoon of SeaHume and a tablespoon 04-04-04, and watch them take off.

Have any planting, transplanting, rearranging, or new landscaping to do? The time is now! Plants are getting ready to put on new growth, so if you want to move or plant them, this is the time to do it before they have that flush of new growth. Depending on the size of the plant, some SeaHume, Transfilm, and 04-04-04 will help the plant get established in its new home.

Properly pruning Crepe Myrtles and other trees is important at this time. Before the tree uses the energy to put out new foliage, prune off the limbs that need to be removed. Please do not top Crepe Myrtles or any other trees. Look for weak crotch angles (limbs that attach like a V instead of a U), rubbing limbs, diseased limbs, limbs that are growing through the trees interior, and dead limbs.

Pruning spring flowering shrubs can be tricky at this time. Most of them have set their buds by now, so you do not want to remove your flower show by mistake. Plants that are more for screening and not grown for their flowers can be pruned at this time. Remember, if you have the room, shrubs can be limb up into small trees, and you can let them grow instead of constantly pruning them to reduce their size.

Lime / Sulfur is a great spray for plants without leaves (deciduous) like roses and blueberries. Lime / Sulfur can be sprayed on the plant and the surrounding mulch to kill overwintering fungi. Think of getting a jump on black spot on roses.

Dormant oil products can be used on plants with leaves or without leaves. Horticultural oil products have been used for years to control overwintering insects and are considered to be friendly to the environment. Get a jump on scale, mites and white flies, oh yeah.

If these warmer days are begging you to get out in the yard and spread something, get out your preemergent product and some SeaHume and your landscape will thank you for months to come.

Control those moles!!!!

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