Monday, January 30, 2012

Preemerge Weeds

Preemergent weed control time is rapidly approaching. Just spread a product and no small seeded annual weeds to worry about for a few months (check label for weeds controlled). Keep weeds away before they take over your lawn and ornamental plantings. Controlling weeds is a whole lot easier before they come up with a preemergent product, than after they come up with a post emergent product or by hand pulling.

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 changes over 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. Many farmers have switched to no-till farming, so they will not bring up new seeds to the surface.

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? Make your life easier and use a preemergent product in your lawn and beds this year! The time to apply them is rapidly approaching.

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

Monday, January 23, 2012

To Do List 01/23/12

Here are a few things to do on these nice winter days.

· Get soil tested – for everyone that has not already.

· Kill winter weeds now while they are young.

· Take mower in to have serviced to beat the Spring rush. With the new ethanol gas lawn mower engines and other engines have had issues. No one likes their mechanic to tell them, “pick it up in 4 weeks.”

· Keep leaves off lawn areas. Keeps moisture from being trapped and if you or your lawn service are applying products, you will have a more uniform coverage without the leaves.

· Move any shrub or tree now before it is too late. Root prune now, move before they start putting on new growth.

· Spray trees and shrubs with paraffinic oil (ultra-fine, Omni Supreme oil) as opposed to petroleum oils (Volck) to control over-wintering insects. Watch temperatures. If you have ongoing issues with scale, aphids, white flies, or other sucking bugs, try Safari or Dominion for long term control.

· Sharpen pruning tools or purchase new ones.

· If you haven’t already, get your bulbs in the ground.

· Apply SeaHume to turf, trees, flowers, and shrubs. Adding organics now will help in the spring. Cotton Burr Compost?

· Re-do bed lines to reflect maturing landscape.

· Get bird house ready for nesting birds.

· Have moles, get Mole Patrol – it really works.

· Have deer, get Deer Stopper – it really works.

· Check irrigation or get on professional’s list to check. It has been dry this winter. Be sure the heads are pointed the right way. Can you eliminate (turn off) the zone watering the shrubs and trees? Have you tried wetting agents to lower your water bill (we hear between 30 and 60 percent)? Less water equals less disease.

· Prune Crepe Myrtles – don’t butcher them.

· Hold off on pruning plants damaged by the cold – we could still have freezing temperatures.

· Test well for salt.

· Attend meetings of the Rose, Camellia, Horticultural Societies and others like horticultural societies.

· Get ready to preemerge in February. Kill small seeded summer annual weeds before they take over your landscape.

· Get out and enjoy our County, State and City parks as well as our local plantations.

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

Monday, January 16, 2012

SeaHume, Wetting Agents, Custom Programs

Last week I met with the Mt Pleasant Garden Club. We were talking about SeaHume G, Wetting Agents, Cotton Burr Compost, soil tests, custom programs, organic fertilizer and many other products. It was great because I would mention a product and several people would talk about how great it had worked for them.

One person had used SeaHume G on her shrubs that were a pale green. She lives in an area with challenging soils to say the least. The SeaHume G helped to green them right up.

When we were talking about saving money on the water bill by using wetting agents, this same lady (I know her name; however, I have not asked her if I could use it) had used wetting agents on a berm that always dried out quicker than the rest of her yard. By using the wetting agent, she did not have to overwater the rest of her yard to keep the berm watered.

I see overwatering a lot with flower beds that are not on a zone of their own. People will overwater their turf or shrubs to water their flowers. The turf will be diseased and the shrubs will be drowning, but the water is running for the flowers.

Preparing the flower beds with flower bed amendment, mule mix, SeaHume, 04-04-04 Bolster and a wetting agent will help reduce the flower’s water needs, and the flowers should not dry out so quickly. The flowers should quickly establish a massive root system and require less water.

Many of the people had taken advantage of Possum’s soil test and custom programs to help them know what to do and when (win) for their soil. Some of the people purchased several months of product in advance, so when they were ready to spread, the product was waiting in their garage for them.

I wanted to congratulate Michael Henry, Head Groundskeeper for Porter Gaud School, for winning Pioneer Paint’s “Field of Excellence” award for the Cyclones football field. This award is for all the state of SC and the eastern part of Ga. A lot of hard work goes into these sports turf fields, so it is good to see so many customers of Possum’s winning these different awards.

Have you taken a soil test recently? The time is now!

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

Monday, January 9, 2012


Get ready, another year of gardening is rapidly approaching. The weather has been super nice, so it is hard to believe it is winter. Try to avoid getting too much spring fever quite yet. Surely, we will get some cold, overcast, rainy days soon. If you are dying to do something outside in the yard, there are plenty of things you could do that will not harm your plants or turf if we get some freezing weather.

Before the holidays, I wrote about Excellerator. Excellerator has proven to be a great product for our Lowcountry soils. Another product that people had very favorable results from in 2011 was SeaHume G. SeaHume G is a combination of seaweed and humic acid.

SeaHume granular is formulated to enhance root formation, increase vascular strength, promote green color and reduce stress on turf, ornamentals, and vegetable plants. SeaHume G is a natural organic product and is non-toxic to humans, animals, and fish.

Humates do wonders for the soil. 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.

Humates contain a high amount of carbon that is used as a food source by microorganisms in the soil. Microorganisms help the soil and in turn the plants and turf. A healthy population of beneficial microorganisms can make it hard for disease causing microorganisms to colonize and attack the plant. Microorganisms aerate the soil and make nutrients in the soil into a form that is available to the plant.

Seaweed is a great natural bio stimulant. 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.

At one soccer complex that had SeaHume applied in 2011, they used to have to replace 60 pallets of sod at the end of the season. In 2011, they only had to replace 7 pallets in basically the goal mouths. At another complex they went from 5 pallets down to a half a pallet in the goal mouths. The root structure of the grass plants was huge compared to years past on over 65 acres of fields we looked at.

If you have the need to apply something to your yard with this nice weather, give SeaHume or Excellerator a try. Your plants, trees, flowers, vegetables, and turf will thank you.

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

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! Well, what a December in the Lowcountry! The warm weather, the snakes, the gnats, and the moles gave us a very interesting Holiday Season. For one month I went from being “The Possum Man” to being “The Mole Man”.

Between writing a three part series on moles and the Charleston City Paper’s T. Ballard Lesemann including me in their ‘How To’ edition (December 28, 2011), I was “the Mole Man” for the month. With the social aspect of the month of December (the parties), I learned more about ways people have tried to kill moles and how they have killed moles then I ever thought was possible.

The big thing with moles is they are managed not eradicated. When you kill one mole another one will take its place in about 2 weeks to a month, unless you use the three prong approach. Managing their food source and maintaining a repellent barrier is needed to being mole free.

The reptiles have been very confused by the warm weather. Yesterday, I saw a dead baby snake (rat snake if it matters) that should have been hibernating. I was talking to some people from Atlanta that had been to Magnolia Plantation and enjoyed seeing the alligators sunning themselves on the banks and on the planks. My cousin from Charlotte, Geary, lost her 10 year old box turtle named Friend in a cold snap they had in the beginning of the month.

Geary is an official Certified North Carolina Wildlife Rescue Person. She saved Friend about a decade ago, and ever since then while she worked in the yard, the turtle would follow her around in the yard like a dog. Her other turtles were already hibernating in the mulch along a brick wall (because of the warmth); however, Friend was confused because of the warm weather. RIP Friend.

December also brought Mike Williams of the Charleston Riverdogs a Sports Turf Managers Association award for Best Baseball Field in the state. Bobby Behr of Ashley Ridge High School was awarded Best Softball Field in the state (which makes sense since this field already won Best Softball Field in the Nation).

Spring is approaching rapidly. Get your soil test into us as soon as possible, so we can get them back to you.

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