Monday, May 28, 2012

Watch Out For Late May

1.      I have already seen the nasty rascal chinch bug in St. Augustine grass, grass feeding worms, and in our stores, we are already selling a lot of flea killing products.  If you have St. Augustine grass, be sure to put out a product labeled for chinch bugs such as Aloft, Bifen or Lebanon Insect Control.   
2.      The cool, dry nights make powdery mildew on plants and large patch on lawns a problem.  Roses, Crepe Myrtles, Dogwoods, Verbena and Gerber Daisies are a few plants that I would check for powdery mildew.  Powdery mildew is a white substance that grows on the tops of the leaves.  As the lawn tries to figure out whether it is still winter (nighttime temperature still in the 60’s), or summer (daytime temperature in the high 80’s), Large Patch (Brown Patch) is prevalent.  For powdery mildew, Honor Guard, Fertilome Systemic Fungicide, or Neem PY (organic) will do a good job.  For Large Patch consider Cleary’s 3336, Disarm or Serenade (organic) in active areas. 
3.      While driving through neighborhoods localized dry spots are very evident.  These are areas in the yard that turn that bluish gray color from lack of water.  New neighborhoods with young grass and poor soils seem to be most susceptible to these dry areas.  Exposed areas with lots of wind and areas at the beaches also are good candidates for these localized dry spots.  Adding organic matter to the soil (Cotton Burr Composts or SeaHume), wetting agents, or adjusting sprinkler heads will help with these dry areas.  Remember to water in the early a.m. before the wind picks up, so the grass will dry by nightfall.
4.      Moles seem to be particularly active this spring.  They just had their young in April and now they are tunneling up a storm.  The young moles are hungry!  Manage the food source in your yard (grubs, mole crickets) with Lebanon Insect Control and go after the mole with Mole Patrol. 
5.      As with all products, you should read and follow product labels.  More is not better when dealing with control products.  Know your square footage and watch overlapping when applying your products.  You also need to watch the weather forecast to ensure the products have a proper amount of time on your lawn prior to any rain.  If the product needs to be watered into the ground, a slow watering by a sprinkler is better than a gully washer from the sky.  A very hard rain can wash products into the storm water drains which are bad for the environment and you have wasted a lot of money.
      Also sweep or blow fertilizers or control products off of hard surfaces when you
      are finished applying them. In the case of fertilizer this may prevent staining, and             most importantly it will keep products from washing through storm drains to the   marshes.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Indian Hawthorn Disease

We were talking on the radio this past week about Indian Hawthorn and the disease they
get, so I figured I would expand on this topic this morning, since this plant is so common in the Lowcountry.

The Indian Hawthorn or Raphiolepis have been plagued with leaf spot for years now.  It seems like right after the Red Tips (Photinia) were virtually wiped out by entomosporium leaf spot, the diseased began attacking the Indian Hawthorn.  Indian Hawthorn and Red Tips are in the same plant family as roses (Rosaceae). 

When dealing with a plant that is very susceptible to a leaf spot disease I like to think of several different factors:
·        Is this plant worth keeping in the landscape or should I replace it with another plant that is not susceptible to disease.
·        Is this plant worth spraying ever 14 – 28 days to keep it in my landscape?  To keep an Indian Hawthorn alive, it needs a life-support system.  The plant must be sprayed at least monthly or it will get leaf spot again.
·        What cultural practices can I do to help relieve the pressure of the disease?  The removal of fallen foliage (sanitation) is key when dealing with a leaf spot disease.  Having a healthy soil, as determined by a soil test, is also very important because a stressed plant is more susceptible to disease.  Providing the correct amount of water preferably through a drip system, so the plants are not over-watered or drought stressed.  Proper fertility as determined by the soil test is also important.  Use nitrogen fertilizer very sparingly in small amounts because flushes of new growth are more susceptible to leaf spot.  Choose “resistant” varieties such as “Olivia”.    This does not mean that this plant will never get this disease; it is just more resistant to the disease. Mulch like Cotton Burr Compost will help prevent splashes of water drops that could spread the disease.  Also this mulch will lower the watering needs of the plants. Bioscience products like Messenger should be considered as well. Messenger will thicken the cuticle of the leaf making more resistant to the disease as well as more drought resistant. Good air movement.
·        What control products will work best on this disease?  If you decide to spray, be prepared to spray often.  Honor Guard, Banner, Dithane (Mancozeb), and Kocide are good choices. These products should be used in rotation and according to label. I like the lime-sulphur idea or lime-copper spray for the reason that the original Lamson–Scribner invented this product in an effort to save the French wine crop in the late 1800’s. He called it Bordeaux mix. When spraying these chemicals, an appropriate surfactant should be used. Certain surfactants work better than others with particular products.

I’m in yards all the time and this disease is the most common disease I see in our Lowcountry landscape. I usually recommend replanting the area. I can understand spraying roses all the time. Indian Hawthorn – ah, not so much.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fireblight nailing Bradford Pears

A bacteria called fire blight seems to be nailing Bradford Pears and Loquats this spring.  Fire blight attacks plants in the Rosaceae family which include apples, plum, cherries, hawthorn, photinia, pyracantha, roses, spirea, pear and many others.  Always plant resistant varieties to ensure you do not get this disease. Remember resistant does not mean immune.

On the Bradford Pear the foliage usually does not fall off the branch and the branch will have a distinct shepherd’s hook curve at the tip. The dead foliage hanging on can sometimes be confused with twig borer damage.

Fire blight often leaves the branches looking burnt or a deep rust color.  This is how the disease got its name.  The bacteria over winters in cankers, then in the springtime the bacteria oozes out of the cankers and attracts insects and bees that help spread the bacteria.  Rain, wind and pruning tools also move the disease from one plant to another or spread the disease on the same plant.  Fire blight usually goes into natural openings on new wood and then moves to older wood, killing the branch. 

To control fire blight, cut out infected limbs 8-10 inches below the signs of damage.  When making cuts on an infected tree, be sure to disinfect your pruning tools with a 10% bleach solution (1 oz. bleach, 9 oz. water).  Since fire blight enters new succulent growth, avoid excessive nitrogen fertilization.  Avoid overhead irrigation or splashing water as this spreads the bacteria.  Consider using a general insecticide in the spring to discourage insects from spreading the disease. 

Since fire blight is a bacteria, an antibiotic such as Agrimycin could be used to reduce infection.  Kocide, Junction and Mancozeb will also help in the control of fire blight.  All these products should be used in the early spring when the plant is blooming and applied according to label rates and intervals of applications. 

A lot of you have new summer flowering annuals and daffodil foliage in your yard.  Both of these will respond favorably to Mighty Plant, Messenger, SeaHume and SUPERthrive.  You will notice a benefit to your summer flowering plants in about two weeks.  By spraying your daffodil foliage, you will notice the benefit next spring when you have bigger blooms on your daffodils.

Fleas have been bad throughout the winter. Protect your pet, your house, and your yard.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Early May 2012

Here is a quick check list of current events in the yard.

Soil tested?  Custom Program written? Apply the products that your soil needs instead of guessing. Doing soil tests are cheaper and provide better results than random applications. Why do you think farmers with hundreds of acres soil test?

Lawn Mower – sharp (new) blade, new oil, new air filter, new spark plug for season?

Prune azaleas, camellias and other spring flowering plants after they bloom? Wait on Gardenias for now.

Trees need pruning? Growing strong out to the tips of the limbs? Plenty of new foliage?

Fertilized your trees and shrubs? 17-00-09, 08-02-04 (organic), Professional?

Fertilize daffodils and spray them with Messenger for bigger bulbs next year. Leave the leaves (foliage) to collect sunlight to refurbish bulb for next year.

Huge fleshy leaves on new growth of camellias and azaleas? Leaf gall? Remove infected leaves and destroy.

Is Powdery mildew attacking roses, crepe myrtles, dogwoods?  Neem PY (organic), Honor Guard

Large Patch Fungus in turf – get an early start – prevention is cheaper than curative. Disarm, Cleary’s 3336, Dual Action Fungicide, and Prophesy are a few chemical controls. Crab Shells, Serenade, and Natures Blend are organic controls that “fix” the problem.

Adult mole crickets are mating – manage them. Lebanon Insect Control

Fire ants are starting to forage – manage them.  Lebanon Insect Control, Baits.

Grubs are near the surface – manage them.  Lebanon Insect Control, Grub X

Scale insects are really bad. It seems like they get worse with all the dry weather. Safari Tree and Shrub for quick knockdown and Dominion for long term control.

For trees and shrubs with perennial insect problems consider Dominion Tree and Shrub.

Get a “jump” on fleas this year. Lebanon Insect Control, Bug Blaster outside. Precor 2000, Inverted Carpet Spray, Alpine Flea Insecticide with IGR or Ultracide all have an adulticide as well as a growth regulator and are labeled for indoor use. Prefurred Plus or Bio Spot to apply to pet.

Plant a vegetable garden?

Plant a flower garden?

If you applied preemergent in February, it is time for your second application (depending on the rate and product you used the first time). Remember the ornamental beds!

The leaves have fallen – new mulch?

Fertilized Palm Trees with 07-00-09 (the most awesome Palm Fertilizer)?

Tested your well water? With over seven years of drought, many are getting salty.

Pruned holly fern, cast iron plant, and monkey grass (Liriope)?

Moles? Mole Patrol, Traps.