Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year's Resolutions For The Gardener Part 2

New Year’s Resolutions for the Gardener part 2:

Go through all of the old products you have in your garage and identify why and when you purchased them and if they are products that still can be used. Use these products first chance you get, saving you money and making room for new and improved products.

Measure your yard. Measure the turf areas. Measure the bed areas. If you are not up for the task, find someone who can do this for you. When you know your square footage, you know how much product to buy and to use without guessing. Knowledge is power!

In an effort to conserve water, it is time to get that hose that leaks at the faucet, a new gasket.  Also use wetting agents this year.  Wetting agents have been shown to save approximately 30-60% of water consumption for a yard.  This would be a huge savings on your water bill.  By watering less, you will have less fungus problems and save money by not having to buy as much fungicides. We had one commercial customer reduce his fungicide applications from seven down to one by using wetting agents. Possum’s Wetting Agent with biostimulants should work well for you.

In 2014, add organic matter to your lawn and beds.  Organic matter will also help you lower your water bill while adding many other benefits to your soil.  Cotton Burr compost has been improving Lowcountry soils with great results for the past 10 years. If you have never tried Cotton Burr Compost in May, mark off an area 7 feet by 7 feet in your lawn area. Spread a two cubic foot bag of Cotton Burr Compost in this area and watch the results. You will experience what one of my customers describes as “crack for the gardener”.

In order to combat weeds, plan to put out preemergent herbicides in your lawns and beds according to product label.  This will make your life a lot less stressful and your yard will be looking better without weeds.  If time is a big issue and you have measured your yard, consider buying a year’s supply of product now, so you will have the product handy when it is time to apply. 

In 2014, always apply product according to the label’s directions.  No more “if one ounce is good….two ounces will be real good”.  This will also save you money and get you better results from the products. On the pest control side of our business, we see this the most. If you over apply the control product, the insect detects the product and avoids the area. If you apply the correct amount, the insect walks through the product and share it with his buddies. If you have measured your yard, with a scale and a bucket, you can weigh out the product you need and be more accurate with your applications. Following the label is not just a good idea, it is a Federal Law!

For those pet owners whose animals have a history of flea problems, be proactive by applying growth regulators.  Ultracide, Nylar, Alpine IGR or Precor applied to your home every three months, should keep your pet free of fleas. Prefurred One and Prefurred Plus are generic forms of Frontline, saving you money. Apply these to your cats and dogs for added protection.

Always mow the grass with a sharp mower blade and prune the bushes with sharp pruning blades.  You will have cleaner cuts and less chance of disease or insects. 

Read a good book about soils.  Soils are the life blood of your plants, trees, and turf.  By understanding soils, you will be able to improve your yard. 

Read the Horticulture Hotline and write in with any questions you might have. Sign up for our email newsletter at Possum’s for helpful hints and pest alerts. Also listen to the “Garden Clinic” and call in with any questions.

Thank You and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

New Year's Resolutions 2013

“I started using the Possum’s recipe for my lawn 3 years ago and I have never had a better lawn in the 35 years that I have been trying to grow the perfect lawn. Possum’s is awesome! I have the best lawn in the neighborhood.”  Greg Lienert.

“Through Possum’s soil analysis program our yard has improved immensely.  We were one of three “Yard of the Quarter” winners in Dunes West. ”  David and Deborah Oyster

“With fertilizer, pest and disease control program everything worked great and we won “Yard of the Month” in Dunes West.  The 15-00-15 with its secret ingredients, lawn insect control, Cleary’s 3336 fungicide and Deer Stopper worked great for us!” 
Merrill Craven

“Helped rid yard of fungus damage, chinch bug damage.  Deep green, healthy, lush look and texture.  A lawn program is far better than random purchases at discount store.  Cotton Burr compost is noticeably effective within 1-2 weeks.  Worth the price.”  Eugene V. Babich

“Possum’s soil test and monthly program has turned a weak sickly lawn into lush dark green lawn – winning a Letter of Award from Park West for Landscape Appearance.”  Pat Piglia

“The Best!  Cookbook program very user friendly—plus the support!!”
Bernard Arnold, O.D.

“Great, explaining what to do in my yard at the proper time of year”.  Bess Knight

“Possum’s Fertilizers with their secret ingredients are far better than Scott’s fertilizer-no doubt about it and I used Scott’s for a long time.” Jim Bayne

“Great products for my lawn.  15-00-15 Lawn Food!  My lawn never looked better!  Better than Scotts!  Great Products!”  George Bryant

“I had mostly depended on Home Depot for yard treatment, before finding out about Possum’s. I went to Possum’s and explained my yard issues. They got me on a regular schedule with treatments. Now my yard is the greenest and prettiest in the neighborhood.  Possum’s is the only place I’ll go.” Julia Jacobs

Resolution one – get on a Possum’s Custom Program.  Resolution two see resolution one.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Top Performers 2013 Part 4

Products and people recognized for their top performance in 2013:

Ashley Ridge High School (under the direction of Bobby Behr and Adam Davis) won the state of South Carolina’s best soccer field award by the SCSTMA (South Carolina Sports Turf Managers Association) and Porter-Gaud School (under the direction of Michael Henry) won best multi-use field. Both of these grounds superintendents have won awards in the past and continue to do an outstanding job. Out of five awards given out, it was nice to see two of them awarded to schools right here in the Lowcountry.

Possum’s Spreader Sticker with ammonium sulfate and humic acid. This is a new surfactant that I developed this year to try to increase the speed in which the active ingredient gets into the plant and begins to work. Whether you are using a herbicide to kill a weed or a fungicide to control a disease, this product can increase the speed of the control product. Some people have lowered the rates of the control product because of the increased efficacy they get while using this additive. When using a herbicide, they also notice a quicker kill. With all the rain, Possum’s Spreader Sticker helped the control product become rain fast sooner.

07-00-09 Palm, Citrus Fertilizer, and anything else Fertilizer. We have sold this fertilizer for palms and sago’s for many years with great success. A commercial palm grower who move away from this area, gives this product high accolades every time I run into her at a trade shows along with many other people. Since citrus like magnesium to help hold their blooms on the tree, this product has worked great on citrus as well. Since the nitrogen and potassium are 100% slow release and this fertilizer is loaded with minor nutrients, 07-00-09 will help out many types of turf or plants.

Back To Nature product line is a perennial powerhouse. Cotton Burr Compost, Flower Bed Amendment, Nature’s Blend, Cow Manure, and Chicken Manure are often imitated but never duplicated. “There’s cheap compost. There’s good compost. But there’s no good cheap compost.”  

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Top Performers 2013 Part 3

Top performers continued from last week.

Rain gear. With all the rain we had, everyone needed something to keep dry!

Weed Free Zone broadleaf herbicide (small sizes) or SpeedZone Southern (large sizes). With almost 100 broadleaf weeds on the label, this product will certainly help you get to that ‘weed free lawn’ everyone is after. Weed Free Zone is available in several sizes and formulations to meet your needs. Having been accused of always looking for a good value (cheap), I always used the concentrate; however, since I started my war with Virginia Creeper (a vine), I like the squirt bottle that is ready to spray. I can pull the aggressive vine out of my tree or bottle brush and spray it without having to mix up a tank of concentrated product.

Triple Action Plus for the organic gardener. Whether you are after black spot on roses or leaf miners in citrus leaves, Triple Action Plus is the product for you. A combination of pyrethrins and neem oil really does a good job on insects, disease, and mites. Triple Action Plus is considered safe enough to use up to the day of harvest (of vegetables and fruit).

Triple Action for hurting lawns. SeaHume G, Cotton Burr Compost and 15-00-15 fertilizer resurrected many lawns from the brink of death this year. All that rain really took a toll on many lawns not only because of the moisture, but also because of the reduced light hours.

Triple Action for hurting shrubs and trees. SeaHume G, Flowerbed Amendment and 17-00-09 fertilizer helped many shrubs and trees get a new lease on life.

Wolf Garten Pole Pruner and attachments. With all the rainfall, trees grew like crazy. People really needed a quality pole saw that was affordable to keep limbs from rubbing on their home, and Wolf Garten has one. Wolf Garten has all these attachments that makes this a wonderful ‘system’ for the Do It Yourselfer or the commercial landscaper.

Nitrile Disposable Gloves. The old Doctor gloves are now used by every one for a variety of activities. Great to have around for any ‘dirty’ job.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Top Performers 2013 Part 2

Here are some more top performers from 2013:

Growth regulators helped out with plants and pests this year. Bed bug, roach and flea control success has been greatly increased by the addition of growth regulators. Casey, the new general manager running Possum’s North Charleston store, says, “some times it is hard to sell the growth regulator (Gentrol) to the customer trying to control bed bugs; however, once they use it their success rate goes way up.”
Bob, the general manager running Possum’s Mt Pleasant store, had similar success with customers controlling fleas outdoors. The addition of a growth regulator to a contact kill product greatly increased the success of managing a pest population.
Growth regulators help to break up the life cycle of the insect by preventing the insect from reproducing.   
With all the rain plant growth regulators helped many contractors and brave homeowners control the growth of their plants or turf with a control product instead of a mower or hedge trimmer. With all the rain this spring, some yards were hard to keep maintained with a mower because they were too wet. The right application of a plant growth regulator can easily cut your need to mow in half to even a quarter of the frequency that you usually mow. If you do not want to do your whole yard, consider doing the edges along your sidewalk, driveway, and bed lines. Less edging means more time for other activities.
The growth of your shrubs can also be controlled by plant growth regulators. Less hedging means more time for other activities. Just think no hedging (extension cord?), no clean up, no paper bag by street – priceless.

Surrender Fire Ant Killer still smells but still effective! The old 75% Acephate product (most people just called it Orthene back in the day) is still a big seller for mound treating fire ants of Matt (general manager of Possum’s West Ashley store). With all the rain, fire ant mounds were prolific.

MaxForce Magnum for roach control is one of those products that friends tell friends about. Customers will walk up to the counter and say, “my neighbor (substitute brother, sister, cousin, guy I drink beer with, girlfriend, buddy, mother, father, person I go to church with … you get the idea) says I need to try MaxForce Magnum.” Invict Gold Cockroach Gel is a great product to rotate with to introduce a new bait matrix and new active ingredient to avoid bait aversion.