Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year's Resolutions Part 2

New Year’s Resolutions for the Gardener part 2:

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 2013, 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 2013, 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.