Friday, November 22, 2013

Top Performers in 2013 Part 1

Here is a list of some of the top performers in 2013. These products would either be shared with neighbors as great products or talked about in a whisper to protect secrets of success. This list is not in any particular order of importance because different customers have different situations.

SeaHume G has produced spectacular results for a few years. A humic acid and seaweed combination product really does some amazing things to the soil and the plant. The comments I get the most are that the plant is stronger and has a better root system, requires less water, see far less disease, and less insect damage. SeaHume is a natural organic product, so people feel comfortable using it around pets, people, and fish.

SeaHume L is the liquid version of SeaHume G and also has quite a following for its bio stimulant activities.

Cyonara L&G RTS helped many people get through the mosquito season of 2013. In 2009 I tipped my hat to the RTS packaging (except for herbicides – I heard of too much over applying issues), and Cyonara L&G was the perfect product to be used this way. RTS simply means ready to spray. You connect the bottle to the hose and you are ready to spray. Cyonara kills many different pests around the yard and the RTS container makes the application very fast and easy. Always read, understand and follow product label.

Soil Test and Custom Programs probably should top the list, but someone with bed bugs in an apartment would not need these services. I recently was handed this testimonial from Greg Lienert. “I started using 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.”  That’s what I’m talking about proactive lawn care!

Pro-Pest Rodent Lure is a peanut free lure for rodents that works! No peanut allergy issues here. When a customer sends you a picture of two dead rodents on one trap, the verdict is in. Professional rodent lures get the job done!

Repellex Granular Mole Repellent is a new product for us in 2013 and the general feeling is that it performs better and costs less than the product it replaced. Have to like that! The product is organic and works!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Christmas Tree Time Already?

Another year has almost gone by. What a year! The rain in the Spring and then the dry fall. The great weather for people doing activities outside, led to large patch / brown patch on our turf. Does anyone / everyone have moles?

I’m looking forward to my trip through the Festival of Lights at James Island County Park. I’m sure I will be treated to another outstanding display of lights this year, plus the sand castle, train, walk around displays, shops and all the “fair food!” If you’re a kid, does Christmas still seems like it takes forever to get here? It sure comes up quick to me! 

I wanted to get this yearly Christmas Tree article out early, so you could make plans to go to a local Christmas Tree Farm, find a local source for a cut tree, or use a live tree that you could use in your landscape after the holidays, if you were so inclined.

After Thanksgiving, many of you will be searching for a Christmas tree.  If you are going to buy a cut tree, consider buying it from a local business that is here year-round like an independently owned garden center.  If you buy it from a tent, or a temporary site, look for one that is run by the Exchange Club, Optimist Club, Rotary Club, a local church, a local school club, a local landscaper or another local organization.  Many local organizations that sell trees give a portion of the profits to local charities such as Camp Happy Days.

There are some people from out of state that set up tents in grocery store parking lots. They take their profits out of state when they leave. If you support our local businesses, then you keep our money in our local economy and maybe save a local job. Very important to always keep profits local, especially these days.

Many of the local garden centers offer great Christmas gifts along with trees this time of year.  They have purchased many seasonal items that would be a great present for anyone. Gift certificates are usually available for the hard to shop for gardener.  Shopping at a garden center is a great way to avoid long lines.  The parking is free and plentiful this time of year.

Have you ever considered a live tree? Different Hollies (right now you can tell the females with beautiful berries), Leyland Cypress, Eastern Red Cedar, Little Gem Magnolias, Osmanthus, Deodara Cedar and many more make great trees and after the holidays you can plant them in your yard instead of throwing them to the curb.

Local tree farms are also an option. A ride in the country is always a good family event (how much longer will it take to get there?).  Noel’s Christmas Tree Farm on Johns Island and Too Goo Doo Tree Farm on the way to Edisto are two local tree farms.  Picking out your own tree is fun for the whole family and usually involves hot chocolate and hay rides. You know you are getting a fresh tree when you cut it yourself. 

If you go with a traditional cut tree, make sure it is in water at the place you buy it (unless it is coming fresh off of the truck), and make sure it stays in water until you take it to the curb.  Once you bring it home cut an inch off of the bottom of the tree and place it in a 5 gallon bucket of water.  While the tree is still outside, consider spraying the tree with Transfilm, Cloud Cover or Wilt Proof to keep the water loss through the leaves at a minimum. If you notice any insects on the tree, blast it with a strong stream of water or consider an insecticidal soap. Let the tree dry before bringing it into the house. 

Locate your tree within your house away from heating ducts and the fireplace.  A stand that can hold a lot of water is a big plus because a fresh cut Christmas tree can drink 1-2 gallons of water per day.  Have one responsible adult in charge of watering the Christmas tree daily to avoid ruining the carpet or floors.  If you can, fill (2) one gallon milk jugs each day and let them sit for 24 hours, this will allow the chlorine to evaporate out of the water.  Letting the chlorine evaporate from the water you water your plants with, is a practice you should use when watering all house plants.  

There are many secrets to keeping a tree fresh.  Having a fresh cut and keeping water above this cut at all times is the most important thing you can do for the tree.  The water conducting vessels quickly close up if the tree does not have constant water.  Using a drop of Super Thrive in each gallon of water will help the tree stay fresh. Many people use 7-up and an aspirin in the water. 

Thank you for all of your letters, questions and for reading The Horticulture Hotline!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Brown Patch / Large Patch and Moles

Large Patch / Brown Patch exploded once again in our yards. We almost sent out an email alert, but I figured most knowledgeable readers of the Horticulture Hotline could figure out that something was not right with their lawn. I did not want to be an alarmist. These warmer temperatures and high humidity weather have been perfect for the disease.

If you have areas of your grass that are yellowing in a circular pattern or just random yellowing, you may want to consider using a fungicide. Be sure to identify the disease first, so you choose the right product to control the problem.

One way to identify the disease is to pull on a yellow leave blade. If it is Large Patch / Brown Patch it will separate right where the leaf blade meets the runner (the crown). Make sure the leaf is completely yellow. There will be a dark discolored area where the leave is rotting at the base. If you pull on a healthy green leaf, the leaf will break at your thumb not at the base. A healthy leaf will be well connected at the crown.

There are many control methods for large patch. Visit a local Possum’s for the one that fits your needs best. Chemical, organic, and cultural practices combined together are usually the best way to manage this soil borne disease.

I’m sure you have noticed that the mole is very busy looking for food. Always best to manage this furry little critter with a three pronged approach. There are organic, chemical, and cultural ways to control the mole as well.

If you kill the mole, manage the food source in the ground, and repel them from your landscape, you are going to enjoy the most success. If you use an insecticide, be sure you get one that is effective against sub surface insects.

I went into a box store the other day to use their restroom, and right by the door was four pallets of different “winterizing fertilizers”. These products were designed for our northern neighbors (rye, fescue, and blue grass) not our Lowcountry grasses. Be careful!