Monday, October 27, 2014

Winterizing Turf and Winter Kill Protection

Yes, it is time to winterize your turf. SeaHume should be used alone or with the 00-00-25, depending on the results from your soil test. Look for a product with a 00 for the first number (nitrogen). A 00-00-25 with sulfate of potash and minors would be great. If you do not need the potash, consider just the SeaHume, a wonderful combination of seaweed and humic acid.

SeaHume will help grass, trees, shrubs, and flowers throughout the winter. The seaweed part of SeaHume has over 60 minor nutrients, carbohydrates, amino acids, gibberellins, auxins, cytokynins, anti-oxidants and other bio stimulants. The humic acid is also full of bio stimulants that help make nutrients that are in the soil available to the plant, help with soil structure, grow roots, and feed the microorganisms in the soil.

Beware of the national ad campaigns talking about winterizing fertilizers. These products are usually formulated for cool season grasses (rye, fescue). I saw one over the weekend that was a 22-00-14. Not exactly what we want to put on our yard in mid-October in the Lowcountry. Just ask Clemson University.

Have you ever had winter kill? Now is the time to prepare your grass for the wide variations in temperatures we have. If you had winter kill in the past, you need to be sure to correct low and poorly drained areas, reduce thatch in the yard, increase air movement in low areas, keep your lawn hydrated and feed.

Mow your grass lower than normal (centipede 1.0 to 1.5 inches, St. Augustine 2.5 to 3.0 inches). By mowing your grass lower, you will increase the air movement around the crown of the plant, so cold air will not settle at the crown of the plant and damage the grass. In Florida helicopters fly low over citrus groves that are in valleys to get the cold air out.

Fine blade Zoysia grass can grow very dense and get thatch. De-thatching, verticutting, using Bio Grounds Keeper, and regular topdressing should be part of your maintenance schedule.   

When buying gas for your lawn mower, be sure to include a gas stabilizer to help prevent your carburetor from getting varnished over the winter. Try to purchase gas from a gas station that has ethanol free gas for your mower as well as your two cycle hand held equipment.


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

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ocean Forest Potting Soil

Since many of you will be changing out containers this fall, here is a little information about a top selling potting soil that is perfect for your high value plants, flowers, window boxes, hanging baskets, containers or vegetables. This soil is used by serious professional growers whose livelihood depends upon a great product.

Ocean Forest Potting Soil

Ocean Forest Potting Soil is an all-natural organic potting soil. With all the composted material, there are plenty of available nutrients to keep many plants thriving without the use of fertilizers. For heavy feeding plants, Ocean Forest blend will keep your plants fed for about one month before a fertilizer is needed. Another great feature to this potting soil is its ability to resist compacting over the season. Although all potting soils will eventually compact, Ocean Forest seems to have just the right amount of humus and perlite to keep compaction to a minimum. Less compaction allows for better water and oxygen penetration to the root system and helps keep the micro-organisms in the soil alive.
Ingredient Breakdown: Composted forest humus holds moisture in the soil. Sphagnum peat moss helps aerate and loosen soil allowing healthy root growth. Pacific Northwest sea-going fish  is an organic fertilizer that provides amino acids, enzymes, and nutrients. Crab meal is an organic fertilizer that suppresses pest nematode activity and also a good source of calcium. Shrimp meal is an organic fertilizer. Earthworm castings provide all the micro-nutrients necessary for plant growth. Sandy loam provides good water retention and drainage. Perlite provides optimum moisture retention for plant growth. Fossilized bat guano  is rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, and zinc. Granite dust has minerals and trace elements that plants need. Norwegian kelp meal  is a source of naturally chelated trace elements. Oyster shell aids in pH adjustment and provides calcium.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Some things Need Repeat Applications & Need to be Written about Repeatively!

Sod Webworms
With the rain, treat for insects.  Sod webworms like to feed at night and on cloudy overcast days.  Obviously they have been chowing down the last month or two!  They will feed on all types of grass (Centipede, St. Augustine, Zoysia, Bermuda, Bahia).  If you have a lot of moths that fly a zigzag pattern then quickly sit back down, chances are you have an adult sod webworm laying eggs in your grass.  The damage that the sod webworm does looks like someone scalped an area of the grass with a very dull mower blade.  The grass is very ragged looking and you can see where the larva chewed on the grass.  If you look in the thatch area, you can see the feces and sometimes the worm itself.  Sod webworms are easily controlled with Bifen or Sevin.

Fire ants
With all the rain, the fire ants have come back with a vengeance!  If you put out bait in the spring, it is probably a good time to apply another application.  Baiting large areas (your entire property), is a very effective way to control fire ants and very inexpensive.  Using contact killers like Sevin or Bifen are also best used over a large area.  Most of the time mound treating simply chases the ant from one area to another.

Mole crickets
Mole crickets are young adults with their wings and are up near the surface tunneling ferociously!  Scout your yard for potential damage and treat as needed.  You can scout your yard by using soap flush (2 oz. of liquid dish detergent in a 5 gallon bucket of water, spread over a 2 ft by 2 ft area).  Wait 5 minutes to see what comes up.  To control these pests, use Mole Cricket Bait, Intice perimeter bait (NOP approved, LEED Tier 3), or Sevin.

Large Patch (the disease formerly known as Brown Patch)
With all the rain and the cool weather, Large Patch has exploded!  Cleary’s and Disarm provide a good one-two punch. If you know the areas that get brown patch, we get great reports about Neptune Harvest’s Crab Shell, Nature’s Blend, and Cotton Burr Compost suppressing the disease in areas that it has been perennial problem.  

If you are planning on transplanting a tree this fall, now is the time to root prune.  For root pruning trees, a good rule of thumb is for every inch in diameter of tree, you want twelve inches of root ball.  Sometimes this is not practical because you are usually transplanting an over-crowded tree or a tree located too close to a house or sidewalk.  At this point outline the biggest ball you can possibly move and just dig straight down severing the roots without actually removing the soil.  Come back in a month and dig away from the area that you severed leaving your tree in a little moat.  Spray the tree with transfilm (anti-transparent) and remove the tree. Use DieHard Transplant in the new hole.

Spray horticulture and neem oils now to kill over-wintering insects, this will put you ahead of the insect game in the spring.  

When buying gas for your lawn mower, be sure use ethanol free gas and to include a gas stabilizer to help prevent your carburetor from getting varnished over the winter.