Monday, December 26, 2016

Top Performers 2016

Horticulture Hotline 12/26/16
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

Here is a list of some of the top performers in 2016. 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. Many of these are repeats from last year. With all the new people moving to the Lowcountry, I figured the top performers need to be mentioned again in some cases. Michael Phelps is still winning gold medals…

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.

In the fall of 2015, I did one of my little experiments. I put a bag of SeaHume out in my front yard and the front yard has remained brown patch free. In my back yard and in my mother’s yard I didn’t put any out and the disease is present.

In the fall of 2016, I continued this experiment. I spread SeaHume in my mother’s front and back yard and my front and back yard. Her front yard had one disease circle and that was it!

The conditions for brown patch have been extended by the mild winter and moisture.
Is this fungal reduction coincidence or science? Try it for yourself and see how SeaHume works for you.  

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

The tag added to Wet & Forget This tag is very red and states:
This product is only
 effective if you read the
 instructions thoroughly.
Failure to do so will result in
 you moaning and groaning
that the product doesn’t
work and generally being
a pain in the bottom. Make a
positive change in your life
will you, and read the
This tag makes my, “Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law,” seem pretty tame. Products have to adhere to EPA guidelines. To get the “label” for a product the manufacturer must do extensive research on the formulation and on the efficacy of the product.
I have been selling control products since 1991and using them for longer than that and I cannot remember the product ever not working when used according to the label (maybe because I’m so old and forgot).

Cyonara L&G RTS helped many people get through the long, post Matthew mosquito season of 2016. 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!

Repellex Granular Mole Repellent was a new product for us in 2013 and the general feeling is that it performs better and costs less than the product it replaced. You have to like that! The product is organic and works! Repellex has quite a following and continues to spread.

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

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas Cactus - A Beautiful Holiday Cactus

Horticulture Hotline  12/19/16
  Bill Lamson-Scribner

This time of year, I usually get asked questions about the Christmas Cactus. How do I take care of a Christmas Cactus after it blooms?  What should or should not be done to keep it blooming the following year? I was given this beautiful plant. How do I keep it alive?

Christmas Cactus, one of the plants called Holiday Cactus which include Thanksgiving Cactus and Easter Cactus, can provide a great show of tubular flowers over the holidays.  Once they have finished blooming let them rest until April, when you will want to start fertilizing them regularly through the summer and into fall.  Keep them in a cool room with a good amount of sunlight.  Although they are a cactus, they are a tropical cactus, meaning that they are not as drought tolerant as the desert cactus.  They should be watered when the top half of the soil in the pot feels dry.  Be careful not to over or under water the cactus. 

Over the summer (any time the nights are above 45 degrees – which also could mean all winter!), keep them outside without a lot of direct sun.  If they get too much direct sun you will notice their leaves turn red.   During the summer, you can also encourage more flowers by pruning a few sections of each stem.  You can then place these pieces in vermiculite and they will root very quickly, giving you some holiday gifts.  After your new plants have rooted, grow them out in a standard succulent potting mix.

Christmas cactus, like the Poinsettia is a short-day plant.  This means it flowers once the days start to get shorter.  Beginning mid-October, you want to keep your cactus in a dark area for 15 hours away from street, car or any other lights that may disrupt this dark period.  You will also need to keep the night temperature below 70 degrees.  A Christmas Cactus is unique in that if you lived in the right area you could get it to flower just by maintaining cool temperatures (50-55 degrees) for about 6 weeks. 

Once the Christmas Cactus begins to bloom, keep it in a cool well lit room away from any heat or vents, drafts or fireplaces.  Be sure to let the plant dry out in between watering; however, not get too dry or the flower buds might drop.  If you water them too much, they will drop off as well.    

The Christmas Cactus has very few pests.  If you have stored it outside during the summer, you might want to clean it with an insecticidal soap prior to bringing it into your house.  This will keep any mealybugs or scale from hitch-hiking a ride into your home.  The largest problem they have seems to be the same as any cactus; they are either over or under watered.  Using a good succulent potting soil and getting your finger dirty will help you avoid this problem. 

Bill Lamson-Scribner can be reached during the week at Possum’s Landscape and Pest Control Supply. Possum’s has three locations 481 Long Point Rd in Mt. Pleasant (971-9601), 3325 Business Circle in North Charleston (760-2600), or 606 Dupont Rd, in Charleston (766-1511). Bring your questions to a Possum’s location, or visit us at You can also call in your questions to “The Garden Clinic”, Saturdays from noon to 1:00, on 1250 WTMA (The Big Talker). The Horticulture Hotline is available 24 / 7 at 

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Few Things To Do To Prevent Winter Kill

Horticulture Hotline 12/12/16
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

If your grass has ever suffered from “winter kill”, then you know the damage your lawn can suffer. It seems like we are due a cold winter.  There are a few things you can begin to do to prepare for winter. Any grass can get winter damage; however, around here centipede gets affected the worse by far. Since the Doctors of Grass (PHD’s) have decided that centipede grass never goes into a completely dormant state, at best you will be able to minimize your damage.

A healthy lawn will do best through a cold winter. Now is a great time to take a soil test and find out what nutrients need to be added to the soil in order to provide the plant what it needs to make it through the winter. The proper nutrients applied now can develop sugars in the plant that will act as anti-freeze on those cold nights. A healthy turf grass will be better equipped to survive the cold and other adverse conditions. The rainfall we had with Matthew really washed a lot of nutrients out of the ground. You can bring your soil to any of the three Possum’s Landscape and Pest Control Supply’s for testing. Clemson Extension also offers soil testing.

 Be careful not to apply winterizing fertilizer from a national company that is designed for cool season grasses (fescue, blue grass, rye grass). Many of these products are high in nitrogen and can deplete the grass of the sugars you want to keep. These products also contain phosphorous that is usually not needed in our soils (soil test will provide this information) and can end up negatively impacting our waterways. A 00-00-25 sulfate of potash product with 10% iron and SeaHume or a product like Possum’s Minors and SeaHume is sometimes all you need (a soil test will give specifics) to put your grass to sleep with a full belly.

Be sure to keep your lawn hydrated through the winter. In the winter, we have less humidity and cool air blowing over our lawns. Grass loses water through runners and leaf blades (trees through bark and leaves). Just as we get chapped lips, the lawn needs moisture during the winter. You can lose grass to desiccation during the winter months. Water is a great insulator, and will help you battle winter injury to a point. Wow, the grass is like people, the right food and water will help grass survive! 

To help with winter damage be sure to correct any low, slow draining areas that hold water. With all of the rain we have had the past two years that should be easy to determine. Depending on the size of the area, French drains, slit drains, adding gutters to the house, or the addition of Mule Mix will accomplish this project. Water’s insulating properties are good to a point; however, if an area gets too cold, then water can hold this cold near the crown of the plant too long and damage the grass plant.

While the grass is actively growing (May through October), reduce the thatch layer in your grass. Thatch can act like a down jacket, holding cold air around the crown of the plant, damaging the grass. Topdressing with Cotton Burr Compost will greatly reduce your thatch. SeaHume will also reduce thatch. Bio Grounds Keeper is a granular product that has cellulose degrading bacteria and enzymes as well as humic acid. Aeration combine with any of the above will improve your results greatly.

BioRush by Diehard will also reduce frost damage and help the performance of all your plants. BioRush combines beneficial bacteria, beneficial fungi, humic acid, seaweed, yucca wetting agent, vitamins, amino acids, and natural sugars into a power packed stimulant. BioRush is in a very easy to use packet. BioRush can applied through a hose end sprayer or tank sprayer. The grass does not have to be actively growing, but you will get more visual effect if it is.

If your thatch levels are way out of control, mechanical dethatching might be your only choice. Mechanical dethatching is very stressful to our warm season grasses, so if this is the route you are going to take, do it only when the grass is actively growing. Running the dethatcher over the lawn is easy, the raking and cleaning up the debris is the time consuming part of this job.

As the winter approaches, you will also want to lower the height of cut of your mower. Just like thatch can hold cold air in too long, so can long leaf blades. If you ground is level enough, try to get your centipede down to an inch to an inch and a half. St. Augustine should be fine at two and a half inches.

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