Monday, September 26, 2016

Read The Label - It Can Be Helpful

Horticulture Hotline 09/26/2016
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

I was recently giving some advice to a relative of mine about renovating his lawn in the Upstate of South Carolina. Where he lives, it has been very hot and dry this summer and his irrigation system was a wreck (I guess he didn’t want to drag any hoses). His tall fescue grass pretty much cooked.

With fescue grass it is a common practice to renovate the grass. Many people north of us will aerate their lawn, apply a starter fertilizer and seed in the fall. With my relative’s grass, we were going to take this one step further because he had some hard to kill weeds in his yard, and I suggested that he go buy some Roundup and spray what was left of his existing turf area. He would then have a yard that was free of weeds, and he could start with a clean slate.

Well, when he went to buy the Roundup I suggested somehow he got home with Roundup Pump and Go Extended Control. He sprayed his yard with this product instead.
Unfortunately, this product will keep his new fescue seeds from germinating.

Reading and following the label is so important and it is a Federal Law. Had my relative either read this in the store or before he sprayed the product his yard would not be brown for the holidays. These statements are paraphrased from the product label because I could not figure out how to Copy & Paste.

·          Where Not to Use

Do Not Spray plants or grasses that you like - they will die. Do not use in lawns or for lawn renovation as Roundup Extended Control products prevent desirable grasses from growing too. Do not use for vegetable garden preparation or in and around fruits and vegetables. Do not spray around young plants or in an area that will be planted or seeded within 4 months. Note: for use in these areas use Roundup® Ready-To-Use Weed & Grass Killer III or Roundup® Weed & Grass Killer Super Concentrate
The label clearly states that the area should not be seeded for 4 months. I am using this as example of how important it is to read the label. Please do not try to renovate your lawn here like people do in areas where they grow cool season grasses.
I think Thanksgiving dinner is at his house this year, and looking out over that brown yard, it will somehow become my fault and I will be lucky to get the turkey neck for dinner.

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

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 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

It is Fall ...

By Bill Lamson-Scribner
With all of the heavy rains, Large Patch/Brown Patch is really giving our Lowcountry grasses a hard time!  The cooler nights, lower daylight hours, and these rains have created an environment favorable for the spread of this disease.  Hopefully, you are all saving some money and have turned off your irrigation.
If you have discolored grass this time of year, it could be Large Patch, or I am still seeing plenty of worm (fall army worm, sod web worm) activity.  You must identify what pest you have because worms are an insect which needs insecticides and Large Patch is a fungus which requires a fungicide to eradicate.
Where you have Large Patch, there is a dead area in the center that is outlined by yellow grass.  If you pull on the dead grass or the yellow grass, it will come up very easily from the runner.  At the bottom of the leaf blade you just pulled up, you will see a dark discolored area.  Large Patch is a soil borne fungus that attacks the grass at the crown of the plant.  The crown of the plant is the areas where the leaf blades go up and the roots go down.  In the dead area, you can rake up the dead blades of grass with your fingers. 
If worms are munching on your turf, the discolored areas will have half eaten leaf blades.  If you see an area in your lawn that looks like it has been mowed, but you haven’t mowed in awhile, that could be an area where worms have been feeding.  You can also see the worms or their fecal pellets in the bad grass that borders the good grass.
Moths are very evident in lawns that have worms. If you walk around your yard at dusk and see moths fly up out of your lawn, there is a very good chance you have worms on the way. Moths lay eggs. The eggs turn into the worm that eats your grass. The worms then turn into moths and the cycle continues. Moths will also hang out in flower beds. They especially seem to like Liriope (monkey grass).
Large Patch reappears in the same place every year which makes it easy to control.    Large Patch likes compacted, thatchy, wet and poorly drained areas.  Large Patch also likes yards where people run irrigation all the time regardless of rain.  If you can manage these cultural issues through aeration, de-thatching and correcting drainage, you should notice a decrease of the fungus in your yard.
Serenade is an organic fungicide that you can use to control Large Patch.  Applying Natures Blend, Crab Shell and SeaHume in these areas will increase the bio-diversity and relieve compaction.  Many of our customers have noticed a great reduction in Large Patch in the areas where they applied Natures Blend, Crab Shell and SeaHume.  Cleary’s and Disarm products systemically move into the plants and protect them from disease. 
For fungi it is best to treat before your grass gets the disease. Like the way people get a flu shot, before they get the flu. Fungicides will help afterwards to prevent further damage; however, the dead grass will not come back to life.
Sevin is a great product to control worms.  Not only will it kill the worms, but it will also kill other things in the soil that moles feed on. Bifen or Bug Blaster will work too. If you would rather go organic, Thuricide is a Bt product that will help kill the worms.  Applications every 2 weeks is not uncommon.
Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Be Proactive in an Area with Insects and Fungi

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. Treat this ball area with DieHard Transplant and SeaHume to encourage young white root growth and beneficial fungi in this area.   

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 wait another month then remove the tree. Use DieHard Transplant in the new hole.

When you plant the tree in its new home, be sure it is planted at the same grade that it was growing before you moved it or a little higher. I like to plant higher than existing grade because the soil seems to settle. Many tree problems are associated with being planted too deep.

Brown Patch Fungus is in the attack mode. The shorter days, moisture and finally the cooler weather has given this fungus all the conditions it likes to destroy the yard you worked hard on all summer.

Scout your yard for sod webworms and army worms. It is amazing with 3 stores (Possum’s) the stories you hear from lawn care people and homeowners about these worms. They can eat so much so fast it is amazing. Whether it is the professional or the DIY homeowner that has worked hard all summer to grow a uniform stand of turf, the sod webworm just doesn’t seem to care.

To scout for this varmint, look for scalped grass that has bite marks on the leaf blade. Moths flying around in a zigzag pattern in and out of the turf at dust is also a dead giveaway.

Scale, aphids, and lace bugs are still out there sucking the life out of your plants. Evergreens you could use a drench product like Dominion. If your plant or tree is losing leaves for the winter, horticultural oil might be a better choice, depending on the infestation.

Winterizing your turf and shrubs should also be considered. No one likes to go to sleep hungry! Possum Minors, 00-00-25 Sulfate of Potash + minors, SeaHume, Cotton Burr Compost and / or Excell are a few excellent options. Watch out for the national marketing campaigns that promote products that were not designed to be used in this area.

I’m sure you have put out one round of preemergent herbicide by now for winter weed control in your beds and turf. If not, better late than never. Weed seeds germinate pretty much all year here.

If you are changing out flowers in containers or hanging baskets, consider incorporating HydroStretch or Hort-a-Sorb. These products help manage water and your plants will not dry out so fast.

Roaches, moles, fleas, mice, rats, mole crickets, fire ants?

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