Monday, April 3, 2017

Have You...

Horticulture Hotline 04/03/17
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

Today’s article is not as much of a “to do list” as a have you done it list.

Aerating the lawn and landscape is always a good cultural practice, especially after all the rain, saturated soils, and salt intrusion we have had with Matthew. Aerating does several good things for your lawn, shrubs, and trees. Try to use an aerator that pulls up a plug with a hollow tine instead of a spike type aerator that is just a solid tine going into the ground. By removing cores of soil from your lawn and laying them on top of the ground, all kinds of good things happen (microorganisms). This cultural practice is one of the best for your landscape as a whole. If you can aerate in beds and under trees, that will benefit plants as well.   

Aerating reduces compaction, reduces thatch, increases oxygen movement to the roots, brings beneficial microorganisms to the surface (some microorganisms decompose thatch which helps with many other situations), cuts runners in turf, and allows better penetration of water, fertilizers, or control products into the soil.

You can aerate anytime the grass is actively growing. On our programs, I usually recommend in April before your second application of preemergent, just in case any weed seeds are surfaced and try to germinate.

When you aerate, be sure to mark all your irrigation heads, propane lines, cable lines, night lighting lines and any other wire or pipe you might have running through your lawn, so you do not accidentally add to you work load.

If you have been waiting for the weather to warm up, here is a brief checklist of things that should have been completed around the yard:
  • Test soil. All the rain leached out very valuable nutrients out of the soil. There are many properties I have taken soil test on every year for over 20 years. In every case, there are certain nutrients that all the rain has leached out of the soil. From the soil test taken December of 2015 to the soil test taken December of 2016 there are many obvious decreases in nutrients.  I was looking at soil tests a few years ago and I had 2 tests for palm trees that 2 different people had put out way, way, way too much Magnesium. Just because people say that palms like Epsom Salt which is Magnesium sulfate, take a soil test first. You might be wasting your money. Over fertilizing could be true throughout your landscape. Soil test provide valuable information for accurate fertilizing!
  • Have you applied SeaHume G to lawn and beds for a healthy start?
  • Have you applied a preemergent to lawn and beds (this late use Dimension if it is your first application)? Remember it is never too late to start a preemerge program. It is never too late to preemerge, with our mild climate weeds germinate almost every day of the year.
  • Have you drench Dominion around plants with a history of insect problems?
  • Have you applied a preventive fungicide to turf if you have a history of fungus (T-Methyl, Fame)?
  • Mole Crickets overwinter as adults and do their mating flights right now. Have you killed them now before they can make babies? Be sure your lawn and beds are free of fire ants, and if you have pets, fleas and ticks should be controlled. If you live near the woods, chiggers may be an issue. (Granular Sevin will work on these pests. If you prefer organic, check with a Possum’s near you to find a product or products that will work in your situation.)
  • Have you gone through your irrigation system to be sure everything is operating correctly? In my travels through the Lowcountry, I have noticed many broken heads and heads that are spraying into the street. Although they have been calling for rain, where I live we have had very little. These low humidity days will dry out your grass and plants quickly. Plants and grass are putting out new leaves and need water!
  • The little fury terrorist of the yard is having babies now. Have you killed a mole recently or at least repelled one out of your yard?
  • Is your lawn mower ready for another season? New Blade? New Air Filter? New Spark Plug?

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