Sunday, September 24, 2017

Did you Forget About Your Landscape With Football And Irma?

With Irma gone, there are a few things in the landscape that I wanted to be sure didn’t get overlooked.

Have you used a preemergent herbicide to protect yourself against winter weeds that terrorize your yard in the early Spring? The wet weather we have had will certainly led to annual bluegrass issues.

Have you fed your shrubs and trees for the winter? They like to go to bed with a full belly too. Many shrubs are putting on that last flush of growth. Tree’s and shrub’s root systems grow all year here, so don’t forget the SeaHume.

Have you winterized your lawn? Be aware that most of the national name brand products being advertised heavily right now are not for the grasses we have here in the Lowcountry. They would be good for fescue or rye in the upstate, but not so good for our warm season grasses. 00-00-25, Possum Minors, and / or SeaHume should do you right here.

Look up. Do you see limbs that got damaged during the storm hanging your tree? Broken limbs are showing up good now that the leaves have wilted. Contact an arborist before a limb contacts you or your car or your house, or your child, or your …

Since we had the salt water flooding, the best thing for our landscape was all the rain before the salt water hit our landscape. If our plants were super thirsty from a drought, and their first drink of water was salt water, the damage to the plants could have been much greater. Many of the landscapes were still super saturated with fresh water that would help dilute some of the salt water.

Now is the time to flush out the salt water if you have not already. Although watering your yard is probably the last thing you want to do, you need to flush out the salt. Using a product like Possum’s Salt Free makes this very easy. Use 1.5 oz per thousand square feet in 2 – 4 gallons of water for 2 – 4 consecutive weekly treatments.

We have sold Salt Free to homeowners, to parks and to large sport complexes with great results for over 10 years. Some of the sport complexes inject it in their irrigation system, since they are watering with salty water. As a result, they are constantly removing the salt that they are adding!

Gypsum is another product you can use to “flush out” salt. 100 pounds per thousand would be a good place to start and apply ProMag with it at 12 pounds per thousand. Gypsum and ProMag are granular. Some people prefer granular.

Excell (start at 25 pounds per thousand and apply weekly until soil test looks good) and SeaHume G (start at 15 pounds per thousand and apply weekly until soil test looks good) will also help with high sodium soils. Excell and SeaHume G are both granular as well.

Doing soil test while you try to rid your soil of salt, will help you greatly. Checking the sodium levels along with the base saturation levels will let you know how successful you are at flushing the sodium.

As always, if this is hard to understand, hire a professional.

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

Sunday, September 17, 2017

More Irma Aftermath

Horticulture Hotline 09/17/17
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

It is after the storm and so much is happening. I’m going to try to stay within my column inches allotment (newspaper talk), but no promises.

Mitigate salt damage as soon as you can! Salt is not good for plants and can kill them. Leach the salt out of the soil profile. Give us a call – we can help.

With all the rainfall, we have had all summer, some ditches have stayed wet - breeding mosquitoes all summer. I have been seeing frogs for the first time in years hanging out in and around ditches! With all the mosquitoes to eat, the frogs are happy; however, the mosquitoes eat us, making us not so happy.

With the flooding we had, all those little holes that you can see in the pluff mud as you drive over a bridge that are usually dry are now full of water and are a breeding area for the mosquito. Remember a mosquito needs less than a bottle cap of water to lay eggs into to breed.

Chikungunya, Dengue (still in the tropics), Zika, West Nile Virus … now it is time to wage war against the mosquito!

First, I’m going to give you a shopping list. Pick up these items then wage war on the mosquitoes and their breeding places in your yard. Mosquitoes & Gnats Are Gone, Cyonara Lawn and Garden, Mosquito Beater, Mosquito Dunks, and Altosid Pro G are some of the basic weapons that you will need to wage war against these blood suckers.

Apply the Mosquitoes & Gnats Are Gone to yourself. This product is organic and does an unbelievable job against mosquitoes, gnats, no-see-ums, ticks and other biting insects. Mosquitoes & Gnats Are Gone is non-greasy, DEET-free, and safe for the whole family. If you would rather go old school, Sprayon Insect Repellent II (23.75% Deet) or our 95% Deet Mosquito Repellent should do the trick. Now you are ready for the yard.

Scout around the yard for anything that holds water. Old tires, saucers under potted plants, bird baths, old flower containers or pots stacked in a corner, dog toys, kids toys, a container by the grill you use to soak wood chips in, a cooler, an old fountain, an upside down 5 gallon bucket that has a lip that holds water, a trash can lid with a dent, brick work that needs repointing, a hole in a tree and a dogs water bowl all make great places for mosquitoes to breed. Empty the water out these areas (refill the dog bowl and the bird bath daily). A tarp covering a boat or wood pile can have many pockets that hold water. Sagging gutters hold water.  A few empty bottles or cans can end up being thousands of mosquitoes! A bottle cap can be a breeding area. Many mosquitoes can breed in just an ounce of water.

If you have bigger areas of water like a ditch or a low area of the yard that holds water, apply the Mosquito Dunks or the Altosid Pro G. The Mosquito Dunks are an organic Bt product that kill larvae and the Altosid Pro G is a growth regulator product that contains the same active ingredient that is used in the Precor products for controlling fleas. Although Altosid is not organic, it is considered to be very safe and labeled to be used in very sensitive areas like marshes. Turn off your irrigation when you can and correct any drainage problems.

Any pruning you can do to increase air movement and sunlight penetration will also help. Mosquitoes like moist stagnant areas. Mosquitoes are very weak fliers, so they do not like wind or air movement (big fans for parties help). Mosquitoes are a public health issue, so  you might be able to get some help from a government agency.

Next, you want to mow your lawn then spray the lawn, shrubs, trees, and mulched areas with Cyonara Lawn and Garden. This product not only kills mosquitoes but also kills chiggers, fleas, ants, ticks, spittlebugs and roaches just to name a few other problem insects out right now.  If you include a growth regulator like Pivot or Nyguard, your control will last much longer.

If you would like to stay organic apply Mosquito Beater or Mosquito Repelling Granules. These organic products really do a great job. They are university tested and has also proven itself in the Lowcountry. Many of our customers at Possum’s have reported control for over three weeks! We sell these products to people putting on large fundraisers, other outdoor festivals, sporting events, and individuals. We always get positive feedback! If you would rather spray, try EcoVia EC. A natural product that works!

Rats and snakes go together like shrimp and grits. After the storm, we have had a surge of questions at Possum’s about ridding people’s houses of these two pests. We have some great organic rodent repelling products (Rodents Are Gone Liquid, Granular, for the Exterior and Interior), traps, lures for the traps, and various baits. We have organic repellents for the snakes as well, but it is best to get rid of the rats, so the snakes have to look elsewhere for food.

I’m seeing a lot of army worm damage. If your grass looks like it has been mowed and you haven’t mowed it, bend down and pull up several leaf blades and see if something has been chewing on it. Also look for moths flying around your yard. Chinch bugs in St. Augustine are still very active. EcoVia is an organic product that will take care of both of these and mosquitoes. Bug Blaster or Bifen are a couple of other products you could use.

Time to fall fertilize your trees and shrubs. 17-00-09 should work good for you. A soil test will provide the best information to determine what fertilizer to use.

If this sounds like too much work, hire a professional. Always read and follow product label.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Hurricane Irma

Horticulture Hotline 09/11/17
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

The “H” word is being mentioned again and again on the news this week. We have been lucky the past few years. The storms have gone the other way. You never like to wish bad upon your neighbor, but with a hurricane, you kind of have to… Well, Hurricane Irma seemed to be headed our way from the first “cone” predictions, then veered away just not to California, so it still nailed us.

In the old days, I would enjoy a hurricane. I can remember in the early 1980’s when Hurricane Bob hit the Lowcountry. At the last minute it was downgraded to a tropical storm; however, it still packed some good winds. I remember hurrying to get out to Wild Dunes before they closed the Ben Sawyer Bridge (back then that was the only bridge to Isle of Palms or Sullivan’s Island). Everyone was trying to leave the beaches; I was trying to get to the beach.

A group of us would enjoy watching the palms bend, the ocean churn, the trees dance in the high winds, transformers blowing up provided fireworks and the feel of the strength of the wind holding us up as we leaned into it.

Between the devastation of Hurricane Hugo in 1989, having 3 stores full of inventory and a house surrounded by pine trees, I have a much different view of hurricanes now.

Now that the hurricane has past there are several things to consider from the landscape and pest control part of your property. Remember most injuries occur during cleanup.

Look for any downed power lines. Electrocution can happen after these storms.

Inspect your trees closely for “widow makers”. Gravity will pull these limbs that are hanging in the trees down to the ground, and hopefully, you or your loved ones are not between the ground and the tree that they are hanging out of. Getting a tree care professional out to your house is always a good idea.

Use local tree people to work on your trees. After Hugo, I saw many safe trees that were removed that could have been left to grow. Some could have been straightened and braced. Trees take a long time to grow, so you do not necessarily have to remove them if they have a little lean. The topping of trees after Hugo was also ridiculous. Again a reputable, local, tree care professional should come inspect your trees for dangerous situations.

Salt was the biggest issue last year with Matthew, and it appears that for many of you, salt is going to be a main issue again. Gypsum, Salt Free, Excell, SeaHume G, ProMag and a soil test that test for Sodium provide the road map for the recovery of your landscape. You would want to take a soil test first so you know where your starting point is, then you could immediately apply products to mitigate the salt damage (keep track of what you use and at what rates so when your soil test results come back you will know what you have already applied). At Possum’s Landscape and Pest Control Supply we can help you through this process and help you with directions on taking a soil test and using these products.      

The new ethanol gas really takes its toll on small engines. Use ethanol free gas for your generator (have outside), blowers and chain saw. Safety glasses, gloves and ear protection are also good ideas. Remember more people get injured cleaning up from a hurricane than from the hurricane itself. I have Wolf Garten hand saw that is super sharp that I use for most of my clean up including large limbs (much safer and no chain or engine maintenance).

Usually after a few days of overcast rainy weather associated with hurricanes and tropical storms during this time of year, we see an explosion of sod webworms or army worms. The dark overcast days give them a chance to feed without birds or other predators eating them. Sod webworms or army worms can devour a yard that you have worked on all summer in a very short period of time.

The heavy rains this time of year and the drop in temperature can also cause an explosion of fungus. It is always best to treat fungus preventively with a good systemic product like Fame, T-Methyl, or Prophesy. Fungus was getting started before the storm and now conditions are even more favorable.

I have to mention the beloved rats (under and in your house), snakes (under your house), mosquitoes, and fire ants. Unfortunately, you are probably going to be in the yard a little more this fall (cleaning up, repairing, and inspecting), so it would be a great time to spray Cyonara or EcoVia (organic) or spread Mosquito Beater (organic) or Sevin. The Sevin and the Cyonara will help with fire ants, sod webworms, and mosquitoes. Not a Do It Yourselfer – call a professional. Watch out for the Ol’Possum that might have slipped into your house for higher ground.

Water under your house or flooding? How does that impact your termite bond with your pest control company? It would probably be a good idea to contact them.

With all the rain, a soil test would be a good idea since most of the nutrients were flushed out of the soil profile. Potassium leaches very fast, so a Possum’s 00-00-25 and SeaHume would help your whole landscape (lawn, shrubs, trees) right now. Pull a soil test first and bring it to us while you are picking up the 00-00-25 and the SeaHume.

If you feel like Irma spared you, calling a tree company to trim trees in a month after the storm cleanup is probably good idea. Call and get on their list so the next time we are “in the cone” your trees will be ready and recently inspected. Good luck!

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