Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Try Some "New" Strategies in 2018

Horticulture Hotline 01/02/18
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

Over the next few weeks I’m going to write about products you might want to check out in 2018.

I often hear, “Bill, I do not want to fertilize my lawn because I don’t want to mow it.” Or the ever popular, “Bill, no one feeds the trees in the forest, and they do fine.” And “I don’t want to fertilize my shrubs because they will grow and I will have to hedge them.”

You wouldn’t stop eating just because you got to a certain height. If you have children, you would not stop feeding them. Plants, like people, need certain nutrients to remain healthy. In an urban environment, we need to supply our plants nutrients. Taking a soil test is the best way to determine what nutrients your landscape needs. In a forest where leaves, limbs, trees fall to the forest floor and are recycled into nutrients by microorganisms, trees can fend for themselves.

If you want to reduce your mowing, consider using a growth regulator. With generic products available, these products have become very affordable. They were very affordable before they went generic with the time, fuel and wear and tear of equipment that was saved. Now there is much less “sticker shock.”

I mix up a weed killer, insecticide, fungicide, fertilizer, growth regulator and a few secret ingredients together and stop my St. Augustine from growing for a month during the summer. When it starts to grow, I spray it again. I still fertilize, but no mowing. I have less gray leaf spot disease and my roots grow deeper because there is less energy going to top growth. Very nice!

I work with a football field that has an Elaeagnus hedge that covers the chain-linked fence that surrounds the stadium. The groundskeeper was trimming this hedge monthly during the growing season and hating it. He started using a growth regulator twice a year and barely does any pruning to it at all now. Elaeagnus are infamous for being a pain in the landscape with their wild growth habit. The groundskeeper went from standing on a ladder pruning a 6 to 8 foot hedge, and raking up the debris and disposing of it to just walking by and spraying a product. He was happy, happy, happy!

Check out growth regulators for edging a sidewalk, along a fence, for a shrub, or a groundcover and save some time this year.

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