Monday, February 25, 2019

Some Good Organics Plus A Little More

Horticulture Hotline 02/25/19
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

This week I put out fungicide, post emergent weed killer, and preemergent weed preventer on my mother’s yard. I only got to the post emergent weed killer for my yard. Where I drive around the fungus has gone crazy in lawns. If your grass has blotches of different shades of brown instead of a uniform brown color, you could have fungus attacking your turf. All these warm, high humidity days have been perfect for fungus. As your grass is “greening up” or “in transition”, it is especially susceptible to disease.

Certain foods or other items just go together. Vanilla ice cream and pecan pie (hot apple pie, hot brownies, hot chocolate chip cookies, a bowl…) and a topping of whipped cream go well together. Wines with certain foods or champagne with dessert are common pairings. Oysters and beer on a cool evening. March Madness Basketball and chicken wings go great together. Hamburgers and hotdogs on the Fourth of July are a National tradition. I’m sure you get the idea. In landscaping and pest control there are some products that do much better when paired with another product or two.

Right now as the lawn, shrubs, and trees are emerging into another growing season, a combination of SeaHume, Cotton Burr Compost (or Flower Amendment) and Black Castings will give your yard a nice organic nutritional boost (unlike a Red Bull, Randy). These products alone will do great things for your grass, trees, and shrubs; however, if you combine them, look out. Some people will use them across their whole yard, others will target weak plants, weak turf, just their front yard or their favorite tree or plant.

SeaHume G is a combination product of its own. Seaweed and humic acid are two great products that go great together. The Seaweed is full of minor nutrients, amino acids, gibberellins, and many other plant nutrients. The Seaweed also feeds the microorganisms in the soil, helps the plant grow deep roots. Deep roots help with compaction, drought tolerance, wear tolerance and they give the plant the ability to gather more nutrients because the roots cover more area. The humic acid in SeaHume G helps create a rich, fertile, soil structure by modifying physical and chemical properties of the soil. Humic acid helps root growth and makes nutrients that are tied up in the soil available to the plant.

Cotton Burr Compost is very high in nutrition (some other composts are good filler but add little nutritional value). Plants and turf love it. Cotton Burr Compost provides a great ‘hotel’ for microorganisms in the soil. One of the biggest benefits of Cotton Burr Compost is that it lasts up to and in many cases over 2 years in the soil. Most other organic amendments are decomposed in 30 days or so depending on the microorganisms in the soil.  

Black Castings are Mother Nature’s purest form of natural organic slow release plant food produced by earthworms. Black Castings are full of beneficial microbial populations and the food to support good soil biology. They enhance plant growth and stress recovery (wear, insect, disease, cold damage). Black Castings will make fertilizer work better and in many cases, you can reduce the amount of fertilizer applied.

Possum’s Wetting Agent is the whip cream, helping water penetrate the ground better, so you use less water and less water runs off into our storm water drains, lakes, rivers, creeks, ditches and other bodies of water. Your water will stay on your property better.

The cherry on top would include SeaHume liquid and its many attributes.

Whether you are after fleas, roaches, or bedbugs, the use of a growth regulator with an adulticide will increase your success by breaking up the life cycle of the pest.  Another great pairing.

Try this cocktail or sundae, I think you and your plants and your grass will love it!! Your pest will hate it!!

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

Monday, February 18, 2019

In and Around the House

Horticulture Hotline 02/18/19
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

The Tulip Magnolia (Saucer Magnolia) is blooming in the Lowcountry.  It is time to be sure the winter projects have been completed, and the proactive spring projects in the yard and around the house have been taken care of.

With the rain we had last spring, the trees grew like gang busters. Areas of grass might be shaded and thin that were once high quality turf. Now, might be a good time to cut new bed lines and let the tree have more room to grow. Check the sides of your house for limbs rubbing the paint off of your house. The paint protects your house like your skin protects you or like bark protects a tree.

Look above your roof line and see if any limbs are growing above your roof that could allow varmints (squirrels, raccoons, or the loveable possum) into your attic. Make sure your source of power to your house is free of limbs. Hire an insured arborist if you need some pruning done.

Any transplanting or planting of new trees or shrubs should be done ASAP. Try to get them in the ground before the plant flushes out new growth or blooms. If you are buying a blooming plant that you want a specific color or to match a color you already have, you may have to wait; otherwise, the sooner you can plant the better. When planting remember the Diehard Transplant, it is like the yogurt Jamie Lee Curtis (great in the old version of Fun with Dick and Jane) advertises. Diehard Transplant adds all the good bacteria, wetting agents and fungi into the soil that a plant needs to help with survival.
Remember the old saying when planting, “plant it high and it will not die!”

Intice 10 perimeter bait is a great product to put out around the perimeter of your house for roaches, crickets, sowbugs, earwigs, silverfish, millipedes and certain ants. Intice 10 is a LEED tier 3 product and N.O.P. (National Organics Program) compliant, so it is considered very safe.

Intice 10 should also be broadcasted in the yard for mole crickets. Since Over n Out changed the active ingredient away from Fipronil, mole crickets have become a major turf pest again. Mole crickets come to the surface on these warm days and love to eat this bait!

Judging from the flea products we have been selling at Possum’s, now would be a good time to get ahead of the fleas. Be sure to use a product with a growth regulator. Precor 2000, Ultracide, IG Regulator, Alpine Flea Insecticide with IGR are just a few products that will get you ahead of the curve. The Prefurred line of products that you apply directly to the animal has done very well.

Get out your preemergent, or forever fight weeds!! I usually wait until my bald cypress starts to “needle out” and then I go on an organic binge with SeaHume, Cotton Burr Compost, worm castings and others; however, this year I’m already seeing new growth on some plants so I guess it is time for the organics.

If you have a history with fungus or insects on certain plants, sanitation, lime / sulfur, and your fungicide or insecticide of choice is good to put out now to protect the new growth. With these cloudy, overcast days brown patch / large patch has been flourishing in lawns.

Spring in the Lowcountry…

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

Monday, February 4, 2019

Bottlebrush and Tenacity

Horticulture Hotline  02-04-19
  Bill Lamson-Scribner

I would like to talk about the plant that suffered with the cold weather of 2018. The Red Bottlebrush (Callistemon citrinus) plant has gained great popularity over the past 20 years in the Lowcountry.  It is pretty much at the upper end of its hardiness zone, which means with very cold temperatures it can get some cold damage (last year).  This plant has also shown to release a natural herbicide that has been registered with the EPA for home use. The label is very narrow, so read the label closely to see if it is a fit for your situation. It is amazing how many products are being derived from things in nature these days.

The bottlebrush makes a great screen.  It has small leaves that can buffer a lot of sound and visual pollution.  The plant can be used as an accent plant, in a container, or in a large buffer.  Using bottlebrush as a screen gives you good screening and good color with the flowers.  So many of our plant materials used for screening do not have showy flowers. Be sure to blend in some cold hardy plants, if you are using bottlebrush as a screen, in case we have that killing chill your buffer will not be totally lost.

Hummingbirds, people, and butterflies attract to the beautiful bottlebrush shaped flowers.  I have had so many hummingbirds around my bottlebrush that they looked like honey bees!  Butterflies enjoy the nectar from the bottlebrush and add movement and color to your garden. 

Currently the bottlebrush have little to no insect or disease problems in this area.  They are very heat and drought tolerant and are almost considered a weed in Florida.  Unlike azaleas and camellias, they can handle sandy, low moisture, and low organic matter soils.  They are also salt tolerant which means they can be used around the beach or other salt water-front areas. 

Recently a scientist working for Syngenta noticed that certain weeds didn’t grow near his bottlebrush.  He isolated a chemical in the soil that was released from the bottlebrush plant that actually kills weeds.  Syngenta has developed this into a new product, Tenacity, which has EPA registration. This product is not meant for everyone, so read the label closely before you decide to purchase Tenacity.

I had bottlebrush in my yard for over twenty years without any ill effects from the cold. Last year they did take a hit, but many of them are already blooming now. The bottlebrush is a great addition to the Lowcountry landscape!

Spring is rapidly approaching. Are you ready? Remember this is next year for your soil test!