Monday, May 25, 2020

Heavy Rains / Drainage Issues

Horticulture Hotline 05/20/20
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

We have had some crazy rain recently. Six inches I heard on James Island a week or two ago. The rain has been really heavy when it has come and it has been dry and windy in between rains. With all the rain, now is a great time to see if you need to work on drainage for your whole yard, areas of your yard, or just have some small areas that puddle.

Starting with gutters, do you have them? Do you need them? Are they clean and functioning properly? If water is running off your roof and draining under your house (crawl space), you may want to consider gutters. Moisture underneath a house can led to mold, fungus, moisture damage and termites.

If you have gutters, are the plants near the downspouts drowning? Do you need to put a piece of flexible pipe on the end of the downspout and direct the water to a place in the yard where it is not a problem? Could you collect this water in a rain barrel and store it for future use?

A large low area in the yard could be dealt with in many ways. Find the lowest point and put a drain and run the water elsewhere. If there are not any tree roots in the area, you could fill in the area with topsoil. If the area is small enough, consider using bagged topsoil, so you do not bring a bunch of weeds in the soil to your yard. If the area is really big, you could remove the grass with a sod cutter and re-grade the area.

If you would like to drain an area very effectively and without having to do a lot of digging, then Turface is the way to go. All you need to do is aerate the area then apply Turface. If you don’t have an aerator, you can just spread the Turface along the surface. We have worked with many customers using this product in many different situations with great results. Turface will help drain large areas and small areas. Some areas that are bigger and wetter you can dig columns with a post hole digger or auger and backfill with Turface. You will also save on the water and fungicide bill with this product.

Using wetting agents can also help get water off of the surface and into the ground.

Hot topics at Possum’s – Cotton Burr Compost, fleas, bedbugs, little dead areas of grass, fungus, masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, mole crickets, mulching beds now that leaves have fallen, termite swarms, chinch bugs, wetting agents …

Always read and follow product label. It is the 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). Saturday's show is replayed Sunday from 11:00 - Noon.

Monday, May 18, 2020

PWAB - What?

Horticulture Hotline 05/18/20
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

Two weeks ago, while walking it was the Magnolias wonderful fragrance and now the Gardenias have joined in also – great time to be in the Lowcountry! A while back, I talked to two different customers that have had great success with one of our money saving products. The product is Possum’s Wetting Agent with Biostimulants (PWAB for short). With the dry spring we have had, I’m sure you will notice the difference in your yard and your water bill!

Possum’s Wetting Agent with Biostimulants is a water management product also called a wetting agent. Imagine a bunch of tiny little balloons that penetrate into your soil through the tiny cracks, absorb water, expand, relieve compaction, and then release the water slowly back to the plant. After about a month, these balloons begin to break down in the soil, like a helium balloon does after your child’s birthday, in a car lot, or in the atmosphere. Wetting agents have been used on golf courses, athletic fields, and in areas with low rainfall for years.

The first customer that thanked me for introducing her to Possum’s Wetting Agent with Biostimulants lived in a clay type soil. The first benefit she noticed was areas that stayed wet in the past seemed to dry out quicker. PWAB let the water go into the ground instead of sitting on the surface. She also noticed that the water that flowed over the curb after a rain now stayed on her lawn. For hours or even days after a rain, her neighbors curb was wet while hers was dry. The rainwater was penetrating her soil and benefiting her yard instead of flowing down the road to the storm water drain. This is very evident in new neighborhoods.

Once the rains began to slow down, she began to notice the big savings in her pocket book. She went from watering Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for thirty minutes a zone down to Monday and Friday for 20 minutes a zone. In other words, she went from watering a total of 90 minutes down to 40 minutes. She cut her watering in more than half!

In periods of long dry spells, the area along her sidewalk that does not get watered from her sprinklers because she does not like to water the sidewalk, now stays green. Other areas in her lawn that did not have perfect head to head coverage with irrigation, now stay green longer between periods of no rain. These dry areas were always thin and now they are thicker and greener with less weed issues and less city water.

Because of the clay soil, she had lots of containers and hanging baskets for color plants and a small herb garden. These plants also needed far less water. In our brutal heat some of her hanging baskets needed watering twice a day. Not anymore.

The other customer lives in a sandy soil area of the Lowcountry. He suffered from a large dry area on a hill and an annual bed that always dried out; however, the annuals were on a zone with turf so the turf was getting over watered to keep the annuals alive.

Through the monthly use of Possum’s Wetting Agent with Biostimulants, he was able to solve both problems without having to rework his irrigation system. He had been watering everyday for 30 minutes and has cut his watering to 3 times a week. On last report he was going to try to lower the minutes per watering. Another lowered water bill and another better-looking yard!

Less watering also means less disease and less expensive fungicides. This slow release watering can save you money on your water bill, help fertilizer work better, lessen compaction, prevent runoff into storm water drains that go to our marshes, grow deeper roots, develop healthier plants that can withstand stress better, and let me mention again save you money!

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). Saturday's show is replayed Sunday from 11:00 - Noon.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Everything is Growing!

Horticulture Hotline 05/04/20
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

Ol’Boy, my faithful pound hound, is now 17 and ½ people years old (and yes, I am counting ½ years now)! I love walking Ol’Boy this time of year and getting to smell the wonderful magnolias. What a Lowcountry signature tree! Here is a quick list of questions about events in the yard.

Soil tested?  Custom Program written? Apply the products that your soil needs instead of guessing. Doing soil tests are cheaper and provide better results than random applications. With heavy rain events, many nutrients have been leached from the soil. Why do you think farmers with hundreds of acres and their income depend upon it soil test?
“I started using Possum’s recipe for my lawn 3 years ago and I have never had a better lawn in the 35 years that I have been trying to grow the perfect lawn. Possum’s is awesome! I have the best lawn in the neighborhood.”  Greg Lienert
“The Best!  Cookbook program very user friendly—plus the support!!”
Bernard Arnold, O.D.
“Great products for my lawn.  15-00-15 Lawn Food!  My lawn never looked better!  Better than Scotts!  Great Products!”  George Bryant

Have you been watering? Most of the issues I have seen with grass this year are because a lack of water. Water, Water, Water. Low Humidity and high winds dry out the soil and the soil doesn’t remain warm through the cool nights without moisture. If the soil stays cool, the grass doesn’t green up uniformly.

A new one for this year… masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer. We have them at Possum’s. The supply chain is getting better, but occasionally we get wiped out of an item. If we are out, leave us your name and number and we will call you when the next shipment arrives.  

Mosquitoes? Do you have a plan? Luckily the wind has kept them at bay during the day.

Lawn Mower – sharp (new) blade, new ethanol free gas, new oil, new air filter, new spark plug for season? Is your self-propelled mechanism working?

Prune and fertilize azaleas, camellias and other spring flowering plants after they bloom? Wait on Gardenias for now.

Do trees need pruning? Are they growing strong out to the tips of the limbs? Plenty of new foliage? Has the bust of spring growth put limbs against your house?

Fertilized your trees and shrubs? 17-00-09, 08-02-04 (organic), Professional feeding?

Fertilize daffodils for bigger bulbs next year. Leave the leaves (foliage) to collect sunlight to refurbish bulb for next year.

Huge fleshy leaves on new growth of camellias and azaleas? Leaf gall? Remove infected leaves and destroy.

Is Powdery mildew attacking roses, crepe myrtles, dogwoods?  Neem PY (organic), Systemic Fungicide II.

Large Patch Fungus in turf – get an early start – prevention is cheaper than curative. Strobe, T-Methyl, and Prophesy are a few chemical controls. Crab Shells, Serenade, and Natures Blend are organic controls that “fix” the problem.

Adult mole crickets are tunneling – manage them. Intice Bait (NOP), Above/Below.

Fire ants are starting to forage – manage them.  Lebanon Insect Control, Baits.

Grubs are near the surface – manage them. Some of these grubs will emerge into Japanese beetles that will shred your plant’s foliage in a month (especially roses and crepe myrtles). Kill them now!  Lebanon Insect Control, Grub X.

Scale insects are really bad. It seems like they get worse every year. Safari Tree and Shrub for quick knockdown and Tree and Shrub Drench for long term control.
For trees and shrubs with perennial insect problems consider Tree and Shrub Drench.

Get a “jump” on fleas this year. Lebanon Insect Control, Bug Blaster outside. Pivot Ultra Plus kills adult and larval fleas, while the IGR affects hatching eggs and is labeled for indoor use. Prefurred Plus is great to apply to pet.

Plant a vegetable garden? Soil Test? Good soil? Amend soil?

Plant a flower garden? Soil Test? Good soil? Amend soil?

If you applied preemergent in February, it is time for your second application (depending on the rate and product you used the first time). Remember the ornamental beds!

The leaves have fallen – new mulch? New mulch really sets off the landscape.

Fertilized Palm Trees with 07-00-09 (the most awesome Palm Fertilizer)?

Tested your well water?  Many are getting salty.

Pruned holly fern, cast iron plant, and monkey grass (Liriope)?

Moles? Mole Patrol, Traps, Repellex?

Checked your irrigation? Heads pointing the right direction? Leaky valves? Pipes?

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