Monday, August 31, 2020

In Europe, They Eat It. Any Guesses?

Horticulture Hotline 08/31/20

By Bill Lamson-Scribner


Although it is still 100 degrees in the Lowcountry, it is already time to begin to think about your fall / winter plans around the yard. In just a couple of weeks, football (?), volleyball (?), deer season, oyster eating, shrimp baiting will begin indicating another fall in the Lowcountry. As the daylight hours are getting shorter, those cooler temperatures we have been hoping for are right around the corner.  


The rainfall this year has been really crazy. It seems like it was no rain at all or 4 inches at once. These heavy rains tend to flush out the fertilizer that you might have spread on the yard. While driving around, I’m seeing a lot of hungry trees, shrubs and turf. Feed your landscape one last time, so the trees, turf and shrubs go into the winter with a full belly. Watch out for fire ants that the rains have flushed up and if you have a ditch, might have moved (floated) into your yard.


If you have had a history of Florida Betony in your beds or turf, this would be a great year to try using Dimension in your yard. Although not labeled for Florida Betony (and you know I’m a big believer in reading and following product label), many landscapers, homeowners, and myself have witnessed a huge reduction in the Florida Betony population when using this product.


If you have Florida Betony, it is definitely worth a try. I worked with the manufacturer of the product, Dow AgroSciences, over 20 years ago to get Florida Betony added to the label; however, with the costs testing a product and of adding a weed to a label with the EPA, I do not see them adding it in the near future. Some of the formulations of Dimension have already gone generic, so I doubt they will be investing much money into labeling of new weed species when they could spend that money on developing new products. In the test plots I did, the reduction of Florida Betony was significant. If these field trails were converted into a label, many people in the Lowcountry would have benefitted.


David Teas and I were just talking about Florida Betony after Hugo on the radio Saturday morning (The Garden Clinic / WTMA / noon to 1 pm). Don’t wait, now is the time to get that fall preemergent product out on the yard.


Since the trees, shrubs, and turf are all hungry, this would be a great time to try 15-00-15, or 23-00-08 with Dimension on your yard whether you have Florida Betony or not. This product is labeled to control many weeds including the popular weeds (annual bluegrass, henbit, bittercress, chickweed, Carolina geranium, and many more). Follow up with a 00-00-07 in 8 to 10 weeks.


If you are going to apply ryegrass to your turf, you can add a preemergent product now and wait until the label says you can apply the rye. Having a good level of preemerge in your beds should prevent the rye from taking over your shrubs.


Rates and timing are critical with these applications, so always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law.


Late summer weeds, disease on turf, mushrooms, mosquitoes, transplanting, planning for fall planting (vegetable garden and trees, ornamentals, bulbs and flower beds), soil testing, army worms, sod web worms, chinch bugs, fall pruning, fall organics…



Monday, August 24, 2020

Rain - Finally


Horticulture Hotline 08/24/20

By Bill Lamson-Scribner


Fall is coming and it is time to put your turf, shrubs, and trees to sleep with a full xylem (plant talk for belly). I think of one thing – ORGANICS!


Cotton Burr Compost, Nature’s Blend, 09-00-00 Corn Gluten, Blood Meal, Bone Meal, Feather Meal, Cotton Seed Meal, 08-02-04 Sustane, 06-04-00 and / or SeaHume are great products to use now on your ornamental plants and turf. If you plan to use just one product, I would go with SeaHume now. After the crepe myrtles lose their leaves, use Cotton Burr Compost, or Nature’s Blend (high nutrition) as a mulch instead of pine straw (low nutrition) or bark (nutrition not available). If you use Cotton Burr Compost or Nature’s Blend as a mulch, every time it rains your plants will get a drink of compost tea, and you know how we like our tea around here!


For best results spread over the whole bed; however, you can spread the products around individual plants. If you plan to do individual plants, be sure to cover where the roots are and out a little past where you think they are. Remember to keep compost or mulch off the trunk of trees and shrubs.


If you want to carry a few less bags, 17-00-09 and SeaHume will do a great job for you. Topped with some Cotton Burr Compost or Nature’s Blend as a mulch – ooh, la,la.


Crepe Myrtle leaves are starting to lose some of their chlorophyll, so the leaves look like they have a disease. Not to worry, the leaves are getting ready to drop off for the winter, so the green (chlorophyll) in the leaf that usually masks these other colors is leaving the leaf. The older varieties and the trees that are not on a good fertility program usually are the first to show these multi-colored leaves. Azaleas that are losing old leaves will make our phones ring at Possum’s as well. Magnolias are another one we get calls about. Although Azaleas and Magnolias are evergreens, they still lose leaves periodically.


The rain has brought the mosquitoes! Scout you yard for breeding sights. Mosquitoes only need a water bottle cap to bred. If you like organic, consider Possum’s Mosquito Swatter. Goat Island approved as well as many other pool owners and it works great under my fig tree at picking time!


The rain has brought the mushrooms! I have seen some of those perfect circles – aka fairy ring. If you have fairy ring and it bothers you enough or you have small children that might eat the mushrooms, Strobe G or Fame should work for you.


The rain has brought turf disease! The grass is slowing down with the reduced light hours, which makes the grass more susceptible to disease. Add frequent showers and look out. Strobe G is a good dual action systemic fungicide for this time of year.


The rain has brought the moisture that weeds need to germinate! winter weeds will be popping up soon. Have you applied your preemergent weed control product in your lawn and beds yet?


The rain has brought cover for the army worm and sod web worm to chow on your lawn! These worms like to eat in the evening and at night when the birds can not see them. A cloudy, rainy day gives them similar protection. Time to kill them!


Always read and follow product label.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Fall Is Coming. Plus Disclaimer.

Horticulture Hotline 08/21/20

  Bill Lamson-Scribner


Football season is starting (in some form hopefully), so I guess it is time for the Horticulture Hotline disclaimer.


For the new readers of the Horticulture Hotline, my To Do Lists are designed to help you target a few activities in your yard and in your home, that will benefit you in the future, giving you more free time.  These lists are not designed to interfere with high school, college, or professional football games, volleyball, soccer, baseball, fishing, shrimping, hunting, golfing, eating chicken wings at a local sports bar, oyster roasts, or watching NASCAR on the couch with closed eyes!  This is not designed to be a “honey do” list. 


With all the rain we have had, many plants, trees and grass have grown like crazy. Are tree branches or shrubs rubbing against your house removing the paint that protects your house from rot? Can squirrels and rats now access your roof and find a way into your home? Is your view blocked while trying to pull in or out of your driveway? Is your sidewalk overgrown with shrubs? Remember that azaleas and camellias have already set their blooms for next year, so be aware that you are removing some flowers. Have you noticed the pecan trees? Many are so heavy with nuts the limbs are hanging down – way down – and even splitting.


Large Patch Fungus (Brown Patch Fungus) and Gray Leaf Spot are attacking lawns across the Lowcountry.  I rode through several neighborhoods this week and saw it everywhere.  These cooler, wet nights and shorter daylight hours make conditions right for this disease.  Fungi like moisture and it has been raining a lot recently.  If you can let your grass dry out between watering, you will have less fungus (I understand this is not easy to do with rainfall). According to our customers, there are organic products that will increase the bio-diversity in the soil and help control Large Patch Fungus and Gray Leaf Spot (Neptune Harvest Crab shell, SeaHume, and Back to Nature’s Cotton Burr based products).  If you have an active infestation, a combination of T-Methyl and Strobe G are good chemistries to rotate.


If you plan to plant bulbs this fall, purchase them now while the selection is good.  Look for bigger bulbs.  Bigger bulbs equal bigger plants.  When planting, try 04-04-04 Sustane in the hole.   


Worms are still chowing on lawns. They like to feed under the cover of rainfall when it is darker and birds are less apt to see them. There has been a lot of spotty attacks this year. If you travel during the fall, you might want to use something preventatively because worms can do a lot of damage quickly. Most people notice the moths in their lawn first. These moths lay the eggs that become the worms that eat your grass. This past Saturday on my 15-minute drive to the radio station, I got two phone calls about worms (and one about fungus).


The wet, cooler weather will also run roaches and rodents into your home.  If you are prone to be attacked by these two pests, be sure to prepare for their arrival. 


Moles always get more active in the fall.  Manage their food source with Lebanon Insect Control and use Repellex around the perimeter to keep them out of your yard.


Now is the time to put out your fall fertilizer for your trees, shrubs and turf. Fall fertilization is very important for the health of your plants, trees and lawns especially when it has rained like it has this year. A soil test will tell you a lot of valuable information.


Now that the weather has cooled down, it is a good time to redefine your bed lines, prune anything that has gone wild over the summer, sharpen your mower blade, and pull any vines that are strangling your plants.  


Have you put out a preemergent product for winter weeds yet? Mosquitoes?


If this sounds like too much work, hire a professional.


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