Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Summertime Menagerie

Horticulture Hotline 06/30/21

By Bill Lamson-Scribner


This week’s article is going to be a menagerie of topics to get you ready for outdoor summer activities (grilling and others) and a few other random situations.


Let’s first look at the grilling type activities and general outdoor play. Dad or mom are cooking on the grill and the kids are playing in the yard. If your grill hasn’t been used recently, open the lid slowly and check to be sure wasp haven’t made themselves a home inside your grill. About three years ago, I got bit about four times for this same reason, while grilling at someone’s house.


Speaking of wasps, look around your doors, porches, outdoor furniture and other areas you have seen wasp in the past. Wasps seem to be extra active this year. Wasp Freeze.


Flies can be particularly nasty, disease spreading, biting in some cases, and did I say nasty insects. Lands on dog poop then lands on your barbeque or your spatula – enough said – nasty! We sell bags that catch up to 20,000 flies and various other baits. You place these baits away from your grill because the attractants are very nasty smelling and you don’t want to attract the flies to where you are located. This is a very serious issue in the restaurant business because restaurants can be closed down if they don’t address this issue.


Fire ants and mosquitoes are out there making your time out there less desirable. If you treated for ants in the early spring, it is probably about time to do it again after the recent rains (check the product label). I like treating the whole yard instead of chasing around mounds. Look for breeding areas for mosquitoes – anywhere that can hold water. From a bottle cap to a sagging gutter to a tarp on a boat or firewood, to a bird bath, to a Magnolia leaf, to a cavity in a tree, to a saucer under a potted plant, well you have the idea. I know we have some organic products to spray the underside of the leaves of your shrubs and trees that last about three weeks as well as some control products that contain a growth regulator for longer control.


Since you will be going in and out of your house during the summer, be sure your perimeter is protected, so that cockroach doesn’t decide to sneak in to the air-conditioned house. Intice Perimeter is a great, organic, weatherized bait that will last for months under most circumstances.


The nasty rascal, the chinch bug in St. Augustine grass has been killing large areas of turf in the Lowcountry for decades. Remember the products that control chinch bugs generally have a short residual. If you are going out of town for any length of time, be sure you treat the lawn before you leave. Sod webworms and armyworms have been spotted as well – you have been warned. 08-00-08 Acelepryn, 07-00-14 Allectus or several other products should help you manage these pests.  



Be sure to inspect your mower blade. A sharp blade will give your grass a cleaner cut and will allow less entry points for disease. Inspect your blade for nicks and damage if you are going to continue to use the same blade. Since a mower blade spins at very high speeds, any nicks or bends can lead to the blade being out of balance. When a blade is out of balance, the mower will vibrate (like your tire out of balance on your car) and you could damage the spindle and other parts of your mower that cost far more than a new blade.


Look up at your trees. If you have any tree work that needs to be done, I would get it done as soon as possible.  Look for trees that have cavities at the base of the tree and look at the tops for broken limbs, dying tips and weak crotch angles.  Have a tree care professional inspect your trees to be sure it is safe. Most tree companies will inspect for free. Try to get this done before the Lowcountry is in that cone for a direct hit for a hurricane! The tree companies are usually very busy year-round in the Lowcountry. 


      Armadillos have found the Lowcountry! Although they have been here for years, the 

   populations have really increased. I was driving to and from Columbia the other day

      and saw over ten dead ones. They are like an above ground mole; however, far more

      damaging. Their diet is 90% insects, but they also eat roots of bushes and trees. They

      will tear up a yard looking for insects, so manage the insects in your yard like you do

      for moles. The worst damage I have seen is where they dig around small trees,

      leaving a big hole and possibly killing a tree. Trapping works very well. You want

      to use a commercial grade trap or they will destroy the trap. Possum’s No Deer! or  

      Animal Stopper are repellents that should help.


      The turf, trees, and shrubs are probably ready for a little fertilizer.


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