Monday, September 27, 2021

Fall Is Here!


Horticulture Hotline 09/27/21

By Bill Lamson-Scribner


Fall is officially here, and we are already getting some cooler weather. My Tea Olives are getting ready to bloom, so that wonderful fall fragrance is on the way.


Did you put out a preemergent product to your lawn and beds for winter annual weed control in August? If yes, depending on the product and the rate you used, it is time to reapply. If no, now is the time to get it spread onto your lawn and beds. Preemergent products control weeds as they germinate making your life and your plants’ (including grass) life easier.


Winterizing grass, trees and shrubs with either a few products individually or as a multi prone approach will help insure the health of your landscape investment.


A witch’s brew is a good fertilizer for trees and shrubs this time of year. A fertilizer that mainly arborists use with special equipment to inject into the ground can also be used by the avid “Do It Yourselfer”. The DIY can apply “the brew” to the top of the ground and water it in, or make it into a slurry in a bucket and pour the fertilizer around the plant or tree. If you go with the slurry in a bucket method, you can always add SuperThrive, BioRush, SeaHume, Fish / Seaweed blend, Vermaplex, Yucca … “The Brew” will promote good root growth and fast spring green up without stimulating soft growth that is susceptible to damage. A professional’s machine will add some hydraulic aeration (very beneficial) and other benefits. The professional is also use to mixing products at certain rates for different species of trees, age of trees and soil types.


SeaHume (granular is best this time of year, liquid still very good), 00-00-25, Cotton Burr Compost, Nature’s Blend, SuperThrive, Fish / Seaweed Blend, 04-00-10, Possum’s Minors are a few products that will benefit your lawn, trees and shrubs this winter. If you haven’t fed your trees and shrubs in a while 17-00-09 might be appropriate. Like people, trees, grass and shrubs, like to have some nutrition, so they do not go to bed hungry. Don’t be fooled by National Products that advertise heavily in this area as ‘winterizes’ that are designed for fescue and other cool season grasses. These products are not good for our warm season grasses.


For trees and shrubs, you can get ahead of the insect battle by using Neem oil or Horticulture oil. Neem oil has some fungicide benefits also which is a bonus. If you have a tree or shrub with a history of scale, twig borer, aphids, white flies …, apply a drench of Dominion now to protect the new growth next spring.


Leaf spot diseases have been a big issue this summer with all the rain. As the leaves fall, rake them up to remove overwintering fungus. If you had any major problems, you might want to remove your old mulch, spray with lime / sulfur, and replace the mulch with Cotton Burr Compost or Nature’s Blend.


Transplanting on you winter project list? Stay tuned.


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



Monday, September 20, 2021

A Few Questions


Horticulture Hotline  09/20/21

  By Bill Lamson-Scribner


A few questions that I have been asked recently:


What is a good all-purpose insecticide besides Sevin?


Sevin is great on turf because it kills above ground (ants, ticks, chinch bugs, sod webworms, mosquitoes, fleas and many more) and below ground (grubs and mole crickets) insects. For above ground insects in turf areas consider a product containing bifenthrin (Bifen, Bug Blaster), and for below ground insects use Grubz Out for long term control. If you are after both above and below ground insects, try Bug Blasters Above and Below.


Sevin has been a go to product for a long time in gardens (as a dust and as a liquid). There are many general insecticides that you could replace it with in the garden. Neem Py is a natural product that is broad spectrum and works on insects as well as certain diseases (fungi). Insecticidal Soaps are also good for the garden. Viper dust is a good replacement for Sevin dust. Always read, understand, and follow product labels.


What is a good soil to compost ratio in a large raised garden?


The ratio of compost to soil depends on the native soil and the compost you are working with in your garden. If you have a tight, heavy clay soil, you would start with one part cotton burr compost to four parts clay. If you have basic loamy soil, you would use one part cotton burr compost to two parts soil. If your soil is real sandy, use one part cotton burr compost to one part sand. On athletic fields we mix four parts sand with one part cotton burr compost (often called 80:20 mix). On an athletic field you want to limit organic matter to maintain good drainage. Try to let your garden rest for thirty days after amending (not necessary with cotton burr compost since it is already fully composted, but still a good idea).


What is a good all purpose organic fertilizer?


You know I have to recommend a soil test. You could use the best fertilizer in the world; however, if you are missing one part of the plant nutrient puzzle, your crop will not reach its potential.


We have a lot of customers at Possum’s use Nature’s Blend as a top dress fertilizer. With its blend of composted cotton burrs, humates and alfalfa meal it would certainly have something in it to get your plants growing happily. The cotton burrs will also condition your soil and last for up to two years!


Something a little more conventional would be products by Sustane and Espoma..The 08-02-04 by Sustane is widely used in the organic farming world in the Lowcountry. I like using a mix of different organic products on my yard, so I get the different benefits each one has to offer. SeaHume will make all fertilizers work better by adding biostimulants and minor nutrients.


Using Neptune’s Harvest fish, seaweed, and fish and seaweed blend as a spray or a drench will also help increase your yield.


Always read and follow product labels.

Monday, September 13, 2021

'The Nasty Rascal, The Chinch Bug'

Horticulture Hotline 09/13/21

By Bill Lamson-Scribner


‘The Nasty Rascal, The Chinch Bug’ is about impossible to see (about the size of fine ground pepper), the damage can be confused between fungi, dry areas, and just dead areas, and although they are easy to kill once identified, the chinch bug keeps coming back. Chinch bugs preferred diet is St. Augustine grass (AKA Charleston Grass); however, it will attack zoysia, Bermuda, and centipede. As St. Augustine grass is getting replaced by zoysia, this switch in diet makes a lot of sense.


In the old days (Dursban, Diazinon), you could put out a product in May and pretty much control chinch bugs for the season. Now depending on the product, if you get two to three weeks control you are lucky. Most of the products work on the adults and do not affect the eggs that are waiting to hatch.


 There are a lot of cases of resistance to certain control products in Florida, so be sure to rotate chemical families of your products (not just product names). Since some of our sod comes up from Florida, we have also experienced these resistant chinch bugs as well.


‘The Nasty Rascal, The Chinch Bug’ got this designation from attacking family’s lawns during the summer while families were taking their summer vacation. The fact that this very small insect and a lot of its buddies can wipe out a beautiful yard in a very short period of time is ruthless. Hard to control weeds like bermudagrass and Virginia button weed always seem to move in on the weaken areas.


There is a fungus in the soil that controls chinch bugs. When the soil dries out the fungus in the soil that keeps chinch bugs in check dies. When the fungus dies, the chinch bugs go crazy. The reason you see chinch bugs along the road, driveway, sidewalks or in the sunniest part of the yard is because that is where the fungus dies out first. Chinch bugs rarely attack grass in the shade (notice attached pictures) because the fungus keeps them in check. With about 50 people moving to the Lowcountry a day, I wanted to make people aware of ‘The Nasty Rascal, The Chinch Bug’.


Since chinch bugs attack the grass along the road, driveway, and sidewalks, when people treat for them, they often throw product on hard impermeable surfaces (roads, driveways, and sidewalks). Always be sure to sweep or blow any particles back into the grass to avoid any unwanted runoff into storm water drains or marshes and waterways. This particular runoff situation would be another reason to refer to this pest as ‘The Nasty Rascal, The Chinch Bug’!


If you have active chinch bugs, be sure to use a product that ‘controls’ them not ’suppresses’ them. Sevin is a good choice with the resistance issues.


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