Monday, April 25, 2022

Late April Observations

Horticulture Hotline 04/25/22

  Bill Lamson-Scribner


This column is mainly observations about some Lowcountry yard situations.


The Magnolias are blooming! One of my top fragrances in the landscape and a symbol of the Lowcountry. Beautiful!


Magnolias, gardenias, azaleas, and many other evergreen plants are losing leaves right now. They have many yellow leaves often confused with a nutrient deficiency. Evergreen plants lose their leaves as new leaves are replacing the old leaves. The lack of rain makes this transition a little more pronounced, especially in the shallow rooted magnolias. Give your plants a little 17-00-09 plus water, and they should green-up nicely for you.


As people are getting outside more often and leaving their door open, the cockroach seems to be making a mad dash inside for water and cooler weather. I have been getting a lot of questions about the good old Palmetto Bug. A good perimeter treatment outside of the house usually does a good job of keeping them out of the house.


The windy, dry, cool, low humidity days and cool nighttime temperatures have slowed the greening-up of many lawns. Brown patch fungus hasn’t been too bad – unless you have it! As the nights warm up and if we get some steady rain, brown patch will be more of an issue. Brown patch was very bad last fall so look out. Remember fungicides are like the flu shot, you want to put them out before you have the disease. Powdery Mildew, the only fungus that likes cool, dry conditions, is flourishing. If you haven’t been watering, your trees and grass would appreciate a drink to help them form new leaves.


In 2022 try to remove fertilizer and other control products from hard surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, pool decks, and streets before these products are washed into the storm water.  This will help protect the beautiful area in which we live.  Since a lot of storm water ends up in our marshes and waterways, this will also help protect our natural resources (fish, oysters, clams, crabs, shrimp, etc) and recreation areas (boating, swimming, skiing, paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, etc). 


Buy a pack of disposable nitrile gloves.  These things are great!  You can use them when handling control products and fertilizers, when changing the oil in your lawn mower, while spreading Cotton Burr Compost, while painting or taking out the trash, cleaning and yard work….  These gloves are very inexpensive and can save you lots of hot water while trying to remove things from your hands.  These gloves are also good at keeping the human scent away from mole, mice and rat bait.


This past week while I was in my different Possum’s stores, there were several recurring problems that appear to be plaguing the Lowcountry.  The main problems that I was hearing about were related to moles, carpenter bees, mole crickets and winter weeds. 


Moles are a huge problem in the Lowcountry.  Kill the mole (Mole Patrol, trap or Talpirid), control its food source (Sevin) and put out a repellant (No Moles, Mole and Vole Repellant) to prevent re-infestation from other moles.


Mole crickets’ over-winter as adults and they are mating now.  Sevin will also control the mole crickets and grubs this time of year as a bonus.  


Always read, follow and understand product label.


Monday, April 18, 2022

My Buddy, Ol'Boy

Horticulture Hotline 04/18/22

By Bill Lamson-Scribner


Ol’Boy, my beloved pound hound, went to where all dogs go – heaven. When he was just a puppy December 12, 2002, I gave him the name Ol’Boy, and by April 4, 2022, he was truly an Ol’Boy. His veterinarian said he was their oldest canine patient and so did the emergency veterinarian. I guess in human terms that would be like my doctor saying I was his oldest patient, then the doctor sending me to a local hospital that sees patients from all over the Lowcountry and beyond and them saying I was their oldest patient. Someone joked that now someone else has a chance to win Possum’s “Employee of the Month” award. I think after about 232 months of consecutive wins for Ol’Boy, I’m going to retire that award with Ol’Boy. RIP buddy!


The dry windy spring kept the mosquitoes at bay, but after that little bit of rain, they are out in full force now looking for that blood meal.


Malaria, Chikungunya, Dengue (still in the tropics), Zika, West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis … now it is time to wage war against the mosquito! Worldwide mosquitoes are the number one killer of humans.


First, I’m going to give you a shopping list. Pick up these items then wage war on the mosquitoes and their breeding places in your yard. Mosquitoes & Gnats Are Gone, Cyonara Lawn and Garden, Mosquito Beater, Mosquito Dunks, and Altosid Pro G are some of the basic weapons that you will need to wage war against these blood suckers.


Apply the Mosquitoes & Gnats Are Gone to yourself. This product is organic and does an unbelievable job against mosquitoes, gnats, no-see-ums, ticks and other biting insects. Mosquitoes & Gnats Are Gone is non-greasy, DEET-free, and safe for the whole family. If you would rather go old school, Sprayon Insect Repellent II (23.75% Deet) or our 95% Deet Mosquito Repellent should do the trick. Now you are protected and ready for the yard.


Scout around the yard for anything that holds water. Old tires, saucers under potted plants, bird baths, old flower containers or pots stacked in a corner, dog toys, kids’ toys, a container by the grill you use to soak wood chips in, a cooler, an old fountain, an upside down 5-gallon bucket that has a lip that holds water, a trash can lid with a dent, brick work that needs repointing, a hole in a tree and a dog’s water bowl all make great places for mosquitoes to breed. Empty the water out these areas (refill the dog bowl and the bird bath daily). A tarp covering a boat or wood pile can have many pockets that hold water. Sagging gutters hold water.  A few empty bottles or cans can end up being thousands of mosquitoes! A bottle cap can be a breeding area. Many mosquitoes can breed in just an ounce of water. I was at a seminar and the speaker was encouraging people to limb up Magnolias (every horticulturalist gasped) so you could easily rake up the leaves because the big leaves held water and therefore were a breeding spot for mosquitoes.


If you have bigger areas of water like a ditch or a low area of the yard that holds water, apply the Mosquito Dunks or the Altosid Pro G. The Mosquito Dunks are an organic Bt product that kill larvae and the Altosid Pro G is a growth regulator product that contains the same active ingredient that is used in the Precor products for controlling fleas. Although Altosid is not organic, it is considered to be very safe and labeled to be used in very sensitive areas like marshes. Turn off your irrigation when you can and correct any drainage problems.


Any pruning you can do to increase air movement and sunlight penetration will also help. Mosquitoes like moist stagnant areas, so it is more important to treat bed areas than it is to treat lawn areas. Many mosquito products work on lawn pest also, so many folks treat their lawn too while they are spraying. Mosquitoes are very weak fliers, so they do not like wind or air movement (big fans for parties or by your grill – helps with flies too). Mosquitoes are a public health issue, so you might be able to get some help from a government agency if you have a big ditch or pond.


Next, you want to mow your lawn then spray the lawn, shrubs, trees, and mulched areas with Cyonara Lawn and Garden. This product not only kills mosquitoes but also kills chiggers, fleas, ants, ticks, spittlebugs and roaches just to name a few other problem insects out right now.  If you include a growth regulator like Pivot or Nyguard, your control will last much longer. DuraFlex and ProFlex are two products with growth regulators ‘built in’ that will increase your intervals between applications.


If you would like to stay organic apply Mosquito Swatter, Mosquito Beater or Mosquito Repelling Granules. These organic products really do a great job. They are university tested and has also proven itself in the Lowcountry. Many of our customers at Possum’s have reported control for over three weeks! We sell these products to people putting on large fundraisers, event planners, weddings, other outdoor festivals, sporting events, and individuals. We always get positive feedback! If you would rather spray, try EcoVia EC. A natural product that works!


If this sounds like too much work, hire a professional. Always read and follow product label.


Monday, April 11, 2022

Good Night, Sleep Tight ...


Horticulture Hotline 04/11/22

By Bill Lamson-Scribner


Summertime is approaching. That means the kids are out of school, maybe time to look at colleges and summer vacation. The talk of bedbugs is not in the news like it used to be, but if you saw our sales of bedbug control products at Possum’s, you would be amazed. Whether you live South of Broad or in a housing project, we have helped you with your bedbug situation. We have learned that is not necessarily the homeowner that brings in the bedbugs, but often it is a guest that is travelling from place to place. 


When you are in a hotel, do you feel phantom insects crawling on you as you sleep? Does your work or sports with the kids require you to stay in hotels, when you would rather be at home in your cozy bed with the dog and his fleas? The worse thing about bed bugs is bringing them home to infest your house in your luggage or on you person. Bed bugs can be difficult to get manage.


Here some tips for the traveler:


Treat the outside of your luggage with a repellent material labeled for bed bugs on luggage. There are nice smelling organic products (EcoVia) and standard control products labelled for this application.


Put all your clothes and toiletry items in see-through plastic bags that you can seal tightly. Upon arriving to your room, put your luggage in the bath / shower area while you inspect the room.


Bring a flashlight and a four pack of Climb-up Bed Monitors. Before you unpack, inspect the mattress and box springs for blood stains, cast skins and live insects. The rope-like band around the mattress will usually have some signs of bugs if there is an issue.  Look around the headboard and any adjacent bedside tables especially in the crack and crevices.


When you check in ask if the hotel has had an outbreak of bed bugs in the last year in the room you are checking into. Also ask if any of the adjacent rooms above you, below you, or on either side have been treated for bed bugs. If they have, request another room far away from any outbreak hotspot. Many states have a bed bug registry you can check.


Attach the Climb-up Bed Monitors to the legs of the beds, headboard and the bed stands. These monitors will prevent bed bugs from climbing up the bed for a nighttime attack.

Sleep soundly!


When you get home, leave your luggage outside and run your clothes through a hot dryer cycle. The dryer should dry out any unwanted hitchhikers. Check your toiletry items and re-treat your luggage.


These few simple steps can save you many sleepless nights and some dollars. Out of the hundreds of customers whose houses have become infested with bed bugs that I’ve talked to at Possum’s buying bedbug control products, I’m sure every one of the wishes they took these few precautions. Bed bugs bite children, babies and adults. They can be very difficult to control, and you have to throw away your stuff. No one likes to throw away their stuff!


Control those winter weeds before they add to the seed bank of weeds for next year!


Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a Federal 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). The Horticulture Hotline is available 24 / 7 at