Monday, August 1, 2022

Dog Daze

Horticulture Hotline 08/01/22

By Bill Lamson-Scribner


I have to tell myself again, “it will get cooler, soon.”  The kids are headed back to school. Football season will start on all levels soon. I saw a sasanqua camellia full of buds, ready for its early fall flowering display. Some overworked and maybe under fertilized crepe myrtles are losing their leaves. What a crazy weather year this 2022 has been! Hot, dry, and windy then some good rain and now back to hot and dry. Generally, our soils dry out quickly in the Lowcountry. After a few days without rain, many of our lawns can show stress.


When it gets cooler, the winter weeds, that you see in your otherwise brown grass in about January, will germinate. They can begin to germinate as early as late August, depending on soil temperature and microclimate. The weeds will hide in the canopy of your green grass until all the sudden they show up uninvited and ruin your uniformly dormant grass.  In Hilton Head in a shady, damp area, I have seen annual bluegrass (Poa annua) rearing its ugly head in mid August.


I have heard similar reports from turf professionals though out the state. The manufactures suggest you get the product out two weeks before the weeds germinate. To pull this off to an exact day you would have to have some sort of crystal ball. We have all watched the weather, it is not that easy to predict.


Get your preemergent product out early. Worse case you might catch some late germinating crabgrass. You can fertilize your yard at the same time, giving the grass one last nitrogen feeding before fall. Depending on your grass type and soil test, several good fertilizers and preemergent combination products are available. I know at Possum’s we sell 00-00-07, 15-00-15, 15-00-05, 23-00-08 fertilizers with various types of preemergent active ingredients sprayed on them.


 Be careful where you purchase your preemerge products. I have seen Dimension (a type of preemerge by Dow AgroSciences) loads of active ingredients as low as 0.10% to 0.15%. This low amount of active ingredient will keep the cost of the bag low; however, you have to put out much more to get the desired results from the preemergent. The 0.10% product you have to put out 100% more to get the amount of active ingredient as a 0.20% product and the 0.15% product you would need 33% more product. Are you really saving money?


By pushing your spreader across the yard soon, you will save yourself about six mowing this winter / spring depending on the weather. Your lawn will look better and not have to compete with the weeds when the grass is coming out of dormancy. How about no burweed (low growing weed with a sticker that dogs and kids hate) or Poa annua (the grassy weed with the white seed head.


Putting a preemergent product in your beds is also a good idea right now. For those of you that fight Florida Betony (Rattlesnake weed or Wild Artichoke) every year, now is the time to put out Casaron. Be sure to read the label carefully because it is not labeled for all plants.


Army worms are marching across the Lowcountry, munching on grass as the go. Chinch bugs are still rampant, and these hot high humidity days have many fungi flourishing. Roaches, mice and rats are coming inside out of the heat. Remember the next time a web hits you across the face, spiders are generally good. Mosquitoes anyone? Fall garden?   


The weather will get cooler.


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