Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Storm Season

Horticulture Hotline 09/28/22

By Bill Lamson-Scribner       


“Oh, a storm is threat’ning

My very life today

If I don’t get some shelter

Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away”                    

Gimme Shelter  -  The Rolling Stones

Song writers: Keith Richards / Mick Jagger


If a storm’s threat or the aftermath of the storm gets you to look up into your trees for broken limbs, diseased limbs, structural issues, limbs with cavities, or heavy overhanging limbs, then the storm has done some good. Inspect your trees closely for “widow makers”. Gravity will pull these limbs that are hanging in the trees down to the ground, and hopefully, you or your loved ones are not between the ground and the tree that they are hanging out of. Getting a tree care professional out to your house is always a good idea. Remember most injuries and deaths occur during cleanup.


Use local tree people to work on your trees. I get it, most are backed up. After Hugo, I saw many safe trees that were removed that could have been left to grow. Some could have been straightened and braced. Trees take a long time to grow, so you do not necessarily have to remove them if they have a little lean. The topping of trees after Hugo was also ridiculous. Again, a reputable, local, insured tree care professional should come inspect your trees for dangerous situations. If you have to use an outsider or anyone for that matter, make sure that they carry the proper insurances and licenses.


Salt has the biggest issue with flooding the last few years, and it appears that for many of you, salt is going to be a main issue again. Gypsum, Salt Free, Excell, SeaHume G, ProMag and a soil test that test for Sodium provide the road map for the recovery of your landscape. You would want to take a soil test first so you know where your starting point is, then you could immediately apply products to mitigate the salt damage (keep track of what you use and at what rates so when your soil test results come back you will know what you have already applied). At Possum’s Landscape and Pest Control Supply we can help you through this process and help you with directions on taking a soil test and using these products. Salt Free is probably our biggest seller for homeowners and it comes in a convenient Ready To Spray container that you hook up to a hose and spray.   


The daylight hours are getting shorter and the start of football are making the weather feel like fall is here. Some of the worms that eat grass in the LowCountry overwinter and spend most of their time in Florida where they have huge numbers and multiple generations. With this current storm moving up from Florida, some worms might kite-surf the winds up to our area.


Worms eating the grass and chinch bugs sucking the grass are already in full force. The worms love the cloudy weather we have had because the birds and the wasps that feed on them cannot see them as easily. I noticed and the white flowers of Virginia Buttonweed are visible peeking through the foliage of the turf grass. Protect your grass from fungus by applying Strobe G or T-Methyl. Fungicides work best if used before you have a fungus (like the flu shot for us). With the rain forecast, the grass slowing down and the light hours decreasing, these conditions favor an explosion of fungus in the turfgrass.


Preemergent herbicides for the lawn and beds now will make your spring landscape much nicer. Treating your lawn and beds with Cyonora will keep mosquitoes, fleas, roaches, and other pests from bothering your pets, your lawn, your shrubs, or yourself.


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



Sunday, September 18, 2022

Fall is Here!


Horticulture Hotline 09/18/22

By Bill Lamson-Scribner


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.  These lists are not designed to interfere with high school, college, or professional football games, sunset boating, shrimping, hunting, golfing, eating chicken wings at a local sports bar, oyster roasts, collecting oysters or clams from the local waters, watching NASCAR on the couch with closed eyes, volleyball games, shopping or going to the movies!  This is not designed to be a “honey do” list.


Many of you will be changing out annual color in the next few weeks. While the beds are empty, you have to chance to amend your soil for better flower production and address any drainage problems. If the bed stays wet, this is a good time to raise it with the addition of soil or amendments. You can also crown the bed so it drains off to the sides.


Back To Natures’ Natures Blend has proven to do a superb job in our Lowcountry soils. The special blend of composted cotton burrs, composted cattle manure, humate, and alfalfa meal has the best of gardeners coming back for more. Alfalfa contains Triacantanol, a natural growth enhancer, and is high in organic Nitrogen to get your plants growing. Nature’s Blend may also help in the suppression and control of certain fungal diseases.


Here is what Dr. Herman Daniell had to say about his experience with the product, “The cotton burrs in Nature’s Blend with amendments has been a superior product for my rose garden. I have had healthier bushes with more blooms since I began using this product.”


Many of you will also be changing out containers, hanging baskets and potted plants. If your plants are in an exposed place requiring daily watering, consider adding soil moist or other water holding gels to your soil. These gels and the use of a wetting agent like Possum’s Wetting Agent with Biostimulants can make your life much easier. If you go away for the weekend, your plants will hardly miss you.


If you applied preemergent herbicides in August, put your follow up application out eight to ten weeks later. We have a very long season for weed seeds to germinate here, so you must keep that protective barrier in place. Up North the soil gets too cold for the winter weeds to germinate after a short window of time; however, here the window of opportunity for those pesky winter weeds stays open much longer.


Grass eating worms and fungus have really been active recently. If you see a lot of moths in your yard in the morning or evening, watch out for worm damage!

Monday, September 12, 2022

Wet September


By Bill Lamson-Scribner

Horticulture Hotline 09/12/22


Some situations keep coming back year after year. A few topics that I wish I could take a few years off from writing about are army worms, sod webworms, mosquitoes, gray leaf spot, chinch bugs, nutrient deficiencies, weeds, heat, vines, fire ants, lace bugs, rats, flies, fleas, termites and roaches; however, these topics seem to be dominating the question counters at the three Possum’s.


Army worms will affect the aesthetic value of the green grass on athletic fields, golf courses, and home lawns, and the worms thin the canopy of the grass Prostrate growing weeds like spurge, doveweed, lespedeza and Virginia Buttonweed seem to come in the fastest.


The army worm female can lay over 1000 eggs. She usually lays them in groups of 50 to several 100. The eggs hatch in 2 to 10 days. The larva then eats your grass for 14 to 21 days before they return to the soil and pupate. New egg laying moths emerge in 10 – 14 days. With several hundred larvae eating your grass at once, you can imagine how quick army worms can ruin your grass.


What bothers me the most is you work all summer on your grass to have it looking nice, and once it starts to slow down for the winter, fall army worms and then sod webworms attack the grass. Look for areas that appeared to have been mowed low and with a dull blade. You can see that the leaf blades have been chewed. Also thatch type debris will be churned up on the surface. Birds and low flying wasps are also predators of army worms, so they can be an indicator that you are under attack.


Since army worms are in direct contact with the ground, they are very easy to control. Bug Blaster, Bifen, Sevin, Cyonara and Acephate will all put a hurting on army worms. Thuricide (Bt), EcoVia EC and Spinosad are organic products that will also work well if you get them while the worms are small. Since the population of worms is so high and hit so hard, keep your eye out for a second hatching.


For those of you with St. Augustine, zoysia, bermuda, bahia or centipede, keep your eye out for the sod web worm. Watch for moths in your yard around dusk. If you begin to see a moth that gets out of the grass, flies for 6-10 feet then lands again (like a bobwhite quail for you bird hunters) you may want to consider using one of the above-mentioned products. Usually sod web worms would not come out until September / October; however, with the crazy weather we are having, scouting for them could not hurt.


We just had a wind event that came up from the south. The moths of these worms will often catch a ride on wind currents from areas that they are active year-round. Watering first to bring the worms to the surface and applying products in the evening when the larvae are about to feed, will often help your success depending on the product.


Now is the time to put out preemerge products in the lawn and beds to prevent those small seeded annual weeds. Henbit, chickweed, Poa annua (annual bluegrass), cudweed and lawn burweed are a few of the winter weeds that would like to occupy your lawn and flower beds. Poa annua (the green grass that is very visible in February and March) and lawn burweed (the prostrate growing weed that develops a sticker) are usually the most hated of the winter weeds. Some people use profanity while describing them at the counter of Possum’s! 


With all the rain fall large patch is becoming a big issue. Now is also a good time to identify any dra 


The “nasty rascal the chinch bug” is still sucking the life out of many lawns. Gray leaf spot is still alive and doing well. With the rain, fire ants are mounding up everywhere – be careful where you step! Mosquitoes are out and biting especially in the evening. Flies are causing many backyard grill masters grief.


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