Monday, August 21, 2023



                                           Yaupon Holly - Good Replacement Plant

                                            Derived from Earthworm Castings - Root Growth

                                            Derived from Seaweed and Humates - Root Growth

Horticulture Hotline 8/21/23

By Bill Lamson-Scribner


Boxwoods are under attack in the Lowcountry by so many different blights, root rots, declines, cankers, insects, mites, nematodes, and diseases it is hard to keep track of anymore. If you are having trouble with your boxwoods, you should consider taking a whole plant (roots included - Phytophthora) and some neighboring soil (for a nematode test) to Clemson Extension to figure out exactly what is going on so you know how to remedy the situation. Once you collect the samples head straight over there. Nematodes are like dogs and babies, they do not like sitting in a hot car. Probably best to make your drop off on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday early, so your samples will not sit in a hot USPS warehouse over the weekend. Consider Yaupon Hollies as a replacement.


Something I wrote up for a private plantation five years ago – products may have changed, but it shows the widespread issues.


Boxwoods 10/1/2018:

Must prune to get more sun and air movement in that area. When pruning, disinfect pruning shears frequently in household bleach diluted 1:9 with water or rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol for 10 seconds. You do not seem to have an issue in other areas of boxwoods with more sun and air movement. Rake up any fallen leaves for sanitation. The fungus Macrophoma is a foliar pathogen that causes the oldest leaves to turn tan; small black fruiting structures can be seen on the killed leaves. Shake the major branches of your boxwood one by one to dislodge the infected leaves and then rake them from under your boxwood. Spray Lime /Sulfur spray on the ground only after you rake.  Dispose of them so the spores do not cause new infections.

Another fungus, Volutella, may cause the branches to develop the color progression from orange to tan. Look for orange-pink fruiting structures along the branches in wet, warm weather and prune out infected branches.  Macrophoma and Volutella are most destructive to boxwood varieties with a tight, compact habit or to boxwood that have been sheared repeatedly. The tight foliage results in poor air circulation and slow drying after rain or dew (try to water the ground - not overhead irrigation); fungal diseases thrive in these dank conditions.

The best way to control these diseases is to improve air circulation around the plant and within the plant by thinning the branches or adding fans.  Cut some of the small branches back by about six inches. Thin the plant enough so you can begin to see the overall branch structure of the shrub. Avoid shearing since it promotes compact, twiggy growth (shell effect) and injures leaves, making them unsightly.


Phytophthora Root Rot - Soil Surface Spray: Apply to soil surface in a broadcast or banded spray in sufficient water to obtain thorough coverage of the plant root zone. For best efficacy, irrigate with at least 1/2 inch of water within 24 hours. Use Regulate at 2.5 oz/M every 10 weeks.


Foliage Spray: Apply Reliant (you have in barn) as a foliar spray at 1 tablespoon/gallon every 14 days.

Mixed with Fish / Seaweed Blend at 2 tablespoons/gallon every 14 days.


Spray for Volutella Blight:

Honor Guard or Propiconazole – 1 oz / 25 gal every 14 days mixed with Pentathlon LF 12.5 oz/25 gal

Rotate after one month with CuPro 5000 at 1.5 tablespoons / gallon


Nematodes – Crab Shell – 30#/M. Use products that encourage rooting. VermaPlex(derived from worm castings), SeaHume, SuperTHRIVE are a few.


Other cultural practices to help them out as much as possible:

Make sure they are getting proper amount of water – too much water or too little will injure them (dig down in the soil and check moisture). Since many boxwoods are in formal settings around brick work, make sure restricted area has soil for the plants and is not filled with roots. ‘Pot -bound’ if you will. Possum’s Wetting Agent with Biostimulants will help watering the area and help grow roots. Water the ground, not the foliage.

Control mites, leaf miners and other pest that could weaken the plants or act as a disease vector.

Soil Test Possum’s – when we get results – see where you are. Correct fertilizer and pH are very important for optimal plant growth.

Nematode test Clemson.

T-Methyl and Chlorothalonil are good rotation products for certain diseases to avoid resistance.


Always read and follow product label.


Monday, August 14, 2023

One Benefit of Yardwork

                                           Meso killing crabgrass I sprayed last week


                                            Meso - Chlorophyll blocker turns weed white


                                            Neutralize those Control Products

Horticulture Hotline 08/14/23

By Bill Lamson-Scribner


I would say that yard work is the best total workout for a person, behind swimming of course because everyone always says how good swimming is for you and your joints not to mention you are in a pool and not in an extreme weather alert climate.


Over the weekend, I did a little yard work. Loaded two bags of 08-00-08 Acelepryn (fifty pounds each) and a spreader into my car/truck (Prius). Spread the two bags at my mom’s house (mainly for army worms, sod web worms, any grubs, and suppression of chinch bugs). While I was at her house, scouted around for other issues, bent down, and pulled a weed or two, and checked out the kill I managed to get on some dollarweed and sedge that I had sprayed the previous week. Glad to report that the spray was a success! Areas targeted back, core, legs, arms, and shoulders. 


Back to my house. Filled my backpack sprayer up with three and a half gallons of weed killing products (Avenue South – general weed killer, Meso – general weed killer and crabgrass, Blue Alert Dye – shows where I have sprayed, and Certainty - sedge). I am now carrying around a little over thirty-five pounds on my back and spot spraying weeds (core strength, legs, pumping up sprayer with arm, balance). After spraying, I cleaned the sprayer with Possum’s Tank Cleaner. Fill it up, shake it up, pump it up, spray out the hose to clean it out. Do this three times and store it halfway full with clean water so the gaskets do not dry rot (back, core, arms).


While spot spraying weeds, I noticed some pruning that I needed to do. Started with the hand pruners on the small stuff (good for hand strength). Loppers for the larger limbs (arms and chest). Pole saw for the higher limbs getting near the house acting as a squirrel bridge (shoulders, arms, core). Bending to pick up and dragging the trimmings to the road (legs, core, upper body).


Now that bark scale on crepe myrtles has arrived in the Lowcountry, I figured I would drench some Dominion around my crepe myrtles preventatively. My lantana is susceptible to lace bugs and I helped a lady in Possum’s East with this issue on Friday, so I figured I would drench these as well. My Little Gem Magnolias always like Dominion for twig borer and scale. I added some Neptune Harvest Turf Formula to the Dominion. Although it is called Turf Formula, it is great on plants as well.


When drenching, I really like the molasses (feeds microbes), and the Yucca Extract (natural wetting agent that breaks down into microbe food) in Turf Formula. It also has hydrolyzed fish (way better than fish emulsion), Seaweed, and Humate that plants love!


Since I was drenching many plants and I was trying to beat the heat, I was using a five-gallon bucket (about fifty pounds) and walking to different areas around my yard (core, arms, and legs). After drenching, I began dragging hose to water the specific areas that I had drenched (arms, core, and legs).


While I was at it, I had some 18-00-06 + Humate liquid fertilizer that I decided to drench around some bottlebrush that are recovering from the cold late last December. More exercise for core, legs, and arms.


When all this was finished, I had several empty containers to triple rinse and poke holes in the bottom of the containers for proper disposal. So, fill up the container, shake it, and pour it out – repeat this three times (work out like the ‘shake weight’ they used to advertise).


After the yard work, I had walked over three miles and it was time to re-hydrate (12 oz curls?)!


Fall fertilization and preemergent products for lawn, trees, and shrubs, and insects seem to be the main topics at the Possum’s counter this week. Armyworms, chinch bugs, fleas, roaches (hey, it is Charleston, they like the world’s best city also) and mosquitoes have been attacking our Lowcountry homes and yards.


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


Monday, August 7, 2023

Bottlebrush For Managing Weeds


                                                     Managing Bermuda in St. Augustine


                                                     Chlorophyll gone / no photosynthesis / weed dies
                                            St. Augustine OK / Bermuda dying

Horticulture Hotline 08/07/23

  Bill Lamson-Scribner


A scientist working for Syngenta noticed that certain weeds did not grow near his bottlebrush.  He isolated a chemical (Mesotrione) in the soil that was released from the bottlebrush plant that prevents and kills weeds.  Syngenta has developed this into a new product, which originally only had EPA registrations for sod farms and golf courses. The product now a wide range of use sites. Mesotrione is sold under the name Meso 4 SC and Tenacity.


From the Meso label:

 Approved Use Sites Meso 4 SC Select can be applied to commercial and residential turfgrasses. Non-crop area use sites include golf courses, sod farms, athletic fields, parks, residential and commercial properties, cemeteries, airports, and lawns


Interesting enough Meso has been found to be safe under trial conditions for Centipede and St. Augustine grass.  Zoysia, Seashore Paspalum, and Bermudagrass all showed damage under trial conditions. Again, from the label: • DO NOT apply this product on Bentgrass, Poa annua, kikuyugrass, zoysiagrass, seashore paspalum, and bermudagrass; if plant injury is unacceptable.


Meso has a unique mode of action that blocks the production of chlorophyll, so the weeds turn white. Also from the label: Post-emergent control is obtained by absorption into the soil and contact with foliage. Growth ceases post-application, weeds turn white from chlorophyll loss, and will die within three weeks. Make a repeat application after 2-3 weeks to improve post-emergence weed control. Add a non-ionic surfactant when making post-emergence applications.


The neatest part about Meso is the weeds it controls.  Barnyard grass, creeping bent grass, buckhorn plantain, buttercup, carpet weed, chickweed, clover, large crabgrass, smooth crabgrass, and southern crabgrass, dandelions, Florida Betony, goose grass, lawn Burrweed, yellow nutsedge and oxalis are just a few examples of the weeds Meso controls.  As you can see, many of our hard to control broadleaf weeds and grassy weeds on this list.  Meso also has some preemergent qualities as well.


As the grass is going into dormancy, watch out for Large Patch (Brown Patch) fungus.  If your grass is not greening up uniformly in the spring, this is a good indication that you have this fungus. The disease gets its start in the fall then re-appears in the spring. An application of T-Methyl or Strobe over the entire yard will help prevent this disease.    Minimizing wet areas (turn off your irrigation system), managing thatch, correcting drainage problems, and reducing compaction will help lower the disease pressure from Large Patch. We also have people report to us that they get good control by using Neptune Harvest Crab Shell product (increases chitin eating bacteria), Cotton Burr Compost, and SeaHume.


Preemergent time is upon us once again. Ryegrass this year? If you are seeding with any seed, be aware of herbicides you are using and how they might affect the seeds. Always read, understand, and follow product label. Labels have a lot of information that will help you be successful!