Monday, September 25, 2023

Assassin Bug to the Rescue / Labels


                                            Aphids on Milkweed


                                           Beneficial Assassin Bug comes to the Rescue


    Notice the Green Grass around the area that Cotton Burr Compost was applied. Picture
      taken 12/25 - Christmas Day. Filling in weak areas all year long!

Horticulture Hotline  09/25/23

  Bill Lamson-Scribner

Every day that goes by this time of year seems like the risk of a hurricane hitting the Lowcountry gets a little less. Come on cooler water! Oyster season is getting ready to open and that is a good thing for the oyster eaters. Moles, mole crickets, and mosquitoes are being obnoxious. An assassin bug is eating my aphids. Did you fertilize your trees and shrubs this fall? Cotton Burr Compost is a great year-round organic product for turf, trees, and shrubs.

I was using a product that the manufacturer went to some trouble and expense to include a tag around the neck of the bottle where you open the top to pour out the product. I am going to leave the product nameless since this same tag should be used on all products.

This tag is very red and states:


This product is only

 effective if you read the

 instructions thoroughly.

Failure to do so will result in

 you moaning and groaning

that the product doesn’t

work and generally being

a pain in the bottom. Make a

positive change in your life

will you, and read the


This tag makes my, “Always read, understand, and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law,” seem tame. Your success with most things in life depend upon your ability to follow instructions.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Busy Time of Year

                                                       Good Stuff!!


                                                     Nasty Mole Crickets

Horticulture Hotline 09/18/23

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.


                                             Cold Damaged Hibiscus Finally Blooming. Yeah!

Mole crickets are tunneling like crazy, separating the roots of the grass from the soil, drying out the grass plant. The cooler temperatures will make the conditions right for the germination of winter annual weeds – use preemergent products now or forever fight the weeds!! Fungus will explode with the rain and the cooler weather. Mosquitoes are biting to the point that when I’m out taking a walk in the evening, I can not stop and talk with the neighbors without getting attacked. My suspicions of a post hurricane worm attack have been confirmed by several people. Chinch bugs anyone? I can add to my list another place that I was asked about the dreaded mole!


Many of you will be changing out annual color in the next few weeks. While the beds are empty, you have a 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.


The addition of Turface MVP will help your drainage and overall structure of your soil, adding pores (air space). Vernacompost is a compost derived from worms and worm caastings and adds all the benefits associated worm castings. 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! Using good quality soil is very important since that is where the plants get their nutrients and water. Mix the “old soil” into a flower bed, or compost it if you think it might harbor a disease and always start with new soil.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Transition Time

                                           Aphids on Milk Weed Seed Pod

     The Nerve of those Aphids! Knowing I won't spray them and hurt the Monarch Butterfly

                                           "Nasty Rascal, The Chinch Bug"

By Bill Lamson-Scribner

Horticulture Hotline 09/12/23


Aphids, lace bugs, chinch bugs, mosquitoes, and fire ants are just a few of the insects that are either sucking on your plants or biting you. It is the time for sod webworms to munch on your turf. Right now, you can put out a preemergent herbicide that will control many of the weeds that compete with your grass in the early spring. Mums for the fall? Rye grass seed for the lawn? Are you planning to do some transplanting this fall of a tree or shrub. Are you adding some pots to your landscape? With the daylight hours shrinking and the grass slowing down, have you notice you are mowing less? Unfortunately, when the grass slows down, fungus can become an issue. Like the flu shot, put out fungicides preventatively, before you have an issue (you get the flu shot before you have the flu). Did you fertilize your grass, shrubs, and trees so they are ready for the fall? So many situations, so few column inches (newspaper lingo)! I will probably take a few weeks to cover all these topics.


Now is the time to put out preemergent 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! 


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 (Florida). Watering first to bring the worms to the surface and applying control products in the evening when the larvae are about to feed, will often help your success depending on the product.


The “nasty rascal the chinch bug” is still sucking the life out of many St. Augustine lawns. I call the chinch bug the “nasty rascal” for many reasons. Chinch bug damage is often missed diagnosed as dry areas or fungus. Chinch bugs can also severely damage a yard very quickly. The weaken lawn is then susceptible to hard to control weeds (common Bermuda to name one).


Aphids attacking my milk weed? The nerve! 


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). Saturday's show is replayed Sunday from 11:00 - Noon.