Monday, March 18, 2024

Make Life Easy


                                                      Makes Life Easy!

Horticulture Hotline 03/18/24

By Bill Lamson-Scribner


I often hear, “Bill, I do not want to fertilize my lawn because I don’t want to mow it.” Or the ever popular, “Bill, no one feeds the trees in the forest, and they do fine.” And “I don’t want to fertilize my shrubs because they will grow and I will have to hedge them.”


You would not stop eating just because you got to a certain height. If you have children, you would not stop feeding them. Plants, like people, need certain nutrients to remain healthy. In an urban environment, we need to supply our plants nutrients. Taking a soil test is the best way to determine what nutrients your landscape needs. In a forest where leaves, limbs, trees fall to the forest floor and are recycled into nutrients by microorganisms, trees can fend for themselves; however, in your yard where leaves are raked up, limbs are picked up, there is competition from grass usually, limited root space, root damage from building, and compaction among other things, we must feed our trees.


My mom’s landscape design requires a lot of pruning, especially the foundation plants that surround her house. Hollies, ligustrum, pineapple guava, pittosporum, azaleas, cleyera, anise, camellias, and several others, need regular attention. To make her life easier and mine, I use a product called Cutless PGR. I use it right now in the spring and again in the fall. Neither one of us own a pair of hedge trimmers! Cutless is a granular product and very easy to use.


Last year I introduced Cutless PGR to a large landscape company. I told him to just try one bag and test it out in the field for himself. He applied it to some plants and did not to others and he saw the difference for himself. Although we talked about many other things throughout the fall and winter, he never mentioned to me about the results he had and I never asked him about it because I did not know if he had time to do his testing. Well, he called me the other day asking when I was going to treat my mother’s house because he had such awesome results using the Cutless. Saving labor, not pruning from ladders, not running hedge trimmers, not picking up clippings, not filling up the landfill with debris, not having to maintain hedge trimmers, and allowing his employees to focus on other things in the landscape is a huge benefit for him and his customers. Depending on how you value your time, give one bag a try and see if you are a believer!


If you want to reduce your mowing, consider using a growth regulator. With generic products available, these products have become very affordable. They were very affordable before they went generic with the time, fuel and wear and tear of equipment that was saved. Now there is much less “sticker shock.”


I mix up a weed killer, insecticide, fungicide, fertilizer, growth regulator and a few secret ingredients together and stop my St. Augustine from growing for a month during the summer. When it starts to grow, I spray it again. I still fertilize, but no mowing. I have less gray leaf spot disease and my roots grow deeper because there is less energy going to top growth. Very nice!


I worked with a football field that has an Elaeagnus hedge that covers the chain-linked fence that surrounds the stadium. The groundskeeper was trimming this hedge monthly during the growing season and hating it. He started using a growth regulator twice a year and barely does any pruning to it at all now. Elaeagnus are infamous for being a pain in the landscape with their wild growth habit. The groundskeeper went from standing on a ladder pruning a 6-to-8-foot hedge, and raking up the debris and disposing of it to just walking by and spraying a product. If he got busy with other projects and did have to prune some, the debris was so little that he could just run over it with a mower and mulch it in place. He was happy, happy, happy.


Check out growth regulators for edging a sidewalk, along a fence, for a shrub, or a groundcover, and save some time this 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 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM, or listen to the replay of Saturday’s show, Sundays from 11:00 to noon on 1250 WTMA  (The Big Talker). The Horticulture Hotline is available 24 / 7 at