Although September was excessively hot and excessively dry, (the hottest on record) we were fortunate not to suffer the horrendous fires of the west or the horrendous flooding of many areas. Our weather was a nuisance, but it was livable. As a matter of fact; the rain that came on the last day of September was probably more than the total we received during all of August and the rest of September.
Our plants required our help with water to keep vegetables producing and flowers blooming. Newly planted trees and shrubs also required extra care. Older trees and shrubs in the landscape required little if any extra watering, but many of them shut down and their leaves changed color earlier than normal.
In conjunction with seeding, it would help to add Solu-cal if you haven’t been liming on a regular basis, a starter fertilizer to help insure success, and perhaps Quantum Growth to help hasten germination.
A light covering of Salt Hay or Mulch Hay/Straw will help retain the constant supply of moisture needed for germination. The deeper the roots penetrate now and through spring, the better the chance the grass has to survive next summer’s challenges.
To further aid in promoting a good, healthy lawn, consider the Thanksgiving feeding. It will feed in spring from the roots up and render further feeding unnecessary until Memorial Day.Keep in mind that it is illegal in our area to feed lawns between December first and April first.
ADD A COVERCROP TO YOUR ANNUAL FLOWER AND VEGETABLE GARDENS
Following are two mixes. One is winter killed, composts on the soil through the winter and is ready to be tilled in next spring. The other will survive the winter and continue to grow in the spring until you turn it in. Both mixes will provide the “green manure” required for healthy soil. One pound of either mix will cover up to 250 square feet and sells for $4.95. WINTER KILLED COVER CROP MIX includes Forage Peas, Oats, Radish and Yellow Mustard. OVER WINTER COVER CROP MIX includes Triticale, Winter Rye, Winter Pea, Hairy Vetch and Red Clover. A cover crop improves your soil to help assure healthy plants next year. It also helps prevent erosion.
A FEW MORE THOUGHTS FOR FALL
DYLOX is the product to use for control of GRUBS in the lawn. (Grubs eat grass roots. If a green lawn area turns brown and you can lift it like a doormat, chances are you will see the grayish white, curled culprit.) Prevent this from happening next year by using IMIDICLOPRID (MERIT) late next spring or early summer. MILKY SPORE is the natural product to use, but it will not kill the grubs currently feeding. grubGONE will be available sometime next year; we are told. (We expected it this September). It is the first excellent natural product which quickly kills all varieties of grubs.
MOLE PATROL is an excellent product to kill this pest which is often found where grubs are present. (Moles feast on earthworms too so they often are found in grub-free lawns.) CHASE is the natural product to use. This castor oil product does not kill moles, but sends them elsewhere.
WEED KILLERS can still be used now. ADIOS and FIESTA are the two which are natural. Both are liquids. Mill River Supply has many others, both liquid and dry, the choice of which depends on your preference and the weeds to be controlled. Of course, no weed killer is to be used on young, newly seeded lawn areas.
FINALSAN and BURNOUT are among the natural non-selective weed killers for use in walks and driveways and other areas where total kill is desired. 200 GRAIN VINEGAR , though not labeled as a weed killer, also works well for this purpose.
DEER PROTECTION is an ongoing necessity in our area, the deer capitol of the world. Mill River Supply has many excellent products. We also stock deer fencing which, of course, provides a more permanent control. MILORGANITE, though not labeled for it, also aids in plant protection against deer. Use it in conjunction with your spraying.
STINK BUGS, like Japanese Stiltgrass, has become more and more of a nuisance in recent years. Though the population still is not so great that they cause noticeable damage to our plants; they are becoming more and more of a pest in our fall and winter homes. When crushed, they emit a noticeable odor, so it is best to flush them down the toilet or put them back outside and hope they find other winter quarters. We have a couple of products labeled for Stink Bug control in the home.
BED BUGS too seem to have increased in population. Be watchful when traveling so you don’t carry any home with you. We have products for their control too. We even have a travel sized product.
RATS and MICE often find their way into our homes, garages and storage areas. You will find TRAPS and many other forms of control in their special section of our store.
COMPOSTER UNITS have become more and more popular for changing kitchen waste, leaves and grass clippings into a valuable addition to your gardens. Check our selection.
BURLAP continues to be probably the best form of winter protection for tender evergreens. We stock the 10 oz. heavyweight material in the popular 40, 48 and 60 inch sizes. Rolls are 100 yards long, but we will measure off any amount to fill your needs. We also have WILT PRUF and other anti-Transpirants for use where burlap is not desired. (Be sure to shield plants under roof overhangs. A wood frame shields the plants from heavy loads of fallen snow.)
CALCIUM CHLORIDE remains the most popular ice control product, but we do have others, including combination products which have developed a following. Of course, we also have the shovels, pushers and choppers needed to deal with our northern winters.
FEEDING FOR WILD BIRDS is one of the more pleasant winter pastimes. It is a joy to watch the Chickadees, Juncos, Cardinals, Woodpeckers and other birds eating from our feeders. In addition to the wide variety of Wild Bird Seed, we also stock feeders, including suet racks; as well as bird bath heaters to assure a constant supply of water when temperatures drop below freezing.
POTS and POTTING MEDIUMS are on hand should you need them for overwintering your indoor plants.
GOOD NEWS ABOUT YOUR LAWN
The statistics shown in text and pictures tell of the importance lawns and other turf play in our lives. There was a time that a good, dense lawn could not be accomplished without the use of at least some chemical pesticides. More and more natural/organic products have been developed or reintroduced over the years to make the job possible-naturally.
ENDOPHYTIC LAWN SEED helps control certain pests.
ADIOS and FIESTA are selective lawn weed killers.
CORN GLUTEN aids in the prevention of CRABGRASS and JAPANESE STILTGRASS.
NATURE SAFE, ESPOMA and FERTREL are among the manufacturers which produce excellent organic fertilizers.
QUANTUM GROWTH is an excellent BIO-STIMULANT which helps plant foods work more efficiently.
grubGONE and beetleGONE, available next year will aid in the control of these two nuisances.
MILKY SPORE has long been a natural killer of Japanese Beetle Grubs.
CHASE is the castor oil product which sends grubs elsewhere.
LIME in its various forms help root producing phosphorus do its job.
GYPSUM helps improve soil and aids in removing salt from snow plowing and flooding from the Long Island Sound.
A FEW STATISTICS
The following are quotes from Briggs & Stratton’s YARD SMARTS:
“There are between 1000 and 3000 blades of grass in a square foot of lawn, depending upon the type of grass (Trey Rogers, Ph.D., Michigan State University).
A well-maintained lawn can increase a home’s value by 5-15 percent (Professional Lawn Care Association)
The first lawns as we know them were grown by Presidents Washington and Jefferson. They were maintained by herds of sheep.
The study of grasses is known as agrostology.
The first lawn mower was developed by an English engineer Edwin Budding, who fashioned the reel-type manual mower after a machine used in the textile mill to trim the nap off velvet.
The first gasoline-powered lawn mowers were manufactured in 1919.
The next group of quotes is from the Professional Lawn Care Association of America:
Here are a few of the many benefits (of lawns)
OXYGEN: 625 square feet of lawn provides enough oxygen for one person for an entire day.
TEMPERATURE: On a block of eight average houses, front lawns have the cooling effect of 70 tons of air conditioning.
POLLUTION: Turf absorbs gaseous pollutants such as carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide, converting them to oxygen.
DUST AND DIRT: Turf traps an estimated 12 million tons of dust and dirt released annually into the atmosphere.
FIRE RETARDATION: A buffer zone of grass around building helps retard the spread of fire.
WATER QUALITY: Turf prevents soil erosion, filters contaminants from rainwater and reduces runoff.
Even though the weather has been crazy; I can’t add my regular comment: “As usual, the weather was unusual”. Following is a quote from the October/November 2010 Reminder:
“It has been a rule of thumb that mid August through mid September is the best time of year to plant grass seed. That sure didn’t apply this year. Temperatures were in the nineties during August and early September and when it did cool off we never got the rains needed to help- germination. In fact, days often were breezy to add to the difficulty in keeping new seed continually moist.”
Now that it finally rained; let’s hope the weather continues to work with us so newly planted seed and other plants can become established.