Spring…At Last

in Fertilization, Landscape, Past Postings, Pest Management, Plants | 0 comments

From what we have been hearing, it seems to be unanimous that winter overstayed it’s welcome this year. Our crew members in the Northeast were blasted with record snowfall this year, while California is suffering from record drought.     Here in the Southeast, plants are blooming weeks later than normal. Better for spring to be late than never arriving though. Spring is such a wonderful time of year, with all of the many flowers, blooming shrubs, and trees. Unfortunately, it is also when the weeds seem to sprout all at once. As you’ve probably noticed, all of the fertilizer and pesticide companies are pushing their toxic products on television. This is a timely subject that we want to discuss with you. This past season, our company achieved 100% organic fertilization. We used less fertilizer, by soil testing. The turf, shrubs, and trees were all green and healthy. It was no more expensive to go organic, in fact we spent less on fertilizer last year. We are now moving toward 100% organic pest control. Finding alternatives has never been easier with the internet. As we find effective ways to contend with common pests, we will be sharing our successes. We may also be exposing any failures, to prevent someone from making the same mistake.     Something new to our site  is our Horticultural Horrors Sustainable Garden Store. We have teamed up with Amazon.com to bring you the products that we use and trust. The products don’t cost any more than if you buy them directly from Amazon. We receive a very small commission from each sale, which will help to defray the expenses of providing this website. In our store, you will find organic fertilizers, organic pest control, tools, and books. We will be adding more products to the store after we have tested them on a professional scale for effectiveness and/or durability.    As spring develops, many will be looking to “green-up” their lawns and gardens. Please take the time to test your soil first, then apply an organic fertilizer as necessary. You do not to want to  just broadcast a heap of high-nitrogen fertilizer to green up your grass. Two to three lighter applications, of a more balanced fertilizer, throughout the...

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How Was Your Summer?

in Design, Fertilization, Landscape, Past Postings, Pest Management, Plants, Pruning | 0 comments

Hello Crew Wow! What a summer it has been. Our landscaping company has been incredibly busy with installations, renovations, and maintenance. We’ve battled parasitic insects, fungal problems, and of course…weeds. While things have slowed momentarily before the onslaught of leaves, cool weather planting, and prepping for winter, we thought that this would be a good time to get back in touch with you…the crew.  Hopefully, this posting finds you all healthy, and your gardens in fine condition. Below you’ll find some practical advice, new resources, and an interesting story concerning an egregious horticultural horror. Horticultural Horror Recently while reading the garden section of our local newspaper we were appalled by a letter written in to the local garden columnist asking for advice. The writer began by explaining that a neighbor had planted Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans), and it had moved onto her property. Trumpet vine is a vigorous and potentially invasive grower that can quickly get out of control without adequate attention. If you don’t want to put in the time pruning and containing it, please don’t plant it. The letter writer said she had been battling the plant, and had applied Sevin to the foliage in hopes of killing the vines. For those of you that don’t know, Sevin is an insecticide not an herbicide, and will in no way kill nor control the growth of a plant. Trumpet Vine produces an abundance of bright orangish-red trumpet shaped flowers which are a very powerful attractant to hummingbirds and other beneficial insects. In an attempt to control the vine this person, unaware of the proper chemical to use doused it with an insecticide – most likely (though unintentionally) killing many of the beneficial pollinators attracted to it. This sort of mistake is maddening! Sevin contains Carbaryl, a chemical acutely toxic to humans, marine life, amphibians, and most wildlife. The columnist, politely and respectfully replied, advising her to pull the vines, and then use an herbicide to control the new ones. Unfortunately, the columnist did not take the opportunity to point out that insecticides do not kill plants, and that this broad spectrum insecticide can cause harm to insects, wildlife and marine life (she was on a coastal property). Nor did he...

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Spring Tips

in Fertilization, Landscape, Pest Management, Plants, Pruning | 0 comments

Hi Crew, Hooray…spring is here. While this is a miraculous and beautiful time of year, it is also a busy time of year for all of us. To save time, we have made a list of tips that we hope you will find helpful. Turf Maintenance: As your lawn is coming out of a dormant period, so are the weeds. If you have not read our last article about pre-emergent, post emergent, and preventative herbicides, please take the time to link to our last article: http://horticulturalhorrors.com/has-it-sprung/ 1. As your lawn begins to grow, you will find that some areas are growing faster than others. Resist the urge to “scalp” the taller areas, to make your lawn appear one even height. Set your mower deck to cut Fescue/Cool Season lawns at 3 inches. Bermuda/Warm Season grasses  should be 1 to 2 inches. You’re patience will pay off later in the season. 2. Take it easy on the fertilizer. Again, we discussed this in our last article. Always soil test first. Even if you use an inexpensive, hardware store-type soil test kit, it is worth it.  Shrubs and Trees 1. Be prudent in insecticide usage. If you have a pest, see if Neem Oil or another horticultural oil/soap could be effective. Pollinators will be working your spring blooming plants, and pollinators are an extremely important part of the garden and are harmed by insecticides. 2. If you have a problem with bees and other stinging insects, here are a few tips. Wear white and/or neutral colors. Do not wear black. Studies have proven that honey bees are aggressive toward black clothing. This may have something to do with black bears trying to steal honey from  beehives, but the evidence is inconclusive. Avoid wearing “flowery colors”. If you look like a giant bloom walking through the yard, can you blame bees for their behavior? Do not keep sugary beverages nearby while you are working in the garden. Blooms provide nectar, a sweet and nutritious liquid, for pollinators. Your soft drink/coolaid/sweet tea is exponentially sweeter than nectar and an irresistible lure. If you find a swarm of honeybees in one of your trees, contact your local beekeepers’ group for removal. There isn’t a...

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Has It Sprung?

in Fertilization, Landscape, Past Postings, Pest Management | 0 comments

Hi Crew, The Vernal Equinox has come and gone. Snowdrops, Daffodils, and other perennials are blooming, or breaking ground here in the Southeast. Day by day, the blooms on the Bradford Pears are swelling. We have reports of Crocus flowers in the Northeast. Please send us a report of what is blooming in your area, so that we can share it with your fellow crew members. The chilly weather is still lingering in places, but it is time to get going on the garden. This is the time of year when gardeners flock to home and garden centers to spend money on preventative insecticides, herbicides, and fertilizers with big dreams of their property looking like a country club by summer. Before you rush out and spend your hard-earned dollars, let’s discuss these products, and make sure that you’re not wasting your money.     Herbicides are a good place to begin. There are two basic families of herbicides (plant killers), pre-emergent and post-emergent. Pre-emergent herbicides, as the name implies, prevent weed seeds from germinating before the weed has a chance to grow. Two of the most common pre-emergent products at hardware stores that homeowners tend to use are Preen® and Scotts Crabgrass Preventer®. These are broad-spectrum herbicides. This means that they target many “weeds” not just one species. The Crabgrass prevention actually has a list of weeds, on the label, that it is supposed to subdue. What…you didn’t read the label? Rule #1: Always read the label! You have to read the label to know what sites you can use the product on, what personal protective equipment (PPE) is required, storage, disposal, and how much of the product you should be applying. This is no joke. There is a pervasive paradigm that these are “homeowner grade” products, and that they’re not really dangerous. This thought pattern is what is dangerous. Many of the products available come in concentrated forms, and ARE dangerous to you, your family, your pets, and the Earth. These are poisons that are meant to KILL living things like plants. Handle and mix them according to the directions and for goodness sake don’t think adding more product will give you better results.  IT WILL NOT!!! It will...

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