December Garden Clean Up

There’s a lot of gardening chores to be done in December to prep for winter weather. Here’s a quick run-down of some activities to think about doing:winter sweet sunny day

  • Keep mowing lawns until the grass stops growing and let clippings lie one the soil to return some nitrogen into the ground.
  • Clean up beds by pulling weeds, battling garden pests, and removing unnecessary debris from around plants and off of lawns.
  • This time of year is a good time to start thinking about the birds in your yard. Putting out a feeder is helpful for them during the winter months and they greatly appreciate an always-available, unfrozen water source.
  • Any plant that will not weather the winter well should be stashed in a safe spot for over-wintering. You can pot small plants or herbs like chives or rosemary and bring them indoors to continue growing them during cold months.
  • Make sure all of your bulbs are planted. They won’t do you any good come spring if they’re still sitting in the garage and you’ll be happy to have those beautiful blooms next year. It’s not too late to plant them and we still have bulbs in stock!
  • Get any trees or shrubs you want planted into the ground so they can thrive next year. We’re getting a new stock of trees in this month, so stop by and check them out.
  • Prep your new beds for next year’s plantings by laying newspaper or cardboard down to smother grass or weeds, then lay mulch on top.
  • Prune out or remove any plants, trees, or shrubs that look dead, diseased, or damaged. Don’t do aesthetic pruning now because new growth could begin and get damaged by the cold—save it for the spring.

Time for One More Fertilization Before Winter!

As we get closer to winter, it’s a good time to think about fertilizing your plants and lawns one last time before the cold sets in. While it appears that plants go dormant or die in the winter, there’s actually a lot of activity going on under the soil. The roots are in growth mode and giving plants one last infusion of nutrients will help them build a stronger root system and thus help them better thrive next season.

Plants need a whopping nineteen elements to grow, with the primary three being nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. To ensure that your plants have ample access to all of the necessary nutrients, it’s best to regularly apply plant food. Fertilizers are labeled with three numbers, which designate the ratio of those nutrients. The first number represents the amount of nitrogen, which promotes foliage or grass blade growth. The second number is the amount of phosphorus, which helps root growth. The final numbers is the amount of potassium, which helps cell functioning and also helps plants absorb trace elements.2014-09-14 17.48.13

For late fall lawn fertilization, it’s best to use a formula that’s higher in phosphorus to stimulate root growth before winter sets in. This will help your lawn be more winter-hardy and green up more quickly in the spring.

Perennials will benefit from a fertilizer with high phosphorus as well, and fertilizing them will help them be stronger plants and produce more flowers next spring. Trees and shrubs will also appreciate fertilization before the cold sets in because over the cold months, their roots are taking in nutrients from the soil and applying them to health-promoting functions, like root development and disease resistance. The roots will store any extra nutrients so that they are readily available for new growth in the springtime.

Read the directions on fertilizers and follow them to make sure they are applied properly for maximum effect.

Come by and see us and we can help you figure out which fertilizers will work best to ensure that your plants build their strength up over the winter and come back strong in the spring!

Late February Lawn Care

 

P1000726Driving around town this past week, you may have noticed some early signs of spring starting to show. Deciduous trees and shrubs are beginning to leaf out, bud, and in some cases, even bloom. Temperatures are slowly warming, and the world is coming back to life. Even though there is still a good month left to winter, it’s time to start treatment on your lawn to be ahead of the game next month. Because as the days are slowly lengthening and warming, soil temperatures are rising, causing all those pesky weed seeds that have laid dormant all winter to sprout. So if you haven’t done so, now is the time to apply PRE-EMERGENT weed treatment to your lawn to keep it weed-free this spring.

At Garden Supply Co, we have a full line of lawn care products to keep your lawns at their peak of health. Stop by the garden center and let our friendly staff of experts help you select the best treatment plan for your lawn. If you haven’t treated your lawn at all this year, now is a good time to apply a crabgrass preventer as well as a pre-emergent week killer. And it’s about time for fertilizer, too. Our experts can help get you going on the right schedule.

Mowing

Plan to have your lawn mower serviced soon, if you haven’t already. Here’s a few items that should be looked at:

Air Filter- have it cleaned or replaced if needed

Spark Plug- clean it or replace it if it’s cracked

Oil- check to see that it’s filled to the right level. Change the oil as recommended by the manufacturer

Mower Blade- replace if chipped, cracked, or bent. Have sharpened otherwise

Check for loose screws and bolts on the handle controls and the motor

If mowing is necessary, remember to remove no more than one-third of the grass height with a sharp mower blade. A dull mower blade tears the grass, leaving your lawn susceptible to disease, weeds, and insects.

Planting

Sod can be installed whenever the soil is not frozen. Newly sodded areas should be moistened for the sod to “knit” into the soil. Water immediately after sodding to wet the soil to a depth of 3 or 4 inches. Don’t let the soil dry out until the sod has rooted into the soil.

For more tips on maintaining a beautiful and healthy lawn this season and all year long, stop by the garden center and talk to one of our experts. We’re here 7 days a week with answers to all your gardening questions.

Spring Lawn Care Tips

Cary, NC-

Growing a healthy. lush green lawn in North Carolina can be a bit of a challenge. Poor soil conditions paired with high heat and humidity during the summer months are well-known contributing factors to our difficult growing conditions. But did you also know that two basic lawn-management practices, mowing and fertilizing, can either “make” or “break” a lawn by promoting good lawn health or opening it up to a weed infestation. Here’s a few tips for establishing a healthy and beautiful lawn in your home landscape.

Sharp Mower Blades

Always mow with a sharp mower blade. Sharp blades cut the grass cleanly, which ensures rapid healing and regrowth. When dull blades tear and bruise the leaves, the wounded grass becomes weakened and less able to ward off invading weeds.

A good rule to follow is to have your lawn mower serviced in late winter or early spring before peek grass growing commences later in the spring. If you haven’t had your blade sharpened in several years, you can be pretty sure that they are in need. Take a peek at your freshly mowed lawn and look at the tips of the cut grass. If you see tearing or ripping, you are in need of some service.

Mowing Height

Mow at the proper height for your lawn. For example, mow tall fescue at 3 inches during the summer months. By maintaining the proper height, you will allow the root system to fully develop, helping the grass tolerate summer heat and stress.

One-Third Rule of Thumb

Follow this mowing rule-of-thumb: Remove no more than one-third of the grass height at any one mowing. Cutting off more than one-third at one time can stop the roots from growing, which is an open invitation to weeds.

Fertilizing

Fertilize lawns with the right amount of fertilizer based on soil-test results and at the proper time of year. Cool-season grasses like tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass should be fertilized in the fall.

Weed Whackers

Avoid trimming grass with a weed-eater near the trunks of trees and shrubs. The rapidly spinning monofilament line can easily damage the bark, exposing it to attack from insects and diseases. Instead, maintain a shallow layer of mulch around the bases of trees and shrubs to help suppress weed growth.

For more lawn care tips, stop by the garden center. Our helpful staff is on hand seven days with answers to all your gardening questions. Hope to see you soon!

August Fescue Lawn Care- Brown Patch

Brown Patch Fungus (photo)

Ugghh, is it hot. And miserable. And right about now, your lawn is probably fairly stressed from the heat and humidity. If your lawn is anything like mine, then the weeds have taken over, and unsightly brown spots have sprouted up everywhere. But are those brown patches due to lack of water and heat, or something else?  Here’s a few tips that will help you decide, and how to proceed.

For those with fescue grass, now is the time to treat and prevent brown patch which appears as a browning area in the lawn typically in the summer months when conditions are favorable. Warm-season grasses (St. Augustinegrass, zoysiagrass, bermudagrass and centipedegrass) most commonly are affected by brown patch during the early spring and late fall. Brown patch is caused by a fungus, and if your lawn is showing signs, you will need to treat with a fungicide. We recommend that you apply Hi-Yield Lawn Fungicide to prevent brown patch.  Two applications may be necessary if rain has been heavy.

Brown Patch Fungus(photo)

While brown patch does cause patches of dead grass, other things can cause the same symptoms. If the area is poorly drained and water stands on a spot for more than 24 hours, the grass roots will rot, causing a dead patch. Also, in areas where the sod has rooted poorly, brown patches will develop as dry weather sets in. So what are the true symptoms of the disease? True brown patch spots are small to begin with but in warm weather they can enlarge rapidly. Seen from above, the patch will look like a doughnut – a ring of tan grass having a patch of green grass in the center. Individual grass blades will be brown down to the crown – where the blade emerges from the ground – but the crown will be green. Early in the morning during hot, damp weather you might see a white fungal web at the edge of the dead grass patch.

Never water in the evening. The best time to water is in early morning. Fescue is much more susceptible when it has lush, green growth plus warm nighttime temperatures.  The second step is to water at the right time. Since brown patch needs 14-16 hours of wet leaf surface to reproduce itself, water only after the dew has dried in the morning. An alternative is to water after nightfall. Since the grass is wet with dew anyway, watering in the dark does not unnecessarily extend the wet period.

So what if you have brown areas in your sod or planting beds due to poor rooting mixed with our hot summer temperatures? We have help for that, too.  Garden Supply owner, Keith Ramsey, recommends treating with Drought Defense by Soil Logic to reduce water consumption and enhance growth.

Drought Defense reduces the amount of water needed to irrigate lawns, groundcovers, trees, and other plants. This soil moisture management product helps prevent plant-available water from evaporating or draining past the root zone.  It is super-concentrated, long-lasting, helps lower watering bills and is safe for use on fruit and vegetable plants.  Drought Defense is environmentally friendly and is safe for use around children and pets.

This easy-to-use concentrate is ready to go.  Simply connect the sprayer to your hose and spray evenly over measured area.  Be sure to irrigate all treated areas after application to wash the product into the soil.  After two applications of the product, normal watering time and quantity can be reduced up to 50%!

Hope these tips help with your lawn care during these hot summer days. As always, our helpful experts are on hand seven days a week to answer all your lawn care and gardening questions.

New Beginnings

Of all the seasons, spring is definitely the time for new beginnings.  At Garden Supply Co. we are thrilled to be celebrating not one, but two exciting new beginnings this season. Our family is growing, and we couldn’t be happier! Please help us welcome Baby Lilly.

Lilliana Elyse, is the daughter of Landscape Designer Matthew Noel and his wife. We wish Lilly and family much joy, love, and happiness on this special occasion, and throughout the years!

Also, if you haven’t heard another addition to our Garden Supply family is a sister company that has been birthed this spring: Leapfrog Landcare.

For years we’ve felt there was a better way to the spray-first mentality needed or not in the landscape with chemical based fertilizers & weed controls. We were unsatisfied with the options offered to our customers by large corporate lawn companies and the lack of personal service & knowledge afforded. This is why, through Leapfrog Landcare, we felt it was possible to offer a level of service rooted in the community and driven by human connection that promotes a more holistic approach to the overall health of the landscape. By introducing microbes and beneficial bacteria through organic based fertilizers and compost tea applications, it’s possible to achieve better results through working with nature than relying wholly on chemical based products. Questions about what is compost tea? Here is a video from Harvard University after which we’ve modeled our approach:

Harvard Compost Tea

Call it a holistic way to approach not just your landscape’s health, but that of your community and we’re committed to creating healthy communities by promoting integrative principles-remember it’s not just a landscape, it’s a lifestyle!

Be sure to check out our Leapfrog Landcare page on Facebook.