THE YARD & GARDEN CORNER

Brought To You By
Briarwood Civic Association
Beautification Committee

MARCH

Spring time is almost upon us, and now is the time to start thinking about our lawn and gardens. Here's hoping that some of the following will be of benefit to you.

Lawn & Garden Dates

March 3rd is always Peach Blossom Day. The peach blossom is a symbol for happy marriage as well as new beginnings.

March 11th is always Johnny Appleseed Day. Johnny Appleseed, born John Chapman on September 26, 1775, has become an American folk hero about whom many tales and legends are told. He wandered among early American settlers, distributing and planting apple seeds from the Allegheny region in Pennsylvania to Central Ohio. He is the patron saint of U.S. orcharding, floriculture, and conservation.

March 12th is always National Plant a Flower Day. That's right the flower has it's own day. You can celebrate this special day by planting a flower. It doen't matter if the planting is a potted plant or if from seeds. You will have something beautiful to look at and at the same time celebrate National Flower Day. So, go ahead and plant something.

March 25th is National Agriculture Day. This annual event is always celebrated on the first day of Spring. The event is a time to celebrate American agriculture and honor the people who work to meet our everyday needs.

Yard & Garden Tips

Begin routine spraying of roses. Roses are very suceptible to diseases and insects and they require preventative applications of fungicides and insecticides to keep them in check. While honeybees are present, spray the plants only around dusk to avoid killing these essential pollinators. Other susceptible plants include azaleas, camellias (spray when not in bloom), and dogwood trees.

Apply a RIFA (red inported fire ant) bait to curb later infestations.

Start flats of summer annual annual flowers for planting at the end of the month or in April.

Repot houseplants. If the houseplants are to spend the summer outdoors, repotting now will allow them time to adjust before they are set outside next month.

Do not fertilize grass until two weeks after it has become fully green. And do not dethatch centipede or St. Augustine grasses until April or May.

Fertilization of spring flowering bulbs after they flower may be helpful but is generally not recommended.

Flower of the Month is the Daffodil

Daffodils, are among the first flowers to bloom in the spring. They bring a promise of warmer weather, along with a burst of color to the still grey landscape of your yard and flowerbeds. A member of the Narcissus family, Daffodils originated in the woods of Europe.

Like other bulbs, Daffodils are easy to grow. Pop a few into your flower bed in the fall and Voila..... They awaken brightly in the spring!

Did you know? Squirrels, chipmunks and other rodents do not like the taste of the bulbs in the Narcissus family. The same can not be said of other flowering bulbs.

Have you ever wondered what those numbers on the fertilizer bags stand for? For example what would 10-8-13 stand for? Well wonder no more, here is the answer:

The 10 is the available Nitrogen in the fertilizer.

The 8 is the percentage (%) of Phosophorous.

The 13 is the percentage (%) of Potasium.

It is normally in some form of the element, nitrate, phosphate, etc.

The following article was prepared by the Clemson Extension Center:

ST. Augustinegrass Maintenance Calendar

This calendar of suggested management practices is designed to be a general guide in the care of your St. Augustinegrass lawn. Many factors such as location, soil type, and microenvironment will affect the performance of your lawn. For these reasons, the following management practices and dates should be adjusted to suit your particular home lawn conditions.

MARCH THROUGH MAY

Mowing: St. Augustinegrass performs best when mowed between 2 and 4 inches depending on the cultivar. The normal growth cultivars like Raleigh should be mowed between 3 and 4 inches, while the semi-dwarf growth habit cultivars such as Palmetto and Mercedes can be mowed between 2 and 3 inches. Begin mowing as soon as the lawn turns green in spring. Always leave the clippings on the lawn in a practice called ‘grass-cycling’. If prolonged rain or other factors prevent frequent mowing and clippings begin to clump, they can be collected and used as mulch. Never remove more than ⅓ of the leaf tissue in any single mowing.

Fertilizing: St. Augustinegrass performs best when fertilized with 2 to 4 pounds of nitrogen (N) per 1,000 square feet per year depending on location, health of lawn, soil type, and many other factors. In spring, apply ½ to 1 pound of N per 1,000 square feet several weeks after the last expected frost. Submit a soil sample to determine nutrient and lime requirements. In the absence of a soil test, use a complete (N-P-K) turf-grade fertilizer with a 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratio (for example, 12-4-8 or 16-4-8). Apply lime if suggested. To determine the amount of product needed to apply ½ pound of N per 1,000 square feet, divide 50 by the first number in the fertilizer ratio. For example, for a 16-4-8 fertilizer, divide 50 by 16. The result is 3.125 pounds of product per 1,000 square feet: 50/16 = 3.125 pounds of 16-4-8 per 1,000 sq. ft.

Irrigation: As a general rule, irrigate when 30 to 50% of the lawn shows sign of wilt. Probe with a screwdriver to ensure the top 4 to 6 inches of soil are moist following irrigation. Do not irrigate again until the lawn shows signs of wilt. In general, St. Augustinegrass needs a total weekly application of about 1 inch of water. Sandy soils often require more frequent watering, for example, ¾-inch of water every third or fourth day.

Weed Control: Apply preemergence herbicides to control summer annual weeds when forsythia or redbuds are in full bloom. Apply postemergence herbicides in May as needed to control summer annual and perennial broadleaf weeds. Be sure that the product is labeled for use on St. Augustinegrass. Apply postemergence herbicides when weeds are present, and at least three weeks after the lawn greens up.

Thatch Removal: Vertically mow in May to remove the thatch after the lawn becomes green and is actively growing, but only if the thatch is more than ½-inch thick. A 3-inch spacing between the blades is best for St. Augustinegrass. After dethatching, irrigate with ¾ to 1 inch of water. Fertilize with 1 pound of N per 1,000 square feet if the lawn has not already received a spring fertilization.

Renovation: Replant large bare areas using sod or sprigs (3 to 5 bushels per 1,000 square feet).

JUNE THROUGH AUGUST

Mowing: St. Augustinegrass performs best when mowed between 2 and 4 inches depending on the cultivar. The normal growth cultivars like Raleigh should be mowed between 3 and 4 inches, while the semi-dwarf growth habit cultivars such as Palmetto and Mercedes can be mowed between 2 and 3 inches.

Fertilizing: Apply ½ to 1 pound of N per 1,000 square feet every 4 to 8 weeks with a slow release type fertilizer. Slow release fertilizers help reduce problems with chinch bugs.

Irrigation: As a general rule, irrigate when 30 to 50% of the lawn shows sign of wilt. In general, St. Augustinegrass needs a total weekly application of about 1 inch of water.

Insect Control: Chinch bugs are a major pest of St. Augustinegrass and are often misdiagnosed as drought damage. Use a soap flush technique to determine if chinch bugs are present. August is the best time to control white grubs because they are small and close to the soil surface. Mole crickets hatch in early summer and begin to cause noticeable damage by August. Use a soap flush technique to determine if mole crickets are present. . For details on the soap flush technique, see HGIC 2153, Mole Cricket Management for the Home Lawn.

Weed Control: Apply postemergence herbicides as needed to control summer annual and perennial weeds.

Disease Control: Irrigate properly; overirrigation promotes disease. For more information on disease control refer to HGIC 2152, Leaf Diseases of Lawns. Thatch Removal: Vertically mow to remove the thatch if it is more than ½ inch thick. It normally is best to vertically mow in spring whenever possible.

SEPTEMBER THROUGH NOVEMBER

Mowing: Mow the lawn at the recommended height until several weeks before the first expected frost. Raise the mowing height by one-half inch as winter approaches. Mowing height is usually raised in mid- to late September in the Piedmont and early October in other areas.

Fertilization: Do not apply nitrogen to St. Augustinegrass after the end of August. In sandy soils or when soil tests report deficient potassium (K) levels, apply 1 pound of potash (K2O) using muriate of potash (0-0-60), potassium sulfate (0-0-50), or Sul-Po-Mag (0-0-22).

Irrigation: As a general rule, irrigate when 30 to 50% of the lawn shows sign of wilt. In general, St. Augustinegrass needs a total weekly application of about 1 inch of water. Dormant St. Augustinegrass may need to be watered periodically when warm, windy weather prevails.

Weed Control: Apply preemergence or post-emergence herbicides as needed to control winter annual and perennial broadleaf weeds. Preemergence herbicides do not control existing perennial weeds. Apply postemergence herbicides only when weeds are present.

Insect Control: Continue to monitor for white grubs and control if necessary. Disease Control: Irrigate properly; overirrigation promotes disease. Fall is the best time of year to control large patch.

DECEMBER THROUGH FEBRUARY

Mowing: Dormant St. Augustinegrass need not be mowed.

Irrigation: Dormant St. Augustinegrass may have to be watered periodically to prevent drought damage, especially when warm, windy weather prevails. Watering is particularly important for lawns that have been overseeded.

Weed Control: Apply broadleaf herbicides as needed to control winter weeds such as chickweed, henbit, and hop clover. Selective herbicides can be applied in November or December to lawns that have not been overseeded to control annual bluegrass (Poa annua) and several winter annual broadleaf weeds.

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