So Many Weeds !!!



It’s what I’m hearing every day at the counter here at the store. If it makes you feel any better, you’re not the only one dealing with it.  If it doesn’t make you feel any better – sorry !!

Why is it happening ?

Look at the weather pattern we’ve been dealing with. Lots of rain and moisture in the fall season.  Extended warm weather late into the fall season.  Up and down temperatures from Christmas to now.  WELCOME TO THE SANDHILLS !!  When you have warmer weather in the winter months, this is what happens.  The goal of every plant is to produce seed to reproduce.  (When God said “Go forth and multiply”, evidently the weeds overheard that!)  Most of what you’re seeing is winter weeds that think spring is approaching and then they die out when it gets hot.  Since they know that death is imminent (that means soon), they’re putting on their final push to produce their seed so they’re growing more aggressively that they have all year.

OK – the Horticultural lesson is great but I want them gone !

Here’s the problem – Most of your chemicals are not very effective when the night time temperatures are below 50 degrees. Also, many tough weeds will take 2 applications of even the strongest weed killers so if you get lucky and have a warm stretch for one application, when it’s time for your second application ten days later, we’re cold again !  Therefore, you might feel good because you’ve sprayed a weed killer out, but you’re probably wasting your time and money.

I know – I’m full of bad news but still haven’t solved your problem !

The absolute best way to keep this from happening is to get on a good pre-emergent program. Apply a pre-emergent in mid to late September and again in mid to late February and you will keep a lot of your weeds from ever coming up.  Meanwhile, keep the lawnmower tuned up and keep chopping the pesky weeds down until we reach the temperatures that will allow your weed killers to be effective.

It still doesn’t solve your problem today – but at least I’m not trying to sell you something that’s not going to work anyway !

The recap

Winter weeds – aggravating

Sandhills temperatures – unreliable

Chemicals in cold temperatures – not dependable

Pre-emergent program – GOOD !

The Magical Secret of the Garden Mum!

In the Fall season, there’s no better quick color than the mum. Purple, White,Red, Orange and the ever popular yellow add the perfect touch for Fall color! Most people use mums to decorate their porches and steps or accent areas in the yard to take advantage of the profuse flowering. But did you know you can plant them in the yard as well for perennial color? After they’ve done their thing this Fall, plant them in the yard and wait for the foliage to die back – then cut them back to the ground. Next Spring, the leaves will pop right back out and grow even bigger than they were !


When you’re cleaning up from your 4th of July cookout on your Big Green Egg, go back and cut back your mums leaving only about 6” sticking out of the ground. It will hurt because you’ve got all this beautiful foliage and they look so healthy but if you don’t cut them back then, they will bloom very little. But the cookout isn’t the magical part! Early July is the critical time. (I just figured I’d pair it with a memorable event for you !) And if you are cooking out for the 4th, the Big Green Egg is the critical part ! Don’t have one? Check them out on the Home Page !


Mums for Fall color – GOOD !!

Minimal Re-blooming in the Fall – BAD !!

4th of July cookout on your Big Green Egg – EGGCELLENT !!!


So you say you want to fertilize your grass ???


One of the most frequently asked questions here at the store – “Is it time to fertilize my grass?”

As of March 30, 2015 – NO !


For any grass, in order to get full benefit from your fertilizer, you want your grass to be about 70% green before you fertilize. Look at it this way – How much do you eat when you’re asleep ? Your grass is asleep but just beginning to wake up. Do you want somebody shoving an English muffin in your face as you roll out of bed ? Not me ! Fertilizing early DOES NOT help your grass to green up sooner. Based on the weather we are getting here in the spring of 2015, I would say the middle of April should be a good time to start.


And what kind of fertilizer should you use ? I’m glad you asked !


Centipede – 8-4-16 w/ 2% iron

          Fertilize Mid-April Only. If you want to green up some in the summer, use Ironite.


Bermuda – 16-4-8

          Should be fertilized every 5-6 weeks throughout the growing season (April-Sept.). You can substitute one application with straight Nitrogen (34-0-0) for extra green.


Zoysia – 16-4-8

          Use same schedule as above for Bermuda.


St. Augustine – 16-4-8

          Use once in late April

Pre Emergent Weed Control

Attention !

This article will only be of interest to very few people !

Most of you like weeds and don’t mind the wonderful textural element that they add to your turf areas.  What’s more annoying than looking out over your lawn and seeing nothing but smooth, full, uniform grass with no weeds?  And weeds don’t care if they get fertilized or not and most will flower really pretty if you don’t ever cut them!

So for the 5% of you who don’t like the weeds, here’s the best advice I can give you to keep them out.  Get on a regular pre-emergent program.

I know, now I’m sounding like your doctor asking you to do regular stuff with weird names in the hopes that there will be a payoff in the near future.  TRUST ME !!  Stay on the program and it will work !  How ?

Now that you’ve asked – here’s your science lesson of the day !!!

Balan is a granular pre-emergent that you spread out like a fertilizer.  What, you may ask, is a pre-emergent?  Pre – from the Latin meaning before.  Post – from the Latin meaning after, or a big round piece of wood you use in making fences.  Pre-emergent herbicides prevent weeds before they germinate and grow.  Post emergent herbicides are sprayed on the weeds after they’re already up.  When you put down the granular Balan and water it in, the granules dissolve to form a barrier on the top of the ground.  When the weeds germinate, they hit this barrier and are killed before you even see them !  It’s like Herbicidal Magic !!!

So here’s your next question:  So I put this out and I’ll never see a weed again ?

Short Answer:  No

Longer answer (but well worth the read):  Apply your pre-emergent in Mid-February and again in Mid-September.  Twice a year is all it takes.  The Spring application (that’s the one in Mid-February, duh!) will prevent your summer weeds.  The Fall application (Duh ! Mid-September) helps control crab grasses that germinate in late winter and early Spring.  Many times, it’s hard to tell how much control you get in the first year.  Where you really see results is in the 2nd year and beyond.


Weeds – BAD !!

Balan – GOOD !!

MOLES ! Rascally Critters!

Moles ! AAARGH !!

Why are they completely tearing up my yard now???

Here’s the deal - the absolute favorite food source for Moles are grubs.  It’s like Wontons at the Chinese buffet for me!  You can keep the Fried Rice – throw aside the Gen. Tso’s Chicken – and don’t get in the way of my Wontons!  But if the kitchen is backed up and they’re out of Wontons, the chicken and fried rice are in my sights.  It’s the same with moles.  The grubs are over wintering deep in the soil during these cold temperatures and the moles will only dig so deep.  So they’re now going for whatever they can grub on (Get it?  Grub on?) 

So what to do ?  Mid-March is when the grubs will start coming closer to the surface so they are easier to kill.  The young grubs have just hatched out and coming up too - and they’re easier to kill when they’re young. (I know – not a pretty thought – but they’re bugs!  Deal with it!)  The best way to kill grubs is with a product called – what else – Grubs Away!  How does it work?  Now that you’ve asked,

Here’s your science lesson of the day!

Grubs feed on the roots of your grass and can also cause problems with the health of your lawn if they’re present in high populations.  Imidacloprid is the active ingredient in Grubs Away, which is a systemic insecticide.  That means it enters through the roots of your grass and travels throughout the plant.  When the grubs eat your grass, they’re also eating the Imidacloprid, and they die!

But it’s not Mid-March and I’ve got to do something now!!

I’ve got repellants and I’ve got smoke bombs that you can put in their runs to kill Norway rats.  How did we get on Norway Rats???  Well, let’s put it this way:  killing moles in NC is technically illegal since they’re a protected species.  But if it kills a Norway rat, it might kill a mole.  Following the 1+1 rule…well I think you know what I’m trying to say.  (If you don’t know what I’m trying to say, let me know and I’ll explain further – maybe from Central Prison – but what do you care as long as you’ve killed out your mole ?)  I know – smoke bombs sound extreme and intimidating - but they really do work!  If you’ve got a little common sense, you’ll be OK.  If you have no common sense – move someplace without a yard!  So fire up your Big Green Egg – Smoke a Butt and a mole !  Just remember which one you’re serving to the family !




Moles – BAD !!


Grubs – BAD !!


Grubs Away – GOOD !!