I was just reading an article on PCTONLINE.COM that spurred me to write a blog entry. The article was about Syngenta shareholders officially acepting the ChemChina offer which officially approves the takeover.
Posted by Royal Tyler on 5/16/2017
I have been in the noncrop pesticide industry some 20 plus years now. I remember when I first got in the industry working for a branded distribution company that dipped back and forth between being 100% branded and trying generics for a few years and back again. There were clear benefits to being branded as a distributor, and a sense of patriotism and loyalty about it. You could feel good about supporting your industry, and talking bad about those companies that used those "dirty generics" from China, India, and other second class sources.
Folks, those days are gone. Everyone sources from the same factories, whether generic or branded. I learned a lot touring China a few years back, getting to see the assembly line in a factory with "branded" products and "alternate brands" being manufactured, bottled, and boxed in the same plants as the generics. The large plant with Syngenta signs on it , located on the same street as the Rotam factory. The same quality standards applied to all brands.
A brief summaty of things you can do to help solve flea and bedbug infestations around your home.
Posted by Royal Tyler, Owner Pro Pest and Lawn Store on 1/31/2017
Posted by Royal Tyler on 11/23/2016
Is Fall the Time to Aerate?
Aeration is a practice that should be used more often. Many of the yards I see, particularly in town or in subdivisions, are heavily compacted, heavy soils (clay), poorly drained, have a lot of thatch , or some combination of all of the above. These yards need some “plugging” at least once a year to help resolve the tight and compacted conditions. Heavy traffic from people or pets also can cause compacted soils that need to be loosened from time-to-time. Large dogs in particular will wear down trails that will not grow back without aeration.
Aeration is most easily accomplished by hiring a lawn service. For die-hard do-it-yourselfers, many hardware or equipment rental stores have aerators for rent, but you should think about how heavy they are and how large your yard is before tackling it. The combination of a large yard and an out-of-shape person can make for a hard weekend of aerating. Place reservations ahead of time, whether renting or hiring it done, to allow for scheduling during a busy time of year. You can make sure you get one on the weekend that fits your schedule and the season that fits your lawn.
When aerating the goal is usually 20-40 plugs per square foot. This is usually accomplished by making two passes, one in each direction (criss-crossed). Notice also I said “plugs”, as this type of aerator is much preferred over just poking holes in the soil. Punching holes can help some, but it also just compacts the soil on the sides of the holes. Plugs allow for air and don’t compact the soils around the plug.
I recommend mowing the lawn pretty low before aeration to allow easy access to the soil. This also makes it easier for the operator to work thru the yard. The plugs that are removed will degrade on their own usually, but it is helpful to mow them and crumble them up. This would probably happen anyway the next time you mow but the sooner it’s done the less likely you will have rock hard cores laying around after they dry out.
Southern Lawns (warm season grasses)
This section applies to the South Central and South Eastern US in particular, but really anywhere that grows warm season grasses such as bermuda, zoysia, centipede, and St. Augustine grass. The ideal timing for most aeration is whenever there is sufficient growing season left to allow the grass to grow back over the holes that are created, and the roots can fully recover and further expand into the aerated areas. This can enhance the health of the grass at any season, but in particular is helpful before the summer droughts and heat hit, or before hard winter freezes hit.
The best timing is typically late spring in much of the South. As the lawn transitions from winter to early spring (in March/April) the grass is already stressed. I usually recommend waiting to do most kinds of cultural treatments to your lawn after full green up and the danger of a hard frost damaging new growth is past. After the full greenup, usually May in most areas, your lawn can recover so quickly your neighbors will oft times barely even notice the damage. Aeration should be done when the soil is moderately moist-not too dry and hard, but not soggy either. Typically, this would mean one day after a rain or a light watering.
An alternative time to do this work would be late summer/early fall (September/October) if you plan to overseed your lawn with ryegrass, and aren’t doing any pre-emergent herbicide application that would interfere with timing, or vice versa. I would only recommend this if you can irrigate though, as it is very common for fall to be very dry in the South and difficult to establish a good stand of ryegrass in some years without it. Under these dry conditions the yard would appear ragged for quite a while if the ryegrass didn’t cover the lawn. People who don’t overseed typically would be applying a fall weed control treatment of either weed-n-feed granulars or a good liquid treatment such as prodiamine. Heavy activity such as aerating would disturb the soil herbicide layer too much and allow weeds to break thru much easier.
Transitional and Northern Lawns (cool season grasses)
The active growing seasons for cool season grasses tends to be fall and spring, with some years allowing for early winter growth as well. This means that the fall is usually the best time of year for aeration, at the start of the growing season for most cool season lawns. This includes, fescues, perennial ryegrass, bluegrasses, and others often in blends of the various kinds.
Pay attention to your local weather patterns and make sure you aerate early enough for your roots to grow in before heavy snows or freezes hit, to get the maximum benefit. The whole idea is to have healthier soil, and healthier roots, the keys to a beautiful lawn.
Areas that have a hard winter, spring can also be a good time to aerate. Aerating right after the spring thaw has been shown in research to also be a great time to improve the rooting of your grass. The key is to try and do it before you do spring pre-emergent herbicide application. Aeration DOES interfere with herbicide effectiveness. I have read on a lot of sites how they think it’s a myth, or that it doesn’t really affect the pre-emergent. They are looking at cases where the stand of grass is so thick that crabgrass just can’t get established before the lawn grass grows back over the plugs. Many people do not have grass that lush and healthy and it’s best to work around those dates of you can. If you don’t use herbicides, then it doesn’t matter nearly as much when you apply the aeration as long as you give the roots ample good weather to recover and expand.
What should you do after aeration?
The most important thing your lawn will need is plenty of water. Aeration disturbs the roots a good bit and the worst thing you could do is allow the site to get dry. Roots that are damaged require more water to recover than a healthy lawn so water a little more than normal if needed to keep it moist. You will also be adding amendments like fertilizer typically and they will need moisture to be absorbed into the soil properly.
I am a strong believer in the importance of carbon in plant growth. Carbon is the major building block of life on Earth, and is present in all life forms. Primarily we look at plant biomass, soil organic matter, and carbon dioxide in the air as the major sources of carbon. Much of our soils are lacking in organic matter and thus low on carbon. Aeration is the perfect time to improve this deficiency in your soils.
The soil ecosystem is very complex, particularly in a healthy soil full of organic matter. The main thing you need to understand is just that adding organic matter to your soil helps it about as much as anything else you can do. While there are soil cores laying around, and there are holes giving you access to the soil profile, it is the perfect time to amend your soil. The top things you should look at are humic matter and organic fertilizers.
Immediately after aerating, you should fertilize your soil. Ideally an organic fertilizer would be the choice. I recommend a good balanced poultry litter based product (4-4-4) in my store manufactured by a company called Italpollina. There is also a product called Mighty Grow 4-3-4 that is a great product for this situation. These products are already composted and are very safe for the exposed roots. They can be used almost like potting soil and don’t burn the roots like a synthetic fertilizer will if over applied. They are a natural slow release source of nitrogen that will work for quite a while.
The other product to consider applying is humic acid. Humics are a great source of carbon. There are many different forms, and many different levels of quality, so I will recommend a couple of brands I know are of sufficient quality, and a couple of different forms. If I make recommendations locally, I recommend both a granular and a liquid. Many areas may not have an affordable source for the granular and freight can be an issue on granulars when buying from out of town. That said, a good granular humic like those offered by Mesa Verde from the mines in New Mexico are the best. There is only a couple of good mines in North America that most of the products come from, so hopefully you can find a good source. If you wanted a pallet, or if you can afford to pay the freight on individual bags, http://propestandlawn.com/ has granular and liquid available. One 50 lb bag of their 70% humates covers from 8-10,000 square feet and costs usually from $40-$60 a bag.
Liquid humics should be applied as regular maintenance, but especially after applying organic fertilizers as the two complement each other well. Liquid humates have many benefits, not the least of which are chelating the minerals in the soil and making them plant available. They feed microbes which live in the soil. I recommend a couple of different brands, including Brandt Parco Root XL which comes in 2.5 gal jugs. http://propestandlawn.com/Brandt-Parco-Root-XL-25-gal_p_88.html This product contains seaweed extracts, humic and fulvic acid, a full micronutrient package, and a good wetting agent. It is used typically at around 3 oz/1000 sq ft, or a gallon per acre. The other one is more homeowner friendly, coming in a smaller 1 gallon jug. It is called Medina Plus. It is also available online at stores such as http://propestandlawn.com/Medina-Plus-1-gal_p_93.html.
Good Luck everyone!
Lawn and Pest Pro
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