Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fighting Brown Patch

The goal is to never have Brown Patch to begin with. Brown Patch is an environmental expression. If the environment is altered the disease will go away. It must be recognized that Brown Patch likes compacted clay soils with too much water, coupled with cool temperatures. Improve the soil, reduce the water and Brown Patch is no longer a problem. Organics improve soils; chemicals don’t.

Refer to the fall equinox September 23rd as a major date. Around this time St. Augustine under goes a physiological change as it enters into a dormant state. The St. Augustine grows slower; mowing is twice a month rather than weekly. The fall temperatures are lower, there is less ambient heat and so less water is needed. It is time to turn the irrigation systems way down which many people forget and run them like its still summer. Keep in mind the rain that God gives as well. We want to avoid over watering the soil.

Compacted soils will improve with Organics and won’t improve with chemicals. As Organic fertilizers and Humates are applied through out the year, compacted clay soils will become more friable. This means better drainage and oxygen flow which is the opposite of what Brown Patch wants. Finally, if applying a fungicide, make sure it’s MicroGro biological fungicide and not a chemical fungicide. Chemical fungicides are dangerous, expensive and only compound the problem as they destroy the soil microorganisms that improve the soil and fight Brown Patch. Good healthy soils mean adios to Brown Patch.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stop Brown Patch Before It Happens!

Why does my Saint Augustine have Athlete’s Foot?

Stopping Brown Patch fungus on Grass before it happens, The Anti-Disease Preventative!

MicroLife Brown Patch is a good antifungal for our humid and rainy days ahead. September’s cooler evenings combined with daily rainfall are the perfect combination for activating rhizoctonia, better known as brown patch. From September through January, we recommend not using strong nitrogen fertilizers that actually speed up the growth of brown patch. Now is the time to harden off your root systems so they establish well through winter. Microlife Brown Patch is also great when mixed in flower beds to enhance your fall petunias, dianthus and snapdragons.

Use biology to its best advantage by picking up this mild organic fall fertilizer with living organisms ready to prevent brown patch. These antifungal disease microbes are easily spread, use one bag per 2,000 square feet. If you choose to mix in the soil for flower beds, use one bag for 1,000 square feet.

Taishan Dwarf African Marigold

Looking for a high impact in your fall color beds?

We saw a super new standout at the Ball Seed landscape trials this year, Taishan Marigold. This new improved Marigold, some say Mari-Mum that we are fortunate enough to have just received is the Taishan double dwarf African Marigold. Taishan is fuller, with more branching than your everyday Inca or Discovery series Marigolds. Up to 20% larger and have many more petals causing Taishan to shed water and not get the nasty brown rot you’re used to.
The key to Taishan’s success is its breeding for shorter more rigid stems giving it an improved weather and overhead water tolerance. Growing 12”-18” with equal spread in Yellow, Orange or mixed colors. Performance is so spectacular that the Taishan series was the featured color plant throughout the landscapes at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Happy Labor Day!!

This weekend, Labor Day Fireworks!

Not the kind of Fireworks you may be thinking of at Labor Day, but a tough as nails flower, Gomphrena Fireworks.

Not your traditional Gomphrena, but a taller accent plant for annual color beds. (see above, background) Growing to 36”h x 24” wide covered in magenta-pink flowers in hot full sun all Spring-Summer-Fall, shooting out yellow stamens like tiny fireworks. A New Nursery Top 10 Miserable Day Heat Tolerant plant that thrives through heavy summer rains, humidity and drought.

This is the bomb-proof color you need for your customer that wants a lot of show for little money. These are available in 4” pots but their coverage is immense. They grow so big, you actually use fewer plants for more coverage.

Plant Fireworks Gomphrena as your tall accent with a lower planting of yellow Zahara Zinnias, Pentas or Melampodium, and a base planting of ornamental sweet potato. Your homeowner may enjoy the fact that this hummingbird, butterfly magnet is also an excellent cut flower and preserves dry as well.

Fall Foliage

A Secret to Fall Foliage in Texas?

Why Heck Yes!!!
Who thinks of Fall foliage Texas? Its often overlooked, but now is the perfect time for Fall foliage color plantings.

Crotons in every color, Ornamental Sweet Potato Vines in yellow or purple, even tones of bronzy chocolate. Purple and silver Persian Shield with Coleus.

But there seems to be so much confusion over the right coleus, some look great while other coleus look like scrappy weeds after 6 weeks. Let us share with you a secret:

There are seed grown coleus and there are cutting crown. Seed grown are what is easiest to find because of their inexpensive plant cost. A seed plug to start a 4” pot is only a few cents. A cutting grown coleus is 5 to 10 times the cost BUT OH WHAT A DIFFERENCE A FEW CENTS MAKES!

Cutting grown coleus have been developed by breeders for a consistent look, color, form. Most available today are selected for their availability to not set seed, so they never require pinching, no maintenance, never that ugly period. So what we need to understand and teach our customer is that by spending more in the initial planting for the cutting variety, THEY ARE SAVING MORE in maintenance, with a much longer time of looking good.

Big Redhead and Henna are two New Nursery favorites. Combine them together, or great in mass. Both look great with Pot O’ Gold Lantana or Taishan Marigolds

Big Redhead Coleus

Henna Coleus

Monday, August 30, 2010

Vista Bubblegum Petunia

Q: Help! My Petunias have male pattern baldness, what do I do?

A: Buy all female.

(Well, when you work in a nursery, you collect these bizarre questions)

Supertunia, Vista Bubblegum from Proven Winners. Supertunia? A Super Petunia? If you have ever experiences the bare stem growth of an old Petunia, no more!

Yep, Supertunias are an improved "cutting grown" Petunia. We visited the Proven Winners growing grounds last summer near San Diego and studied their trials. We also potted our own to compare their perfect coastal conditions against our heat and humidity in Houston, Austin, and Dallas. Vista Bubblegum is far above all seeding Petunias in performance. It's right up there with Amazon Dianthus in the bombproof division of top 10 Fall Annuals.

Vista Bubblegum was a top performer at Jimmy Turner's Dallas Arboretum Plant Trial Field Day. Link here for some great info: Notice the picture of Vista Bubblegum in the Petunia trials above.