February 2019 Newsletter
NEWS FROM SOIL SERVICE- ALMOST SPRING – HANG IN THERE!
FEBRUARY IS NATIONAL BIRD FEEDING MONTH (REALLY!)
Natural bird food supplies start to run out in late winter, which is why February is National Bird Feeding Month. For a minimal investment you’d be amazed at how entertaining it is to watch them at the feeder. Parents with younger kids will have an especially wonderful entertaining and learning experience observing up close bird behavior!
But, how many times have you thought “sure, but if I feed the birds, I also feed the *&%$@# squirrels!”
A BIRD FEEDER SQUIRRELS HATE BUT YOU’LL LOVE!
One of our bird loving employees has a feeder that absolutely prevents squirrels from getting to the seed; The SQUIRREL BUSTER. He has had it for OVER 25 years and swears it still looks and works as good as new. When a squirrel jumps on the feeder, its weight closes the seed opening. It doesn’t take long for it to give up in frustration and find something else annoying to do. When it jumps off, the feeder springs back open. BUT YOUR SEED IS SAFE! We have two sizes for larger seed (standard and mini feeders) and one for finch seed. We’ll say up front they aren’t the least expensive feeders on the market, but they’re built tough and powder coated for many, many years of happy birds and unhappy squirrels! If you want to make it even simpler, just hang the feeder on a shepherd’s hook. You can also hook a suet cage to it and be doubly entertained by woodpeckers, flickers and nuthatches. Come by the Garden Center soon to get started with some of the best winter entertainment in Kansas City!
2019 LAWN CARE PROGRAMS
Your Soil Service Garden Center has offered lawn care programs since 1991! Beware that many nationally advertised programs don’t really fit, in turf speak, our transition zone (google turfgrass transition zone map). National programs focus on the northeast US which is the largest market but also a very different climate from KC.
WE MAKE LAWN CARE EASY
Being locally owned we offer do-it-yourself programs and products that we know work best for our Kansas City lawns. You’ll be surprised how little time it takes to apply them, and the personal satisfaction with substantial cost savings are highly rewarding. When you’re on the program, we’ll even warehouse the products and call you when it’s time for your next application. The first application starts soon so please come in to sign up and get going on a beautiful, healthy lawn. PLEASE NOTE- Now that the Japanese Beetle is in KC, we urge you to seriously consider a preventative lawn treatment in late June to get the upper hand on the grubs that are quite destructive to both bluegrass and fescue lawns. Our lawn care programs:
WEED CONTROL OPTIONS
Customers who have been on our program for several years may need to only spot spray for particularly troublesome broadleaf weeds that granules do not control. Examples are wild violets, ground ivy and clover. If you just need to spot spray or simply want to use less overall weed control material, we will work with you to exchange the granules in the lawn program for a liquid spot treatment product at a Lawn Care Program Member discount.
Landscaped areas around our homes do change over time and perhaps you feel it’s time to renovate older areas or create new landscaping. If so, we have landscaping designers and crews who would love to work with you! If you would like to set up a design consult please call Colleen ASAP to answer your questions and get on the schedule that fills quickly. You can reach her 8:30AM-4PM Monday-Friday.
QUICK REMINDER TO WINTERIZE YOUR MOWER
The last thing you want is your mower to die in mid-season and it isn’t too late to get your mower ready for spring. The most important things to do are clean or replace the air filter, change the oil if it’s a 4-cycle engine, and sharpen the blade. If you don’t sharpen it yourself, we highly recommend having 2 blades. That way, if one gets dull, you can swap them out and not worry about how soon the blade you take in will be sharpened (which could be weeks in spring).
TIPS FROM THE TURF PROS
February is the best month to seed if you need to touch up small areas this spring. Dormant Seeding is the process of putting down grass seed when soil temperatures are consistently below 40 d F, normally in February. This practice applies to bluegrass and fescue blends or mixes such as Soil Service Garden Centers’ KC Marathon or KC Endurance. Unlike these cool season grasses, zoysia, bermuda and buffalo grass are seeded in late May/early June.
The idea is that seed falls into soil cracks created by normal winter freeze/thaw cycles and is then lightly covered when soil thaws. You can seed over light snow or use a Garden Weasel to rough up the ground and lightly incorporate the seed for best seed/soil contact. Since the soil is cold, the seed lies “dormant” until soil temperatures favor early spring germination. Furthermore, temperature fluctuations help crack the hard seed hull which gives grass a head start on germination and root growth- important for grass to survive summer heat stress. Dormant seeding can be successful, but it isn’t without risk. For this reason, this practice is usually limited to smaller areas or when laying sod is impractical.
FOLLOW UP FERTILIZATION
Fertilizing with Ferti-lome New Lawn Starter can be made at the first sign of germination, and then a follow up fertilization in April- early May should be made with a slow release nitrogen such as Milorganite, available at Soil Service Garden Center.
WEED CONTROL ISSUES
Dormant Seeding may conflict with spring weed control and careful attention should be paid to all grassy and broadleaf weed herbicide labels regarding timing restrictions. Soil Service Garden Center can provide you the best weed control products for your situation.
SEEDING TIP ON SLOPES
Grass seed mulch materials reduce soil moisture losses to increase germination. But slopes present a problem when heavy rain washes away seed. SEED AIDE solves both of these issues. SEED AIDE has been used for decades in the professional turf grass industry and is unique because it has a “tackifier” that helps hold seed and mulch in place. Best of all, the cost per 1000 sq. ft. is the same as other seed mulches. It’s a win/win for you and your lawn!
If you’ve had your fill of winter and just want to see a green plant, maybe you’re ready to start seeds indoors. We carry seeds from Burpee, Botanical Interest, Lake Valley and Ferry Morse. We can help you with grow lights, seed starter kits, and more. Have some fun and let the inner “I’m curious to see what happens” come out!! And don’t forget that once they are growing you should they’ll need to be fed- we prefer using liquid organic plant foods from Fox Farm.
PLEASE DONATE TO SPAY & NEUTER
It’s not just birds having a tough winter. Our local non-profit, Spay & Neuter is very busy now and using much more straw than normal to keep dogs and cats warm. As mentioned in our December newsletter, they have an account with us to buy straw bales that are ONLY $10. So if you have a minute please drop in or call the Garden Center to make a donation to them. Or call them directly (INSERT SPAY & NEUTER PHONE NUMBER) to donate. Your support makes a big difference!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR BUSINESS!
COME SEE US AND,
LET’S KEEP GROWING