April 2017 Newsletter

Print This Post Print This Post

APRIL 2017 EMAIL NEWSLETTER

SOIL SERVICE NEWS- Boxwood leafminer alert, Emerald Ash Borer, organic updates and much more!

Boxwood Leafminer Damage Last Fall

The boxwood leafminer is an insect found throughout the US and a common problem on boxwoods. Last fall we saw lot of activity from these pests. Here’s what you need to know.

BOXWOOD LEAFMINERS ARE SNEAKY

Boxwood leafminers are flies that emerge over a two-week period in early spring just after the shrubs put out new growth. The adults look like small orange mosquitos that swarm around the plant. The flies die after laying eggs in the leaves, having one generation per year. While the adults do not cause damage, the newly hatched larvae (maggots) are found INSIDE THE LEAVES, so you will not see them while they munch away. However, you will see blisters on the lower leaf surface or mottled /browning leaves that may be smaller than normal. The maggots feed and grow throughout the summer which is why damage in the fall is more obvious. They overwinter as maggots then pupate in early spring, and you may be able to see orange pupae that hang down from the underside of the leaf. Adult flies soon emerge to start a new generation. Several insect control products can be used including Ferti-lome Spinosad and Ferti-lome bifenthrin. Once the eggs hatch, Ferti-lome Systemic Tree and Shrub Insect Control with imidicloprid may also be used as a soil drench. More than one treatment per year may be needed. See us at Soil Service Garden Center if we can help you with this problem.

 ADULT LEAFMINER, MAGGOT INSIDE LEAF

Emerald Ash Borer Spring Treatment Begins Now

If you have ash trees you should already know about this devastating insect that is now in Kansas City and rapidly reaching the point where damage and death become painfully obvious. 

 

DEALING WITH EMERALD ASH BORER (EAB)

The sad truth is that you will eventually lose the tree (based on recent research) but if it is healthy now and you want to keep it as long as possible, you can either use a tree care company , or treat it yourself with Ferti-lome Tree and Shrub Care or Safari soil drench. Your spring window to treat is early April to mid-May when trees actively move control products and nutrients from roots to leaves.

 

The Hosta Buffet

We love hostas! They’re easy to grow and quite pretty. Unfortunately there are a couple of critters that also love them; slugs and rascally rabbits.

SLUGS AND BUNNIES WREAK HOSTA HAVOC

About this time every year we have a boatload of customers come in with holes in hosta leaves. Holes in the middle of the leaf are probably from slugs. They come out at night to party hard on the leaves while you’re asleep, and then hide under mulch during the day. Rabbits take out big chunks along the leaf edges. Bunnies can take hostas down to the nub at one feeding and newly emerging plants are especially attractive to the furry little darlings.

Soil Service Garden Center has Sluggo, Hi-Yield Slug and Snail Bait and Rabbit Scram for these critters.

 SLUGGO, HY SLUG, FL SLUG & SNAIL BAIT AND SNAIL BAIT AND RABBIT SCRAM

FEED ME, FEED ME, FEED ME!!!!!

Gardeners and probably a few dentists of a certain age remember this line from a well-known movie that featured Steve Martin and Rick Moranis. Can you name the movie? Here’s another hint- the main character was a huge plant named Audrey.

IS YOUR GARDEN FULL OF AUDREY’S?

The movie was “Little Shop of Horrors”, a musical comedy and the movie’s star, Audrey II, was a giant carnivorous plant in a flower shop that needed human blood to live. When Audrey was hungry she would say “feed me” in an unforgettable loud voice. Does your garden have little Audreys that need to be fed? Your Soil Service Garden Center has a huge selection of organic plant foods from Espoma and Fox Farm’s Happy Frog. We also have Hi-Yield sodium nitrate which is the ONLY organic quickly available nitrogen, and many choices of Hi-Yield and Ferti-lome traditional plant foods. Your plants will thank you for feeding them!

MORE ORGANIC CHOICES

Your Soil Service Garden Center carries a full line of organics including potting mixes, mycorrhizae and control products. Here’s a short but by no means complete list of our organic product line:

Potting Mixes- Fox Farm (Ocean Forest) and Coco Loco (with mycorrhizae)

                                 

Garden Soil Amendments- Happy Frog soil amendment with organic plant food and mycorrhizae, Mykes mycorrhizae for transplants

Lawn Food- Milorganite

Weed Control- horticultural grade vinegar for non-selective weed control

Fungus and Bacteria Control-copper soap- best when applied as preventative

Insect Control- neem oil, pyrethrums (derivatives of natural insect control in chrysanthemums),  Natural Guard Spinosad Soap bacteria that is a much improved version of Thuricide BT

 

 

Taming the Wild Violets and Creeping Charlie

Wild Violets and Creeping Charlie (also called Ground Ivy) are two of the meanest weeds in Kansas City, and it’s not unusual for these troublemakers to hang out together.

 

A WILD VIOLET AND CREEPING CHARLIE PEP TALK

They look like harmless cute little plants at first, but trust us; ignore them long enough and they will take over your lawn. Violets are more difficult to control and unfortunately many products list them on their labels, but the reality is that Turflon Ester with Triclopyr is the best product- and it also controls Creeping Charlie, giving you a “twofer one” on control. This only comes in a concentrate, so you’ll need to break out the pump-up sprayer. If you don’t have a sprayer, see us at the Soil Service Garden Center. Ferti-lome Spreader-Sticker should always be used with Turflon. Be ready to treat several times during the year because new ones will pop up, but now is the time to start!

 

 

                                           

      WILD VIOLETS  -  CREEPING CHARLIE

Tips from the Turf Pros- Mowing Fescue Lawns

Anyone who has a fescue lawn knows this is the time of year when it grows fast- as in REALLY FAST between now and around mid-May in normal years. This means we should mow more often than the typical once a week on Saturday morning. Mowing every 4-5 days is better for this grass until growth slows as we move into summer. Remember to keep the blade sharp and don’t mow when the grass is wet.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR BUSINESS!

COME SEE US AND,

LET’S GET GROWING!

February 2017 Newsletter

FEBRUARY 2016 EMAIL NEWSLETTER

NEWS FROM SOIL SERVICE- Catching Spring Fever

THANK YOU FOR YOUR BUSINESS IN 2015! Your Soil Service Garden Center staff has the store back together after XMAS and, like you, is ready for spring.

BOOK EARLY FOR LANDSCAPING NEEDS

As usual, we are getting calls for spring landscaping jobs and the schedule quickly fills. Here’s a review of our popular landscaping services

2016 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 alert- turfgrass transition zone map!)

WE MAKE LAWN CARE EASY

Being locally owned we stock products that work best in Kansas City. We can give you a quick lesson on how to “spread like the pros”. You’ll be surprised how little time it takes to do it yourself, and the personal satisfaction and cost savings are highly rewarding.

NEW WEED CONTROL OPTIONS FOR 2016

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.

 

Check out our lawn care programs-

TIME TO DORMANT SEED

February is the best month to seed if you need to touch up small areas this spring

SEEDING TIPS FROM THE TURF PROS

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!

GARDEN AND FLOWER SEEDS ARE IN

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 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!!

FEBRUARY IS NATIONAL BIRD FEEDING MONTH

You would be amazed at how entertaining it is to feed our avian friends. Natural bird food supplies start to run out in late winter which is why February is National Bird Feeding Month. A shepherd’s hook, feeder and suet cage is all you need to get started. Nothing fancy or expensive. Begin by placing the feeder about 12-20 feet from your favorite viewing window. Be patient because it may take 1-3 weeks for the birds to find it but IF YOU FEED THEM, THEY WILL COME!

Back by popular demand is a short description of birds we commonly see in Kansas City. Our birds offer great entertainment and a wonderful learning experience, particularly for young kids.

SEED FEEDERS

Cardinals- male and female are around at the same time and take turns feeding. They are particularly active at dawn and dusk. They mate for life and are lovely couples.

Dark- eyed junco- slate grey with cream colored undersides- feed on ground and at feeder

Black- capped chickadee- fast flyers that feed for a few seconds then leave. Feed in groups of two or three.

Doves – gather together like a group of guys watching sports and eating bar food. They clean up seed underneath the feeder.

Purple, gold and house finches- see if you can tell the difference between the species and male/female. Finches can be a bit elusive and may not be around for several weeks but will return.

Tufted titmouse- small bird with a Mohawk

Sparrows- part of the bird feeding experience

Blue jays- they swoop in fast and furious and drive other birds off, then quickly leave and the other birds come right back. They are the human equivalent of someone who is loud but harmless at parties.

SUET FEEDERS

Woodpeckers- Downy (small) and Red- bellied most common. The Red-bellied have red heads but not red bellies- go figure

Flickers- Look like woodpeckers on steroids- aggressively stabs the suet and stays a long time like the uncle who takes a third helping at Thanksgiving. Look for red on head, a black breast marking like a collar and the underside of long tail feathers are yellow

Nuthatches- very pretty birds with bold blue and black feathers- they hang upside down on feeder- fun to watch

THANK YOU FOR YOUR BUSINESS!

COME SEE US AND,

LET’S GET GROWING (SOON)

March 2017 Newsletter

 

MARCH 2017 EMAIL NEWSLETTER

NEWS FROM SOIL SERVICE- Flowers, Dirty Work, Early Weeds and More!

FIRST FLOWERS COMING IN- SPRING IS HERE!!!!

 

CRUNCH TIME TO PREPARE FLOWER/GARDEN BEDS

If you missed the fall months to renovate flower/garden beds then we may as well grab the shovel

DIGGING IN THE DIRT

One of the spring pitfalls is we rush to get plants in the ground and work soils that are either too dry or wet. Either action can ruin soil structure. If the soil is too dry simply wait for rain or hand water a day or two before digging. Renovating soils that are too wet can wreak havoc on soil structure that can take years for it to recover. Either way, check the soil moisture first to decide if it’s ready to work. After you add soil amendments and do the rough digging with a shovel, the Garden Weasel is a fantastic tool to break up larger dirt clods and finish grade the bed. Simply go back and forth with the weasel until it’s finished to your satisfaction.

 

SOIL AMENDMENTS A MUST FOR KANSAS CITY GARDENS

Kansas City native soils tend to be high in clay and easily compact. Compacted soils squeeze out oxygen that plant roots need to thrive, and this is why we need soil amendments to improve soil tilth and oxygen levels. Cotton burr compost is a very good soil amendment for our clay soils; but not the only one. Another amendment is HAPPY FROG SOIL MIX. This increasingly popular amendment is a 3 cubic foot bale and includes slow release organic plant nutrients and mycorrhizae (more on mycorrhizae in this newsletter). Happy Frog is an especially good choice for new or raised beds. We have both products on hand and if you would like to compare them.

 

TRANSPLANTS LOVE A ROOT GROWTH SPURT

When a plant is taken out of a container or dug up and moved, physical handling causes microscopic root hairs to slough off, which leads to transplant shock and slower recovery after moving. Using a root stimulant at planting means less transplant babysitting.

WHY WE USE ROOT STIMULANTS

A natural hormone, Indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) initiates new root hairs to minimize transplant shock and get the plant off to a happy, healthy start. Routinely used by professional landscape contractors, Ferti-lome Root Stimulator contains this hormone and we highly recommend using it at planting and the first 2-3 waterings. Simply add 3 ½ tablespoons of Root Stimulator to a gallon of water and water normally.

MYCORRHIZAE

Mycorrhizae (my-co-rye’-za) are literally one of the most important fungi in the world. Mushrooms are a type of mycorrhizae. Around the mid 1990’s the plant care industry figured out how to make products with this naturally occurring fungus and they are now routinely used by the landscape/turf/nursery and forestry industry. Every year we have more and more customers who understand its benefits and use it at planting. If you are new to our newsletters or not yet familiar with this amazing organism, here’s a short version of the mycorrhizae story.

 

TIME TO WATCH OUT FOR THESE EARLY WEEDS

 

                  CHICKWEED,    HENBIT,    WILD ONION/GARLIC    

CHICKWEED HENBIT WILD ONION/GARLIC

Unlike most weeds, chickweed and henbit are winter annuals that germinate in the fall and are hard to see until now when their growth begins to take off. Wild onions and garlic are also coming up. They all grow early and fast in spring before we get in “control the weed mode”. The bad news is this weed train has left the station if you wait until late spring or early summer to control them. The good news is they can all be controlled now when they are small using Ferti-lome Weed Free Zone for your lawn. Your choice in the garden is either hand digging or using glyphosate (Ferti-lome Killz-all). Your Soil Service Garden Center stocks several types and sizes of sprayers. Please come see us sooner vs. later for the best way to control these and other troublesome weeds.

LAWN AND GARDEN PRE-EMERGENT WEED CONTROL

If you use our Soil Service Lawn Care program this is just a quick reminder that it’s time to apply STEP 1 for a light nutrient feed with pre-emergent weed control. If you are not on our program but need help with your lawn, please come see us now to learn about our “do-it-yourselfer” and $$$ saving programs. It can be fun, personally rewarding and not really all that difficult.

Most everyone is familiar with Preen pre-emergent (trifluralin) for flower beds. It’s an excellent product and the label has recently expanded to include many garden veggies. We also have Hi-Yield Dimension that has an expanded use label. Unlike Preen, Dimension does not need to be quickly worked in the soil and can wait up to a week to be worked in by lightly raking or rainfall. So if hand weeding is not your thing, come see us for the right product for your needs.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR BUSINESS!

COME SEE US AND LET’S GET GROWING

 

December 2016 Newsletter

IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS!

 

HARVEST CARD POINTS UPDATE

Just like the last few years, we programmed the computer to accept Harvest Card points beginning Black Friday instead of December 1! If you need a break from the big store Black Friday chaos, come to Soil Service where you can shop at a more leisurely pace. You can redeem points for anything you want at the garden center or nursery so treat yourself and get something fun like 50% off list price ceramic pots or indoor houseplants. HARVEST POINTS EXPIRE DECEMBER 31, 2016.

 


Christmas Trees Are Going Quick

     

Feel free to reserve a tree (816/ 444-3403).

For reasonable additional charges your Soil Service Garden Center can also:

  • Flock – please allow 2-3 days drying time before it’s ready
  • Deliver (Tuesday, Friday and Saturday only)
  • Add lights and stands

We carry 4 varieties of Christmas trees:

Fraser Fir, Noble Fir, Douglas Fir , and Scotch Pine.

Trees come in 3 ft. – 12 ft. Give us a call to check availability!

We provide a fresh cut, netting, and roping to strap it down to the top of your car.

All of this is done for you at no additional charge!

Free tree preservative with every Christmas tree!

 

CUSTOM WREATHS/FRESH GREENERY

Lora and Heather have many years of experience making beautiful custom real and artificial wreaths. And you

would be hard pressed to tell the difference. Please see them soon for that special wreath for your home or office. We also have:

Fresh Greenery

Poinsettias- from small to huge

Amaryllis bulbs and in pots


 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, COME SEE US AND LET’S HAVE FUN WITH YOUR HARVEST POINTS!

All of us at Soil Service thank you for your business. Come see us and,

Let’s Get Growing!

December 2016 Email Newsletter

 

GARDEN CENTER HOLIDAY HOURS

Monday Thru Saturday: 8am-5pm

Sundays  Thru Dec 11: 10am-5pm

                

October 2016 Newsletter

Fall Lawn Care, Moving Plants Indoors, Leaf Removal – and much more!

 

Our September email detailed fall lawn seeding, feeding and weed control, but if you missed it, here is a brief update.

 

LAST CALL FOR FALL LAWN CARE TO-DO LIST

Seeding is winding down until “dormant seeding”. We’ll have more on this in a future email but we suggest you consider sod for this time of year. Please call us for your sod needs and availability.

 

Fall feeding cool season grass (fescue, bluegrass, ryegrass), plays a critical role preparing your lawn for summer heat stress. We urge you to get the first application down NOW if you haven’t. The “winterizer/dormant feed” is made when the grass is still green but you’re not mowing- sometime between late October to mid- November. Soil Service Garden Center stocks Ferti-lome Lawn Food + Iron and Ferti-lome Winterizer for this application.

 

October is prime time to control perennial broadleaf weeds; dandelion, plantain, clover, wild violets, creeping Charlie and others with Ferti-lome Weed Free Zone or Ferti-lome Turflon Ester with Spreader-Sticker. Different weeds have different control strategies so feel free to dig up your weeds (include roots) and bring them to the Garden Center. We’re happy to provide ID and best control strategies.

 

DO NOT LET LIQUID CONTROL PRODUCTS FREEZE

MANY CONTROL PRODUCTS SHOULD NOT FREEZE SO CHECK ANY PRODUCT LABELS AND STORE ACCORDINGLY.

BIG TREES AND TOO MANY LEAVES

BIG TREES and their thick, wet layer of falling leaves smother new or existing grass. We may not think about leaves covering the lawn until spring but all of a sudden they melt away and expose bare soil where grass existed in the fall, leading to a muddy mess. For a few helpful hints on how to manage this problem.

 

Soil Service Garden Center Offers Leaf Removal/ Bed Renovation

 

Our Garden Center Landscape Crew offers leaf removal on a first come-first served basis and cost depends on the job. Fall is also the ideal time to “do the digging (known as the hard part)” to renovate your flower and garden beds with soil amendments. We have everything you need to do it yourself or our crew can do it for you.

BRINGING PLANTS INDOORS THIS FALL?

With winter fast approaching, now is the time to bring tropical plants inside. As we prepare for this delicate transition, here are some tips to ensure they stay healthy and happy.

 

MOVING PLANTS INDOORS FOR THE WINTER

  • Bring inside- before temperatures drop below 50 degrees F.
  • Treat for insects and disease- Use Bayer 3 in 1 Insect, Disease and Mite Control or Bayer Rose and Insect Control. Treat before moving plants inside. Be sure to also treat the underside of leaves.
  • Light- place by bright window or use artificial grow lights. Do not let direct sun hit plants during the day. As the plant acclimates to less light intensity, it is not uncommon for some leaves to turn yellow and drop. This can happen weeks or even months after moving them indoors and a natural response to the plant adjusting to its new environment. Think of your plants as being in a resting stage that don’t need much water or fertilizer.
  • Clean-Up- PoKon Leaf Shine will shine your leaves without harming them.
  • Fungus gnats- are common and pesky in winter, usually due to overwatering in high organic soils. It doesn’t take them long to establish but a control product like Hi Yield Systemic Granular (imidicloprid) or organic Bacillus thuriengensis (Mosquito Bits) are effective.
  • Fertilizing- Our houseplants get very little if any plant food until spring. It is important to let plants rest during the dormant season, allowing them to build up energy for next year’s growth.
  • Watering- When watering, make sure the top soil layer is dry (stick your finger an inch or so down to check), then water. Allow excess water to drain completely. Avoid using the “wilt test” as the roots can be damaged after periods of frequent over drying. However….
  • Less water is better. Overwatering is a sure way to cause root rot. Watch for yellowing and brown leaf tips which are signs of either too much or too little moisture. It may take time to get used to their new watering schedule but patience and keeping a close eye on them for the first month or so indoors will generally sort things out!

 

SHOULD CERAMIC POTS BE LEFT OUTSIDE?

The Garden Center loves ceramic pots but is not happy if they crack during our cold winters!

 

LEAVING CERAMIC POTS OUTDOORS IN KC WINTERS

A leading cause of cracking is ice buildup in the bottom of the pot. This means the drain hole should be open at all times. Ice can also surround the outside of the pot so we suggest a Down Under (think elevated coaster) available at the Garden Center. Also put a 2-3 inch layer of large bark mulch, pottery shards or lava rock in the bottom. Of course we can’t guarantee that these safeguards always work so if in doubt and you have room, store them inside!

 

 

MICE DON’T FLY SOUTH FOR THE WINTER-

But they love coming into your warm house! They have an amazing knack for squeezing through small openings so this is a good time to thoroughly inspect the outside of your house and plug even the smallest gaps. One of the most common entry points is between the garage door and wall. This is an excellent area to use any of the following products from the Garden Center:

  • Conventional mouse traps
  • Glue Boards
  • Majik Box- A live trap that mice can’t resist. The mice get in, but they can’t get out!
  • Rat-X Organic rat and mouse bait- It’s back on the market and safe to use around pets!

 


 

All of us at Soil Service Garden Center appreciate your business!

Come see us and

Let’s Get Growing!