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  • 05/01/13--03:59: Hotter than Fire
  • Opening_image

    As fire ant populations dwindle in some southern states, a new pest is spreading like crazy.

    Fire ants are no longer the hot topic they once were in Texas and along the southern coasts of the United States. Whether their numbers are in decline from efficient control measures or the recent extreme hot and dry summers in those areas, the red imported fire ant has unwillingly passed the torch, so to speak, to a new Public Enemy No. 1.

    “The big news is it’s not just about red imported fire ants anymore,” says Bastiaan “Bart” Drees, professor of entomology and extension specialist at Texas A&M University. “The new exotic invasive pest here in Texas is the Rasberry crazy ant, which we now call the tawny crazy ant. Where they occur, they run out the fire ants and can build up in great numbers.”

    “Particularly worrisome was the preliminary observation that this crazy ant can successfully compete with and even displace the red imported fire ant.”

    Drees says it’s not only tawny crazy ants that are exploiting the fact that red imported fire ant foraging has been suppressed. The Argentine ant is also taking this opportunity to expand its infestation in Texas and other areas.

    The new exotic invasive pest here in Texas is the Rasberry crazy ant, which we now call the tawny crazy ant. Where they occur, they run out the fire ants and can build up in great numbers.”

    Can this shift in power be such a bad thing? After all, red imported fire ants were once the most costly and hated invasive arthropods in the country, according to Dietrich Gotzek, post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Illinois. Even now, they are generally considered to be one of the worst invasive insects in the world, he says.

    It can be a bad thing — especially if you’re stuck without a good method of control. “We have really good solutions for fire ants,” Drees says, “but very limited controls for (crazy and Argentine) ants.” 

    Spreading out

    “Sudden, explosive outbreaks of unidentified pests are relatively rare, which is why the appearance of an unknown species of crazy ant … in 2002 near Houston, Texas, received extensive media coverage,” Gotzek says. “Particularly worrisome was the preliminary observation that this crazy ant can successfully compete with and even displace the red imported fire ant.”


    Tawny Ants

    Since then, that’s exactly what’s been happening. Populations of crazy ants and Argentine ants are exploding in new areas, and even harvester ants have been making a comeback and establishing themselves in great numbers in areas once known as fire-ant country.

    “The controls for fire ants and the extreme weather has suppressed the fire ants during the past summers and opened a niche for other ants to colonize,” Drees says. “These ants are exploiting the fact that fire-ant foraging has been suppressed. There is a dynamic of one species over another.”

    The tawny crazy ant has infested 24 counties in and around Houston, but it also has been positively identified in Louisiana, Florida and Mississippi, as well.

    The Argentine ant has never been an outbreak pest in Texas before. “But now we’re seeing large infestations. Around the Lake Somerville area (just outside of College Station), we have a 300-acre spot of infestation, and we can’t get a handle on it. We’re getting more and more reports of large-scale infestations.”

    Crazy ants originated in the Caribbean Islands and South America, Drees continues, and were introduced in one location in South America as a biological control agent. “They became so numerous there that chicken and poultry farms were dying because the ants were clogging their noses and causing asphyxiation.”

    While the crazy ants on their own are not able to spread more than 300 feet or so a year, the transportation of the ants by humans poses the real threat of expansion of this pest. “They are tramp ants, and the movement of commerce by man is obviously moving these ants around,” Drees says. “That’s how the ant is able to jump from Houston to San Antonio, by the transportation of potted plants, construction equipment, etc. And because these ants have multiple queen colonies, these new pockets of infestation just grow like a cancer.” 

    Searching for control

    Not having a centralized nest is what makes control options for these ants so difficult. With fire ants, treatments focused on the nest, killing the queen and killing the colony. With both tawny crazy ants and Argentine ants nesting laterally, it means developing a new way of thinking about control.


    Argentine Ant

    “Tawny and Argentine ants build up in great numbers because there is no central nest. They nest at the edge of every landscape element. Every surface in the landscape becomes covered in ants,” Drees says. “You can’t stand there without ants crawling on you.”

    Typical control tactics do not work for these ants. In fact, tawny crazy ants aren’t even attracted to most tested bait products.

    “We really have limited controls. Neither (tawny nor Argentine ants) responds to conventional fire-ant bait products. If you try to battle with these, you can actually make the infestation worse by knocking out competing ants,” he says.

    For Argentine ants, even those controls that have proven effective won’t work on the infestations for logistical reasons. “Here in Texas, our Argentine ant infestations are often over large areas. Liquid bait stations in these situations are unfeasible. We have been working with the Army Corps of Engineers to assess granular bait products at Lake Somerville in an effort develop a strategy that will work,” Drees says. “So far, we have not found one that works too well, even after modifying the formulation.”

    In an attempt to get control of tawny crazy ants, the Texas Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have granted expanded-use approval via a quarantine exemption for two products. Until Nov. 1, 2015, fipronil (Termidor) and bifenthrin (Talstar) can be used for control on these ants only in counties with confirmed infestations.

    Abamectin (advance carpenter ant bait) is highly attractive to tawny crazy ants, but the product has not provided satisfactory levels of control and has no agricultural use sites on the product label, Drees says. For imported fire ant control, he is more optimistic about newer bait that contains metaflumazone, for which BASF just received EPA registration. “This should perform similarly to the fastest-acting bait product containing indoxacarb (Advion).”

    • Worker ants are 1/16 inch long, light to dark brown and produce distinctive foraging trails. • Worker ants are 1/8 inch long, reddish-brown and crawl rapidly and erratically, which is where they get the name “crazy” ants.
    • They eat a variety of things including sweets, eggs and meat. • They will eat almost anything, from the sweet part of plants to other insects.
    • Argentine ants are aggressive biters. • They do have the ability to bite but are not aggressive biters.
    • They nest in moist areas, even in exposed or covered soils. • They nest in landscape elements, especially under objects that retain moisture.
    Source: Clemson University Source: Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension

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    Katana-3OZ-PSPBI/Gordon Corporation’s Katana Turf Herbicide has been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on expanded labeling for use on professional managed sports turf.

    The product was only previously approved for college and professional sports fields.

    Katana is now EPA registered for spot weed treatment on residential turf as well and is currently available in most southern and transition zones states.

    Uses for Katana:

    • Golf courses
    • Industrial parks
    • Tank farms
    • Sod farms
    • Seed farms
    • Cemeteries
    • Professionally managed sports fields
    • Commercial turf and residential turf

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    Source: Washington State Department of Agriculture

    Source: Washington State Department of Agriculture

    Caterpillars are climbing the list of pestering insects after one species began to devastate a schoolyard in Washington.

    Tent caterpillars started burrowing into newly planted Yoshino cherry trees and started to move to the birch trees and laurel shrub at Charles Wilkes Elementary School, according to the Bainbridge Island Review.

    The school will be using a mixture of insecticide and organic tea to remove the insects that started the infestation in early May.

    Tent caterpillars eat all of the leaves on one branch on a tree before moving to the next. After splitting into smaller groups, the insects move to a variety of branches and can remove 20 percent of foliation on a tree.

    “Forest tent caterpillars (Malacosoma disstria Hubner) do not form a true tent despite their name. Rather, they spin silken mats on tree branches or trunks. The mature caterpillar is about 2 inches long,” according to an article from the Washington State University Extension. “Its body is blue with black spatters and has white, footprint-shaped markings.”

    The best time to prune or spray the caterpillars in when they return to their nests at night. 

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  • 05/24/13--07:18: Threat of West Nile Nearing
  • Source:

    People across the United States will see more than temperatures increase this summer.

    The number of mosquitoes are on the rise, and some regions are already on alert and prepared for a rough summer of the pesky bug.

    Even though summer begins in a month, regions have already started seeing mosquitoes that are testing positive for West Nile Virus (WNV).

    The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has informed the public that it is never too early to start protecting themselves, family members and pets from mosquitoes.

    “Summer is almost here, and with it the season’s most pesky pest – the mosquito,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “While state agencies will soon be putting their abatement plans in motion, we advise the public to do their part to curb mosquito activity in their own backyards in the hopes of stemming the spread of WNV.”

    Henriksen says mosquitoes typically need about a half-inch of water to breed, so removing any standing water will help eliminate that problem.

    Source: Perdue University

    Source: Perdue University

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 5,387 human cases of WNV in 2012, and 243 of which were fatal.

    “West Nile Virus is maintained in wild birds; mosquitoes can spread the virus from infected birds to people through bites. The majority of those bitten by a West Nile virus-infected mosquito will experience no symptoms (about 80 percent) or relatively mild illness (about 20 percent); only about 1 in 150 people get the more severe form of the disease,” according to Mosquito Control for Landscape Professionals.

    Landscapers should be aware of mosquito breeding grounds in regions of the country that are more prone to mosquitoes. A few ways to do that is check irrigation and drainage ditches for leaks or seepage, grade newly developed land to prevent standing water and provide drainage away from premises for excess irrigation water. 

    Symptoms of WNV:

    • Similar to summer flu
    • High fever
    • Head and body aches
    • Confusion
    • Worsening weakness

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  • 06/11/13--03:45: Saving Your Ash
  • Photo: David Cappaert, Michigan State University,

    Photo: David Cappaert, Michigan State University,

    As Emerald Ash Borers continue to spread west, early detection will mean the difference between a good defense and total destruction of trees.

    Emerald ash borers (EAB) were headline news when they were first discovered in 2002 in southeastern Michigan. Awareness of these exotic beetles heightened as they tore through that area of the state, killing tens of millions of ash trees along the way. Since then, even though headlines have all but disappeared, the pest hasn’t. 

    Now present in 18 states (most recently in New Hampshire and Kansas) and two provinces in Canada, the EAB continues to threaten ash trees and researchers see no end in sight to how far west it may go. While treatment plans can effectively manage this pest, the challenge lies in detecting it. Once you know for certain your ash tree is infected, chances are, it’s too late to save the tree.

    Instead, tracking the EAB and treating trees that are in proximity to where EABs are already known to be is the surest way to protect trees, according to Deborah McCullough, forest entomologist at Michigan State University. “The first step is to know if an ash borer is in or near your area,” she says. “Once you know they are within 15 miles, you really need to start planning what you’re going to do.

    “We have made significant progress in the treatment of ash borers,” says McCullough, who has been the lead researcher on EAB in the state of Michigan since its discovery in 2002. “There is no longer any reason to let these trees die unless you just don’t care.”

    Adult EABs emerge from trees around June, leaving D-shaped exit holes in tree bark. Photo: Eric R. Day, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

    Adult EABs emerge from trees around June, leaving D-shaped exit holes in tree bark. Photo: Eric R. Day, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

    Cashing in
    It’s been a little more than 10 years since EAB (Agrilus planipennis) made its way onto our continent, but already it has earned a title: the most destructive and costly forest insect to ever invade North America. Native to Asia, it is believed the beetle arrived in wood packing material shipped from there. As adults, the ash borers are not much of a threat, nibbling on foliage. It’s the larvae that do the most damage by feeding on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the trees ability to transport nutrients and water.

    Conservative estimates for costs associated with treating EAB or removing/replacing trees are staggering. “Annually, cities are spending $850 million a year to deal with this,” McCullough says. “Private households are spending $350 million per year, plus they are sustaining a decrease in the property value of their homes of about $380 million. So if you want to start adding it up, these costs are easily in the billions every year — and that’s lowballing it. This doesn’t even include the ecological impact, which is harder to put a dollar on.”

    In 2009, McCullough partnered with other researchers to determine, in dollars, how costly EAB will be during the next decade, given the conservative spread of the pest and looking at landscape trees only in urban areas. “We projected costs for either treating every two years or replacing ash trees with something other than ash. By 2019, the costs would be more than $10 billion — and that’s with us underestimating the spread,” McCullough says.

    In most areas with EAB, quarantines exist that prohibit moving firewood, which could help slow the spread of EAB. Photo: Kenneth R. Law, USDA APHIS PPQ,

    In most areas with EAB, quarantines exist that prohibit moving firewood, which could help slow the spread of EAB.
    Photo: Kenneth R. Law, USDA APHIS PPQ,

    Close encounters
    Gaps in the spread of EAB prove humans are helping these beetles get a little farther down the road. Left to their own devices, they would spread slowly. Transportation of firewood has been blamed as the main method of progression.

    “Most of these new infestations are not necessarily that beetles are spreading naturally, but it’s human transport — and most infestations are in the fourth generation before they are discovered,” McCullough says.

    Detecting beetles, especially in places they have never been, is more challenging than ridding them from trees.

    “We hardly ever know when a tree first becomes infested,” McCullough says. “You would never know unless you peeled the bark off the trees because trees are tolerant of first and second generations, but by the third and fourth generations, you’re going to see the symptoms, and by then it could be too late.”

    Knowing if treatments will work depends on how damaged the tree is when you first notice symptoms. If more than half of the canopy is dying, no amount of treatment will bring the tree back.

    McCullough says, in addition to checking regularly for things like woodpecker holes (a clue beetle larvae could be present) and new sprouts on the base of the tree, actively tracking the spread of EAB is your best bet for saving trees. Current maps of known EAB populations can be found here. If EAB have been detected within 15 miles of your client, it’s time to figure out how you’ll deal with it.

    “If you can be proactive and decide what you’re going to do with these ash trees ahead of time, you won’t have to react,” McCullough says. 

    If your plan involves treating trees instead of replacing them, you can choose from many products that are labeled for controlling EAB. These products can effectively protect trees from EAB. Make sure, though, that the tree is healthy enough to sustain the treatment. If it’s already in decline, the treatment likely will not work.

    “In our studies, and in studies by other universities, with emamectin benzoate (TREE-äge) we are seeing up to three years of almost 100-percent control. Other products have to be applied every year. Dinotefuran (Zylam) can also be extremely effective, specifically on smaller trees, but it won’t get you 100-percent control,” McCullough says.

    With any insecticide you choose, know once you see symptoms, you don’t have a lot of time to get the treatment on the tree.

    Western swing
    Hopes of completely eradicating the EAB in North America have dwindled during the past decade.

    Despite very effective insecticides, their ability to infest trees with very few symptoms will continue to ensure their progression.

    “Even with the best detection methods we have, it’s just too difficult to find the newest infestations because there are no symptoms,” McCullough says. “If you treated lots and lots of trees in a new area, you’d really slow them down, but there will always be trees that you didn’t know had them. They are too good at building their populations. Total eradication is just not an objective anymore.” 

    There is no limit to how far west they might go, either. Research on ash species in the western United States revealed there are no species there that are resistant to EAB. “In other words, the species that are being hammered in the East are also being used in landscapes in the West. Plus, ash species that are native to the West also look like they can be colonized by EAB and probably killed.”

    Each year, two or three new states get populated by EAB, mostly as a result of human transport. Photo: Cooperative Emerald Ash Borer Project, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection Service (USDA/APHIS/PPQ), and US Forest Service, Oct. 1, 2012

    Each year, two or three new states get populated by EAB, mostly as a result of human transport.
    Photo: Cooperative Emerald Ash Borer Project, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection Service (USDA/APHIS/PPQ), and US Forest Service, Oct. 1, 2012


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    Scientists are on the hunt after more than 50,000 bumblebees died in Wilsonville, Oregon.

    After an interview with the landscaping company that maintains the area, The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) discovered the insecticide Dinotefuran, or “Safari” is responsible for the deaths of the bumblebees.

    Rich Hatfield, a biologist with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, estimates that more than 50,000 bumblebees were killed and represented more than 300 wild colonies. The die-off started from 65 European Linden trees.

    “We immediately contacted the Oregon Department of Agriculture and asked them to test the bees for pesticide poisoning,” Mace Vaughan, Xerces Society’s Pollinator Conservation Director, said in a press release. “To our knowledge, this incident is the largest mass poisoning of bumble bees ever documents, and thankfully ODA is taking the issue very seriously.”

    The insecticide was originally applied to control aphids, according to investigators. Scientists are concerned about whether or not the trees will be toxic in future years.

    Nets were placed over the trees to prevent bumblebees and other insects from reaching the flowers.

    Xerces Society’s Executive Director Scott Black noted the insecticide was applied to the tree while it was flowering, which violates the insecticide’s instructions.

    “Beyond the fact that a pesticide was applied to plants while they were attracting large numbers of bees, in this case the pesticide was applied for purely cosmetic reasons. There was no threat to human health or the protection of farm crops that even factored into this decision.”

    [There is a video that cannot be displayed in this feed. Visit the site entry to see the video.]


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  • 06/27/13--04:00: Tick Bites Mean Trouble
  • tick---WEBLandscapers should be on the lookout for one insect this summer that is causing quite the stir.

    The blacklegged deer tick may seem harmless on the outside, but one bite could be life threatening.

    The tick can carry Lyme Disease.

    Lyme Disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted through humans.

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) advises certain regions be on the lookout.

    “The peak tick season is May though September,” OSHA’s site states. “The areas of highest risk are the Northeast, Great Lakes Region and an area in Northern California. The disease is transmitted after the tick has attached to the individual for 36 to 48 hours. Between 15 and 30 percent of the ticks are infected. The longer the tick is attached, the greater the probability of infection.”

    Insect Shield has offered a few tips to help those who work outside safe from the dreaded disease.

    1. Where Ticks Live: Ticks are not out in the middle of your lawn, they live where yards border wooded areas, or anywhere it is shaded and there are leaves with high humidity. Place a layer of wood chips between your grass yard and the woods edge. Ticks are attracted to the wood chips because of the shade and moisture it provides.

    2. Tick Checks: Do periodic tick checks and carefully remove any found. (Wear light colored clothing so ticks are easier to find.)

    3. Working Outdoors: Try to remain in the center of a trail in order to minimize your exposure. Remember – ticks cannot fly, they crawl up. Avoid sitting directly on the ground, woodpiles or fallen logs – areas where ticks love to live. 

    4. Personal Protection: Wear tick repellent work wear. Insect Shield repellent work wear is EPA registered to repel ticks.

    OSHA has also provided a few suggestions on what to wear:

    • Wear long sleeves; tuck pant legs into socks or boots.
    • Wear high boots or closed shoes that cover your feet completely.
    • Wear a hat.
    • Use tick repellants, but not on your face.
    • Shower after work. Wash and dry your work clothes at high temperature.
    • Examine your body for ticks after work.
    • Remove any attached ticks promptly and carefully with fine-tipped tweezers by gripping the tick. Do not use petroleum jelly, a hot match or nail polish to remove the tick.

    Signs of Lyme Disease:

    Early Signs and Symptoms (three to 32 days after tick bite)

    • Characteristic “bulls-eye” (red, circular) rash at the site of the tick bite. Most common sites are scalp, groin, and armpits.
    • Fever
    • Headache
    • Fatigue (feeling tired)
    • Muscle and joint pain
    • Swollen glands

    Later Signs and Symptoms (six to nine months after tick bite)

    • Weak facial muscles
    • Stiff neck
    • Irregular heart beat
    • Numbness
    • Shills loss of appetite
    • Dizziness
    • Persistent fatigue (feeling tired)
    • Double vision

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    Tribute TotalOne emergent herbicide has been approved to help control zoysiagrass.

    Tribute Total, a novel post-emergency herbicide, can now be used on zoysiagrass, according to Environmental Science, a division of Bayer CropScience.

    The herbicide delivers board spectrum control to help control grassy and broadleaf weeds, sedges and kyllingas.

    Originally approved on bermudagrass, the herbicide is effective against 55 grassy and broadleaf weeds including dallisgrass, crabgrass and yellow and purple nutsedge.



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    Photo Courtesy of FMC

    Photo Courtesy of FMC Professional Solutions

    Turf managers can tell what type of larvae is invading their turf by the unique physical characteristics of the damage caused. Sometimes larvae damage can be mistaken for disease or distress, so it’s important to know the differences between types of larvae for effective detection and control.

    One common larvae, the sod webworm, typically attacks Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, fine fescue and bentgrass through late September.

    Dr. Bobby Walls, turf product development manager for FMC Professional Solutions, offers the following information about it:

    Sod webworm larvae vary in color from gray or light green to tan or brown. A physical characteristic that sets them apart from other species is their spotted backs. These larvae will grow to reach a length of approximately 1 inch.

    Areas of damaged turf first appear as small brown patches. These patches will often run together causing large and irregular-shaped damaged areas. The pests burrow in tunnels in thatch during the day and emerge at night to feed. The nighttime feeding habits of the sod webworm explains how serious damage often occurs before it is noticed. Blades are eaten back unevenly and may even be completely stripped off in patches. Another common indicator is large flocks of birds gathering on the turf area to feed.

    Control & Detection Tips

    A disclosing solution (soap flush) technique is a useful tool for monitoring and detecting these pests.

    Sprinkle a mixture of two tablespoons of liquid detergent and a gallon of water evenly over a square yard of turf.

    The soap will irritate the worms causing them to crawl to the surface.

    The recommended treatment threshold for these pests is typically 10-15 worms in a square yard, after observing obvious damage to turf.

     Information provided by FMC Professional Solutions

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    AgriumA complete fall fertility program sets the framework for turf green-up in the spring, while building summer stress resistance.

    Cool-season turf is finally getting the break it needs to recover from the summer stresses of heat, pests and drought. But there’s no rest for the weary – it’s time for a complete fall fertilization program to get your customer’s turf ready for the spring.

    Proper nutrient management is one of the most important factors for fall fertilization, so it’s essential to choose a program that works best for turf specific to weather conditions.

    Researchers are now finding that a fall fertilization program is creating additional benefits that can carry well into the next year. Recent studies at Ohio State University show that overall plant/turfgrass physiological health is improved for the following season with a fall fertilizer application, vs. turf that is untreated at the end of the growing season.

    Fall fertilization also helps turf recover more quickly from summer stress, maintaining a green, turf color into the early winter while provide quick green-up in the spring. Jonathan Copeland, president of CopelandScapes, Inc., located in Gadsden, Alabama, knows the importance of fall fertilization and in addition to turf health benefits, Copeland found an efficient program will yield significant labor savings.

    “Serving more than 4 million square feet of turf and vegetation in the transition zone, it is crucial we apply a reliable product in the fall on our cool-season blends of perennial ryegrass and bluegrass that consistently promotes optimal nutrient uptake by the plant,” Copeland says.  

    Four years ago, Copeland revamped his fall fertilization programs implementing XCU Slow-Release Fertilizer from Agrium Advanced Technologies. The product’s coated urea provides a gradual release of nutrients that allows more consistent feeding in the fall and provides steady, slow release of nutrients for up to 10 weeks.

    Agrium 2Copeland’s fall fertilization is simple, one application of XCU in the beginning of October, followed by an early-to-mid December application relieves home and commercial turf, as well as athletic fields from surge growth, yielding healthy plant growth and color for the next season.

    “Nitrogen uptake in the turf has increased even though we’ve reduced our number of fertilizer applications, producing a consistent green, without any fade-off, saving our crews time and our company costs,” Copeland says. “Fall fertilization improves the condition of turf and vegetation in the fall and spring ­– great for us both economically and from a sustainability standpoint.”

    A fall feeding can help turf grow deeper roots during the spring. The key is preserving valuable carbohydrate reserves for root development that might otherwise be depleted by excessive shoot growth, which often results from early spring fertilization.

    “The benefits of a fall fertilization program are growing beyond the aesthetics of providing seasonally greener turf,” says Dr. Eric Miltner, agronomist, Agrium Advanced Technologies. “LCOs can reduce the amount of fertilizer they use, and a fall feeding sets up the property to become healthier, denser and better able to withstand the stresses of the summer outdoor season.”

    The ideal time for fall fertilization varies, largely dependent on soil temperatures so that root systems are still active and can store nutrients. Regardless of the timing, the benefits of a fall program are changing the landscape of fertilization programs.

    “The environmental, economic and efficiency benefits of fall fertilization are hard to ignore,” Miltner says. “They span the fall, winter and spring seasons, and create greener, healthier turf that uses resources more effectively and helps turf managers do their jobs more efficiently.”

    Written by Bob Raley, Turf Agronomist, Agrium Advanced Technologies

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    SucraShield_GalHR1c - 50Natural Forces has introduced a Varroa mite fighting insecticide.

    SucraShield is a formula based on natural sugar esters and is approved by the USDA National Organic Program.

    The Varroa mite is a pest of honey bees nationwide that can kill off colonies.

    The mites are also capable of carrying diseases such as Deformed Wing Virus and Varroatosis.

    SucraShield is a new chemistry with no documented resistance that instantly burns holes in the bodies of Varroa mites without causing any harm to honey bees.

    The product is applied on the frames with a hand-held sprayer, a backpack sprayer or a powered commercial sprayer.

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    Terrier CompositeArborSystems has introduced a trunk injection treatment to help keep trees healthy.

    The antibiotic, direct-inject chemical line is used in the company’s Wedgle Direct-Inject Tree Injection System for ornamental trees, large woody shrubs and palms.

    The line has two chemical products for the trunk injection treatment: Terrior Antibiotic and Springer Antibiotic.

    SpringerThe Terrior Antibiotic is available in 120 ml and 1000 ml Quick-Connect Chemical Packs and treats Bacterial Leaf Scorch in Elm, Oak, Sycamore, Oleander and Sweet Gum trees. The antibiotic also treats Fire Blight in Mountain Ash trees, Ash Yellows in Ash Trees and Phloem Necrosis in Elm trees. The 120 ml pack can treat approximately 20 trees with 12-inch DBH.

    The Springer Antibiotic is available in 1000 ml Quick-Connect Chemical Packs and is for seasonal suppression of yellow disease in palms.

    The antibiotic can be used at anytime during the growing season, and the 1000 ml pack treats approximately 25 palms with 12-inch DBH.

    Both antibiotics contain Oxytetracycline Hydrochloride.

    The Wedgle is a no-drill tree treatment system that does not require the uptake of chemicals, guarding during the draining process, power or pumps.

    The system injects the antibiotic into the flare or base of the tree to distribute the treatment evenly through the tree’s vascular system to fight against insects, pests and diseases.

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    Faith & Mike at IGC BoothBioSafe Systems products are getting a new look.

    Even more than that, the company has also introduced BioSafe Plant Food.

    The company launched the retail rebranding and plant food at the Independent Garden Center Show in Chicago.

    With the help of P. Allen Smith, a garden and lifestyle expert, the company asked attendees at the show to join in the “Green Revolution” and look at organic solutions.

    BioSafe Plant Food is made from plants and is a natural resource for plants to absorb and metabolize. 

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    DruckEnvironmental Science, a division of Bayer CropScience, has announced that Specticle FLO and Celsius are approved for use in California.

    Specticle FLO is a pre-emergent herbicide that protects against a variety of broadleaf and grassy weeds, including Poa annua, crabgrass and goosegrass.

    Celsius delivers post-emergent control on more than 150 weeds and includes reduced risk of phytotoxicity during the summer months.

    Celsius also works on bermuda grass, zoysiagrass, St. Augustine grass and centipede turf types.

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    Artifical TurfArtificial turf is a growing trend all over the world, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.

    The Synthetic Turf Council has identified the landscape and recreation market as the fastest growing segment in the synthetic turf industry.

    John Baize, director of Act Global, says people reaching out to the company are looking for turf because of environmental benefits.

    “Artificial turf has been used for decades in sports fields for a variety of reasons, from improving the condition of worn out natural grass to extending playing time,” Baize says. 

    The Synthetic Turf Council estimates the total amount of synthetic turf installed in North America annually conserves close to a billion pounds of fertilizers and pesticides.


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    Product Shot-AzaGuard 32 fl. ozBioSafe Systems has discovered some new research and created a system to help fight nematodes.

    Because nematodes feed on turf root systems, severe stunting or lesions can provide a welcoming place for bacteria.

    The BioSafe Systems program for nematode/disease reduction is a tank mix of ZeroTol  2.0 and AzaGuard. ZeroTol 2.0 is a broad-spectrum bactericide/fungicide to help fight against Pythium and Phytophthora.

    AzaGuard is a multi-mode of action nematicide that stops feeding, egg laying, and is effective as an insect growth regulator.

    ZeroTol 2.0Existing conditions require three applications repeated every seven – 21 days. Once nematodes are suppressed a monthly maintenance program can be initiated.

    Biosafe conducted trials in two separate golf courses this year in central and southwestern Florida.

    These trials tested the reduction of nematodes on a total of six test plots; each test plot is one green.

    Golf Course 1 treated three greens and applied three applications, 21 days apart.

    Golf Course 1 applied 2 gallons of ZeroTol 2.0 per acre and 19 ounces of AzaGuard per acre.

    Before using the BioSafe Systems Nematode Reduction Program, the greens were receding at a fast rate and after the second application the receding had stopped.

    By the third application the greens started to come back. Before the program these greens also had Pythium issues and now do not.

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  • 10/07/13--04:00: Truth About Ticks
  • With Lyme disease posing a series threat to landscape workers, companies like Terminix and Harris Interactive are working together to find solutions and answers.

    The companies recently joined to identify tick-related experiences among consumers. Their studies found that 43 percent of respondents have been bitten by a tick or know someone who has.

    Also, 33 percent of respondents have contracted or know someone who has contracted Lyme disease.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gets approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease each year. However, recent preliminary reports from the CDC show that the disease is more common than reported – infecting 300,000 people nationally each year.

    In the last 10 years, the number of cases reported has increased by 45 percent.

    Other tick-borne illnesses include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, human babesiosis, tickborne relapsing fever, tularemia, Powassan virus, and the newly discovered Heartland virus. No vaccines are currently available to protect against tick-borne illnesses and many tick-borne diseases have no known treatment.

    According to the Harris Poll survey, the most popular technique for tick control is applying a DEET-based spray (38 percent), checking for ticks (36 percent) and wearing long sleeves (29 percent).

    Other tips:

    • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.
    • Keep grass mowed, weeds pulled and leaf litter managed. Trim tree branches and shrubs around the lawn edge to allow more sunlight penetration.
    • Walk in the center of trails, keeping away from bushy areas.
    • Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants and a hat when outdoors. Light colors make for easy tick detection.
    • Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and remains protective for up to 70 washings.
    • Use DEET-based insect repellent applied to clothing, particularly the lower body and the arms.
    • Carefully inspect your body after exiting vegetated areas. Have a buddy check the back of the head.
    • Wash clothing in warm water and detergent immediately. Or, tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks. Never throw potentially infested clothing in a hamper with other clothes or onto the floor.
    • Thoroughly examine pets for ticks after walking them in wooded areas or fields. Consult your veterinarian for tick treatment products.
    • To remove a tick imbedded in your skin, do not grasp it by the abdomen and pull. You may squeeze its fluids into your skin, which increases the chances for infection. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick by the head next to the skin and slowly pull backwards. Working slowly permits the tick to withdraw its mouthparts so they do not detach and remain in the skin possibly causing infection. Once the tick has been removed, cleanse the area well with soap and water. You may want to disinfect the bite site with alcohol or apply an antibiotic cream.

    40601 Tick Infographic_600x1800_REV

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    logoSolu-Cal USA has debuted its latest product specifically for those involved with turf.

    Plant’s Choice Diamond Grow Organic Humic Acid is an organic biostimulant available in both liquid and power concentrations.

    The product derives from natural organic humus, with sea kelp, potash and other natural plant hormones combined.

    Carbon-rich humic acid helps the physical, chemical and biological activity in the soil.

    The humic and fulvic acids help increase water retention in the soil, which allows for the use of soluble fertilizers and nutrients by keeping them in the soil and root zone longer.

    Designed for Agronomic crop applications, the product can be used for horticultural, turf, hyrdoseeding and landscaping.

    Solu-Cal USA has also introduced new packaging for its Solu-Cal Enhanced Calcitic Lime.

    The 50-pound bag has improved coverage information, updated application rates and enhanced PHCA Organic Humic Acid Technology branding.

    The update also includes a Spanish translation of product information and application rates.

    There is also QR coding for on-the-go access to spreader settings and MSDS for mobile applications.

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  • 10/30/13--04:00: Making Waves
  • lillies_and_hyacinth

    Water lillies and water hyacinth Photo: Clemson Cooperative Extension

    Already rigorously regulated by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), aquatic herbicide application gained a whole new level of scrutiny when, in 2009, it was wrapped into the Clean Water Act, as well. Since November 2011, applicators who use these herbicides to control weeds in or around water have been required to apply for a special permit each year to do so, adding an extra layer to their business.

    Karen Reardon, vice president of public affairs for Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE), and RISE are working to change what many see as duplicative regulation. “We have been working very hard for the last two (congressional) sessions to pass something at the federal level that specifies that these regulations are not necessary,” Reardon says. “We have been looking at legislative remedies for this.”

    “We will keep trying. We are committed as an industry to getting this right. In the meantime, we’re looking to make compliance make sense.”

    So far, attempts have been unsuccessful. “We will keep trying. We are committed as an industry to getting this right. In the meantime, we’re looking to make compliance make sense,” she says.

    While RISE and the green industry as a whole support measures to ensure public and environmental safety, the need for pesticide application to be regulated under two acts is unnecessary, Reardon says.

    Some states are also recognizing the redundancy that may exist with two regulatory processes for aquatic herbicides and are trying to make the permit process easier for applicators.

    “They are looking at making the permit process more accommodating for the time being,” Reardon says. “This permit process is, after all, a burden on the state, too.”

    Expanding permits
    Since 1947, pesticides have been regulated by FIFRA. Initially, the regulations focused on registration and labeling, but the act was rewritten in 1972 to include use restrictions to preserve the environment. FIFRA provides the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the authority to oversee the sale and use of pesticides.

    As part of FIFRA, aquatic herbicides were exempt from the Clean Water Act (CWA) until the 6th Circuit’s court decision (NCC v. EPA) vacated EPA’s rule for exempting aquatic pesticides from CWA jurisdiction, forcing an appeal by EPA to the Court for a two-year stay, which was granted. This time allowed the EPA to expedite the framework to states for developing general National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits.

    These permits vary somewhat by state, but overall apply to uses meeting certain thresholds for mosquitoes; algae and vegetative pests; nuisance animals in or at water’s edge; and forest canopy pest control. 

    The impact for applicators
    “In addition to complying with FIFRA, all applicators must now also check with their states to learn whether they must obtain a permit to make an application on or near waters in the United States,” Reardon says. And some states require applicators to file a notice of intent before they ever file for a permit.

    Photo: Clemson Cooperative Extension

    Photo: Clemson Cooperative Extension

    While the EPA set the parameters for the permits, individual states have some leeway for determining the scope of the application. For instance, some states specify the permit only is necessary if applicators are treating a large body of water (designated by acres). For the most part, the permit doesn’t apply to small, one-time applications. However, applicators treating large ponds/lakes on commercial property and as part of subdivisions should check with the state.

    As for the impact on the aquatic herbicide market, Reardon says the new regulations are compelling some business owners to make some difficult choices. 

    “The permits can be costly, as are the requirements for recordkeeping. Plus, there is the vulnerability to being open to citizen lawsuits as commercial applicators. So some are just deciding they aren’t doing the application anymore that require an NPDES permit,” Reardon says.

    If found in violation of the permit, there are variable penalties, depending on the nature of the violation. “The fines can run into the tens of thousands of dollars both for administrative violations, as well as for violations within the context of the application,” she says.

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  • 10/30/13--06:58: Kill Weeds Naturally
  • Broad-Leaf WeedsFor clients looking for natural lawn care, consider applying Engage Agro USA’s line of organic products.

    The company showcased its product, Fiesta turf weed killer, at GIE+EXPO last week in Louisville, Kentucky.

    FiestaThis selective bio-herbicide controls a variety of broad-leaf weeds, moss and algae. It can be used on turf and ornamental areas such as schools, parks, golf courses and areas with pesticide bans. Fiesta is approved by the EPA’s Biopesticide Division.

    Eric Maurer, Engage Agro’s Mid-Atlantic and Northeast sales manager, says he’s continuing to see a demand for organic products as more customers see the benefit of sustainable landscaping practices. “The cup of coffee you drank this morning is actually more toxic than our products,” he says.

    To learn more about Fiesta, watch this demo video.

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