Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Weed 'Em or Weep

 


Our nation has channeled their energy into their lawns, patios, and gardening over the past year and a half. You can assure yourselves that consumers have had both success and failure along the way. There were beginners to our vast industry in every segment. With Americans spending more time at home than ever before, what will happen when a good majority of people return to the workplace? Will the momentum continue as well as the interest?

 


Gaining Experience

The learning curve is challenging. Experience teaches you not to make the same mistake twice. When it comes to identifying what a good plant should look like and perform, there is a lot of blind faith involved. Pictures can be deceiving. Some expectations from novices believe that flowers or fruits just appear out of nowhere. A common observation is the green “stuff” that is growing like crazy in the garden looks healthy. Then reality sets in once a garden center identifies the growth. That is a weed? But its green! A more difficult task in gardening is to control or eliminate weeds from the garden or the lawn. Some weeds are easy to identify like the yellow dandelion flower with pin cushion seeds dispersing throughout the yard. Others like the dreaded crabgrass, appear once the temperatures warm the soil and begin taking over ground regardless of premium grass seed.


Prevention or Remedy- Selective Lawn Controls

From an organic standpoint, a healthy, thick lawn will usually defend itself from invasive seed borne weeds. Weeds thrive where the sun hits the bare soil and good seed to soil contact is present. Now that the window of opportunity has passed to “prevent” crabgrass from germinating, you must rely on controls to kill and contain. Post-emergent crabgrass killers are effective during the growing season from April through September. This remedy contains a specific active ingredient, Quinclorac, that is sold as a concentrate or a ready-to-use solution. It will kill the crabgrass right down to the roots and allow the “good” grasses to fill in. (Bonide Weed Beater Plus Crabgrass & Broadleaf Control not available in NY)
Clover is another weed that is a common dilemma for homeowners. While clover is a desired cover crop for animals, honey producers, and surprisingly some parks, it is hard to eradicate once established. Clover enjoys non-fertile soil and acidic conditions for pH. You can spot a nitrogen depleted lawn by some of these clover patches that find unoccupied space between grass stands. Any good clover control has the active ingredient, Dicamba, which works effectively on both new and old clover. Bonide makes a Chickweed, Clover, and Oxalis Killer that contains Dicamba and Triclopyr. Systemically kills to the root, it is a clover killer on steroids that works on over 150 different weeds.


Beginning in warmer June weather, some of the lawn grass (actually, a weed) begins to grow very tall, very fast, and is light green in color. Nutsedge is a grassy type weed that grows in both northern and southern lawns. While you can control nutsedge with common crabgrass killers, to take them out you need a special type of active ingredient. Bonide Sedge Ender contains the active, Sulfentrazone plus Prodiamine that is economical as well as safe for homeowner use. My personal recommendation is to use Monterey Sedgehammer if you really want to “kill” this scourge of a weed. It contains 5% Halosulfronmethyl and if you must apply a second application, it will provide professional success like no other retail product available in the garden center.


Prevention or Remedy- Preventative Garden Controls
Weeds left unchecked will steal nutrients that flowers and vegetables need to produce their flowers or fruits. The product most recognized with garden weed control is a product named Preen Weed Preventer. There are two very different formulas for weed prevention available using one chemical active ingredient. The first choice is the traditional Preen using 1.47% Trifluralin that is available with or without plant food and controls for up to 3 months. Preen is also available is a Natural Vegetable Garden Preventer that contains corn gluten meal. Sprinkle this product AROUND (not on) vegetables once a month to obtain best results. Jonathan Green produces a similar Corn Gluten Weed Preventer product for use on lawns, landscape beds, and vegetable gardens to control both grassy weeds and broadleaf weeds.


Cultivation
A popular method of natural weed control for gardens is to cultivate between the rows of plants every 3-4 weeks to shear plant growth from their root systems. The Corona Oscillating Hoe or Garden Hoe are quality built and will last many years for your one-time expense. Common weed suppression applications include burlap or landscape fabric installation versus the use of plastic that will not allow water and air to penetrate the soil surface. It may be time consuming depending upon the size of your garden, but it provides a return of confidence in knowing your vegetables and fruits are chemical free…and you get some cardio (and blisters) to show for it.


So, if your lawn or garden is filling up with a different and unwanted green plant, take a closer look. It may be time to reach for the weed controls or a box of facial tissues for a good cry.

 


Popular Weed Control Products:

 




Corn Gluten Weed Preventer
No 81430097

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Oscillating Hoe
No 81380255

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Garden Hoe
No 81380063

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Organic Weed Preventer
No 80030134

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Sedge Ender 16oz.
No 80100004

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Sedge Ender 32oz.
No 80100880

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Garden Weed Preventer 5.625 Ib.
No 80350093

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Garden Weed Preventer 13Ib.
No 80350096

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Garden Weed Preventer 31.3 Ib.
No 80350098

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Natural Vegetable Garden Weed Preventer 16Ib.
No 80350343

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Sedgehammer 5oz.
No 80820264

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3 Year Weed Barrier- Refill 1oz. 3'x50'
No 80010024

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3 Year Weed Barrier- Refill 1oz. 3'x100'
No 80010025

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Friday, March 26, 2021

Building a Backyard Habitat



The consumer has endured a year of pandemic induced changes to the workplace that have impacted our industry in a positive way. Working from home has helped drive home improvements, new patio construction, landscape additions, and spawned a renewed interest in lawn care. Families are also getting on board with wild bird watching and choosing to explore fun entertainment around the home. Remote learning relies on teaching our children to explore science, nature, and even conservation efforts away from the classroom. Parents are motivated to find new methods of safe, local exploration to keep young minds healthy. Are you ready for more selling opportunities?


New Construction in Your Yard


March signals the month for consumers in most states to install their nesting boxes, bird houses, martin houses, and ensure a water source like a bird bath for both migrating and regional birds. The retail run at the register shouldn’t be a surprise for these unique products. Many of these nesting boxes were sold and installed in the fall to be used for shelter in winter. It’s time to restock while consumers seek out these products. Take the time to inspect and repair (re-install) those boxes now before the onslaught on birds searching for their spring home. If installing on a tree, be careful to use appropriate nails or screws that won’t injure or girdle the tree.  If suspending the bird house, be mindful of its surroundings to protect against predators. The best bird houses offer a clean-out door or passage to ensure you can start each season without insect problems.


The Birds and the Bees


I don’t think the schools are teaching what first comes to mind with that sentence, but they are addressing bee pollination and environmental impacts that impact our lives. While the news provides “shock and awe” in reporting murder hornets, the educators are calming children that bees are a necessity for fruits, vegetables, and honey. Agriculture revolves around this precious creature. Protecting that necessity of nature is important to us all. The increase of beehives and various bee houses is a positive influence on telling this story to our next generation. There are other tell-tale signs in the garden center like bee-friendly plants, problem solving chemistry that is safe around bees, and seed packs that are pre-mixed to provide nectar or pollen. It is our best interest to promote these items to your biggest audience (and clients) the women shopper. 

Want to promote color? Introduce bird watching as a great form of home entertainment. Spring weather marks the return of songbirds, purple martins, and hummingbirds. The colors and sounds are endless if you provide the environment appropriate to attract and retain. Start this quest by adding bird feeders at different heights that are filled with Nyjer, finch food, or sunflower seed. If you have pets, you may need to position these feeders further away from windows to provide a comfort zone and reduce reflective surfaces that may startle birds. 



Having a Garden Party


The return of warm weather will drive families outside onto the deck and backyard patio. Colorful plantings, bird feeders, perennials, yard d├ęcor, kinetic spinners, and much more should provide enjoyment for the entire family. First, get ready this month for nature to return. It won’t be much longer before your friends and extended family will begin to visit you, too! The popularity of deck boxes and large planters has never been higher. Plant these up intially with spring pansies for explosive color! Retailers have found new ways to entice the customer to buy new planters by offering their customer a flat rate replanting fee for bringing them back to the store for replanting for any season. Never underestimate the value of extending services to your customers, if possible. Anything to make it easier for your customer or better yet, contactless, is a win for everybody and here to stay. Good selling!


Habitat Building Products to Consider:



Tin Cone Birdhouse
No 81791421

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Galvanized Windmill Birdhouse
No 81791788

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Green Moss Birdhouse - Harper
No 81510216

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Green Moss Birdhouse - Emily
No 81510218

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Countryside Square Tub planter - 14" White
No 80250100

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Countryside Square Tub planter - 18" White
No 80250103

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Deck Rail Box - 24" Green
No 80282115

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Deck Rail Box - 24" Chocolate
No 80290131

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Deck Rail Box - 24" Clay
No 80290132

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Niger Seed - 5lb
No 80370024

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Niger Seed - 10lb
No 80370025

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Oil Sunflower - 8lb
No 80370021

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Oil Sunflower - 16lb
No 80370022

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Oil Sunflower - 32lb
No 80370023

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Raw Peanuts - 5lb
No 80370030

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Raw Peanuts - 10lb
No 80370031

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Safflower Seed - 5lb
No 80370009

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Safflower Seed - 10lb
No 80370010

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Safflower Seed - 20lb
No 80370011

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Promo Bird Bath
No 80920788

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Verdigris Color Bird Bath
No 80690264

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

What's New For The Winter?


News flash…The gardening season was a blur. The holiday season was over before we could exhale. With the store emptied and cleaned, it’s now time to change over to the next selling season. This year, without the benefit of a “live” trade show, many retailers worked by moonlight to place their orders for spring 2021 by computer or tablet. It some ways, it might have been a blessing in disguise. Vendor offerings were shown through presentations, literature, and by chat and zoom. You had to go through each vendor line up and spend a bit more time making decisions. Thankfully, the result was many new products were ordered. These new choices are arriving weekly to distributor suppliers. The big question remains…Should I wait until its closer to March to receive these products or should I bring them in now? Read on.


To Stock or Not to Stock


We are creatures of habit when it came to retail store trips for ourselves or our family, especially during the pandemic. We traveled where we felt safe. We traveled where we had a good shopping experience. Consumers will plan to re-visit stores where they “actually” found what they needed. As an independent garden center owner, you will continue to greet the majority of these new gardening customers throughout the winter and into early spring for these reasons. You made your customer feel safe and gave them products they couldn’t find elsewhere. Today, if your store is in stock, you might just sell it even before that traditional spring season arrives. Because of the pandemic, hoarding is a commonly used verb. It happened with many bird seed products, too! Manufacturers are still scrambling to fill supply orders and eventually catch up. With the promise of recovery, doesn’t it make sense to maybe bring products in a bit earlier and not wait? With the future still uncertain, it might be advantageous to begin that store makeover earlier than ever before. Filled shelves and strengthened department looks are encouraging to the consumer no matter what season we are in. The timing couldn’t be better for bringing in new products and new categories.


New Griffin Vendors


If you have seen the recent trade magazines and their surveys, the growth trends of houseplants, cacti, and succulents have never looked back. It might be time for you to bolster this area with new plant selections from Pope Farms or Holtkamp Greenhouses. These two vendors ship while weather permits and can be ordered weekly through Griffin. Look at new small pot vessels, bowls, and glass from Syndicate, Classic Home & Garden, Braun, and even Southern Patio. These are necessary for carrying the plant interest into spring.  The activity level at home includes plant care products like misting bottles, watering cans, saucers, and small liquid plant foods. Espoma, Sun Bulb, Jack’s Classic, and Schultz should be stocked and likely sought after by the consumer. Before you know it, the plant deliveries of orchids and African Violet will be at your door. I’m inviting you to look at the 2021 Griffin catalog that will soon be arriving to your store. It’s filled with new products and accessories to meet the new demand.

Another activity that will surely go up as winter progresses is wild bird feeding. No question, families are beginning to find ways to entertain their children while staying indoors. Home office workers and retirees are also looking at this category to enjoy. If you have a window view, might as well enjoy the birds! D& D commodities (Wild Delight) is a new stocking vendor for Griffin. They feature fantastic bird foods of high quality in a great look through package design. Coles Wild Bird food is another high-quality bird food line. If your inventory is low or out, you may want to bring in these lines right now and let the entertainment begin! Supply and demand in the commodity world will be tested by Covid-19 and possibly rising freight costs and potential freight delays. The buzz words for retailing birding products right now are food, water, and protection. Order these products now.


Starting Over


January is here. This past year produced unexpected gains in seed starting products sold in stores. Many retailers totally sold through their seed packets! There’s no better time to replenish not only the seed packs, but everything needed for the homeowner to make your store the “one stop” shop for seed starting. Include misting bottles, peat pots, trays, seed starting soils, pH test kits, labels, gro domes, vinyl saucers, complete start up kits, lighting, work tools, and waterproof gloves. Many of these products were long gone at the beginning of the spring season without replenishment. One more tip…if it’s new, make sure you announce it to your clientele. The consumer “eye” wants the newest and the best you’ve got! Price has not been as much a factor as availability to the consumer. What’s new for winter? Maybe higher retails while the time is right! Best wishes for a safe and Happy New Year!



New items to build sales for your wild bird department







Bugs for Birds
No 82100009

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Feast for Wild Birds
No 82100056

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Zero Waste Fruit Blend
No 82100028

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Tube Seed Bird Feeder - Nyjer
No 80400039

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Tube Seed Bird Feeder - Mixed
No 80400040

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Sunflower Mesh Bird Feeder
No 82030023

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Cat Mesh Bird Feeder
No 82030025

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Cardinal Mesh Bird Feeder
No 82030026

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12" Clever Cleen Seed Feeders - Nyjer
No 81210241

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12" Clever Cleen Seed Feeders - Sunflower
No 81210242

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Special Feeder Suet Cake
No 80370056

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Blue Ribbon Suet Cake
No 80370055

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Stone Color Fiber Clay Birdbath - Stone
No 80690290

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Stone Color Fiber Clay Birdbath - Green
No 80690289

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