Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Common Issues, Common Remedies in the Summer Garden

This tip is dedicated to the new gardener that seems to come out of nowhere for spring 2020. The pandemic has stirred the interest of “newbies” to explore gardening and with it, new experiences. Most plants have some common garden issues that affect their performance, whether it is insect, disease, nutritional, or moisture related. To a new gardener, everything looks great when they finish planting and the anticipation of their efforts in growth, flowers, and fruit is their fulfillment of success. However, do they keep an active eye on what’s happening? Daily? Weekly?

Moisture

Usually, new plantings fail mostly due to underwatering or overwatering for beginners and experienced gardeners alike. This year, we have had an abundance of rainfall without intense heat. You might think that the plants have plenty of water, but if you account for continual surface winds, they may not. Bright sunny days with light winds dry surfaces and in some cases bind soils to shed water and encourage run off. In vegetable gardens, light ground cultivation between plant rows may help in breaking apart compacted soil. It may also remove weeds between rows of veggies. The caution here is that with exposed soil, weed seeds may germinate again. Many gardeners use weed fabric between rows or even plant directly through the fabric. Mulching may help. There is a caution using available grass clippings and should be avoided. It drains usable nitrogen from the soil as it breaks down and limits nutrients. The long-term remedy is using some gypsum to break up clay particles or applying a suitable garden soil, compost, or premium manure (well rotted and conditioned so it will not burn).

Insects

Bringing mulch in the form of available wood chippings from a recent storm sounds like a great idea, but you may introduce unwanted insects and devastating mites to a new dinner party, your garden. There are ways to limit insect destruction in the garden that is as simple as using a blast of water to dislodge insects and especially mites during hot summer days. Early in the morning is best practice to allow plants to dry throughout the day. Mid-day spraying of water or chemicals might burn leaves quickly with heat and plant stress from scorching sunlight.

Any newcomer to gardening that turns to spraying chemicals for insect control will either make a best guess choice at the chemical shelf or hopefully ask for assistance. Here is where independent garden centers shine! Typically, we ask what the problem is by questioning the customer and identify the insect damage. From there, we can recognize the right product for the right problem…and offer the best option for the weather conditions. Most summer recommendations are water based, not oil based remedies to prevent leaf burn. Popular choices for summer sprays in the vegetable garden are insecticidal soap from Espoma, Safer, or Bonide. Eight Insect Spray (active is Pyrethrin) or Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew (active is Spinosad) from Bonide are two popular products, (also available in dust form),
with a label that lists unmatched plant applications and insects listed. For invisible daytime bug damage, use Monterey’s Sluggo for snail and slug control which is safe to use around pets and children.

Disease

This problem often goes undetected in new gardener’s eyes, especially powdery mildew. Hot, humid days (and nights) along with lingering moisture on leaf surfaces makes for perfect disease conditions. Experienced gardeners anticipate its occurrence on specific mildew prone plants like basil, roses, lilacs, and zinnia by using a preventative disease control. By the time a customer reaches the garden center, it’s usually too late to control. One of the best new disease preventatives also provides some curative relief for some plant material and disease types. Monterey Complete Disease Control and Bonide’s Revitalize products are unique fungicides that have a wide range of diseases controlled on both indoor and outdoor plant material. A fantastic dust product that offers both disease AND insect control for the garden is Bonide’s Garden Dust that is organic.

Nutrition

Nutrition and disease control sometimes go hand in hand in preventing problems. Healthy plants withstand issues with drought and disease. With the occurrence of disease, it might help recovery time to lightly feed with some type of “organic” based fertilizer. This slow release feeding stimulates new growth and expands root systems for moisture uptake. Popular for vegetable gardens is the Neptune’s Harvest Hydrolyzed Fish Fertilizer. It doesn’t bring the neighborhood cats or smell offensive, but it does perform beautifully in providing nutrients and trace elements for immediate uptake into the plant.

As always, follow label instructions and don’t overapply. More isn’t better…unless you are planting more around your home and garden. Here’s to success!

Here are some garden recommendations for you to consider including OMRI Listed suggestions.


Plant Tone 5-3-3 4 lb
No 80030020

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Plant Tone 5-3-3 8 lb
No 80030037

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Plant Tone 5-3-3 18 lb
No 80030109

Buy Now

Plant Tone 5-3-3 36 lb
No 80030108

Buy Now

Plant Tone 5-3-3 50 lb
No 80030131

Buy Now

Purely Organic Plant Food 4-2-3 10 lb
No 80070067

Buy Now

Hydrolyzed Fish 2-4-1 18 oz
No 80120001

Buy Now

Hydrolyzed Fish 2-4-1 32 oz
No 80120002

Buy Now

Hydrolyzed Fish 2-4-1 1 gal
No 80120003

Buy Now

Insecticidal Soap
No 80100130

Buy Now

Garden Dust
No 80100146

Buy Now

Sluggo 1 lb Shaker
No 80820094

Buy Now

Sluggo 2.5 lb jug
No 80820095

Buy Now

Sluggo 5 lb jug
No 80820096

Buy Now

Sluggo 10 lb bag
No 80820097

Buy Now



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Thursday, May 14, 2020

For The Love of The Rose

This month’s subject is without question, my favorite. I think back to my first two roses purchased in 1976 in the Jackson Perkins ready to plant boxes. The varieties were Chrysler Imperial, a majestic deep red hybrid tea with outstanding fragrance and the world’s most beloved rose, Peace, a stunning yellow blend with reddish edge hybrid tea. The cuttings of Peace were sent to Conard Pyle in West Grove, PA. from Francois Meilland on the last plane from France before German occupation in World War II. It was introduced in 1946 on tables at the first assembly of 51 countries which made up the United Nations after the war.

Bitten by the Rose Bug

Without the benefit of the internet back then, I had to read up on rose care by purchasing an Ortho All About Roses book from the local garden center. I joined a local rose society. I became a Consultant for the American Rose Society. My garden grew from those two rose plants and topped out at 275 roses in the mid eighties. I made every growing mistake you could possibly make and learned a lot about a fascinating plant that I loved. Back then, mistakes were part of the learning curve. Some roses were poor performers, some susceptible to disease, and they were time consuming to spray weekly, prune, and feed. A labor of love. Experience taught me that failure was necessary to succeed and not make the same mistake twice. Now, 44 years later, are your customers as passionate about roses besides the ones available on Valentine’s Day? Well, why not?

Our National Flower

The rose is the most versatile fragrant plant variety in the industry. You will find the rose standing tall in the home and municipal gardens (first was Elizabeth Park Rose Garden in Hartford, CT 1904), in zoos (Philadelphia Zoo), along roadways, shopping centers and banks, covering barns and hillsides, provides colorful displays in amusement parks (Disney World), and provides every color hue under the sun except a true blue and black. By an act of Congress and proclamation from President Ronald Reagan, the rose became our national flower on September 23, 1986. Coincidentally, the rose world changed radically in 1987 with the introduction of the variety, Bonica, which was the very first All-American shrub rose. Bred by House of Meilland for Star Roses, it had everything a consumer wanted in a flowering plant: disease resistance, vigorous growth, winter hardy, light rose fragrance, continuous bloom, and maintenance-free care by the homeowner. The hybridizers went from creating unique varieties to carefree no-maintenance rose types almost overnight. In 2000, the Knockout rose became the fastest growing variety in rose history, selling millions of plants worldwide each year. The decline of popularity in the traditional hybrid tea rose had just begun to make room for the impressive Knockout family.

Make It Easy

Continuing with the trend to make everything easy and convenient in rose gardening, the tasks needed to be successful are reduced greatly. To start, plant the rose deep enough in the hole to make the bud union level with the ground surface. Use high quality planting soils which are readily available today versus using manures. The rule of thumb to simplify is 1/3 existing topsoil, 1/3 high quality planting soil, and possibly 1/3 sand if drainage is needed. Roses don’t like “wet feet” or standing water as they are heavy feeders and need solid and steady uptake of nutrients and moisture from a good root system. Feeding is simple. Choose an organic rose fertilizer that won’t burn and feed as directed, usually monthly amounts until stopping the applications in September. There are combination chemicals that are mixed with water distributed around the base of the rose bush once every 4-6 weeks as directed using a drench method. These combo solutions prevent disease and insects as they are absorbed into the rose bush. Pruning may or may not be needed to remove spent blooms and maintain a tidy plant. It depends mostly upon the rose variety. Do not prune rose climbers during the first year as they need the long canes the following year to produce laterals for trusses of bloom. Some rose varieties are more susceptible to disease than others, especially blackspot. These are spotted leaves that “start” at the base of the plant and move upwards (and outwards to other roses) eventually defoliating the plant. When you see these spots form on leaves, remove them and the fallen leaf debris surrounding the base. Discard them in the trash before disease spores splatter and spread. Begin using a “curative” disease control that has the active ingredient, Daconil, by spraying the leaf surface as following the directions as stated on the bottle. Water only in the morning to allow leaves to dry throughout the day.

Did you know a climbing rose named New Dawn, was the very first plant patent issued in our country back in 1931? Ironically, it wasn’t a hybrid rose plant, but a sport or offspring. This historical plant in our industry is still sold today at many garden centers across the country.

The rose is a plant everyone should grow and share with family and friends. It’s OK to hand out a fresh bouquet of Knockout roses, too! It would make me smile.

Rose Related Products


Rose Rx Systemic Drench
No 80100150

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Classic Gardener's Watering Can
No 80250318

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Wooden Ladder Trellis Brown
No 80161246

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Wooden Ladder Trellis White
No 80161248

Buy Now

Fung-onil RTU qt.
No 80100143

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Fung-onil Con. Pt.
No 80100038

Buy Now

Fung-onil Con. Qt.
No 80100198

Buy Now

Rose-tone 4-3-2 4lb
No 80030021

Buy Now

Rose-tone 4-3-2 8lb
No 80030038

Buy Now

Rose-tone 4-3-2 18lb
No 80030111

Buy Now

Stonington Blend Organic Plant Food 5-2-4
No 81600015

Buy Now

Forged Aluminum Handle Bypass Pruner #2
No 81930004

Buy Now

Forged Aluminum Handle Bypass Pruner #6
No 81930005

Buy Now

Forged Aluminum Handle Bypass Pruner Angled 8.5"
No 81930007

Buy Now

Cobscook Blend Garden Soil 1 CF
No 81600004

Buy Now

Cobscook Blend Garden Soil 2 CF
No 81600003

Buy Now



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Friday, April 17, 2020

Emerging Trends from Homeowners

After a month of self-containment and communicating with garden center owners, sales team members, and listening to media reports, there are some interesting developments that are changing our lawn and garden industry…maybe forever. The early signals are evident that America is gardening, or at the very least trying to. Garden centers that are open are reporting brisk curbside sales of bagged and bulk mulch, soil conditioners, manures, and various garden soils. The store’s home delivery trucks have been busier than ever. There is audible activity in the neighborhood from chain saws, shovels, and power washers when the weather cooperates. The visible activity is shown by the yard debris roadside or fresh mulched garden beds. Plants, trees, and bulbs are blooming. The grass is greening up. What we don’t see, is what’s happening on the other side of the fence.
Retailers and even internet providers are reporting outages of packaged vegetable and herb seeds. Not just their store, but the supplier, too! Something else is selling down, as these seed packs need complimentary products: pots, trays, seed starting soil, and maybe lighting. Many retailers with live vegetable and herb plants are seeing them disappear as quickly as they arrive from the grower. It just feels more than just a trend, it seems more like a purpose. It’s anyone’s guess to see how this translates into sales throughout the spring and into the summer months when people are permitted to get out and shop at a garden center again. My humble opinion is that it is only the beginning and tip of the iceberg.
We have lived most, if not all our lives in a disposable world of excess and freedom to spend our time and money leisurely as we desired. My parents were “Depression” era children who reminded me many times during my childhood that some days their dinner feast was a dozen ears of corn and loaf of bread. The return of the Victory Gardens means you grow what you can not source. It resonates with today’s consumers that are struggling to find produce in their local supermarkets. A new normal might be to home garden and be confident that you will safely be in control what you put on your dinner table. With food demand strained by availability, combined with the possible decline of many local restaurants to choose from in the future, we are on the fast track of learning how to cook our own meals, eat healthier, and in some ways, conserve by preserving leftovers. We might need to keep a closer eye on the Food Network and their easy to make recipes using fresh veggies and herbs. The consumer is adjusting. Food and beverage are the two largest connecting points in our society next to family and maybe television.
Spring is coming soon. We are in this together for the long haul adjusting our business to meet the demands of the customer. Get ready. The homeowner has prepared in their mind, that they are going to spend more time around their home and…in the garden! Are you ready for the new demands?
View our Griffin Retail catalog online for more great vendors and products for your store shelves.
Stay safe!

Store Category Check List

Seed Starting
Seed Starting has seen a huge boost in sales from customers looking to start their own garden. The threat of produce shortages and fear from perishables becoming contaminated, puts more consumers in line with growing their own.


Vendors
: Jiffy, Delta, Luster Leaf, Premier, Coast of Maine, Hydrofarm, Espoma, Fox Farm

Products
: Seed starting soils, labels, trays, coir, spray bottles, heat mats, lighting, vermiculite, perlite

Vegetables & Herbs
Another segment that is taking hold is outdoors in the garden. The cries of a renewal of the Victory Garden is ringing clear to consumers everywhere. More first-time vegetable gardeners are on the doorstep and need help and guidance in our stores.
Vendors: Smart Pot, Novelty, Bonide, Coast of Maine, Frey Brothers, Espoma, Hoffman, Fox Farm, Premier, Lambert, Gilmore, Flexon, Panacea, Lebanon, Neptune’s Harvest, Healthy Grows, Safer, Luster Leaf, Radians, Bond Mfr.
Products: Containers, watering cans, planter boxes, composts, packaged granular fertilizers, liquid fertilizers, garden soils, soil amendments, soaker hoses, trellis, cages, labels, corn gluten, organic or all-natural chemistry, gloves, manures, hardwood stakes, vinyl coated garden stakes


Houseplants
Bringing some green indoors is breaking out across the country in foliage and small seasonal color plants. Indoor plants continue to rake in sales with cacti, succulents, ferns, and foliage.
Vendors: Jack’s Classic, Delta, Curtis Wagner, Novelty, Bloem, Curtis Wagner, Classic Home & Garden. Deroma, Arcadia, Espoma, Hoffman,
Products: small to medium containers and plastics, terra cotta, saucers, hand sprayers, liquid fertilizers, small bag indoor potting soils, soil covers, bark, small stone, plant stands and baker racks


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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Spring Fever

There is only one kind of fever that we should look forward to, and that is spring fever. Our industry will be challenged to keep moving forward once we see an uptick in customers arriving at the garden centers. Consumers spending more time outside in your yard, brings a heightened awareness to extra tasks. With favorable weather across most of the USA, the homeowner is well ahead of clean up chores and chomping at the bit to get their lawns in shape. 

Lawn Care Dilemma

Are we ahead of schedule or not there just yet? If magnolia trees and forsythia are in bloom, it’s time to begin working in the yard. Temperature plays an important measure of timing. This year, the average temperatures have been 8 degrees warmer than normal in many regions.  There are some products that are perfect to use for preventing crabgrass when making a late application to prevent. Dimension is a trademarked chemical that works to prevent and kill crabgrass that germinates up to the second set of leaves. Usually any pre-emergent crabgrass application is applied within two weeks of the forsythia flower drop off. You can bet that post emergent solutions will have more demand due to the late start by many consumers. 

Newer technology offers some unique combination weed control products. These are granular applications that treat for crabgrass AND broadleaf weeds. Lebanon Spring Fertilizer with Weed Control & Crabgrass Preventer 24-0-6 is a complete food that lasts up to 12 weeks without excessive growth. Without the early fertilizer application in the lawn, all types of weeds begin to grow where soil is exposed in your lawn. Jonathan Green and Bonide also offer fantastic premium fertilizers that prevent crabgrass (with Dimension).

If your lawn has been consistently healthy without major weed issues, you may be able to ward off weeds naturally with a slow and steady diet of organic nutrients. There are a few noteworthy products to mention: Milorgonite, Ringer Lawn Restore, and Espoma All Season Lawn Food. Maintaining a healthy lawn is possible with scheduled feedings and spot treating visible weeds. The thicker the grass in your lawn, the less likely weed seeds will have access to sunlight to germinate. Cutting your grass at the correct height is also a must for success. Lowering the mower blade level and scalping grass tops will encourage disease, produce more weeds, heat buildup, and likely excessive watering.

Natural Broadleaf Weed Control

Corn gluten meal has been a proven broadleaf weed preventer that was successfully field tested as far back as 1974 at Iowa State University. One of the most unique products over the past decade, you may offer Espoma Weed Preventer 9-0-0 or Sustane Spring Weed & Feed 9-0-0 as an organic alternative for weed control that is safe for children and pets, too!

Starting Over

A basic knowledge of lawn care can go a long way towards success or failure. If you feel you need to start over, it all starts with a good grass seed that lasts years, not months. There are many perennial types to choose from: perennial, bluegrass, tall fescue, hard fescue, and special use types like poa trivialis, zoysia, and bentgrass. Avoid grass seed that is predominately annual grass seed unless you want quick coverage for a short duration. When you read a package label, it is either a blend (a combination of the same type of grass variety) a mixture (a combination of different type grass varieties) or one specific variety. To make it easier to sell consumers, grass seed packages are generally labelled for what consumers need for their home. Sunny, shady, sun & shade, bluegrass, drought tolerant, quick grow, sod quality, dense shade, might need a place on the shelf for these reasons. Some grass seeds are versatile enough to be used for both sun & shade (the most commonly sold grass seed in stores). The selection process can be difficult without asking your customer some questions about their grass conditions. 

The Final Word

Having the correct pH in your yard is important to ensuring that the fertilizer you put down will perform correctly. If the soil is too acidic, you will need to recommend lime to your customer, preferably a quick acting lime. Once applied at the correct rate, grass seed needs to germinate by contacting seed to the soil along with needed moisture. Your fertilizer choice for starting a new lawn or renovating existing grass, should be a quality starter fertilizer formulated for lawns. These specific fertilizers include needed phosphorous for enhancing root growth when seeding. This is the second number of the fertilizer formula. Espoma, Greenview, and Jonathan Green offer high quality lawn starters. Do not use a crabgrass preventer fertilizer UNLESS it is labeled for new lawn seeding. This specific type of pre-emergent chemical (Tupersan) is safe for seeding while preventing crabgrass. Greenview and Jonathan Green make a terrific crabgrass preventer and starter product for retail sales. It may cost a few dollars more out of pocket in the beginning, but it saves you time and more money in controlling future weeds. 



Great Lawn Care Products


Weed Preventer 9-0-0 25lb
No 80030083

Buy Now

All Season Lawn Food 9-0-0 14lb
No 80030126

Buy Now

All Season Lawn Food 9-0-0 28lb
No 80030125

Buy Now

Crabgrass Preventer and Fertilizer Granuals 5M
No 80100109

Buy Now

Crabgrass Preventer and Fertilizer Granuals 15M
No 80100110

Buy Now

Sun and Shade Grass Seed 3lb
No 80100086

Buy Now

Sun and Shade Grass Seed 7lb
No 80100087

Buy Now

Spring Fertilizer with Weed Control & Crabgrass Preventer 24-0-6 5M
No 80350003

Buy Now

spring Fertilizer with Weed Control & Crabgrass Preventer 24-0-6 10M
No 80350004

Buy Now

Spring Weed & Feed 9-0-0 30lb
No 80950007

Buy Now

Ringer 0% Phosphate Lawn Restore Fertilizer 25lb
No 80191457

Buy Now

Green-Up Lawn Food & Crabgrass Preventer 20-0-3 5M
No 81430160

Buy Now

Green-Up Lawn Food & Crabgrass Preventer 20-0-3 15M
No 81430161

Buy Now

Black and Beauty Sun and Shade 1lb
No 81430048

Buy Now

Black and Beauty Sun and Shade 3lb
No 81430014

Buy Now

Black and Beauty Sun and Shade 7lb
No 81430050

Buy Now

Black and Beauty Sun and Shade 15lb
No 81430051

Buy Now



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