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Scotts Ice Melt… Tough on Ice; Easy on Everything Else

It is snowing in Atlanta today… glad I have Scotts Ice Melt with Heat Lock Technology.  With 4 times the melting capacity of rock salt, I am all set.  The Heat Lock Technology Coating keeps hands & paws protected from the calcium chloride core during application while the non-staining formula reduces the potential for damage to my drive & walkways.  Apply before, or soon after, the snow starts to fall for the best results, but Scotts Ice Melt can penetrate ice, even at -25 Degree F. Scotts Ice Melt is tough on ice, but easier on everything else.

For best results, apply preventatively before or soon after snowfall begins, to prevent excessive ice buildup. If snow is deeper than 2 inches, plow or shovel surfaces, before applying product.

Apply evenly onto the surface to be de-iced at a rate of ¼ — ½ cup (2 — 4 oz.) per square yard, depending on the amount of snow and ice present. Wait 5 — 10 minutes to give the formula time to loosen the ice from the surface. Remove melted ice, snow and slush to prevent refreezing.

Two Steps to Keep Your Christmas Tree Fresh

There are two easy steps to help keep your Christmas tree hydrated and reduce needle drop.
First, ask the lot where you pick out your tree to cut a half inch off of the trunk base. This fresh cut will improve water uptake into your tree.
Second, add a special Miracle Gro to the water in the tree stand. Click here to get more info about Miracle-Gro for Christmas Trees to help keep your tree hydrated and reduce needle drop.
Here is a short video with more info.


Mow Your Lawn Higher or Lower For the Last Cut?

I get this “last mowing of the year” question around this time.   Some folks say:  “Take it down lower.”  Others say:  “Leave it long.”

My answer:  Continue mowing your grass until it stops growing at the recommended mowing height that you have been using all season.   Different kinds of grass types like different mowing heights, so here are some guidelines for how tall your grass should be after you mow.  The higher end of the range is good during the hot summer months.  The lower end of the range is good for spring and fall.  So for example, if you have been mowing 3 inches or taller, you could drop your mower a notch, however do not scalp your lawn for the final mowing of the year.

·         2-1/2 to 4 inches for Bluegrass, Ryegrass and Fescue

·         2 to 4 inches for St. Augustinegrass and Bahiagrass

·         1 to 3 inches for Centipedegrass

·         1/2 to 2 inches for Bermudagrass

·         3 /4 to 2 inches for Zoysia

And one more thing, if you have only fed your Bluegrass, Ryegrass or Fescue lawn once this fall, you still have a chance to really boost your lawn’s root system with a feeding of Scotts Turf Builder WinterGuard Fall Lawn Food this month.


Do not mow your lawn too short for your last cut of the year.

November – Lawn Questions

I know most of your lawns are winding down for the year, however here are answers to several of your search questions that are popping up now on my blog pages.

  1. Is it too late to put down grass seed?

It is late to expect germination and enough root growth prior to winter weather in most parts of the country.  Some professional turf grass managers put down grass seed during early winter with the understanding that they will get germination in early spring.  This is called Dormant Seeding.  Here is a link to a blog posting I did last year on this subject.

  1. I am seeing moths flying from my lawn. Do I need to do anything?

If you are in the Deep South you can still get lawn damage from sod webworms and cutworms, especially on St. Augustinegrass.  Moths lay eggs for these insects that can thin your lawn and cause it to turn brown.   (Moths do not damage your lawn, just the worms that hatch from their eggs.)  You can treat your lawn with Ortho Bug B Gon MAX granules and this will kill all lawn damaging insects plus fleas and ticks.  If you use the higher spreader setting on the bag, you will also kill Fire Ants.  Water your lawn after spreading.  Other areas of the country do not need to treat as lawn moths do not lay eggs in cold weather.  They are looking for a place to overwinter.

  1. Can I still kill lawn weeds like Ground Ivy (Creeping Charlie)?

Yes, as long as daily high temperatures are getting to 45 degrees or higher you can spray your Ground Ivy (and other weeds).  There are various Ortho Weed-B-Gon products depending on where you live.  Click here to see your options.

Note:  If you planted grass seed this fall, it is best to wait until the new seedlings have been mowed four times before you apply weed killers.

  1. Is it too late to feed my lawn?

If you have only fed your lawn once this fall, you still have time to feed one additional time in most areas of the country except the very far North.  For example, Ohio State University Extension recommends giving lawns in the Buckeye State a feeding in Mid-November.  Turf Builder WinterGuard Lawn Food is a great choice.


The grass square on the left has strong roots because it has been well fed in late Fall. The grass square on the right is starving with very thin roots.  (This test was done in Ohio)

If you have other lawn and garden questions, click here to see how to contact the Scotts Help Center.

Mouse Trapping Options

Our house in Ohio was an older home in a wooded area that was prone to an annual mouse invasion during the onset of cold weather. Dudley, our cat, was a good signal that there was a mouse in the house when he would get all stirred up or if he spent long periods of time staring at the bottom of the frig, washer or the door to the garage.

A mouse can squeeze through a dime size hole to gain entry into your home or garage

Here are some signals that may alert you to mice in your house:

Are your pets upset?  They can get stirred up when they hear and smell rodents in the house.

Can you see rodent droppings?  Rat droppings are shiny black, blunt at both ends, and ½ – ¾ of an inch long. Mice droppings are smooth, with pointed ends, usually about 1/8 – ¼ of an inch long.

Do you see small tracks and tail trails in dusty areas?  Look for them in corners, along baseboards, and near sources of food.

Do you see areas where wood has been gnawed?  Tooth marks that are 1/8 of an inch long may indicate rats; small, scratchy ones may indicate mice.

Do you see smears along baseboards and other areas?  Those could be rub marks caused by grease and dirt on rat fur.

Is there a heavy musky odor in the house?  Rats and mice smell bad.


Click here to see all the trap options to rid your home of mice and other rodents.


Some Lawns Could Use a November Feeding

If you have northern grasses (like Bluegrass, Fescue or Ryegrass), your grass roots are still growing in your soil that is warmer than your air temperatures.  Even if you’ve already fed this fall, another feeding now can really help build your grass roots.  So put on your coat, gloves and feed your lawn one more time with Scotts Turf Builder WinterGuard.  Most southern lawns do not need another feeding unless you are in the deep south where your lawn does not go dormant (brown) in winter.

You won’t be alone.  Expert turf researchers will be doing the same thing with their lawns.  For example, Ohio State University turf experts say you should get your last winterizing feeding down by the middle of November.  Virginia Tech, Penn State and Michigan State Agronomists also agree that you get a big benefit from a November feeding. So, even if you are in the far north, this coming weekend is not too late to get your lawn fed.

Even if you have fed your lawn several times this year, feeding your northern lawn in late fall will help create stronger roots.

I have more good news for you. Rather than raking your tree leaves, save time by mowing them to dime size just prior to feeding. This will help them “compost on your lawn”.

One last bit of advice. If you’ve got weeds and want to spread Turf Builder Fall WinterGuard Weed & Feed instead of Turf Builder WinterGuard, your mid-day temps need to still reach 60 degrees the day you apply.  Be sure to apply to moist foliage on a day when no rain is forecasted.  If you put down grass seed earlier this fall, your new grass needs to be old enough to have been mowed 4 times before you put down a weed control.

Important Tip for Shady Lawns

For those of you with northern lawns (cool-season grasses like Kentucky Bluegrass, Fescue and Perennial Ryegrass), remember to feed your lawn the is fall with Scotts Turf Builder WinterGuard.  When you fertilize while your grass receives sunlight you maximize photosynthesis, which builds carbohydrate reserves in the grass roots to help when sunlight is limited during shady times.  So feed shady lawns just prior to or after tree leaves drop AND again in spring before tree leaves develop.

This Fescue lawn in Atlanta receives about 4 hours of filtered sunlight a day.

And the good news:  You do not need to rake your leaves if you are able to mow them to dime size or smaller.  Research has shown that this mowing practice along with a good feeding of Turf Builder WinterGuard  helps to compost the tree leaves in place to benefit your grass and soil.

Here is a link to one of my blog postings that gives 6 tips for growing grass in the shade.