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How to Make Old Mulch Look New

Few things in your lawn and garden provide instant satisfaction and curb appeal like freshly laid mulch. Earthgro by Scotts Mulch Color Renewal is the perfect solution for times when you have plenty of mulch but not that fresh vibrant look in your landscape beds.
• Choose from Red, Brown or Black to instantly add color to faded mulch.
• Rain-fast in 6 hours and dry to the touch in as little as 2 hours.
• Fast and easy curb appeal.
• Battery-powered extended reach wand with two spray fan options for easy and accurate application.

Watch this video to see how to touch up those high visibility areas fast and easy.


DIY Insect Barrier Around Your Home

Yesterday I sprayed a barrier around our outside house foundation to keep Ants, Roaches, Scorpions and Spiders out. It was easy, fast and saves lots of money compared to hiring someone to do this job I can do myself. I put down Ortho Home Defense MAX Outdoor Perimeter Insect Killer.

I like this product not only because it works great, I also like that it does not stain and there is no bad odor. You can put down your protective barrier as dry granules or as a spray. Click here to get more info on the no-mixing spray. Click here to get more info on the granules. There is also a concentrate available if you want to use your own sprayer or watering can. (click here for more info).


Poison Ivy and Poison Ivy Lookalikes

My Grandma used to say “Leaves of three… let them be!”

Here is a link to a great website from Michigan State University that shows the different leaf configurations for poison ivy. They show plants with three leaf patterns that can be easily confused as being poison ivy.

poison ivy va creeper

Poison Ivy is growing up the left side of this tree. Virginia Creeper is growing up the right side.  Virginia Creeper is not a problem… notice it has leaves in groups of 5 vs. Poison Ivy with groups of 3 .

Once you have figured out that you have poison ivy. Here are links to info about two products that will kill poison ivy, roots and all, along with other kinds of evasive plants like kudzu and wild blackberry: Roundup Poison Ivy plus Tough Brush Killer and Ortho Poison Ivy MAX plus Tough Brush Killer. Be sure to read the label and do not spray plants that you wish to keep.

We Moved Our Containers to Our Rock Garden

Over the years we have planted our containers with a range of plants and placed them on our front porch. (Click here to read my blog posting: “Four Ideas for Flower Containers”). Then for several years these planters contained shrubs that we moved to our landscape this spring (Click here to read my blog posting: “Our Front Porch Containers 28 Months After Planting”).

We recently planted our two containers and moved them to our rock garden. Here are pictures taken about 6 weeks after planting.

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We planted a single Juncus effuses “Twister” surrounded by several Dichondra “Silver Falls” plants.


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We planted a single Juncus effuses “Twister” surrounded by several Sedum rupestre “Angelina” plants.

When you plant a container garden it is important to use a good soil. Even though we were tempted to use the old soil in the pot, we know it is best to start off with fresh soil. We have had great success with Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix. This special mix helps keep you from over and under watering. We also feed with Osmocote Plant Food, a great choice for containers and hanging baskets as it feeds your plants for 4 months.



Not Your Run-of-the-mill Father’s Day Gift

If my Dad were still here I would thank him again for all he taught me. One thing he taught me about taking care of our lawn may have triggered my future career. When I was about 12 he showed me how to use a lawn spreader to feed our lawn. It was a drop spreader, the type you need to overlap the wheel tracks to make sure you do not miss areas of your lawn. I did pretty good until I wanted the job to be over and I started to increase the distance between my back and forth trips with the spreader. In a week or so it was clear what I had done when everyone could see the stripes of dark green fed grass next to the light green unfed grass. Cars slowed when they drove by. Neighbors chuckled at the stripes of faster growing, greener grass. But you know my Dad did not get mad. He told me he had done the same thing the first time he spread lawn food.

I learned two life lessons: It is ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them and that Scotts Turf Builder is good stuff. Little did I know that I would have a 45-year career with the company that invented that Turf Builder.

Fifty years later feeding your lawn is a whole lot easier and mistake-proof. With Father’s Day coming up if you know any Dads with a new lawn or an old worn out spreader, or if you would like to pass along some life lessons to your teenager, check out the two latest Scotts Lawn Spreaders: The New Scotts Elite Spreader and the New Scotts Wizz Spreader. These two videos will help you decide which one is for that special Dad in your family.


Japanese Beetles, Grubs and Moles

The first Japanese beetles of the season are showing up on roses and other plants. It is important to kill these scouts that will help the others find the most desirable plants in your landscape.


Japanese Beetles eat the foliage of many plants and then lay eggs in your lawn that become grubs in late summer that feed on your grass roots until winter.

When you spot the first beetles you can hand pick them into a jar of soapy water or spray susceptible plants with an insecticide that is compatible with flowers and vegetables. Ortho Flower Fruit and Vegetable Insect Killer does not need to be mixed up and kills around 100 different kinds of insects that can attack plants. Read the label and you will see this product can be used on edible crops.

Some folks have tried Japanese Beetle traps with mixed results. The reason is many times these traps attract more beetles to their plants than they actually collect. If you take this approach, place the trap several hundred feet away from the plants being attacked (but not next to your neighbor’s roses).

These beetles will soon be laying eggs in your lawn that will hatch into grubs to chomp on your grass roots beginning in late summer and continuing into fall. If you have already spread Scotts GrubEX on your lawn during the past few weeks, your grass is protected from the next generation of grubs. If not, you still have time to protect your lawn, be sure to give your lawn a good watering of at least a half inch after you spreading GrubEX. It is OK for your pets and kids to play on your lawn after the grass has dried.

Of yes… and one last tip regarding moles: Since GrubEx does not eliminate earthworms in your lawn (one of their favorite foods in addition to grubs) you are still likely to get moles even though the grubs are not present. For mole problems, click here to check out this info on the options from TOMCAT.

June Lawn Tips and Product Advice

Some lawns need feeding. Southern lawns like (Bermuda, St. Augustine and Zoysia) love to be fed at two-month intervals from spring to fall for a total of about 4 feedings a year. Centipede only likes two or three feedings a year from late spring to late summer. If you have already fed your Northern lawn (like Bluegrass, Fescue and Ryegrass) twice this year you can skip feeding until later in summer. Scotts GreenMAX Lawn Food, Scotts Turf Builder or Scotts Turf Builder Summer Lawn Food are good choices for this time of year.


This lawn owner feeds her St. Augustine grass lawn on a regular schedule. Most lawns thrive with 4 or 5 feedings a year.

Prevent Grub problems. If you have put down Scotts GrubEx this spring, you are all set. If not, there is still time to prevent grubs from destroying your lawn this fall. A single application of GrubEx will prevent the next generation of grubs this summer from attacking your lawn. This application of GrubEx also protects against some lawn damaging insects like sod webworm.

Keep your lawn from thinning and turning brown. Tiny insects can attack your lawn during summer. One indication that they may show up is when you see moths fly from your lawn when you mow or walk on your grass during early evening hours. These moths do not damage your lawn, however they lay eggs for insects like sod webworms and cutworms that can cause your lawn to thin and turn brown. Other insects, like chinch bugs can show up about the same time. You can protect your lawn while feeding it with a special summer lawn food called Scotts Turf Builder with SummerGuard. This product also takes care of other insects like fleas, ticks and ants. If your lawn does not need feeding, you can spread Ortho Bug B Gon MAX on your lawn to take care of any insect problems. By the way, it is ok if you still see some moths after treating, since they do no damage. You have protected your lawn from the damage caused by their hatching eggs for about 6 weeks or so.

Adult Lawn Moth

Lawn moths fly from the lawn during the evening or when mowing. They lay eggs for sodweborms or cutworms that can cause your lawn to thin and turn brown during summer.

Kill lawn weeds. June can be a good chance to eliminate weeds before they steal water from your grass and begin slower growth during hotter summer months. Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer OR Roundup For Lawns takes care of most weeds. (Make sure you check the weed control label to see if it can be used on your type of grass.)

Treat lawn fungus problems if needed. Circular patches of browning grass or individual grass blades with spots on them are an indication of lawn fungus problems. Some of these problems will go away with shifting weather, however if they persist or if you have certain areas of your lawn that are prone to fungus problems each summer, you can treat with Scotts DiseaseEX Lawn Fungicide.


Brown Patch on Tall Fescue – Circular patches of dead grass are a symptom of several lawn fungus problems such as Brown Patch and Summer Patch show up during periods of warm temperatures and high humidity. Click photo to enlarge

Seed bare spots. Even though it is summer, you can still seed bare spots because it is easier to keep small areas watered until the grass becomes established. Scotts EZ Seed is a good choice because the special mulch holds moisture next to the seed while it is germinating. Note that you will need to wait at least a month to seed after applying weed controls or four months after applying crabgrass preventer.

Mow your grass taller. Taller grass blades mean deeper roots to match the leaf growth. So adjust your mower to leave your grass height at around 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

Water Sensibly. If you are able to water without restrictions and you want to keep your grass from going dormant, a half inch twice a week is better than a small amount every day. This helps to encourage deeper roots. Place a tall straight sided/flat bottomed glass or a rain gauge on your lawn while your sprinklers are running then measure the depth of water that accumulates in the glass to help calculate how long to run your sprinklers to put down a half inch. You would only need to do this once to help figure out your sprinkler system. If you can, water in early morning when there is less wind and evaporation.