John's Retail Tips

Through The Looking Glass

         





A unique facet of indoor gardening is trending upward, offering consumers a novel way to enjoy plants year-round. Terrariums are hardly a new concept, but they’ve received a thorough makeover with regard to retail appeal and suitable plant selections.

The terrarium has long been an indoor favorite since it was accidentally discovered by Nathanial Bagshaw Ward in 1842. He grew a fern from a spore enclosed in a glass case and was rewarded by having the vessel gain popularity as the “Wardian Case.” Today, of course, it’s known and sold as the terrarium.

The First Green Displays

My first experience of seeing a “living” display was in the Reptile House at the Philadelphia Zoo. Having the birthplace of America’s zoos (March 1859) nearby meant that it was a convenient day trip for elementary classes to see animals up close. What I didn’t realize was that I was seeing an ecosystem at work: Growing and sustaining plants indoors was a necessity in keeping zoo animals alive and well in long-term captivity.

These enclosed exhibits were actually large-scale terrariums. Zoo staff carefully plotted their use of natural (and artificial) lighting to ensure photosynthesis, ventilation for air movement, and suitable planting media to create these natural and living habitats.

Today’s Terrarium

Whether a consumer chooses a classic terrarium or not, many additional choices are available to create interesting and special indoor gardens. Consumers may choose from jars, bowls, glass urns, blown-glass spheres and many more designs. A true terrarium, however, is one that is enclosed, preferably with a lid that will allow venting.

Succulents have surged in popularity, known as foolproof, long-lasting plants with minimal maintenance requirements. Taking it a step further, consider the more than 650 types of air plants or Tillandsias that need no soil to thrive. These are fabulous candidates for today’s terrarium!

The rise of miniature gardening has increased interest and availability in ferns, which love enclosed terrariums. It’s easy to see the selling opportunities, even for those of you who don’t have a working greenhouse at your store location.

Build It, and They Will Buy

We’ve all heard the marketing mantra that “packaging sells,” correct? Just about everyone has pretty packaging these days. But, the success of your selling department will rely on providing planted examples showing different dimensions, plants and vessel types for the customer to buy or recreate. You’ll also need helpful staff or easy-to-follow print instructions to direct customers on which types of plants work well together: ferns and foliage, or succulents and cacti.

Plant choices will influence the customer’s watering needs and methods. Supply your display with low-volume watering cans with narrow spouts and misting sprayers. Distilled water (or filtered water that’s been allowed to stand overnight) may be recommended to minimize tap-water chemicals that can affect plant health.

Include some additional materials like horticultural charcoal, small pebble stone, Spanish moss and sphagnum moss. The use of charcoal is important for removing toxins and odors that may accumulate inside the terrarium over time. Hoffman makes a wonderful horticultural-grade charcoal that’s very popular in the market.

Opening the terrarium occasionally allows moisture to evaporate and air to circulate around the plants. If a disease like powdery mildew occurs on plants inside a customer’s vessel, you’ll need to offer specific chemistry that’s labelled for indoor use and for these specific plants. One disease-control recommendation is the Complete Disease Control 32 oz. RTU from Monterey Chemical. It’s a bacillus formula that prevents and even cures most disease problems on a wide listing of plant species. You’ll also want to advise your customers to vent their terrariums for a longer time frame to slow down disease pressure.

Mother Earth

Finally, you will need to provide the right soil options for the specific plant materials being sold. Most retailers sell four-quart bagged materials that are labelled for cacti and succulents or typical professional potting soils recommended for indoors. There are many options to consider stocking, especially those from Premier Horticulture, Sun Gro, and Espoma.

Don’t recommend potting soils with added fertilizers, as you can always add nutrition, but can’t always take it off. Small plants in miniature vessels need minimal feedings, so consumers may only need to apply a food once every four to six weeks. Reduced-nitrogen fertilizers are best suited for indoor plants; Nature’s Source, Bonide and Schultz offer quality products in this category. 


This Month's Featured Products



Syndicate DIY Terrarium Kit
No 81510047

Buy Now

Syndicate 6.75"x6" Cement Glass Terrarium
No 81510019

Buy Now

Premier Cactus Mix 8 Quart
No 80310035

Buy Now

Black Gold 8 Qt African Violet
No 80320002

Buy Now

Espoma 4 Qt Organic Cactus Mix
No 80030028

Buy Now

Espoma 4 Qt Organic Potting Mix
No 80030029

Buy Now

Espoma 8 Qt Organic Potting Mix
No 80030040

Buy Now

Espoma 16 Qt Organic Potting Mix
No 80030001

Buy Now

Hoffman 24 Oz Charcoal Soil Conditioner
No 80070035

Buy Now

Hoffman 2 Qt Marble Maze River Gravel
No 80070089

Buy Now

Mosser 3 Oz 100 Cu In Spanish Moss
No 80130013

Buy Now

Mosser 250 Cu In Spanish Moss
No 80130011

Buy Now

Mosser 432 Cu In Long Fibered Sphagnum Moss
No 80130014

Buy Now






The Fall "Honey Do" List

         





As the end of summer is near, the proverbial task list for home improvement grows. Maintaining the outside of the home often takes a back seat while parents scurry to gear-up with the supplies and clothing their children need in preparation for back-to-school. 

Rest assured, though, that many homeowners have plans for more chores on the horizon! In anticipation for the immediate month(s) ahead, let’s get ready:


Repellents

Right now, the food source for any critter is available in quantity and variety. They may or may not have visited your customers’ gardens or home plantings, but soon these sources will be on the decline. Be sure you’re well stocked with repellents to help homeowners protect their investments.

The cooler temperatures signal to rodents in particular to seek warmer climates and make their move to interiors. Traps and some repellents head off this onslaught and make it easier to contain and control.

Deer controls are especially important as they’re also on the move and will explore neighborhoods to eat the available foods. With the removal of many flowers and vegetables from the garden, attention quickly turns to vegetative plant materials. Deer have no off-season, so you’ll want to recommend long-lasting products in granular or spray formulations to keep these hungry animals in check.


Insect Controls

The time spent outdoors is still a priority for many families, and it comes when hornet and wasps are very active during the daylight hours. Advise your customers to keep insect controls nearby, and begin observing where these nests are around the home. Eliminating these winter homes now helps to negate future problems around the home next year. Even in the fall months, it’s still a good practice to install wasp traps, so be sure to have these on-hand in an easy-to-spot location in your store.

Now is also an ideal time for homeowners to tend to plants that have endured major insect damage over the course of the spring and summer. Spider mites and scale are two of the most noticeable issues that can be detected. If a plant is unhealthy leading into the winter, it likely won’t survive or, worse yet, it’ll provide more issues when the pests spread.

You can encourage preventative maintenance like horticultural spray oil, which works on many different types of plant materials to control both the spider mites and scale insect problems. If severely damaged plants need to be “shovel pruned,” remove them and the mulching below. If replanting a new shrub, make sure your customers know to use fresh planting media and new mulch, and to view adjacent plants as suspects in harboring these nuisance insects. Adjacent plants should also be part of a homeowner’s maintenance plan.


Lawn Care and Repair

Consumers see in-the-know gardeners repairing worn-out lawns by thatching or using the core aeration method to improve lawn conditions. Reseeding is a favorite activity in the fall, but many new homeowners don’t understand what they truly need to be successful. 

Evaluate your specific region as to what you would recommend to customers with regard to grass seed varieties. These may either be a "blend", which is the same type of grass seed using different varieties or a "mixture" using different types of grass seed. Emphasize good seed-to-soil contact for best results. The favorable conditions of fall weather makes it the BEST time to establish a great lawn. 


This Month's Featured Products



Lebanon Fall Lawn Food with Green Smart 5M Bag
No 80350021

Buy Now

Lebanon Fall Lawn Food with Green Smart 15M Bag
No 80350022

Buy Now

Jonathan Green Shady Nooks Grass Seed 1 lb Bag
No 81430044

Buy Now

Jonathan Green Shady Nooks Grass Seed 3 lb Bag
No 81430045

Buy Now

Jonathan Green Fall Magic Grass Seed 3 lb Bag
No 81430033

Buy Now

Jonathan Green Fall Magic Grass Seed 7 lb Bag
No 81430034

Buy Now

Jonathan Green Fall Magic Grass Seed 25 lb Bag
No 81430035

Buy Now

Bond 24" Steel Springback Rake
No 80340028

Buy Now

Solo 2 Gallon Tank Sprayer
No 81140005

Buy Now

Solo 3 Gallon Tank Sprayer
No 81140006

Buy Now

Bonide 15oz Wasp & Hornet Water Base Foam
No 80100128

Buy Now

Bonide Mouse Magic 4 pk
No 80100153

Buy Now

American Deer Proofing Deer & Rabbit Repellent 32 oz RTU
No 81030001

Buy Now

American Deer Proofing Deer & Rabbit Repellent 1 Gal RTU w/Sprayer
No 81030002

Buy Now

American Deer Proofing Deer & Rabbit Repellent 32 oz Concentrate
No 81030003

Buy Now

American Deer Proofing Deer & Rabbit Repellent Gal Concentrate
No 81030005

Buy Now







Learn Not to Burn

         





Weeds, excessive rainfall, disease, insects, drought and the long, hot days of summer are here. Their arrival this year was a collaborative effort starting in July. While in-store traffic may decline for planting, the intensity and frequency of customers with gardening issues increases almost hourly.

Solution selling is one of the most demanding services we provide for our customers. Today’s consumer has many more avenues of information at their fingertips by using smartphones and other mobile devices, but many still turn to the local professional just to be sure. If we solve issues successfully, we’re usually rewarded by selling a remedy on the spot or making a future sale with the client who, by the way, came to your store for help.

The Art of Conversation

Many store owners (and personnel) will admit that they’re constantly upgrading their product knowledge and training to keep up with the newest chemical technologies and product solutions. If you have a friendly personality, the type that gravitates toward the customer and not away from them, your chances of selling successfully and retaining that customer in the future goes up drastically.

Developing good interrogation practices helps to solve problems accurately and narrow the many choices at the shelf to ensure success. It takes a lot of practice (and courage) to ask simple questions, listen for symptoms and, in some instances, properly examine a sample of the problem. Listening and communicating current issues with staff and ownership helps to identify recurring problems and offer a consistent solution. This can’t be accomplished by ignoring customers even during the hottest of days.

The Answer at the Shelf

Today’s chemistry selections have changed to provide safe and effective ways to treat problems in the home and garden. Gone are the rows and rows of a product with the same ingredient, but in a different bottle label. These selections have been replaced by a more “globalized” effort that mimics a “one product fits all” strategy. Manufacturers have to pay huge sums of money to develop new chemistry and for every label produced, it costs more money. Granted, there are still specific chemicals that do the trick for specific problems, so you’ll need to identify and train accordingly. It takes time to master, and it’s worth sharing your knowledge with associates and customers alike.

Beat the Heat

Just as important as reading the label correctly and following instructions, is the need to stock and sell quality products that can be sold and used when temperatures soar. Many years ago, most chemical solutions had some type of oil-based ingredient that would literally cook a leaf’s surface after application. More issues were created because consumers wouldn’t read the label or apply common sense when using the product. We must offer options. Much of the changes in chemistry have come by the way of organics and water-based technology. Spraying isn’t the only option either; more products now offer a “drench” method for application. If you’re unsure of what you’re stocking, take a look at these labels and note the restrictions they may have in their label directions.

Whenever temperatures are taking a toll on plants, think about the cause and effect of spraying anything, including water, when the hot sun is out. Early morning or early evening are the best times to treat for disease or insects. If home gardeners can offer their plants a drink well in advance of a spray application, it may do wonders in making a solution work better. You may also recommend a garden dust for waterless treatments against insects and disease.

When All Else Fails

Several great mobile apps can offer assistance and make the process easier, too. Bonide makes one of the very best mobile problem solvers our industry has seen. If you don’t have this installed on your phone, I highly recommend you take the time to download and investigate. You won’t be disappointed.

Your local county agriculture service is also one of the best ways to inform you and your team of any local issues. They may also have an auto-generated e-mail service for special bulletins, problems and solutions specific to your region. Our GGSPro team relies on these alerts for updating our recommendations, too! Last but not least, look at the label of the product itself. Many manufacturers provide a toll-free number (and/or website) to contact them directly. Their customer service professionals are available to help you by phone quickly during your business hours. 

This Month's Featured Products


Solo 2gal Pressure Sprayer
No 81140005

Buy Now

Solo 3gal Pressure Sprayer
No 81140006

Buy Now

Bonide BurnOut Weed & Grass Killer Concentrate Quart
No 80100792

Buy Now

Bonide BurnOut Weed & Grass Killer RTU Quart
No 80100795

Buy Now

Bonide Copper Dust Bordo 1lb
No 80100034

Buy Now

Bonide Copper Dust Bordo 4lb
No 80100611

Buy Now

Bonide Liquid Copper Concentrate Pint
No 80100141

Buy Now

Bonide Copper Fungicide RTU Quart
No 80100139

Buy Now

Bonide Garden Dust 10oz
No 80100145

Buy Now

Bonide Garden Dust 1lb
No 80100146

Buy Now

Bonide Garden Dust 4lb
No 80100644

Buy Now

Bonide Infuse Concentrate Pint
No 80100053

Buy Now

Bonide Diatomaceous Earth 5lb
No 80100711

Buy Now

Safer 32 Oz RTU Garden Fungicide Flower Fruit and Vegetable
No 80190005

Buy Now

Monterey Fruit Tree and Vegetable Systemic Soil Drench
No 80820060

Buy Now




Quenching a Thirst

         





This year’s weather has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride in terms of extreme conditions across the country. With two heat waves (three consecutive days at 90 degrees or above) already in the books, the planting season becomes a challenge to fortify moisture requirements in the garden. Plants still struggle with moisture uptake until root systems have expanded. Some telling signs give you somewhat limited time for solutions.

Trees and Plants Look Droopy

Nothing would bug me more than to see a beautiful dogwood tree in bloom in spring and seeing defoliation of leaves during the onset of warm weather. Properties with a lot of clay soil push the limits on root development over the years. As trees mature and push new growth, the slightest drought and heat combine to dry up the top portions of trees that do not have sufficient root structure. Moisture uptake is limited to the most accessible branches along the way up the trunk. Fully mature trees hit the proverbial “brick wall” especially if planted curbside along paved roadways, where temperature extremes are the highest. If no disease is observed, how do we initiate better health for the tree (or plant) and expand the root system?

Plants Need Food, Water, Protection

Most consumers tend to neglect our landscape and, especially, trees. “Plant it and forget it” is a common practice until the tree becomes brittle or loses it leaves completely. Food or some nutritional uptake is recommended throughout the years to help stimulate root systems and expand capillary roots to support and sustain growth. This may come in the form of rich organic supplements, well-composted amendments or typical fertilizers available in many delivery types: spike, granular, water-soluble and time-release.

Common practice tells us to feed any plant according to the directions on the label. A tip from the owner of Neptune’s Harvest suggested a drink of their fish fertilizer soaked around the drip line of my droopy dogwood tree. I’m proud to report that this tree just short of shovel pruning two years ago, is now showing lush new growth and vitality by producing new branches ever since that application was made. Thanks, Sandy! What kind of tips and tricks can you share with your customers?

Watering may become a regular gardening task during drought-induced weather patterns. A great convenience product for watering trees comes from the design of the slow drip-emitting water bag. Filled with water and placed at the base of the tree root ball, a small but steady drip of water comes from the bag to offer some relief for water uptake needs. Dewitt’s Dew Right irrigation bag is one we stock at Griffin. Another method to consider is the use of Dramm’s Colorstorm Tree Soaker Ring, which screws easily onto a water hose. Mulching can also play an important part in protecting the surface surrounding the tree trunk to stay cooler (and wetter) for longer periods of time. Advise your customers to be careful to not mound mulch up the trunk of their trees. Too much mulch, too high up can be suffocating to a tree.

The Lazy Days of Summer

Many foundation plants, including flowers, take a beating over time without sufficient water. With busy schedules, an easy way to provide an ample water source is to connect a weeping-type soaker hose to a Gilmour automatic electronic water timer, connected to an available outdoor faucet. These timers are programmable for up to 6 hours of run time and are sold in both single- and double-outlet types. The soaker hoses have long been a favorite of gardeners and are constructed of recycled rubber tire materials compressed to reduce evaporation and water waste. These can be placed above ground or below ground to suit any garden application. The 50 ft. Weep & Soak hose from Flexon and the 50 ft. Colorstorm Premium Soaker hose from Dramm are top-sellers for quality and construction. Both are made in the USA, too!

Hydrangeas are commonly affected by intense heat and lack of water. Your recommendation for a watering solution may pay dividends for your sales throughout the remainder of the planting season.

Protection Part II

One tip that’s rarely discussed is to use only watering hoses that are designated for drinking water use for children (and adults, too!). It’s easy for kids to grab a water hose and take a quick drink of water without knowing the dangers of nasty hidden microbes inside. Studies have shown that water taken through traditional garden hoses may contain up to ten times the amount of lead as water from the kitchen tap!

There are numerous reasons why camper, boat and RV hoses are a bit more expensive than traditional types. These hoses are manufactured without toxic chemicals and are lead-free. We’ve heard in the news about Bisphenal A (or BPA) present in water bottles and how heat and temperatures release these plasticizers into the water itself. These plastic hardeners are under more scrutiny since these studies surfaced over 40 years ago. Many baby bottles, sippy cups and drinking containers are BPA-free these days. Use a hose designed for drinking water safety!

Relax and Enjoy

Griffin has several items that can take the edge off a hot summer day whether it’s on the front porch, backyard patio, deck, beach or pool. Panacea Products makes a very nice spiral beverage stake in two sizes including one that a standard Mason jar would fit into. Another must-have for your customers’ enjoyment is the Behrens galvanized oval tub, just waiting to be filled with ice and your beverage of choice. Sit back, relax and quench yourthirst! Cheers!


This Month's Featured Products


Dramm ColorStorm 5/8' x 50' Soaker Hose
No 80170054

Buy Now

Dramm ColorStorm 10' Tree Soaker Ring
No 80170059

Buy Now

Dramm ColorStorm 5' Tree Soaker Ring
No 80170058

Buy Now

Flexon 1/2" X 50' Weep & Soak Black Soaker Hose
No 80560052

Buy Now

Gilmour Electronic Dual Outlet Timer
No 80150475

Buy Now

Gilmour Electronic Single Outlet Timer
No 80150474

Buy Now

Neptunes Harvest 18 OZ Hydrolized Fish
No 80120001

Buy Now

Neptunes Harvest 36 OZ Hydrolized Fish
No 80120002

Buy Now

Neptunes Harvest 1 GAL Hydrolized Fish
No 80120003

Buy Now

Dewitt Dew Right Tree Water Bags
No 80010042

Buy Now

Natural Innovations Surreal Birch Cooler
No 81410027

Buy Now

Natural Innovations Surreal Oak Cooler
No 81410026

Buy Now

Panacea 36" Beverage Spiral Stakes Assorted Colors
No 80160859

Buy Now

Panacea Mason Jar Yard Stake Rust
No 80160988

Buy Now

Behrens 4 Gallon Hot Dipped Steel Oval Tub
No 80770020

Buy Now

Behrens 7.5 Gallon Hot Dipped Steel Oval Tub
No 80770022

Buy Now




A Salute to Freedom

         





There’s no way I can begin any tip with the word “freedom” without thinking of the many sacrifices made in protecting our country, which is the greatest in the world. Thank you to those soldiers and public servants of the past, present and future for allowing us to be the home of the free and the brave.

Being patriotic isn’t just about flying a flag on designated holidays. It’s about recognizing and remembering all who defend and uphold the freedoms of our great nation. The flag serves as a reminder that we have freedom of choice and it should never be taken for granted. Fly your flag proudly!

Another Type of Freedom

When it comes to freedoms in the gardening world, we’ve come a long way. We never used to think twice about the inefficiency in our gardening practices or the toxicity of our go-to chemistries. Over the past 20 years, research and technology have led to many fantastic improvements we didn’t even know we needed: plant genetics with natural disease resistance, grass varieties that require less maintenance and alternative chemistries that are safe and effective.

All of these improvements have given consumers more freedom (or time) to enjoy what they want to do a bit longer. Let’s examine how our industry has affected our freedom in the garden and home.

Freedom is Timesaving

My favorite example of time-saving freedom in the garden involves our national flower, the rose. Less than two decades ago, I needed to spray a combination of chemicals including Isotox and Funginex, and mixing a spray tank tonic to prevent diseases common to roses. This regimen was repeated weekly throughout the growing season.

Today’s consumer needs only to mix a single product in a watering can and apply around the base of the plant to protect their roses from diseases. And the routine only needs to be repeated once a month.

Even pest control in the home has changed to allow more time between sprays, effective for up to a year in some circumstances. Fertilizer may also be a one-time application with time-released nutrients lasting up to nine months in the garden.

Gardening 2.0

During the late 1970s, plant breeders focused on developing plant varieties that needed less water, less maintenance and less care. The turf grass industry has benefitted from the development of better grass varieties that require less water and less fertilizer, and offer stronger disease resistance. Turf-type tall fescues have dominated the industry and reduced the popularity of Kentucky blue grass. Some additional turf improvements include: endophyte-enhanced seeds to reduce insecticide use, coated grass seeds to speed germination while using less water, and newer, broad-spectrum insecticides that are safer than previous chemistries.

When the very first All-America Rose Selection of a “shrub” rose, Bonica, was introduced in 1987 by Conard-Pyle (now owned by Ball Horticultural Company), nobody predicted its impact would forever change the rose world. America wanted freedom from rose care and soon the Knock Out rose was introduced. Free flowering, maintenance-free and vigorous, Knock Out roses are top-sellers in today’s garden centers.

Made in America

Time-savers exist in polymer water controls for planters, new planting media that contains mycorrhizae to quickly establish root systems and even composted materials. New technologies were developed for composting manures, so they won’t burn when used right away. Today, there are several compost options from which to choose from including chicken compost, buffalo compost and even lobster compost.

Many Americans garden during the spring and summer holidays because they have the time to do so. Here are some time-saver products that will allow your customers the freedom to do more in the garden.


This Month's Featured Products


Terro Outdoor Liquid Ant Bait Bonus 6 Pack
No 80190014

Buy Now

Bonide 10# Ant Flea & Tick Killer Granules
No 80100124

Buy Now

Bonide Household Insect Control RTU Gallon
No 80100072

Buy Now

Bonide Rose Rx Systemic Drench Concentrate Quart
No 80100150

Buy Now

Lebanon Greenview Grass Seed Turf Tall Fescue Sun Shade 5 Lb
No 80350074

Buy Now

Lebanon Greenview Grass Seed Turf Tall Fescue Sun Shade 10 Lb
No 80350075

Buy Now

Dynamite 1LB All Purpose Select 15-5-9
No 80990008

Buy Now

Dynamite 2LB All Purpose Select 15-5-9
No 80990009

Buy Now

Premier Myke Flower 0.9 US dry Quart
No 80310046

Buy Now

Healthy Grow Coop Poop 25lb Lawn & Garden Food
No 81350004

Buy Now




The Unwanted Greening of Spring: Moss

         






Spring’s first looks, following a long winter season, start with venturing out onto the lawn areas finally uncovered by the last glimpses of snow. Surveying the ground and seeing green is a welcomed sight. Or is it?

Moss is a common occurrence for many areas including lawns, sidewalks, fence lines, rooftops, siding, mulched beds and even bare ground. It grows to form a thick green mat that spreads and establishes itself by producing spores, which are spread by the wind.

Identifying and Understanding Moss Conditions

Moss thrives in many different conditions: The sun may or may not be relevant to where it can grow! Once a homeowner inspects their surroundings, they’ll likely see moss on the surfaces of many areas around the landscape and home. Consider all of the conditions that favor moss in lawn areas, including acidic soil, moist or wet soils, heavily shaded areas, poor drainage and even low soil fertility. Anywhere grass is difficult to grow and maintain is a possible area for moss to establish itself.

pH Matters

Beautiful lawns are the result of common sense, good timing and known science. Consumers may think that it begins and ends with dumping fertilizer on the lawn a few times a year to make it green and the envy of the neighborhood. Truth be told, soil pH is key in determining whether the fertilizer used is being broken down and working with the type of grass in a homeowner’s yard.

Most turf grasses like a pH in the 6.0-6.5 range, unless you live in the South and have centipede grass types, which like a slightly lower pH of 5.5. Correcting low pH in a lawn is done using lime in various types of particle sizes: pulverized, granular and pelletized. Another recommended product is from Jonathan Green, known as MAG-I-CAL, which uses a highly soluble form of calcium that helps raise pH quickly.

Solution Selling for Quick Results

Consumers are short on patience and want instant results. Moss controls are available in both granular and liquid applications from Bonide featuring their best seller, Moss Max Liquid Ready-to-Spray. This product won’t stain walkways or damage desirable plant material. It’s safe to use on decks, patios, driveways, roofs, trees and lawns. It works within hours to kill moss, and even lichens, safely.

Damage Control

Both Bonide and Jonathan Green offer moss-control granules in their lawn care lineup. These are easily applied using a lawn spreader and contain no fertilizers to force excess growth in the lawn.
Typically, lawns containing moss have another common issue: soil compaction. Without deep penetrating root systems of turf grasses, moss can readily establish on top of surfaces and not need much moisture to remain a nuisance all season long. Core aeration is recommended during the fall to break apart soil compaction and allow moisture and nutrients to break the tension in the soil surface. Using a grass seed mixture that contains Kentucky blue grass varieties helps drive additional roots that can fill in bare spots in the lawn.

If you’re treating an area that remains wet and moist with dense shade conditions, one product does an excellent job in growing grass where others fail. Jonathan Green Shady Nooks grass seed contains a variety of grass seed that excels in establishing itself in poor, moist, shady conditions. The type of seed is Poa trivialis, which is easy to grow and maintain. If you don’t have a mixture that contains this varietal type, you should plan to buy it and sell it to your customers. Another seed in the mixture is hard fescue, which grows well in dry, shaded areas.

You can tackle the toughest problems for moss control with just a few great items! Are your store shelves stocked with these solution-based products? Give them a try this season. Your customers will be happy you did!

This Month's Featured Products


Bonide Moss Max 32 oz. RTS

Bonide Moss Max 32 oz. RTS
No 80100002

Buy Now
Bonide Moss Max Lawn Ganules 6 lb. Shaker

Bonide Moss Max Lawn Ganules 6 lb. Shaker
No 80100030

Buy Now
Bonide Moss Max Lawn Granules 20lb. Bag

Bonide Moss Max Lawn Granules 20lb. Bag
No 80100125

Buy Now
Jonathan Green Shady Nooks Grass Seed 1 lb. Bag

Jonathan Green Shady Nooks Grass Seed 1 lb. Bag
No 801430044

Buy Now
Jonathan Green Shady Nooks Grass Seed 3 lb. Bag

Jonathan Green Shady Nooks Grass Seed 3 lb. Bag
No 81430045

Buy Now

Jonathan Green MAG-I-CAL Calcium Fertilizer 5M
No 81430010

Buy Now
Jonathan Green MAG-I-CAL Calcium Fertilizer 10M

Jonathan Green MAG-I-CAL Calcium Fertilizer 10M
No 81430012

Buy Now
Jonathan Green Lawn Moss Control 5M

Jonathan Green Lawn Moss Control 5M
No 81430122

Buy Now

The Wind Beneath Our Wings

         





According to the Ruby-throated Hummingbird migration map, hummingbirds have been spotted along the New England coastline since the first week of April. It’s no surprise: The weather is warming and spring is unfolding before our eyes. The calendar tells us to “think spring” and the birds know when to start breeding, too! If you’ve done some planning in February and March, you’ll soon be rewarded with birds filling up your yard with color and interesting sounds.



Welcome, Travelers!

Bird migration varies by species. Many of us have surely pinned our noses to window panes to catch (and celebrate) a glimpse of spring’s first red robin in the yard. The timing is just about right for flowers, shrubs and bulbs opening in the landscape to provide some food along their journey. For homeowners who’ve placed bird houses around their yards, they’ll likely see activity in them by now.

Birds are resourceful, using a range of materials to construct their nests. Some popular nesting materials include cloth, paper and branches to dryer lint or insulation. Consumers can help provide nesting materials simply by stringing such items onto a fence line, tree or pole. Another way to help: Place materials inside a suet cage and hang away from windows and glass to prevent injury to birds that might mistake glass for open spaces.

Preparing a Banquet

Birds need food, water and protection to live comfortably in any environment. Remind your customers to clean their existing birdfeeders, especially if they haven’t done so during the winter. Bird baths also should be cleaned and rinsed thoroughly before a refill.

Here are two popular and effective cleaning solutions you can share with your customers:


  • Combine 1 part chlorine bleach with 10 parts water, and immerse your feeder into the solution for 2-5 minutes
  • Mix up a 50/50 solution of water and white vinegar, and soak your feeder completely for 2-5 minutes

After soaking, scour or brush the feeder and then let it dry completely before re-filling. Today’s best feeder companies, like Aspects, offer a quick-clean release on the bottom of the feeder to assist in cleaning chores.

Come and Get It

Different types of bird seed work best in different scenarios. Lead each customer to their best bird-seed match with a few simple questions:

  •         Which types of birds are you trying to attract?
  •         Do you need more than one feeder?
  •         How big is your wallet?

Some bird species thrive on specific types of foods. Songbirds and finches, especially goldfinch, enjoy both sunflower and Nyjer seeds best.

Placement of the feeder is also an important key on getting even the most timid of birds to explore dinner options. Many birds feed at different levels and consumers may have some success (and rewards) by positioning more than one feeder in their yards to maximize the fun.

Some bird watchers use combo feeders throughout the year to offer both bird seed in a feeder hopper and suet in a cage on either one or two ends. Recommend an all-season type of suet like suet dough cakes from Pine Tree Farms to keep the suet fresh and ready for consumption.

Vacationing Visitors

As mentioned, hummingbirds return from their winter migration and are looking for nectar-bearing flowers. These beauties dart quickly across the property, but offer a freeze frame of enjoyment when they feed by flapping their wings furiously as they hover.

Some hummingbird species are territorial. To maximize feeding and bird-watching opportunities, but minimize conflict, encourage your customers to put out multiple hummingbird feeders, positioning them on opposite sides of the residence.

One of the unique birds you may want to attract is the bluebird. They love open fields and platform feeders, and to feast on dried mealworms. You can enhance their stay by erecting bluebird houses nearby.

What’s Bugging You?

The purple martin is one of nature’s winged warriors that provide insect control throughout the summer months. These birds love to colonize together in harmony while living in multi-dwelling martin houses that are mounted on posts or poles at least 10 feet off of the ground. Each martin house includes 8-12 (or more!) compartments, in which the residence can breed and expand their families. They’re fun to watch, and can provide amusing torture for resident cats that are within eyesight of their nest.

Make It a Garden Party

Plenty of additional winged guests can add interest and enjoyment to the home and garden. Butterfly houses and butterfly feeders, staked garden fairies, whirly-gigs of birds and colorful insects, even weathervanes can provide movement in or around the garden.

Wind-driven motion is a surefire way to attract eye-catching attention and provide entertainment all season long for both young and old. Consider offering an assortment of wind chimes for those looking to bring some color and sounds to their backyards, too. Just add wind and enjoy!


This Month's Featured Products

Classic Brands Liquid Nectar 64 oz. RTU

Classic Brands Liquid Nectar 64 oz. RTU
No 81210037

Buy Now
Classic Brands Red Vintage Hummingbird Feeder

Classic Brands Red Vintage Hummingbird Feeder
No 81210029

Buy Now
Classic Brands Clear Liquid Nectar 64 oz. RTU

Classic Brands Clear Liquid Nectar 64 oz. RTU
No 81210040

Buy Now
Aspects Jewel Box Window Hummingbird Feeder

Aspects Jewel Box Window Hummingbird Feeder
No 80480003

Buy Now
Bloem Promo Bird Bath White

Bloem Promo Bird Bath White
No 80920788

Buy Now
Exhart 24 piece Windy Wing Butterflies Shelf Display

Exhart 24 piece Windy Wing Butterflies Shelf Display
No 80870052

Buy Now
Exhart 24 piece Windy Wings Hummingbird Shelf Display

Exhart 24 piece Windy Wings Hummingbird Shelf Display
No 80870939

Buy Now
Echo Valley Fairy Figurine 6 piece Set Assortment

Echo Valley Fairy Figurine 6 piece Set Assortment
No 80760144

Buy Now

The Secret to Early Spring Sales: Just Add Water

         





Plants need food, protection and, most of all, water! Wilted, moisture-deprived plants may not be the first thing that comes to mind in April, but if you experienced the intense heat from last August (one of the hottest months on record!), you’ll read on.
Our retail efforts to sell plants to consumers in spring often don’t include tips for survival or maintenance of the plant for the duration of the season. Plant labels clearly state whether the plant requires sun or shade conditions, and occasionally mention keeping the soil moist. Some flowers and plants, however, drink more than their share of water during periods of high heat! We can combat those issues, and set our customers up for long-term success, if we’re proactive sellers in early spring.

Consumers wonder why curbside trees show lavish growth and new leaves in spring only to dry up and wither later on. Knowing the conditions, the type of tree root system and its planting location, we can determine that the tree is likely growing faster than its root system can support. Once a tree fully flushes out in leaves, it requires a lot of moisture to maintain its health. When planted in clay soil, near a super-heated asphalt road surface, one can only imagine how that tree could survive! Some don’t.
The tell-tale signs of tree roots being restricted appear when root systems change direction in search of moisture, sometimes undermining sidewalks and creating surface roots. Most of the moisture is used up quickly by the lower branches and never reaches the top portions of the tree.

We’ve all experienced the temptation to cut corners when cooking up our favorite recipe, in the interest of finishing faster or maybe dirtying a few less dishes. Why would we want to cut corners on something a lot more expensive than a meal, like a tree or shrub? The most basic task of good planting success is simply adding water. This, too, can be a consumer challenge. Remember: Where there’s a consumer challenge, there’s a retailer opportunity!
The top-selling product sold at retail, besides plants of course, is bagged soil or potting media. Yet many consumers skip this important step in their purchases. And many have buyer’s remorse when they fail to keep their plants alive. Is it safe to assume that everyone knows how to plant anything these days?

Our biggest challenge in retail is to communicate what our customers need to be successful. Selling a bag of soil should be easy to do with almost every plant transaction. What’s in the bag can be the difference between success and failure. It can keep the consumer’s plant supplied with key nutrients, and help it to retain all-important moisture.

The ingredients in a media mix vary from peat, topsoil, humus, compost, coir, manure, kelp, crab or lobster shells, dried meals, castings, root stimulants and even moisture-control agents like a polymer. How do we lead our customers to the correct product?

It’s not about price. The cheapest product usually has the cheapest content. If you feel it’s enough to get the job done, then you believe we all should be driving a Fiat. It gets the job done. Instead, our motivation is to offer a soil that meets certain performance criteria.

Growers choose professional media to produce great results. Retailers should be offering (and recommending) performance and value-added potting media along with their plant and pottery selections. Unless you can successfully predict the weather, it’s best to plan ahead for water management. Sun Gro manufactures several great options for moisture-control media. The new Black Gold package label clearly states features and uses from the retail shelf. Each product has different characteristics for specific applications, making it easy to stage and sell in your store.

Today’s polymers are water-holding crystals that store hundreds of times their weight in water, releasing the water as the soil and plant demand moisture uptake. Polymers aid to reduce watering, limit transplanting shock and minimize soil compaction when used according to the label instructions. When planting directly into the soil, polymers will last several years and are a favorite of landscape professionals.

You may offer your customers a variety of polymer products from granules, pouches, spikes, mats, infused soil mixtures (sold with and without fertilizers) and mycorrhizae, too! The leading manufacturer is JRM Chemical, which sells Soil Moist brand products. If you’ve ever experienced a drought before, you’ll appreciate the value of teaching consumers to plan ahead at the time of planting their flowers, roses, trees and shrubs.

If your customers are starved for time and can’t water their baskets, window boxes and containers, a premium potting soil with these moisture-retentive crystals or premium coir should stand proudly in your pottery department as a recommendation to be used at the time of planting. Your simple store sign of “We Recommend” should create more selling opportunities at a higher ticket than you may realize.

Don’t wait to promote good planting success until the summer heat arrives. It’s just a matter of time before it’s too late: Plant me correctly now, or pay to plant me again later.

This Month's Featured Products


Soil Moist 1 lb.

Soil Moist 1 lb.
No 80040001

Buy Now
Soil Moist 3 lb.

Soil Moist 3 lb.
No 80040004

Buy Now
Soil Moist 3 oz.12 pack Display

Soil Moist 3 oz.12 pack Display
No 80040004

Buy Now
Soil Moist 3 oz. 24 pack Display

Soil Moist 3 oz. 24 pack Display
No 80040005

Buy Now
Soil Moist 8 oz.

Soil Moist 8 oz.
No 80040006

Buy Now
Espoma Organic Moisture Mix 8 Qt

Espoma Organic Moisture Mix 8 Qt
No 80030143

Buy Now
Espoma Organic Moisture Mix 1 cu. ft.

Espoma Organic Moisture Mix 1 cu. ft.
No 80030142

Buy Now
Espoma Organic Moisture Mix 2 cu. ft.

Espoma Organic Moisture Mix 2 cu. ft.
No 80030141

Buy Now
Black Gold Just Coir 2 cu. ft.

Black Gold Just Coir 2 cu. ft.
No 80320007

Buy Now
Black Gold WaterHold Cocoblend 16 qt.

Black Gold WaterHold Cocoblend 16 qt.
No 80320027

Buy Now
Black Gold WaterHold Cocoblend 2 cu. ft.

Black Gold WaterHold Cocoblend 2 cu. ft.
No 80320030

Buy Now
Black Gold Potting Soil Moisture Supreme Container Mix 8 qt.

Black Gold Potting Soil Moisture Supreme Container Mix 8 qt.
No 80320061

Buy Now
Black Gold Potting Soil Moisture Supreme Container Mix 1 cu. ft.

Black Gold Potting Soil Moisture Supreme Container Mix 1 cu. ft.
No 80320062

Buy Now
Coast of Maine Stonington Blend Grower's Mix 1.5 cu. ft.

Coast of Maine Stonington Blend Grower's Mix 1.5 cu. ft.
No 81600012

Buy Now

Show & Tell Merchandising

         


Thinking back, all of us can recall grade-school “Show & Tell” classroom assignments, which provided the opportunity to bring in a special item or share a personal experience with our classmates. Topics may have included summer vacation destinations or visits to landmarks across our great country.
Show & Tell was an exercise in showing effort, pride and preparation. It told the teacher a lot about who we were and what excited us. Let’s fast forward to today and your retail planning efforts: Are you excited about your store layout and building your displays to sell better? What story or products will you show and tell your customers this spring?

A Telling Sign
Change is a key benchmark for growing sales opportunities among national retailers. The lawn and garden industry is historically built on change. New plant genetics, new products, new colors and styles, new technology, new chemistry, new packaging, new conveniences, new opportunities, and so on. Every successful retailer knows that, in order to sell and prosper, they need to promote and, in some cases, lead by implementing change and communicating it successfully to customers. Old dogs learning new tricks are a must in retail. Change is constant. What’s happening in your store to show and tell the power of change?

A New Twist to an Old Favorite
Indoor houseplants has, sadly, been a forgotten category by many garden centers since the supermarkets found an audience and the foot traffic needed to drive impulse sales. These plant tables are staged at the appropriate time, but are often very limited in range with little or no replenishment.
Fortunately for garden centers, the path to differentiation is clear: We have an entire world of indoor plants to choose from — succulents, cacti, orchids, African violets, bonsai and even miniature foliage have emerged from a long sales slumber to show increased activity in many stores.
Success depends equally on what’s in your product offer and how you present it. Bigger isn’t necessarily better! The surge in recent years of miniature plants and fairy gardening has spawned some additional avenues for sales traffic. Terrariums, dish gardens, glassware, air plants, decorative mosses and decorative covers have all benefitted from the wholesale grower’s smaller-sized offerings.

A New Kind of Party
Remember when Tupperware parties were popular? Today, a new corporate venture called PlantNite (www.plantnite.com) brings a unique plant-party atmosphere to consumers, with build-your-own terrarium events at local taverns, bistros and bars. Local events can be found and tickets purchased online. PlantNite events provide instructional tips and all the materials needed for the do-it-yourself attendee, at a healthy cost to participate.
Whoever thought to combine plants with consumers’ favorite “beverage of choice” goes to the head of the class! These parties build awareness within the community and create a fun, relaxed experience that sells more product! Think of the possibilities for your store.

A New Discovery
For retailers and consumers alike, the doldrums of winter are immediately warmed by the first colors of spring. For those who can’t wait to turn the calendar page, try featuring a single plant species in a mass display setting complete with complementary pot choices, recommended potting soils, watering options and plant-specific foods. Arrange plants in blocks of color at various heights on the table or bench for increasing shelf appeal and to entice customers from a distance.
The most popular impulse plants for pre-spring are orchids, and timing is also good for promoting sales for upcoming Easter and Mother’s Day. All that’s missing is your signage telling the story behind what’s shown on the table. What’s new? What’s unique? Is there a local orchid society located nearby? If you have a team member who’s passionate about these specific plants (or the resident expert), empower them to Show & Tell their story!

A-List Retailing
By showing your customers colorful vertical displays, identifying new and unique plant varieties, suggesting additional products at the point of decision AND communicating your professional plant care tips, it won’t take long for the word to spread. Customers will seeyour efforts and reward you with more of their business. Change is good for retailing, whatever you’re selling!

This Month's Featured Products


Espoma 4 Qt African Violet Mix

Espoma 4 Qt African Violet Mix
No 80030027

Buy Now
Espoma Orchid! 1-3-1

Espoma Orchid! 1-3-1
No 80030168-419

Buy Now
Espoma Cactus! 1-2-2

Espoma Cactus! 1-2-2
No 80030166-419

Buy Now
Curtis Wagner 4

Curtis Wagner 4" Clear Vinyl Plant Saucer
No 81080025-009

Buy Now
Curtis Wagner 6

Curtis Wagner 6" Clear Vinyl Plant Saucer
No 81080027-014

Buy Now
Curtis Wagner 8

Curtis Wagner 8" Clear Vinyl Plant Saucer
No 81080029-030

Buy Now
Bonide 8oz 2% Systemic Houseplant Insect Granular

Bonide 8oz 2% Systemic Houseplant Insect Granular
No 80100043-418

Buy Now
Bonide Liquid African Violet Food 7-10-7 8oz

Bonide Liquid African Violet Food 7-10-7 8oz
No 80100797-257

Buy Now
Bonide Liquid Cactus Food 2-4-7 8oz

Bonide Liquid Cactus Food 2-4-7 8oz
No 80100798-257

Buy Now
Bonide Houseplant Liquid Food 10-10-10 8 ounce

Bonide Houseplant Liquid Food 10-10-10 8 ounce
No 80100049

Buy Now
Arcadia Orchid Pot Round A 5

Arcadia Orchid Pot Round A 5" (4 Assorted Colors) with saucer
No 80690256-642

Buy Now

On Your Mark… Get Set… Grow!


         






Seed-Starting Fun
Recently (November 2016), Scotts acquired a majority share (80%) of the indoor gardening manufacturer, AeroGrow. Projecting the growth of seed starting and capitalizing on its sales potential is something our industry is challenged to adapt to. I’m sure Scotts has also considered the continuing surge in (medicinal) cannabis grown at home in some states.
Now, I’m not suggesting turning your seed-starting area into a head shop, but a huge contingent of consumers believe that fresh veggies and all-natural herbs, grown organically, are important to healthy living. It’s trendy today—you hear it on TV and see it proclaimed in grocery stores every day! Organic produce is among the fastest-growing segments in the garden center and it’s now winning over “do it for me” buyers, especially in the vegetable and herb segments.

A makeover in this department can bring you more than just sales on seed packets. You have the power to create a mindset that keeps them coming back for more in the years to come! A small selection of hydroponic options may be just the beginning of new selling opportunities.


The Race Begins
Which competing retailers in your area offer the most complete seed-starting departments? Do they advertise in print or use social media? Are they stocked with a large variety of seed packets, multiple ways to get started, and all the newest products to get them in the door? Or might this be a good opportunity to expand your department?

Buzzwords like hydroponic kits, LED lighting, non-GMO seeds, coir pellets, and new OMRI-listed fertilizers and soils should be targeted in your store, to help you differentiate from the big-box chains.

It’s also a great time to place callout signs highlighting new products for 2017 in your department. The word “new” continues to pique the interest of consumers who seek greater success through better products and seed varieties. Promoting new products is also a way to secure sales before the consumer sees a featured product somewhere else.

Positioning Improves Seed Packet Sales

Traditionally, the very first 15-25 percent of the right-side entrance into a store is utilized as the “seasonal flex” display, featuring timely products and merchandising that will capture consumer interest to slow them down upon entry into the store. This area is a first choice to promote seed starting, early-spring bulbs, and even Valentine’s Day, St. Paddy’s Day and Easter products as the calendar dictates.

If your store has the capacity to align seed racks along wall perimeters, do it— that approach has been proven to yield higher retail sales versus walk-around or spinner racks. Consumers faced with a “hide and seek” hunt for seed packs can quickly become fatigued or frustrated in their search.
When displaying by selection, it is best to categorize your seed packets by known type: Annuals for Sun, Annuals for Shade, Perennials, Vegetables, Tomatoes, Herbs, All-America Selections and New Varieties. Mount bright, colorful signs above these racks to help consumers connect quickly, and from a distance.
Positioning your seed-packet display in a visible area, away from congestion highways and entrances/exits, is another route to increased sales. Moving these products away from cold winter air and into warmer, more comfortable spot also helps. These moves allow consumers to feel more at ease, and encourage them to linger while they read packet information and consider purchasing decisions.
Create an even better shopping experience with seamless transitional wood flooring or an area of carpeting to soften sounds. Eliminate tripping hazards and remove high-level obstacles to improve sightlines, too!

Completing the Sale
The very best seed departments provide a complete center of complementary products to make the project (and extra sales) easy. Wall displays of seed racks are often placed slightly higher above gondola base shelves to offer space to merchandise seed-starting kits, seed trays, seed-starting soils, bulk and packaged pots in popular sizes, gloves, humidity domes, misting bottles, PH test kits, lime, plant labels, and planting amendments including water-soluble fertilizers. If these items can’t be positioned together, make sure they’re the first adjacencies on shelves near your main seed-packet display.
Of course, fine-tuning is needed from time to time. You may recognize a change is needed when your customers repeatedly ask for an item you don’t currently offer. Don’t miss out on opportunities to be the best merchant for seed starting. Your first impressions, excitement and colorful visual impact can provide an experience for returning customers all year long, and year after year.

This Month's Featured Products




Coast of Maine
Sprout Island
Organic Seed Starter
81600029-558

Buy Now

HC Companies
Greenhouse Seed
Starter Kit - 36 Cell
No. 80281087-326

Buy Now

HC Companies
Greenhouse
Seed Starter Kit - 72 Cell
No. 80281086-413

Buy Now

Cow Pots®
3" Round Pots
No. 81450002-300

Buy Now

Cow Pots®
3" Square Pots
No. 81450001-288

Buy Now


IN(the)DOOR Houseplant Care

         


IN(the)DOOR Houseplant Care

Looking for an upward trend to start your new year with excitement? Look no further than indoor houseplants. Specifically, mini plants. Miniature plants are in, in a big way! They’re surging in popularity at retail in all forms—succulents, mini orchids, cyclamen, kalanchoes, gerberas, mini roses and more. It’s also one of the fastest growing segments for gift giving.
The fun of mini plants is accessible to everyone, novices and skilled green thumbs alike. Are you prepared to help your customer be successful with their new purchase when they get home and in the door?

Need-to-Know Care Instructions
Plant tags have improved considerably over the last 10 years or so, communicating plant-care basics much more clearly than they did in the past. Often, tags help a consumer understand the optimum conditions for their new plant (e.g., sun, shade or filtered sun) along with important guidance on watering. Watering direction may be the single most important component to plant survival: Underwatering a plant, especially indoors when the heat is turned up, takes a toll on plant health.
At times, however, tagging isn’t always available or isn’t noticed by the consumer. Be sure to supplement or reinforce variety-specific plant care information with in-store signage. Short bullet points are best, and legibility is key: signage should be easy to read from 4-6 feet away. Long-winded instructions are difficult to remember, and fine print is both challenging to read and easy to overlook. For consistency, have the same person write the messages on all of your plant-care signage.
If you have the resources, print on moisture-resistant cardstock to keep your signage looking great for a long time. Lamination is another option to block moisture.

Subtle Suggestions
Progressive retailers will position relevant products (i.e., plant foods) near the plant varieties at the point of decision, the plant bench. Products to feed and water their purchases should be close by. The proximity subtly encourages consumers to make a pairing that will enhance their success as well as your bottom line.
The most common objection to this strategy is that product packaging gets shop-worn or fatigued and, ultimately, thrown away or used in-store. There are ways to combat this in any greenhouse or store table. A display prop like a brightly painted crate that’s topped with a sheet of Plexiglas or polycarbonate can easily be placed with the plants to protect products from errant watering.
Another key selling addition is to stage a vinyl saucer display along return paths from the greenhouse to the registers. It’s another easy way to increase ticket sales!

The Newest Diets

The plant-fertilizer category for houseplants has undergone huge changes in packaging and product selection. Even the largest manufacturers in our industry can’t resist entering the mix. Espoma and Bonide have recently joined the race for shelf dominance with new houseplant foods and remedies. They’ve created moisture-proof, off-shelf displays; colorful, water-resistant packaging; easy-to-read labels and even unique chemistry. Espoma has developed organic indoor foods that contain natural proteins and beneficial microbes while minimizing salt build up. Jobe’s and Nature’s Source have also developed an organic water-soluble fertilizer product that’s OMRI-listed and is a unique performance alternative. With the continued emphasis of fresh, organic, and natural in marketing efforts, these products are welcomed additions to time-tested favorites like Jack’s Classic and Schultz. Take the time to explore new opportunities with indoor houseplants and keep in mind the four “P’s” for a great product launch: performance, package, promotion and placement!

This Month's Featured Products




EspomaIndoor! 2-2-2

Espoma
Indoor! 2-2-2
No. 80030165-419

Buy Now
EspomaViolet! 1-3-1

Espoma
Violet! 1-3-1
No. 80030167-419

Buy Now
Jobe’s Organics®Vegetable & Tomato 3-1-2 Water Soluble Fertilizer

Jobe’s Organics®
Vegetable & Tomato 3-1-2
Water Soluble Fertilizer
No. 80180327-655

Buy Now
Jobe’s Organics® Orchid 6-1-1 Water Soluble Fertilizer

Jobe’s Organics®
Orchid 6-1-1
Water Soluble Fertilizer
No. 80180331-392

Buy Now
Jack's Classic Houseplant Special 15-30-15

Jack's Classic
Houseplant Special 15-30-15
No. 80060007-425

Buy Now
Nature's Source Organic Plant Food 3-1-1

Nature's Source
Organic Plant Food 3-1-1
No. 80610010-875

Buy Now
Bonide Liquid African Violet Plant Food

Bonide
Liquid African Violet Plant Food
No. 80100797-257

Buy Now
Bonide Liquid Cactus Plant Food

Bonide
Liquid Cactus Plant Food
No. 80100798-257

Buy Now

Special Tweet: Dinner is Served!





When it’s finally too cold and/or snowy to go outside, winter still holds fantastic entertainment value in the form of wild birds. Turn your customers on to the delightful sights and sounds a wild-bird feeder can provide outside their window at home! With a bit of planning, nature can provide an enticing visual display and soothing soundtrack to take the edge off a chilly day for young and old alike.

Setting the table
Wild birds have three necessities for survival: food, water and protection. Consumers can assist them by providing extra food and water options at or near their homes.

Birding experts recommend that feeders be cleaned regularly to prevent diseases that are common among birds throughout the year. Some of the leading feeder manufacturers offer models with removable tops and/or bottoms for cleaning convenience. One of the best, Aspects, has a top-quality feeder that offers all the best features and a lifetime warranty.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology recommends feeders be cleaned every two weeks. Your customers don’t have to feel intimidated; let them know it’s easy to do:
  • Simply remove the feeder and soak in warm, soapy water.
  • Using rubber gloves, brush crevices and perches with a bristle brush. 
  • Mix a solution of one part household bleach and nine parts tap water, and pour it over the feeder to disinfect.
  • Allow the feeder to dry completely and refill with fresh, clean seed.


Placement
Most folks instinctively want to place bird feeders near their windows; educate your customers on how to lessen the risk of birds flying into clear window panes. Here are a couple of tips you can offer:
  • Apply some reflective tape on glass surfaces, or hang CD discs to break up birds’ sight lines
  • Position feeders within three feet of your home; doing so offers some good views and lessens the birds’ takeoff speed to impact with glass



Different bird species feed where they feel most comfortable. The most common way to hang a feeder is by suspending by a hook from a tree branch. The security of a tree is a huge benefit for birds from predators like cats and hawks. Surrounding shrubs can also offer protection and security. Many avid bird watchers use multiple feeders and foods to attract the greatest variety of bird species. These should be placed at various levels for best results.

What’s on the menu?
Birds require more protein and fat in their winter diets to maintain warmth and energy levels. The most commonly sold fuel for birds is black oil sunflower seed. Meaty seed offerings provide some oil content and lots of protein. Lyric Delight is a hullfree, waste-free bird food that features a mixture of five high-quality seeds and nuts like pumpkin seed, pecan pieces, sunflower hearts, pistachio chunks and shelled peanuts. These meatier seeds are fantastic for wild birds in winter! Another solid favorite is Coles Special Feeder food. It features a mixture of black oil sunflower, sunflower meats, striped sunflower, raw peanuts, pecans and safflower.

You may also consider stocking another homeowner favorite -- suet -- to your bird-feed assortment. Pine Tree Farms is a New York-based company that offers some of the finest suet products available. High quality seeds, grains, peanuts and their time-tested rendered beef kidney-fat formula, make their selections unmatched in variety and a consumer favorite.

Party crashers and unwanted guests
We’ve all experienced unexpected guests to arrive for dinner at some point in our lives.
The common gray squirrel is one of the busiest creatures during the fall, gathering acorns and other foods, and burying them everywhere imaginable. Yet, they’re still drawn to bird feeders like a magnet. Thankfully, you can offer several alternatives for customers who didn’t invite squirrels to their backyard party.

Squirrel baffles are worthy complements to any feeder offering; styles exist for mounting both above and below bird feeders. Squirrel-proof feeders are another option for consumers. Brome is a splendid manufacturer of great squirrelproof feeders and a top choice of consumers nationwide.

Pepper-coated feeds turn up the heat for squirrels, but they won’t bother the birds. Cole’s offers three outstanding foods like Hot Meats, Cajun Cardinal and Blazing Hot Blend, all of which offer a 100% natural and chemical-free liquid habanero chili pepper coating to spice things up a bit.

Eat, drink and feel merry
Wild birds occasionally have some difficulty sourcing water when outdoor temperatures turn truly frigid. Help your customers keep a steady flow of feathered friends by offering small water heater elements to install in their bird baths. Another unique item is the antique-looking Mason Jar Wild Bird Waterer from Perky Pet. The birds will appreciate the steady and easy access to fresh liquid refreshment!

Stock up and save promotion
Restock or expand your wild-bird department with these great products from Griffin, now available at special prices to help you heat up your sales during the cool season!



Quick-Clean Tubular Feeders


Offers a simple solution to keeping feeders clean. Convenient removable base without the need of tools even with   seed tray attached. Constructed of heavyduty zinc die cast components, UV stabilized polycarbonate tube, and stainless steel hardware. Small 3⁄4 qt. cap, Medium 11⁄4 qt. cap, Large 13⁄4 qt. cap.
AB - Antique Brass
S - Spruce
BN - Brushed Nickel

Item # Desc UPC Vendor CS/UOS Retail
80480043-2049 Small AB 026451123945 394 6/1 $34.49
80480044-2484 Medium AB 026451123952 395 6/1 $41.49
80480056-2484 Medium S 026451124249 424 6/1 $41.49
80480037-2111 Small BN 026451123914 391 6/1 $35.49
80480038-2608 Medium BN 026451123921 392 6/1 $43.49
80480039-3229 Large BN 026451123938 393 6/1 $53.99

Squirrel-X1


The X1, squirrel-proof bird feeder, features a metal sliding sleeve that closes all ports simultaneously when a squirrel's weight is applied to any perch or the roof.
Item # Desc UPC Vendor CS/UOS Retail
81210001-2381 4.2 lb. 815562011100 11 4/1 $39.99

Special Feeder™


This unique mix is a high energy treat for many birds. Cole's most popular blend because it attracts the greatest number of wild birds than any other mix out there. Plus woodpeckers absolutely love the pecans.
Item # Desc UPC Vendor CS/UOS Retail
80370005-713 5 lb. 751478100333 SF05 6/6 $10.99
80370006-1348 10 lb. 751478100340 SF10 4/4 $19.99
80370007-2532 20 lb. 751478100357 SF20 2/2 $37.99

Blazing Hot Blend™


100% all natural, chemical free way to increase the number of birds visiting your feeder. It combines a patented habanero chili oil formula with the most preferred seeds of backyard songbirds. Woodpeckers, grosbeaks, buntings, cardinals, chickadees, bluebirds, gold finches, and more find this mix irresistible.
Item # Desc UPC Vendor CS/UOS Retail
80370051-870 5 lb. 751478102535 BH05 6/6 $12.99
80370052-1662 10 lb. 751478102542 BH10 4/4 $24.99

Squirrel Buster Classic™


The Squirrel Buster Classic feeder is guaranteed squirrel proof! Clinging and perching birds have easy access to the food ports that are aligned with the wire shroud. Dismantles for easy cleaning.
Item # Desc UPC Vendor CS/UOS Retail
80430002-3328 1.4 qt. 628209010158 1015 2/1 $55.49

Delite High Protein Wild Bird Mix


Many people are reluctant to feed wild birds during the warm months because the bird seed germinates and causes weeds. Bird food shells make decks, patios and lawns unsightly. This mix is waste-free, messfree and weed-free. It's also a great value, because you don�t pay for the shells. Ingredients: Shelled Peanuts, Sunfl ower Kernels, Pecans, Pistachios, and Shelled Pumpkin Seeds.
Item # Desc UPC Vendor CS/UOS Retail
80350149-834 5 lb. 088685190674 26-47403 8/8 $13.99
80350150-2915 20 lb. 088685472916 26-47407 100/1 $48.99

Birdwatchers Best - Nutty Butter Suet


Ingredients: Rendered Beef Suet, Fine Cracked Corn, Chopped Peanuts.
Item # Desc UPC Vendor CS/UOS Retail
80450024-099 11 oz. 748884020126 2012 12/12 $1.79

Birdwatchers Best - Superior Blend Suet


Ingredients: Rendered Beef Suet, Fine Cracked Corn, White Millet, Chopped Peanuts.
Item # Desc UPC Vendor CS/UOS Retail

Seed & Suet Cake Hanging Feeders


Holds large and small suet and seed cakes. Made with vinyl coated wire.
Large: 8.25" x 3" x 7"
Small: 5" x 4.75" x 1.75"
Item # Desc UPC Vendor CS/UOS Retail
80450088-450 12 oz. (Lg.) 748884014514 1451 12/12 $7.49
80450089-142 8 oz. (Sm.) 748884014552 1455 8/8 $2.49

Mason Jar Wild Bird Waterer


Offers fresh, clean water to attract a larger variety of birds while adding a rustic look to any bird lover's yard. The blue color of this bottle is reminiscent of vintage blue glass canning jars used in the 1800's.
Item # Desc UPC Vendor CS/UOS Retail
80191103-1223 1 qt. cap. 078978515079 783 2/2 $20.49

Going Green Deluxe Bamboo Feeders


Built with naturally durable bamboo. Resistant to weather, squirrels, and insects. Removable powder coated metal screen for drainage and easy cleaning. Hinged roof for easy filling. Environmentally friendly and an ultimate renewable resource.
Item # Desc UPC Vendor CS/UOS Retail
80440260-1931 No Cages 047977011073 RANCHB1 4/4 $32.49
80440261-2574 Suet Cages 047977011080 RANCHB2 2/2 $42.99

Promo Bird Bath


This durable bird bath is 25" high and the bowl is 17" in diameter. Two piece construction allows for top fill of sand or gravel for added weight. Comes with 3 set screws.
Item # Desc UPC Vendor CS/UOS Retail
80920788-982 White 811214020773 270-10 6/6 $16.49
80920789-982 Peppercorn 811214020780 270-60 6/6 $16.49


A Different Kind of Protection: Moisture Control


At this point in the year, fall bulbs should be at the ready, with soil turned and prepared for planting. But wait, there’s one additional step to ensure spring plants survive and bloom. Moisture control is something we don’t typically think about before winter, but readily see the need once spring arrives. Plants undergo tremendous extremes in many areas of the country, especially where winter winds and temperatures fluctuate.

The main cause of winter damage to trees and shrubs is through desiccation, or drying out. When the ground freezes, plant roots are unable to take up water from the soil, so they quickly begin to use up all the water stored in their leaves and stems. Plants that don’t drop their leaves or needles are vulnerable to this condition. Summer, like the one we just experienced in 2016 with dry conditions and oppressive heat, will stress plants including their moisture uptake.

An anti-transpirant is a product that helps reduce moisture loss due to windburn, transplant shock, drought and winterkill. In regions where winter is particularly harsh, two applications are recommended in November or December, and again in February when daytime temperatures are suitable for spraying.

One of the most recognized products of this type is called Wilt-Pruf. It’s been sold commercially and nationally at retail for more than 60 years. This plant protector is an anti-transpirant that produces a film to prevent wilting. The all-natural formula is made of pine-tree resin and water. Most anti-desiccants are marketed as biodegradable, although not all are using natural ingredients. A chemical compound known as Moisturin is used in other popular treatments. It’s a polymer that binds to plants and provides a coating that protects against evaporation.

During the holiday season, many retailers stock and sell the ready-to-use formula of Wilt-Pruf to spray and treat live evergreens and garlands used for exterior decorating. In areas of the country where ball-and-burlap (live) Christmas trees are sold, consumers may elect to spray well in advance of bringing their tree indoors.

As an alternative to sprays, to protect plants from losing moisture, consumers may opt to wrap their tender plants with burlap affixed to hardwood or steel stakes surrounding their plant(s). This will cut down on winter winds that can penetrate and damage plant life. Roses are also protected by placing Warp’s Rose Collars over canes that are slightly reduced or trimmed to allow fitting close to the ground. Many rosarians will mound fresh mulch or dirt 4-5 inches above the tender bud union (the point from where the canes sprout) on the rose prior to installing rose collars or burlap protection.
Remind your retail customers to think about their moisture-protection needs before winter arrives, and teach them about its importance. Then, they can relax and read the Old Farmer’s Almanac during the winter months and start dreaming big for spring.   

This Month's Featured Products


Anti Transpirant


The safe way to reduce moisture loss when plants are under water stress due to winter kill, windburn, transplant shock and drought. Dries to form a clear and flexible protective coating. Organic, biodegradable, non-toxic and non-hazardous. Wilt-Pruf is a long-lasting (3 to 4 months) film forming polymer.
Item # Desc UPC Vendor CS/UOS Retail
80380001-950 32 oz. RTU 035951070000 WILT- PRUF 07000 12/12 $15.99
80380002-1142 16 oz. Con. 035951070079 WILT- PRUF 07007 12/12 $18.99
80380003-1867 32 oz. Con. 035951070093 WILT-PRUF 07009 12/12 $30.99
80380004-5825 1 gal. Con. 035951070116 WILT-PRUF 07011 4/4 $96.99

Bulk Hardwood Stakes


Kiln-dried for straight stakes which provides extra strength. Pencil sharpened. Ideal for trees, shrubs, vines, tomatoes and vegetables.
Item # Desc UPC Vendor CS/UOS Retail
80340080-207 2'x1/2"x1/2" 035355920062 92006 6/6 $3.49
80340080-207 3'x1/2"x1/2" 035355930061 93506 6/6 $5.49
80340082-615 4'x3/4"x3/4" 035355940060 94006 6/6 $9.99
80340083-787 5'x3/4"x3/4" 035355950069 95006 6/6 $12.99

Heavy Bamboo Stakes


Bamboo stakes are all natural, strong, lightweight, inexpensive, weather well and last several seasons in the garden. Use these stakes as plant stakes and markers, or as supports for potted plants. Comes in a retail poly bag.
Item # Desc UPC Vendor CS/UOS Retail
80340016-332 4' 035355004403 440HD 40/40 $5.49
80340020-387 5' 035355005400 540HD 40/40 $6.49
80340025-425 6' 035355006407 640HD 40/40 $6.99

Rose Collars


For winter protection of rosebushes. White color and open top reflect sun and stop heat build-up to prevent premature sprouting in spring. Snaps around rosebush base. Easy to remove and store flat so that they last for years. Three collars in a colorful display package.
Item # Desc UPC Vendor CS/UOS Retail
80240014-444 9"x12" 042351471108 RC 12/12 $7.49

Old Farmer's Almanac


Counter display. Recognized for generations by its familiar yellow cover, America's best-loved annual and oldest continuously published periodical (now in its 224th year!) promises to be useful, with a pleasant degree of humor, once again fulfilling both the mission set forth by its founder, Robert B. Thomas, and readers' expectations. This edition is packed with wit, wisdom, tips, advice, facts, fun, recipes and much more.
Item # Desc UPC Vendor CS/UOS Retail
80460001-494 2016 014021025331 1024 24/24 $6.99


Fall-filling Sales Opportunities Await!

Fall is here! Turning the calendar page to September seems to happen quickly. We look forward to the harvest, back to school, football, tailgating and, believe it or not, some more gardening. Are you ready for some very fast-paced customers? Have you proactively stocked your store with seasonal goods that will sell “fast and furious” when consumers venture in, once or twice more before Christmas?

While some retailers think of fall as the stepping stone to Christmas and holiday sales, many others consider it to be the end of the season. Time to close up shop and relax. But, for those still open for business, Griffin has many products to stock up and sell (and, of course, save using our Retail Expo show book for their immediate orders!) Spoiler alert: Your season doesn’t have to be over!

The Lawn

This year was one of the more oppressive on record for temperatures and higher humidity in many regions. The lawn took a beating with disease, weeds and slowed growth. Those homeowners who wanted to conserve on their watering (by choice or by mandate) saw their lawns dry up and go dormant. Renovation should be one area that many homeowners will to perform on their lawns in September and October.

A good place to start is by testing the pH of the soil, and adjusting acidic soils upwards with lime. Thatch build-up happens when grass dies or as a characteristic of Kentucky bluegrass-type lawns. If a customer is interested in re-seeding, advise them to consider dethatching; removing the layer of thatch ensures good seed-to-soil contact for germination success. Fertilizing the lawn in the fall helps grass establish sturdy roots and provides needed re-nourishment prior to winter.

Fall is for Planting

Fall isn’t just great for the lawn; it’s prime time for planting trees and shrubs, too! Great buys are often available on leftover stock. These plantings benefit from cooler weather; root systems can still stretch out and become well established during the run-up to winter. Newly planted trees will need a good planting medium, mulch and, likely, a tree stake kit.

Some garden centers have reduced their bulb offerings in recent years, but I encourage you to think twice before giving up on this category. Consumers still value the first signs of spring with crocus, daffodil and tulips in their yards. Your display should include planting basics like bulb food and bulb planters. Customers with dogs or other digging animals in close proximity may also require a repellant to spread across the topsoil.

Of course, the success of a customer’s new planting is only as good as his or her planting know-how. Use signage or staff near your display to educate on the basics of soil preparation, planting depth and plant care. Planting depth for bulbs, for example, is generally 2½ times the bulb’s size.

Indoor Greens

Indoor gardening through the winter continues to be on-trend, thanks to lifestyle networks like HGTV and the Cooking Channel, as well as healthy-cooking programming on other channels. Windowsill herbs, in particular, are very popular; they can also drive impulse sales. Fall is a perfect time to plant up indoor herbs and watch them develop in sunny, brightly lit areas of the home.

Some homeowners also begin bringing tropical plants into their homes at this time of year, to protect them until spring returns. Give them a hand with supplies such as dormant oil and houseplant insecticide (e.g., Merit) to prevent unwanted pests from migrating indoors, too. Supplement your product offer with tips for trimming and repotting tropicals. Fall is also prime time for houseplants, as consumers look to liven up their indoor spaces for the winter. Don’t forget to restock your vinyl saucer display and order up your trunk mat liners.

There’s still plenty of time (and daylight) for consumers to make lawn and garden purchases before winter! We should be at the ready to fulfill those needs when they come calling.

This Month's Featured Products



Scram For Dogs™


Train dogs to keep out of your garden, bushes and yard the environmentally safe, naturally organic way. This unique organic formula provides strong, natural repelling power that trains dogs to stay away from these areas around your home without harming people, pets or the environment.
Type UOS CS No. Price
3.5 lb 6 6 80580019 $10.71

Organic Seed Starter


A rich, premium blend of sphagnum peat moss, peat humus and perlite that has been enriched with Myco-tone®. For all seedling and cuttings. Promotes root growth and improves moisture retention.
Type UOS CS No. Price
16 qt. 5 120 80030097 $5.33

Fall Magic™ Mixture


A rich, premium blend of sphagnum peat moss, peat humus and perlite that has been enriched with Myco-tone®. For all seedling and cuttings. Promotes root growth and improves moisture retention.
Type UOS CS No. Price
3 lb. 15 15 81430033 $10.85
7 lb. 7 7 81430034 $24.78
25 lb. 1 1 81430035 $59.39

Winter Survival Fall Fertilizer 10-0-20

Fall and winter feeding formula keeps your lawn greener later into the year. Provides a well balanced formula, ideal for winter turf protection. Iron, sulfur and 30% slow release nitrogen help to keep the lawn a deepgreen color. A true fall/winter formula that promotes root growth and stores nutrients for the spring. Contains humates for root development. Ideal to use with a fall seeding.
Type UOS CS No. Price
5M 1 1 81430005 $13.71
15M 1 1 81430107 $34.26

Systemic Houseplant Insect Control


No odor, easy to use granules provides insect control for up to eight weeks. Contains the active ingredient imidacloprid (Merit)
Type UOS CS No. Price
8 oz. 12 12 80100043 $4.18

Spring Brace Rake


Fan-shaped head combines flexible tines with durability of metal. Stress distribution bar that prevents tines from twisting or breaking when pressed on. Coated frame and tines resist rust. 54" Long wood handle.
Type UOS CS No. Price
24" 6 12 81380048 $12.51

Trunk Liners


Protects seats and trunks from dirt and water. Printer with Guide for Plant Care & Insect Control. 33"x44", 500 sheets to a roll.
Type UOS CS No. Price
500pc 1 1 80330001 $208.00

Clear Plastic Saucers


Protects surfaces from water leaks and stains. Interior ridges keeps plant from sitting in pool of water. Keeps your plant roots healthy. Ideal for use with round planters.
Type UOS CS No. Price
4" 25 25 80340053 $0.12
5" 25 25 80340054 $0.17
6" 25 25 80340055 $0.19
7" 25 25 80340056 $0.23
8" 25 25 80340057 $0.28
10" 25 25 80340058 $0.40
12" 25 25 80340059 $0.60
14" 25 25 80340060 $0.85
17" 25 25 80340061 $1.18
21" 25 25 80340062 $2.09