Griffin’s COVID-19 Response

John's Retail Tips

For The Love of The Rose

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

Bitten by the Rose Bug

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

Our National Flower

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

Make It Easy

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

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

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

Rose Related Products


Rose Rx Systemic Drench

Rose Rx Systemic Drench
No 80100150

Buy Now

Classic Gardener's Watering Can

Classic Gardener's Watering Can
No 80250318

Buy Now

Wooden Ladder Trellis Brown

Wooden Ladder Trellis Brown
No 80161246

Buy Now

Wooden Ladder Trellis White

Wooden Ladder Trellis White
No 80161248

Buy Now

Fung-onil RTU qt.

Fung-onil RTU qt.
No 80100143

Buy Now

Fung-onil Con. Pt.

Fung-onil Con. Pt.
No 80100038

Buy Now

Fung-onil Con. Qt.

Fung-onil Con. Qt.
No 80100198

Buy Now

Rose-tone 4-3-2 4lb

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

Buy Now

Rose-tone 4-3-2 8lb

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

Buy Now

Rose-tone 4-3-2 18lb

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

Buy Now

Stonington Blend Organic Plant Food 5-2-4

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

Buy Now

Forged Aluminum Handle Bypass Pruner #2

Forged Aluminum Handle Bypass Pruner #2
No 81930004

Buy Now

Forged Aluminum Handle Bypass Pruner #6

Forged Aluminum Handle Bypass Pruner #6
No 81930005

Buy Now

Forged Aluminum Handle Bypass Pruner Angled 8.5

Forged Aluminum Handle Bypass Pruner Angled 8.5"
No 81930007

Buy Now

Cobscook Blend Garden Soil 1 CF

Cobscook Blend Garden Soil 1 CF
No 81600004

Buy Now

Cobscook Blend Garden Soil 2 CF

Cobscook Blend Garden Soil 2 CF
No 81600003

Buy Now



Printable version



Emerging Trends from Homeowners

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

Store Category Check List

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


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

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

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


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


Printable version



Spring Fever

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

Lawn Care Dilemma

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

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

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

Natural Broadleaf Weed Control

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

Starting Over

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

The Final Word

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



Great Lawn Care Products


Weed Preventer 9-0-0 25lb

Weed Preventer 9-0-0 25lb
No 80030083

Buy Now

All Season Lawn Food 9-0-0 14lb

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

Buy Now

All Season Lawn Food 9-0-0 28lb

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

Buy Now

Crabgrass Preventer and Fertilizer Granuals 5M

Crabgrass Preventer and Fertilizer Granuals 5M
No 80100109

Buy Now

Crabgrass Preventer and Fertilizer Granuals 15M

Crabgrass Preventer and Fertilizer Granuals 15M
No 80100110

Buy Now

Sun and Shade Grass Seed 3lb

Sun and Shade Grass Seed 3lb
No 80100086

Buy Now

Sun and Shade Grass Seed 7lb

Sun and Shade Grass Seed 7lb
No 80100087

Buy Now

Spring Fertilizer with Weed Control & Crabgrass Preventer 24-0-6 5M

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

Buy Now

spring Fertilizer with Weed Control & Crabgrass Preventer 24-0-6 10M

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

Buy Now

Spring Weed & Feed 9-0-0 30lb

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

Buy Now

Ringer 0% Phosphate Lawn Restore Fertilizer 25lb

Ringer 0% Phosphate Lawn Restore Fertilizer 25lb
No 80191457

Buy Now

Green-Up Lawn Food & Crabgrass Preventer 20-0-3 5M

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

Buy Now

Green-Up Lawn Food & Crabgrass Preventer 20-0-3 15M

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

Buy Now

Black and Beauty Sun and Shade 1lb

Black and Beauty Sun and Shade 1lb
No 81430048

Buy Now

Black and Beauty Sun and Shade 3lb

Black and Beauty Sun and Shade 3lb
No 81430014

Buy Now

Black and Beauty Sun and Shade 7lb

Black and Beauty Sun and Shade 7lb
No 81430050

Buy Now

Black and Beauty Sun and Shade 15lb

Black and Beauty Sun and Shade 15lb
No 81430051

Buy Now



Printable version



Under Pressure



There are very few items sold in the garden center that we go to the effort of researching into product specifications, quality, and warranty/guarantee. Consumers are attracted to unique design elements and certainly packaging and color, but are they looking beyond these? Here are specific products that are sold in the garden center that should receive consideration from owner/buyers to satisfy a growing trend in meeting a higher expectation from the purchaser on performance needs.

Bend Me, Shape Me…and Please Don’t Break

One of the more commonly sold products in our garden centers is the garden hose. It provides a way to take water from the spigot to the source or task. There are many chores from watering lawns, filling pools, washing cars, draining objects, and extending run off. Did you know that there are different types of garden hoses with a wide range of performance, sizes, and composition? The quality of the hose is usually measured by light duty, medium duty, and heavy-duty types along with a varied range of burst strengths, and temperatures. Most common garden hose failures are due to using a non-specific hose that is not intended for any and all uses under any weather condition. Attraction to only a cheaply priced hose can lead to a replacement sooner than expected by your customer. Stock and sell the best suited garden hoses (and its warranty) for your customer base and their needs. 

Beauty Beyond Skin Depth

Garden hoses are made from reinforced vinyl or rubber. Vinyl hoses have multiple layers of rubber, vinyl, and nylon reinforcement cords surrounding all components. These cord reinforcements are referred to as ply. The same type of technology used when making vehicle tires. The higher the ply of a hose, it also increases the life of the hose as well. Gilmour manufactures their premium Flexogen and Flexogen Pro hose with 8-ply construction which is among the highest in the industry! It is designed to resist scuffing, abrasion, staining and is UV protected against the sun. No surprise in that it receives a lifetime warranty for purchasers. Companies like Flexon, use high quality recycled materials in their products with warranties up to 10 years. Heat or excess temperatures degrade the integrity of strength in hoses which causes many to burst or break. Many hoses kink and shut off water supply because of this. Most all contractor and heavy-duty hoses have crush proof couplings and increased burst strengths to handle pressure. Cold weather can also break or crack many reinforced types, which is why the year-round rubber hose is a better choice. Rubber hoses can also be water saving due to its inner depth. Dramm manufactures one of the highest quality retail rubber hoses on the market with a smaller opening to reduce product fatigue and conserve water flow. Growers have come to rely on Dramm professional hose as the best in the biz! Retailers also are finding out that their clientele are buying Dramm hose for more than just its bright color, too!

Proud to Be American

Another purchasing consideration for both owner/buyer and the consumer, is where the products are manufactured. The movement of today’s news and research from consumer feedback continues to drive pressure in buying and selling American made products in our retail store environments. Make sure you identify these companies and their products at the shelf or display. Dramm and Flexon have manufactured their hose products in the USA for many years. No pressure, just satisfied customers!


Products to Consider That Involve Pressure


Premium Rubber Hose 50'

Premium Rubber Hose 50'
No 80170053

Buy Now

Premium Soaker Hose 50'

Premium Soaker Hose 50'
No 80170054

Buy Now

Tree Soaker Ring 5'

Tree Soaker Ring 5'
No 80170058

Buy Now

Tree Soaker Ring 10'

Tree Soaker Ring 10'
No 80170059

Buy Now

Forever-Flow Premium HD 50'

Forever-Flow Premium HD 50'
No 80560004

Buy Now

Forever-Flow Premium HD 100'

Forever-Flow Premium HD 100'
No 80560006

Buy Now

Aqua Coil Hose 25'

Aqua Coil Hose 25'
No 80560075

Buy Now

Aqua Coil Hose 50'

Aqua Coil Hose 50'
No 80560076

Buy Now

Spraymaster Sprayer 32 oz.

Spraymaster Sprayer 32 oz.
No 81690013

Buy Now

ComfortGEL Bypass Pruner

ComfortGEL Bypass Pruner
No 81380008

Buy Now

 LED Mini Greenhouse Kit

LED Mini Greenhouse Kit
No 81740074

Buy Now

T5HO Mini Greenhouse Kit

T5HO Mini Greenhouse Kit
No 81740075

Buy Now

LED Mini Greenhouse  Kit with light stand

LED Mini Greenhouse Kit with light stand
No 81740080

Buy Now

Light Warrior Potting Soil 1 cuft

Light Warrior Potting Soil 1 cuft
No 82000169

Buy Now

American Hand Flag 4

American Hand Flag 4"x6"
No 80360017

Buy Now

American Hand Flag 8

American Hand Flag 8"x12"
No 80360018

Buy Now

American Hand Flag 12

American Hand Flag 12"x18"
No 80360019

Buy Now



Printable version



Outdoor to Indoor Green



With temperatures finally falling and leaves are beginning to turn, there are many gardeners who have potted houseplants outside that consumers bring indoors for the winter months. Sounds easy enough, correct? However, there are some possible obstacles to defend against prior to transporting inside. Here are some seasonal tips to make these tasks successful.

Quick Inspection
Take a minute to visually look over the plant condition. Is the soil dry to the touch? Too wet? You might need to adjust the the moisture level needed for your plant. This can be done by either repotting the plant into a larger container or pot if too dry. Root bound plants tend to dry out quickly and water doesn’t necessarily absorb completely when soil is repeatedly dry.

Insects
Check the undersides of leaves for insects like spider mite, aphid, mealybug, and scale. Some of these insects are treatable with specific chemistry. If the plant is under siege by insect at this point, it is harder to control indoors. Covering the pot with a plastic bag allows you to spray the underside of the plant with a stream of water from a garden spray nozzle to loosen insect eggs and remaining bugs from the plant. If additional treatment is needed, spray your plant outdoors with a suitable houseplant insect control and make sure the plant is completely dry before bringing the plant indoors.

Disease
If you see disease on your plant leaves, take the time to carefully remove infected leaves and clean the pot of any debris remaining on the surface. Spraying with a general-purpose disease control that works both as a preventative and a curative can make a difference for the weeks ahead as the plant acclimates itself to new conditions. Bonide Revitalize and Monterey Complete Disease Control offers a high-quality remedy for just about any disease condition. 

Soil
One of the most important components for indoor houseplants is the type of potting soil you might use. You will not need to have a moisture control additive for indoor plants. Your all-purpose potting soil should allow adequate draining. Plant saucers are recommended for indoors. If transplanting a pot bound plant, soak the entire plant ball in a vessel of water to hydrate. Remove from water and allow to stand and drain. Loosen the root mass carefully around the edge. It is not recommended to remove more than 25% of the plant ball at any time. Root systems are delicate and breaking apart roots indiscriminately will reduce their water intake and possibly kill your plant. Moisten the pot after replanting to hydrate new potting soil. No fertilizer application is needed at this time. If you want added protection from fungus gnats, apply Summit Mosquito Bits to the soil surface.

Final Steps
About 30 days after transplanting, you may select a fertilizer that is made for indoor houseplants. Bonide, Espoma, and Schultz make excellent products for indoor use. Check humidity levels regularly, as once your heater goes on, moisture in the air evaporates quickly. Some plants need filtered or direct sunlight to continue growth throughout the winter months. Carefully choose a place away from a heating vent, drafty doorways or windows.  You may also supplement your lighting with an indoor light fixture, indoor rated plant light bulb, and timer. If this is too much work for you, start over with some new green. It’s going to be a long winter. 




Choose from Some Product Suggestions


Clear Plastic Saucers - Sizes available from 4

Clear Plastic Saucers - Sizes available from 4" - 12"
No 80340053

Buy Now

Mosquito Bits - 8oz

Mosquito Bits - 8oz
No 80530009

Buy Now

Mosquito Bits - 30oz

Mosquito Bits - 30oz
No 80530011

Buy Now

Revitalize Bio

Revitalize Bio
No 80100912

Buy Now

Grow! 2-2-2

Grow! 2-2-2
No 80030175

Buy Now

Syndicate Plant Mister - Sea Glass

Syndicate Plant Mister - Sea Glass
No 81510155

Buy Now

Syndicate Plant Mister - Assorted

Syndicate Plant Mister - Assorted
No 81510285

Buy Now


Syndicate Plant Mister - Clear

Syndicate Plant Mister - Clear
No 81510153

Buy Now



Printable version



Bring Home the Harvest



Enjoying the fresh picked vegetables and herbs from the garden is the ultimate feel good story of the summer, especially if sharing with friends and family. Here are some tips for the harvest to help make your garden a better place to grow.

Using the Right Tool for the Job

Our efforts throughout the spring and into the summer included feeding, watering, and possibly weeding to bring those plants to harvest. Adjusting along the way for water, temperature, and winds, it’s time to snip, pick, pull, or pluck your bounty. Using the right pruner is mostly a matter of choice. The bypass pruner does a great job of collecting the stem portion inside the curved portion of the blade and allows a clean slice through the plant tissue. Anvil pruners, with its flat surface takes a steadier hand and will compress the blade against the flat steel anvil. This method may cause the wound to take a bit longer to heal over and possibly offer disease or insects a bit more opportunity. If using the very same pruners in the garden that you are using for all your trimming needs, it would best a good practice to clean the secuteers with a solution of one-part bleach to three-parts of water by immersing into a suitable container and allowing the blades to dry thoroughly before use on vegetables and herbs. You eliminate any disease spores from transferring onto or into the plant. 

Clean Beds as You Go

In maintaining your garden, it is also a good practice to clean debris and fallen leaves from around your plants. This also helps reduce potential disease issues that might turn up as the plants slow down or feel the pressure of summer heats or growth exhaustion. It can prolong your plants ability to produce fruit, encourage leaf development and retention, while making the plant believe that its mission is still to produce and not quit. Remove competing weed growth between plants, too! This allows all of the soil moisture and fertilizer nutrients to go directly to the plant. Continue to gently tie up vines onto supports using non girdling ties that might cut through the plant stems. Winds from unexpected late summer thunderstorms can make quick work of wrecking a clustered vine of beautiful tomatoes when you least expect it. 

Inspect to Protect

Another ongoing chore is inspecting leaf surfaces for insect issues or disease before the problem gets out of hand. There are still great remedies for insect and disease control in garden dusts. The added benefit is that there is little chance to burn a plant with liquid chemistry. Before you would use a liquid solution, make sure the plant is fresh and has had adequate moisture uptake. Refrain from using any chemical with an oil base to eliminate spray burn from intense sunlight. Spray early in the morning or early in the evening after the sun has set. If you have pets and children make sure you allow the area to dry completely before re-entering the area. 

The Second Season

For those of you who enjoy gardening into the fall, as you remove plants from the spring garden, till the soil and add a non-burning soil amendment, compost, or manure which are commonly available. If you plan to feed, use a slow release organic fertilizer to offer a steady and usable nutrient source. Too much nitrogen might burn or create excessive growth. There are some great lightweight potting soils that can be added to help speed along good “seed to soil” contact for any seed germination needs. The nurseries and greenhouses from years past would offer and promote crops for October and November harvest. Broccoli, cabbage, and lettuce are still possibilities for bringing your late harvest to your dinner table. Add some herbs to the garden to make your favorite recipes aromatic and flavorful for many weeks more.




Here Are Some Great Selections For the Fall Garden


#2 Classic Swiss Style Forged Aluminum Handle Bypass Pruner

#2 Classic Swiss Style Forged Aluminum Handle Bypass Pruner
No 81930004

Buy Now

#6 Classic Swiss Style Forged Aluminum Handle Bypass Pruner

#6 Classic Swiss Style Forged Aluminum Handle Bypass Pruner
No 81930005

Buy Now

Shrub Rake

Shrub Rake
No 80340217

Buy Now

Trowel

Trowel
No 80340218

Buy Now

Culti-Hoe

Culti-Hoe
No 80340219

Buy Now

Castine Raised Bed Mix 2 CF

Castine Raised Bed Mix 2 CF
No 81600061

Buy Now

Organic Premium Vegetable & Herb Mix 16 qt.

Organic Premium Vegetable & Herb Mix 16 qt.
No 80310032

Buy Now

Organic Premium Vegetable & Herb Mix 1 CUFT

Organic Premium Vegetable & Herb Mix 1 CUFT
No 80310013

Buy Now

Organic Premium Vegetable & Herb Mix 2 CUFT

Organic Premium Vegetable & Herb Mix 2 CUFT
No 80310014

Buy Now

Sulfer Dust 1lb.

Sulfer Dust 1lb.
No 80100156

Buy Now

Sulfer Dust 4lb.

Sulfer Dust 4lb.
No 80100276

Buy Now

Garden Tone 3-4-4 4lb.

Garden Tone 3-4-4 4lb.
No 80030018

Buy Now

Garden Tone 3-4-4 8lb.

Garden Tone 3-4-4 8lb.
No 80030035

Buy Now

Garden Tone 3-4-4 36lb.

Garden Tone 3-4-4 36lb.
No 80030113

Buy Now

Dragoon Dust 4lb.

Dragoon Dust 4lb.
No 80100597

Buy Now

Green Jute Twine - 200'

Green Jute Twine - 200'
No 80340315

Buy Now

Rapiclip 16' Soft Wire Tie - Green

Rapiclip 16' Soft Wire Tie - Green
No 80140015

Buy Now

Rapiclip 16' Soft Wire Tie - Green - HD

Rapiclip 16' Soft Wire Tie - Green - HD
No 80140016

Buy Now



Printable version



Second Chance Chemistry



No matter where you live, there are times when folks apply chemicals to their lawn or garden and the results are not what they would hope to expect. Relax, it is more common than you think. Many consumers read the label incorrectly, and some don’t read them at all.  Consumers make bad choices that are convenient, even by picking the wrong time to treat. With summer weather’s uncertainty, solutions might be applied just prior to unexpected rainfall which reduce or eliminate optimum results. Here are some examples of alternatives for those customers that might need a second chance at success.


Herbicide Happy

Traditionally, most of the volume of sales on weed and grass killers is sold during the summer months and into early fall. While clover killer sales are still ringing the register, these products are sold because clover in the lawn ramps up when available nitrogen is lacking. The grassy weeds like crabgrass are gaining strength and crowding out good stands of grass if left unchecked. Most of these customers either missed their application of crabgrass pre-emergent, under applied the chemical, or have received excessive amounts of rainfall to weaken effectiveness. Newer chemistry (with active Quinclorac) has allowed consumers to use a crabgrass killer through a hose end sprayer making it more convenient for spot treating lawns versus treating every nook and cranny. Nutgrass is common during the summer as it grows faster than lawn grasses. It is a slender lighter color green with multiple leaves on the stem. A specific chemical works to kill this nuisance weed found in Bonide’s SedgeEnder product (Sulfentrazone). This selective weed killer may need a second application on recurring nutgrass during the next month. Monterey has a Nutgrass Killer II product containing Halosulfuran, which is another great alternative.

Poison Ivy Killer Isn’t Working?

One of the more interesting discussions in the chemical aisle revolve around poison ivy killers. Some chemicals like RoundUp, KleenUp, and glyphosate-based herbicides list on the label that they treat poison ivy. I would normally concur depending on the early stages of growth. Poison ivy explodes in summer and if left untreated can be very hard to eradicate in successive years. One chemical active, Triclopyr, is that second chance ingredient that takes out stubborn poison ivy. Monterey Brush & Vine has an 8.8% Triclopyr ingredient that penetrates the ivy bark and kills the plant. It may also double as a stump killer, too!

Seeing Spots

This year has been an unusually wet one in most regions. Lawns and especially plants that started spring with thick and lush growth are just beginning to slow down due to intense heat. What is hiding down under, is another issue. Roses for example, are susceptible to the disease Blackspot, which is causing defoliation on many roses right about now. This disease starts at the bottom and works its way up the plant. Even for gardeners who applied preventative disease controls, once you get this disease, it spreads quickly by wind, rain, or even splashing of spray water. You need to remove the spotted leaves from the bottom of the rose bush, clean the diseased leaves that have fallen and begin treatment with a curative chemical, Chlorothalonil, commonly known as Daconil. Bonide Fung-onil has this unique ingredient that works right away to control blackspot. Another suggestion is Monterey Consan 20 which can be used on many types of plants, roses, and even lawns to treat and control disease. The added benefit of you selling these unique chemical products in your store is that the box stores don’t stock or sell these products. Very little research is offered on how chemicals are sold at retail, but homeowners usually want you to suggest and select for them. Make sure you to mention to your sales staff and customers that they should read the label and follow the directions as stated by the manufacturer, especially if you are putting the product into their hands. Consumer safety and success starts with our salesmanship.



Summer Products for Your Store


Bug Buster II

Bug Buster II
No 80820226

Buy Now

Disposable Fly Trap

Disposable Fly Trap
No 80220004

Buy Now

Consan 20 16oz Con

Consan 20 16oz Con
No 80820212

Buy Now

Consan 20 32oz Con

Consan 20 32oz Con
No 80820213

Buy Now

Nutgrass Killer II Selective Herbicide

Nutgrass Killer II Selective Herbicide
No 80820014

Buy Now

Fung-onil RTU qt

Fung-onil RTU qt
No 80100143

Buy Now

Fung-onil 8oz Con

Fung-onil 8oz Con
No 80100632

Buy Now

Fung-onil Con qt

Fung-onil Con qt
No 80100198

Buy Now

Chickweed, Clover & Oxalis Killer 16oz Con

Chickweed, Clover & Oxalis Killer 16oz Con
No 80100202

Buy Now

Chickweed, Clover & Oxalis Killer 32oz RTU

Chickweed, Clover & Oxalis Killer 32oz RTU
No 80100203

Buy Now

Sedge Ender 16oz Con

Sedge Ender 16oz Con
No 80100004

Buy Now

Sedge Ender 32oz RTU

Sedge Ender 32oz RTU
No 80100880

Buy Now

2 Gal Premium Funnel Top Sprayer

2 Gal Premium Funnel Top Sprayer
No 81880004

Buy Now

Brush & Vine Control

Brush & Vine Control
No 80820013

Buy Now

Trunk Liners

Trunk Liners - ORDER NOW FOR MUM SALES
No 81550002

Buy Now



Printable version



Time of the Season




The Zombies, a rock group from the sixties, brought these words alive in their music. Summer has arrived finally. Spending more of your time outside brings more awareness on certain conditions in the garden that might need your attention. Here are some newer products and treatments for those common insect problems in the summer, while using some well-known song titles to get us moving.

It’s My Party

Your backyard party might get interrupted by the movement of ants. Among the tiniest of insects, the ant is an annoying pest that is working hard to bug you. Foundation cracks and crevices provide breeding grounds for ants to enter the home from the outside. While these ants are visible, it’s what we don’t see taking place that is the problem; The colony is getting larger by the day. The summer is a good time to inspect and treat outdoor ant problems. There are specific treatments from home pest sprays to ant dusts for indoor and outdoor use. One of the best preventive ways to combat the indoor ant is by using Liquid Ant Trap bait which attracts and kills ants by providing treated food that is gathered and returned to the colony for sharing.

The Boys Are Back in Town

One of the prolific insects of summer is the dreaded Japanese Beetle. The adult stage of the grub emerges and spends its cycle eating flowers and leaves on your favorite plants and mating. When the times comes to return to the soil and lay eggs, you have fewer options to treat. When visible in the garden, you can treat large areas by attracting and trapping these beetles in the popular Jap Beetle trap. Spray-to-kill methods need your accurate targeting along with specific chemistry to ensure effectiveness. Neem oil has been one of the better products on the store shelf known to help repel the Jap beetle. If you choose to kill the beetle using a spray that can be used on ornamentals, roses, flowers, and fruits, my recommendation is to use one of the very best products available, Monterey Bug Buster II. This product can be used to treat the “other boys” like fleas, ticks, ants, cicadas, and chewing pests including the tomato hornworm.

Summertime Blues


The smallest of nuisance flying insects is the mosquito. Weather conditions nationwide have become wetter and warmer and the spread of the Asian Tiger mosquito includes even northern climates where it can withstand cold winters. Today’s spray treatment doesn’t bring back memories of running through the spray fog of a county worker’s truck through the city streets, but there are some environmentally friendly products you can use at home. Barrier repellents offer excellent protection when you need it during outdoor activity. Everguard Tick & Mosquito repellent is a recently introduced product that can last up to 4 weeks. Neptune Harvest offers a Biting Insect repellent that can be applied directly to children’s skin or clothing. It doesn’t contain DEET and provides relief against flies, ticks, green heads, and chiggers.



Summer Products for Your Store


Bug Buster II

Bug Buster II
No 80820226

Buy Now

Disposable Fly Trap

Disposable Fly Trap
No 80220004

Buy Now

Biting Insect Repellent

Biting Insect Repellent
No 80120023

Buy Now

Ant Dust

Ant Dust
No 80190019

Buy Now

Ant Killer II Liquid Ant Baits

Ant Killer II Liquid Ant Baits
No 80190017

Buy Now

Everguard Tick & Mosquito Repellent 32 oz. Con.

Everguard Tick & Mosquito Repellent 32 oz. Con.
No 81030016

Buy Now
Everguard Tick & Mosquito Repellent 32 oz. RTS

Everguard Tick & Mosquito Repellent 32 oz. RTS
No 81030015

Buy Now



Printable version



Garden to Table: America's Favorite, The Tomato



There’s no fruit more popular in the homeowner’s garden than the tomato. That’s right, folks, it’s a fruit! By botanical standards, it’s a seed-bearing ripened ovary of a flower. It took the Supreme Court in 1887 to classify the tomato as a “vegetable,” so it could capitalize on imposing a 10% vegetable import tariff into New York, which did not apply to fruits.

Besides our love for the tomato, Italy adores this brightly colored fruit for their culinary creations that excite our taste buds. For history buffs, it didn’t start out that way. American colonists feared that eating a tomato was poisonous and would turn their blood to acid. The origin of the tomato is traced back to the Aztecs in South America around 700 AD; they considered the native plant to be an aphrodisiac. Europeans brought tomato seeds to their continent in the 16th century. While tomatoes were well-established in Mexico, the tomato didn’t come to the United States from the southern border. It was transported by European settlers back across the Atlantic. Now that’s taking the long way home!

Humble Beginnings

What made the tomato so popular? The Campbell’s Soup Company was the first to process a condensed tomato soup in 1897. By the turn of the century, they were able to can the soup and bring its tomato taste to homes across the country. However, many historians point to America’s Victory Garden initiatives in World Wars I & II that quickly established the tomato as the gardener’s choice in home grown freshness. It helped America in hard times from world war and depression. It brought our country together in a patriotic wave of solidarity and sacrifice to harvest foods for our troops and our hungry nation.
Many of us, including myself, didn’t know that the Federal Bureau of Education recruited children to be “soldiers of the soil” through its U.S. School Garden Army (USSGA). More than 5 million gardens were cultivated by 1918. By the end of World War II, there were more than 20 million gardens that produced almost half of our nation’s vegetable production for consumption. If our industry looks back over time to see where our love for the garden began, look no further than our grandparents and parents who lived with less and gave back so much more.

No Garden Plot, No Problem

Whether you have a garden in your yard or not, many techniques and products allow you to grow tomatoes from the comfort of your patio, deck or apartment loft. Novelty purchased EarthBox from its creators a few years back and continues to sell huge amounts of this patented container system to the public. These boxes were designed by farmers and lab tested to maximize deep rooting of plants, while providing a fool proof way to grow vegetables, herbs, and tomatoes, even indoors! A few years back, the Topsy Turvy tomato planter saw a wonderful uptick in selling a new concept for small-space gardening with varied results in growing a tomato plant upside-down. It proved to be just what the public wanted, another new product for tomatoes that claims great results. Here today, gone tomorrow, we now have Smart Pots in many sizes that can be used to grow tomatoes inverted.

The Secret Sauce for Success

Everyone looks to grow the best tasting, highest yielding, most disease-resistant tomato they possibly can. I’m convinced that’s why the public keeps coming back for more. From organics to fertilizers, tomatoes can benefit both from pampering and in some cases neglect (with good soil and conditions). While the soil holds much of the impending success for organic nutrients, the newer soil amendments like Coast of Maine Lobster Compost offers lots of calcium uptake to prevent blossom end rot, a common malady of the tomato plant. Neptune’s Harvest recently added a unique Tomato & Vegetable Formula (2-4-2) to their popular liquid organic fertilizers to add more explosive ingredients like seaweed, molassas, humic acid and yucca extract to its core ingredients of ocean fish and seaweed. No doubt, the most widely sold fertilizer comes from Espoma with their popular Tomato-tone (3-4-6) which is enhanced with 8% calcium and Bio-Tone to deter blossom end rot.

No matter what your variety preferences may be, be sure to stage NEW for 2019 tomato varieties with signs to bring maximum awareness to customers and point out your best tomato recommendations for your region. Bring your complimentary products close by: garden lime, fertilizers, organics, chemical controls, cages, stakes, support ties, etc., to raise sales interest in your store or greenhouse. Here’s to our current-day Victory Garden participants! May their “rain” create a fruitful and prosperous bounty!



This Month's Featured Products


SMART POTS BLACK BULK 25 GAL

SMART POTS BLACK BULK 25 GAL
No 81110059

Buy Now

SMART POTS BLACK BULK 1 GAL

SMART POTS BLACK BULK 1 GAL
No 81110042

Buy Now

SMART POTS BLACK BULK 3 GAL

SMART POTS BLACK BULK 3 GAL
No 81110046

Buy Now

SMART POTS BLACK BULK 5 GAL

SMART POTS BLACK BULK 5 GAL
No 81110049

Buy Now

SMART POTS BLACK BULK 7 GAL

SMART POTS BLACK BULK 7 GAL
No 81110051

Buy Now

SMART POTS BLACK BULK 15 GAL

SMART POTS BLACK BULK 15 GAL
No 81110055

Buy Now

Castine Raised Bed Mix 2 CF

Castine Raised Bed Mix 2 CF
No 81600061

Buy Now

Weep & Soak Black Soaker Hose .5

Weep & Soak Black Soaker Hose .5"x25'
No 80560051

Buy Now

Weep & Soak Black Soaker Hose .5

Weep & Soak Black Soaker Hose .5"x50'
No 80560052

Buy Now

Lightening Lime 30lb

Lightening Lime 30lb
No 80030137

Buy Now

Tomato Tone 3-4-6 4lb

Tomato Tone 3-4-6 4lb
No 80030022

Buy Now

Tomato Tone 3-4-6 8lb

Tomato Tone 3-4-6 8lb
No 80030052

Buy Now

Tomato & Vegetable 3-in-1

Tomato & Vegetable 3-in-1
No 80100132

Buy Now

Revitalize Bio

Revitalize Bio
No 80100912

Buy Now

42

42" Red Tomato Cage
No 80160513

Buy Now

42

42" Green Tomato Cage
No 80160514

Buy Now

42

42" Yellow Tomato Cage
No 80160515

Buy Now

42

42" Blue Tomato Cage
No 80160516

Buy Now



Printable version



Getting Down & Dirty



When it comes to potting soils and planting mixes, there are so many choices out there. Do we know what’s really important to the seasoned hobbyist when they shop for soils? What about the newcomer about to get their hands dirty for the first time? What’s communicated to the consumer ON the bag regarding what’s IN the bag? Let’s examine some of the top-selling potting soil products and the benefits that are pitched by the manufacturers.

First Glance: Improved Packaging

With garden centers and nurseries today, a premium is made to stock and sell independent-only brands… and be profitable in selling them. With Miracle Gro potting soil deeply entrenched in the box stores over the past two decades, validating quality soils to sell with easy-to-read (and well-branded) packaging is a must for any garden center owner.
Schultz was the first company to introduce great packaging with gusseted bottoms to stand up neatly on the shelf and also withstand the weather elements. Today’s manufacturers produce great packaging that’s not only colorful with informative labels, but also includes features like zip-lock tops, a family of related products and quality ingredients. Let’s look beyond the beauty of the package and examine what’s inside (ingredients!), which really personifies each vendor offering.

No More Dirt in the Bag

Today’s potting soils and planting mixes are carefully formulated and blended, with each component bringing something important to the recipe. The most common ingredient is peat moss, which varies in quality, screen or particle size, and percentage of mix formula.
Another observation might also be color, which is a trait of Lambert’s harvesting peat bogs. Lambert produces Sphagnum peat ranging in color from blond to brown to black, depending on where in the bog it’s been harvested. Brown is most common among retail mixes. Blond is preferred for seed germination. Black is popular among mushroom growers.
The percentage of Sphagnum peat can range from 40-75% depending on the mix. An example of Espoma’s Potting Soil Mix sports a 45-55% formula of sphagnum peat moss. Products with a higher percentage of peat are more challenging to wet once they’ve dried out, as peat repels water, too.

Another necessary ingredient in most retail soils is dolomitic limestone, to help adjust the pH right out of the bag. With common additions of humus and perlite, you have the bulk of soil recipes covered in many products.

Now just like crafted beers, the buck certainly stops here. You see, each potting soil/planting mix is also handcrafted with additional active ingredients to optimize plant performance. Different actives provide different results. The trend continues by adding nutrients through selected organics to help naturally feed plants over time. The only remaining factor inside the bag to some varying degree is moisture content.

High-Performance Organics

Upon further inspection of any high-quality potting mix bag, you’ll see a listing of natural and organic additives. These may include earthworm castings, coconut coir (for water retention), alfalfa meal, gypsum, shrimp meal, crab or lobster meal (for added calcium, an important plant growth element), seaweed and various types of aged compost-based products (such as those produced by Coast of Maine). The recent addition of adding active mychorrhizae has been shown to reduce plant stress, enhance root systems and increase nutrient and water uptake.

Sure, the cost goes up for premium products, but also consider the success rate for those consumers who are newbies to the garden. They need help to be successful with their planting endeavors. Healthy soil is paramount to growing healthy plants!

Food for Thought

We’re reminded daily about the importance of healthy living. The messages are everywhere, influencing how we think, how we shop and especially how we eat. If you’re reading labels in the grocery store to see calories, fat content, carbohydrates and ingredients to inform your purchasing decision, how long will it be before this carries over into the lawn and garden market? Or has it already?

Are your customers looking at the labels of potting soils and mixes? Do they care if there are animal blood meals, manufactured fertilizers and artificial ingredients like starter charges in their garden soils? With the onset of legalized cannabis across the country and the potential for a new chapter in home gardening, do they search for purity, high quality and high performance in what they buy? Truthfully, it’s not tomorrow’s shopper, the time has come today. Don’t take what’s inside the bag for granted… just check the label!




This Month's Featured Products


Castine Raised Bed Mix

Bar Harbor Blend Premium Potting Soil 8 qt.
No 81600011

Buy Now

Gardening Soil - Flower & Veggie

Bar Harbor Blend Premium Potting Soil 1 cf.
No 81600008

Buy Now

Trees & Shrubs Mix

Bar Harbor Blend Premium Potting Soil 2 cf.
No 81600007

Buy Now

Organic Potting Mix 4 qt.

Organic Potting Mix 4 qt.
No 80030029

Buy Now

Organic Potting Mix 8 qt.

Organic Potting Mix 8 qt.
No 80030040

Buy Now

Organic Potting Mix 16 qt.

Organic Potting Mix 16 qt.
No 80030001

Buy Now

Organic Potting Mix 1 CU.

Organic Potting Mix 1 CU.
No 80030002

Buy Now

Organic Potting Mix 2 CU.

Organic Potting Mix 2 CU.
No 80030013

Buy Now

Purely Organic Potting Soil 8 qt.

Purely Organic Potting Soil 8 qt.
No 80070009

Buy Now

Purely Organic Potting Soil 16 qt.

Purely Organic Potting Soil 16 qt.
No 80070011

Buy Now

Organic Premium Vegetable & Herb Mix 16 qt.

Organic Premium Vegetable & Herb Mix 16 qt.
No 80310032

Buy Now

Organic Premium Vegetable & Herb Mix 1 CU.

Organic Premium Vegetable & Herb Mix 1 CU.
No 80310013

Buy Now

Organic Premium Vegetable & Herb Mix 2 CU.

Organic Premium Vegetable & Herb Mix 2 CU.
No 80310014

Buy Now

All Purpose Potting Mix 4 qt.

All Purpose Potting Mix 4 qt.
No 81940012

Buy Now

All Purpose Potting Mix 8 qt.

All Purpose Potting Mix 8 qt.
No 81940013

Buy Now

All Purpose Potting Mix 32 qt.

All Purpose Potting Mix 32 qt.
No 81940014

Buy Now

All Purpose Potting Mix 1.0 CU

All Purpose Potting Mix 1.0 CU
No 81940015

Buy Now

All Purpose Potting Mix 2.0 CU

All Purpose Potting Mix 2.0 CU
No 81940016

Buy Now




Printable version



Starting from Scratch... Then Sniff


It’s time to turn back the clock on something that’s been missing from the garden for many years: fragrance. Our national flower, the rose, was replaced by a low-maintenance alternative that blooms freely, has great disease resistance and is easy to grow. Since their introduction in 1998, Knock Out roses have changed the rose world and how flower breeders approach their work. Well, times have changed (again) and this is a feel-good article of returning to our (rose) roots.


Historical Roses

I can speak from experience on the topic of roses, as I’m a former consulting rosarian for the American Rose Society. Consumers couldn’t resist the mail order catalog from Jackson & Perkins to view the newest roses and flock to the nearest garden center to buy. The 1960s were dominated in sales by Peace (1945) and the first grandiflora rose variety, Queen Elizabeth (1955). The 1970s brought us First Prize (1971) and Double Delight (1977), which fascinated homeowners with both fragrance and amazing color. The 1980s introduced a new rose in a new class for the All-American Rose Selection winners, Bonica (1982). This was significant in that it was the first shrub rose to receive this award, and it’s changed the playing field ever since.

Winner by Knock Out and Still Champion

Roses were a lot of work for gardeners, until the Knock Out rose. America chose to love this rose for its non-stop blooming, disease resistance, and vigorous growth. Fragrance, however, was not an option. The slow death of unique roses bred for amazing colors, plant habit and fragrance soon began to vanish because of diminished popularity. The Knock Out and its family of sports and hybrids outsells traditional roses two to one. Just plant it and forget it! It will outbloom a marigold and last a lot longer.

Fragrance is Back!

There’s hope in consumers once again having exposure to fragrant rose varieties. Brindabella Roses from Suntory Flowers is the newest (and most fragrant) in landscape durable roses. Brindabella plants not only look pretty in the garden with their free-flowering habits, but bring back that old-world charm with their aroma. Check out Griffin’s newest rose varieties with our plant specialists. All that’s needed is 4-6 hours of direct sunlight, planting soil that’s been upgraded to include added organics, a soil PH of around 6.5 to 7.0 and a feeding schedule of fertilizers once every 4-6 weeks throughout the growing season for the best results. As a garden center or retailer that sells roses, make sure you identify the fragrant selections in your assortment.

Where roses aren’t in demand, the consumer has shifted a buying focus on fragrant shrubs and perennials. Proven Winners continues to drive plant breeding to new heights. The ColorChoice flowering shrubs offer a huge selection of fragrant plants. Combined with new retail products that are time savers for plant care, there’s no better time for fragrance aficionados. It’s time to stop and smell the garden once again!




This Month's Featured Products


Castine Raised Bed Mix

Castine Raised Bed Mix
No 81600061

Buy Now

Gardening Soil - Flower & Veggie

Gardening Soil - Flower & Veggie
No 81940009

Buy Now

Trees & Shrubs Mix

Trees & Shrubs Mix
No 81940011

Buy Now

Classic Swiss Bypass Pruner #2

Classic Swiss Bypass Pruner #2
No 81930004

Buy Now

Classic Swiss Bypass Pruner #6

Classic Swiss Bypass Pruner #6
No 81930005

Buy Now

Rose-tone 4-3-2  8 lb.

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

Buy Now

Rose-tone 4-3-2  18lb.

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

Buy Now

Rapitest Soil pH Meter

Rapitest Soil pH Meter
No 80140009

Buy Now

Wonder GRIP Nearly Naked Small

Wonder GRIP Nearly Naked Small
No 80090238

Buy Now

Wonder GRIP Nearly Naked Medium

Wonder GRIP Nearly Naked Medium
No 80090239

Buy Now

Wonder GRIP Nearly Naked Large

Wonder GRIP Nearly Naked Large
No 80090240

Buy Now

Bon-Neem II

Bon-Neem II
No 80100245

Buy Now



Printable version



Tune In the Perfect Bed & Breakfast


March is the month wherein we peer out our windows, looking for a sign – any sign! – of spring. With each day we cross off the calendar, we hope for sunny days and returning warmer temperatures. One of the first wild birds to appear is the American Red Robin. When this beauty roams the ground for earthworms that move through warming topsoil, we know spring is on its way. Their sound is unmistakable. Here are some tips to entice the rest of the flock.

I Am the Entertainer

Billy Joel would be making plans now to install birdhouses of various types, to draw entertainment from wild bird species out on Long Island. Not all birds inhabit houses out in the open, but the opportunity is there for attracting the Purple Martin, whose voracious appetite for flying insects and mosquitoes will cut down populations throughout the summer months. This bird lives in colonies in multi-room houses erected on poles at least 12-18 feet into the air.

Being the largest sparrow in North America, Purple Martins entertain with an air show of speed and agility wherever they nest. Besides a traditional 6- to 18-room house, homeowners may erect multiple gourds of various compositions.

Another desired open-space bird species is the Eastern Bluebird. From Cold Spring Harbor to Arizona, consumers are fascinated with its beautiful color and unique song. The houses are usually specific in size of opening, constructed of untreated wood like cedar and hung in lightly forested areas. Bluebirds are similar to woodpeckers in that they prefer insects (mealworms) as their chosen food source. Consumers should provide nesting materials nearby for males to gather and place inside compartments.

Feed the Birds

Walt Disney’s favorite song from Mary Poppins featured the British word tuppence which was a two pence (penny) bag of bird food. Today’s bird food options come at a much higher cost, but also a much higher quality. Mary’s bag of bread crumbs can’t compare to the elaborate mixtures of safflower, sunflower, pumpkin seed, fruits, nuts, suet kibbles and Niger seed that we have to offer.

The hardest recommendation to make to the consumer is to spend a bit more for quality. Since bird food is sold by weight, you can find cheap seed with lots of fillers and hulls in it. These are almost always discarded by the birds. The more seed scraps the birds discard to the ground, the faster the feeder will empty.

Clear bags of bird seed show exactly what you’re buying in terms of quality and cleanliness. Keep in mind that the broader the variety of ingredients, the wider range of wild bird species are attracted. And, don’t forget their friends from the ‘hood might crash the party for their favorite foods: squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons and bears.

Splish Splash

Bobby Darin’s hit song has all the birds “rub-dub, just relaxin’ in the tub!” Introducing water to the backyard is critical to attracting wild birds of all species. It serves two purposes for the birds: hydration and hygiene. Birds frolic in the water to remove dirt and dust from their wings, and to keep their body temperature cool during hot and dry days.

There are many styles and compositions to consider. Plastic, concrete, ceramic, terra cotta are just some types for both standing and hanging bird baths.

The key to success at home lies in the consumers’ ability to keep it filled and clean. Bacteria from stagnant water can be harmful to birds and wildlife. Advise customers to clean their new bird baths frequently with a pressure hose to quickly remove debris and feces. If mold or sticky film is present, a weak solution of water and bleach is a simple and fast remedy. Make sure to allow the bird bath to dry completely before refilling.

Time for your next track in April, Seals and Crofts’ “Hummingbird,” please!




This Month's Featured Products


Woven Rope Roosting Pockets with Roof

Woven Rope Roosting Pockets with Roof
No 81730396

Buy Now

Woven Rope Teardrop Roosting Pockets with Roof

Woven Rope Teardrop Roosting Pockets with Roof
No 81730397

Buy Now

Woven Rope Acorn Roosting Pockets with Roof

Woven Rope Acorn Roosting Pockets with Roof
No 81730398

Buy Now

Woven Rope Hive Roosting Pockets with Roof

Woven Rope Hive Roosting Pockets with Roof
No 81730399

Buy Now

Classic Tin Cone Birdhouse

Classic Tin Cone Birdhouse
No 81791421

Buy Now

Assorted Bird Baths 18

Assorted Bird Baths 18"
No 80161305

Buy Now

Nutberry Suet Blend 5lb.

Nutberry Suet Blend 5lb.
No 80370043

Buy Now

Nutberry Suet Blend 10lb.

Nutberry Suet Blend 10lb.
No 80370044

Buy Now

Nutberry Suet Blend 20lb.

Nutberry Suet Blend 20lb.
No 80370045

Buy Now

National Audubon Bluebird House

National Audubon Bluebird House
No 80440083

Buy Now

Supreme Mix 4.5lb

Supreme Mix 4.5lb
No 80350159

Buy Now

Supreme Mix 20lb.

Supreme Mix 20lb.
No 80350160

Buy Now

Supreme Mix 40lb.

Supreme Mix 40lb.
No 80350161

Buy Now



Printable version



May the Force Be With You


Spring’s first color often comes from down under: the flowering bulb. While home gardeners wait for Mother Nature, they can persuade a springtime bulb into flowering indoors with relative ease. No Jedi mind tricks required!

Some bulb genera are easily convinced to bloom; these include crocus and daffodils. Forcing these beautiful plants can bring bright color, lasting substance and texture, and sometimes fragrance to any indoor space. Follow these simple tips to create a simple yet compelling display.

Timing is Everything

For some bulb types, the first step is to convince the bulbs that they’ve been through a winter. This can be achieved in the refrigerator or similar cold, dry place (but not freezing).
Some bulbs require only a few weeks of chilling in order to be sufficiently tricked. Other bulb genera may require up to 15 weeks of chill time. For instant gratification, steer your customers toward amaryllis or paperwhite narcissus – they don’t generally need to be pre-cooled at all. Amaryllis usually takes 6-8 weeks to bloom; paperwhites can be expected to bloom in just 3-6 weeks.

Simple Recipe for Success

With both amaryllis and paperwhites, these bulbs only need to be planted up to three-quarters of the way up the bulbs with a lightweight, well-draining potting mix.

For bulbs that do require chilling, direct your customers to place their bulbs flat side down (pointy side up) halfway in a container, so there’s lightweight potting mix both above and below the bulb. Generally, you don’t need to plant the bulb more than ½ to 1” below the top of the soil. The planting vessel doesn’t need to be fancy; a shallow bowl, pot or deep saucer will do. It should be large enough to cover the size of the bulb(s) with enough space beneath for developing roots. The bottom third of the container should be filled with potting soil or small stone – crushed or pebble-type – and lightly tamped to compact.

Once the bulbs are planted, they should be thoroughly watered in, and then allowed to drain before they’re put into the area to be chilled. The crisper drawers in a homeowner’s fridge are perfect for this task! During this chilling phase, the bulbs will develop roots to support the plant and flowers. Just warn your customers not to place them near ethylene-producing produce like apples, as this could cause the flower buds within the bulb to abort.

Once the bulbs are adequately chilled, they’re ready to be awakened from their “winter” slumber. This is the time to move the pots into a decorative cache pot, if desired, making sure that they won’t be sitting in water. Containers often do well on a window ledge or table with bright, indirect sunlight. Homeowners will want to keep an eye on temperature and moisture levels. While the bulbs are growing, advise your customers to lightly mist or water until damp, being careful not to overwater. The ideal temperature range is between 60-70° F. If the home is very warm or the location heats up too much from the sun, the moisture in the container could evaporate and the bulbs may dry out.

Crocus and daffodils, with good care, can be planted outside in spring, after the last frost, for the homeowner to enjoy in future years.

Build Your Own Demonstrator


If your garden center has some paperwhites on order or some boxed amaryllis kits, take one out to show and sell. By grouping a variety of small stone options, potting soils and unique vessel types, you may convince your customer to plant a wave of color in the weeks leading up into spring. It’s a fun project for young Jedi children, too. May the force be with you!

Here are some new items from Griffin to consider:




This Month's Featured Products


Plant Care Sprayers 16oz

Plant Care Sprayers 16oz
No 81690003

Buy Now

Plant Care Sprayers 32oz

Plant Care Sprayers 32oz
No 81690012

Buy Now

Plant Care Sprayers 40oz

Plant Care Sprayers 40oz
No 81690016

Buy Now

NoDamoOff Organic Seed Starting Medium 222cu. In.

NoDamoOff Organic Seed Starting Medium 222cu. In.
No 80130024

Buy Now

NoDamoOff Organic Seed Starting Medium 2 bu. Sack

NoDamoOff Organic Seed Starting Medium 2 bu. Sack
No 80130025

Buy Now

Bulb Pan - Chocolate

Bulb Pan - Chocolate
No 80690465

Buy Now

Bulb Pan - Dark Chocolate

Bulb Pan - Dark Chocolate
No 80690466

Buy Now

Bulb Pan - Terra Cotta

Bulb Pan - Terra Cotta
No 80690467

Buy Now

Bulb Pan - Assorted

Bulb Pan - Assorted
No 80690463

Buy Now

Oak Succulent Bowl

Oak Succulent Bowl
No 81410034

Buy Now

Birch Succulent Bowl

Birch Succulent Bowl
No 81410037

Buy Now

All Purpose Potting Mix - 4 qts

All Purpose Potting Mix - 4 qts
No 81940012

Buy Now

All Purpose Potting Mix - 8 qts

All Purpose Potting Mix - 8 qts
No 81940013

Buy Now

Galvanized Wooden Planter

Galvanized Wooden Planter
No 81790069

Buy Now

Galvanized Wooden Planter

Galvanized Wooden Planter
No 81790070

Buy Now

Galvanized Wooden Planter

Galvanized Wooden Planter
No 81790071

Buy Now

Galvanized Wooden Planter

Galvanized Wooden Planter
No 81790072

Buy Now

Soil Cover - River Gravel

Soil Cover - River Gravel
No 80130006

Buy Now

Soil Cover - River Rock

Soil Cover - River Rock
No 80130007

Buy Now

Soil Cover - White Marble

Soil Cover - White Marble
No 80130008

Buy Now



Printable version



New Year, New Beginnings


Once the holidays have passed, turning the calendar page is exciting for garden centers – at least it should be! The anticipation of a new spring season fuels us with renewed energy to plan for our stores. How we execute those plans will determine whether we reach our goals down the road.
It’s natural to feel a bit weary at the end of the year. Winter’s gray skies, cold weather and stormy days can further dampen the soul. Spring is on the horizon, though, and January is the perfect time to build an exciting in-store foundation for your customers. Let’s consider the possibilities for early sales opportunities.

The New Norm
Have you noticed how much earlier national retailers begin to promote sales for an upcoming season? It seemed that kids were just heading back to school and the race was on to sell Christmas and holiday this year. Truth is, it’s getting earlier every year.

The internet and especially Amazon have changed the way consumers buy. There’s no prep time, no shift in operational manpower or waiting to complete the seasonal look to launch a selling season. It’s instantaneous: a few taps on the keyboard and they’re done. Consumers have noticed, too! They’ve adjusted their buying habits to start shopping further in advance.

Are we keeping up with earlier promotions? Setting the store a bit earlier each year? In many instances, I’d say yes. Much can be gained between November 1 and Thanksgiving Day, through excitement and anticipation of the next holiday season. While weather dictates the selling season of plants and outdoor activity, the calendar still rules the event timeline and what moves people to consider buying. Thus the new norm is being “retail ready” well in advance of the typical start of a selling season, especially spring.

What’s New?
Once upon a time, mail-order seed catalogs and the Jackson Perkins rose circular were readily available by January 1. Today, though, printed catalogs aren’t viable or profitable for many companies. Even Amazon’s Alexa isn’t able to answer my question when I ask what’s new in lawn and garden. Her reply is “I don’t know.”

Our industry is the best at communicating and selling lawn and garden products, plants and solutions. We continue to be the most reliable source for what’s best for our customers. It keeps them coming back for more! You are far more valuable than Alexa when it comes to garden knowledge. Your New Year’s resolutions might include how to promote your store, your staff and your brand even better in 2019. 

The Calendar of Events
Mark your calendar with key delivery dates of plant material to your store. Orchids, kalanchoes, African violets, succulents, small foliage and ferns, primrose, pansies, miniature roses, all of these need a formal announcement to arriving customers to your store. A simple easel and chalkboard can do the trick. Plan ahead and create “point of decision” signage for new plant varieties and new products, and be sure to educate your staff on these. Don’t forget to include your selling price! More than half of sales failures are attributed to lack of a visible sale price.

Your newest items often drive higher profit margins, so you’ll likely want to put promotional focus there. When consumers see or hear about a product first in your store, you stand a higher chance of capitalizing on this selling opportunity over another store. Keep in mind dates like St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) and Easter (April 21), so you’re highlighting the newest arrivals in your store well in advance of the first warm day of spring. Fair warning: It might be earlier than the calendar suggests!

Here are some new items from Griffin to consider:




This Month's Featured Products


12 in Clever Clean Seed Feeder - Nyjer

12 in Clever Clean Seed Feeder - Nyjer
No 81210241

Buy Now

12 in Clever Clean Seed Feeder - Sunflower

12 in Clever Clean Seed Feeder - Sunflower
No 81210242

Buy Now

HDI Root Riot Bag of 50

HDI Root Riot Bag of 50
No 81860090

Buy Now

HDI Root Riot Bag of 100

HDI Root Riot Bag of 100
No 81860089

Buy Now

HDI Root Riot Tray of 50

HDI Root Riot Tray of 50
No 81860091

Buy Now

Arcadia Orchid Pot Round A 5

Arcadia Orchid Pot Round A 5" (4 Assorted Colors) w/Saucer
No 80690256

Buy Now

Arcadia Orchid Pot Square 5

Arcadia Orchid Pot Square 5" w/Saucer 4 Assorted Colors
No 80690254

Buy Now

Arcadia Orchid Pot Hexagon 5

Arcadia Orchid Pot Hexagon 5" (4 assorted Colors) w/Saucer
No 80690252

Buy Now

Syndicate Plant Mister - Clear

Syndicate Plant Mister - Clear
No 81510153

Buy Now

Syndicate Plant Mister - Sea Glass

Syndicate Plant Mister - Sea Glass
No 81510155

Buy Now

Syndicate Plant Mister - Assorted

Syndicate Plant Mister - Assorted
No 81510285

Buy Now

Jacks Classic 1.5 Lb 20-10-20 Citrus Food Fertilizer

Jacks Classic 1.5 Lb 20-10-20 Citrus Food Fertilizer
No 80060019

Buy Now

Zenport Straight Blade SS Euro-Style Harvest Shear

Zenport Straight Blade SS Euro-Style Harvest Shear
No 81930061

Buy Now



Printable version



Timberrrr! Tree-Pruning Tips for Late Fall


Timber can be a blessing or a curse, depending on the circumstances. With the last of the leaves falling to the ground, a small window of opportunity exists for tree pruning -- but we often don’t think about it until it’s too late. 


Many homeowners heavily prune their trees at improper times during the growing season. If you read through the Old Farmer’s Almanac, you’ll find suitable dates for suggested tree pruning. No kidding!


Late fall and early winter are ideal times to trim away branches and limbs that might be weak or diseased before they break from the season’s wind, ice and snow load. With leaves out of the way, damaged or diseased branches become more clearly visible. Since trees aren’t actively growing at this time, it’s safe to prune without causing harm.


Make sure your shelves are stocked with a couple of products to protect fresh tree cuts. Pruning paint or pruning sealer spray, applied to fresh cuts, can help protect a tree against disease issues. Some gardeners prefer to wrap damaged trunk bark as another measure to prevent future sun scald or insect damage. In areas with abundant rabbits and deer, protecting the bark of young trees is as easy as installing a plastic tree trunk protector.


This is also a good time to check stakes and guidewires to ensure that newly planted trees are protected from harsh winter winds that may topple your evergreen or deciduous tree. Advise your customers to take time to inspect the wire or rope around their tree trunks. If it’s not secure or tight enough, it may girdle or cut into the bark causing severe damage when spring returns. Cut up pieces of garden hose, usually 6-10 inches in length, make great and inexpensive sleeves around the wire or rope to help protect against rubbing. 


Specific tree species may have additional needs to tend prior to onset of winter. Tree roses, for example, are vulnerable to extreme winds and temperature swings. Many rosarians recommend installing four wooden stakes as a surround to attach a burlap wrap surrounding the plant after an application of Wilt Pruf. The Wilt Pruf is an anti-dessicant that prevents the plant canes and crown union from drying out.


Another tree rose winter protection method is called “heeling.” If the tree rose is planted in the garden, you may choose to cut around the ball of the roots about half way around. Once this is performed, you may tilt and lay the entire tree rose stock on its side, and carefully secure it to the ground. Cover the plant with mulch or straw and place a burlap cover over the top of your entire plant. Use ground staples to keep the burlap in place from winter winds.


Last but not least, urge your customers to keep an active eye out for heavy snow or ice on their tree branches during the winter. Some trees, like the densely branched Japanese maple, are very susceptible to breaking under the weight of wet snow. This can be prevented by brushing away snow from the branches soon after a new snowfall. Don’t delay this important garden chore or you might hear your trees whisper in the winter night: snap, crackle, pop… and timber!




This Month's Featured Products


Old Farmer’s Almanac

Old Farmer’s Almanac
No 80460001

Buy Now

Wooden Tree Stake Kit

Wooden Tree Stake Kit
No 80010003

Buy Now

Natural Burlap 3 ft x 12 ft

Natural Burlap
3 ft x 12 ft
No 80010004

Buy Now

Natural Burlap 3 ft x 24 ft

Natural Burlap
3 ft x 24 ft
No 80010005

Buy Now

Coated Paper Tree Wrap  3 in x 50 ft

Coated Paper Tree Wrap
3 in x 50 ft
No 80470171

Buy Now

Coated Paper Tree Wrap 4 in x 150 ft

Coated Paper Tree Wrap
4 in x 150 ft
No 80470173

Buy Now

Treekote Tree Wound Dressing

Treekote Tree Wound Dressing
No 80470158

Buy Now

Hardwood Garden Stakes 4 ft

Hardwood Garden
Stakes 4 ft
No 80970001

Buy Now

Hardwood Garden Stakes 5 ft

Hardwood Garden
Stakes 5 ft
No 80970002

Buy Now

Hardwood Garden Stakes 6 ft

Hardwood Garden
Stakes 6 ft
No 80970003

Buy Now

Fabric and Garden Staples

Fabric and Garden Staples
No 80180002

Buy Now

Anti Transpirant 32 oz RTU

Anti Transpirant
32 oz RTU
No 80380001

Buy Now

Anti Transpirant 16 oz Concentrate

Anti Transpirant
16 oz Concentrate
No 80380002

Buy Now

Anti Transpirant 32 oz Concentrate

Anti Transpirant
32 oz Concentrate
No 80380003

Buy Now



Printable version



The Real Dirt: Composts & Manures


After a season of blooms and/or the bounty of nature’s harvest from the garden, many gardeners are now cleaning up debris and turning over soil to prepare for next season’s plantings. Breaking up compacted clumps and loosening decaying roots helps to add nutrients back into the soil. Fall is the best time to add composts and manures to rejuvenate nutrient-deficient or underperforming soil prior to winter. 

Reap What You Sow

This old adage bears the wisdom (and experience) of farming today. We’re familiar with the concept of crop rotation and its many benefits: maximize soil nutrients by turning over crop waste, systematically manage different crops in the same area to minimize soil-borne diseases and soil-dwelling insects, reduce soil erosion, and increase soil yield and fertility. Do your customers know, too?

For consumers with zero patience or those wanting a quick fertility solution, you’ll want to stock composts or manures that can be spaded or broadcast into the garden bed to fortify the soil over the winter months. 

Use signage or in-aisle staff to ensure your customers understand the value of adding soil supplements in the fall: The better the planting soil, the better the health and yield of your plants.

Choose Manures Wisely

For years, farmers have spread their share of fresh manures, allowing its decomposition to work wonders in the soil. Many homeowners, however, tend to turn their noses up at the fragrance.

Fresh manures will provide some hot temperatures and some weed seeds that need to be managed over time. While fall weather provides warm days and cool nights, it’s also favorable for weed seeds to germinate and sprout.

By adding manures to a compost pile of leaves and lawn clippings in the spring and summer, allowing it to work its magic over time via aeration and separation, a dark loamy soil is produced. Rich in nitrogen, trace elements, microorganisms and worm castings, this top dressing delivers impressive results in the garden. But, it takes time to create a well-rotted, nutrient-rich manure.

For the gardener who doesn’t have time or space to compost, bagged composted cow manure is a traditional go-to. This type of soil amendment is a moist, heavier manure that would clump right out of the bag. With a shovel or hoe in hand, a bit of elbow grease is needed to work it into the ground.

Dehydrated manures provide the benefits of composted without the smell or moisture content. In many cases, these products may be applied to the lawn or garden bed through a spreader. Hoffman’s Super Manure is one such dehydrated manure product that remains popular today. 

For a unique manure option, try Coop Poop. It’s an aerobically dehydrated chicken manure that’s all-natural and rich in humates. This slow-release, non-burning fertilizer enhances the soil and promotes root development and plant growth. Coop Poop is also OMRI-listed and widely used by organic gardeners.

Today’s Premium Composts

Our industry has developed some great products over the past decade or so for retail sales. Premium composts like leaf compost, mushroom compost and lobster compost have exploded onto the garden scene with great success. These products have superseded the traditional composts and are the unquestioned leaders of soil amendments today.

The Coast of Maine Quoddy Blend Lobster Compost comes from crushed and well-composted lobster shells. This product has the added benefit of naturally occurring calcium to combat blossom end rot on tomatoes. It’s a must-have product for vegetable gardens everywhere! The Quoddy Blend Lobster Compost is OMRI-listed with no municipal wastes and no bio-solids. This premium compost will revitalize your customers’ home gardens. 


If your customers’ plants looked like they “pooped” out during the summer heat, maybe they should consider putting some “poop” in (or compost) during the fall, so they can plant in some “real dirt” come spring.



This Month's Featured Products


Quoddy Blend Lobster Compost

Quoddy Blend Lobster Compost
No 81600001

Buy Now

Organic Dehydrated Super Manure (4-2-3) 5 lb.

Organic Dehydrated Super Manure (4-2-3) 5 lb.
No 80070063

Buy Now

Organic Dehydrated Super Manure (4-2-3) 20 lb.

Organic Dehydrated Super Manure (4-2-3) 20 lb.
No 80070064

Buy Now

Coop Poop 6 lb.

Coop Poop 6 lb.
No 81350006

Buy Now

Coop Poop 25 lb.

Coop Poop 25 lb.
No 81350004

Buy Now

Coop Poop 40 lb.

Coop Poop 40 lb.
No 81350005

Buy Now

Hydrated Lime 5 lb.

Hydrated Lime 5 lb.
No 80100044

Buy Now

Hydrated Lime 10 lb.

Hydrated Lime 10 lb.
No 80100653

Buy Now









Printable version



Space Invaders




Fall is on our doorstep and it’s time to turn our “prevention attention” from outdoor to indoor. From the first chilly night of the season, warm-blooded animals begin thinking about hibernation and look for openings and opportunities to take up winter residence. Insects are seeking warmer climates as well, and likely will find the smallest of cracks and crevices to enter your home. Be assured, no home is insect-free. 

First Steps in Fighting Back

Advise your customers to closely survey the foundations of their homes to identify cracks and openings that insects or, if large enough, animals could gain entry. These should be sealed up before freezing weather sets in. Common insects include ants, crickets, grasshoppers, earwigs, sowbugs, centipedes, spiders, bees, fruit flies, termites, and stink bugs. Common animals include chipmunks, squirrels and birds.

Space between window frames and door frames can also be easily accessed. It’s an ideal time to install weather stripping. Observe the condition of your caulking around these frames, too. While weather is still warm, homeowners might caulk openings, especially when the ingredients are pliable and easily applied. Immediately inside the home, consumers should survey the ceilings, perimeter walls, and corners for spider webbing and promptly remove it. 

Remind your customers to vacuum carpets thoroughly to remove fleas and ticks that may have hitched a ride with their pets from outdoors. Fall is also a good time to replace flea collars and wash pet beds. Upholstery should be moved and inspected, as these areas are a perfect sanctuary for overwintering insects. 

Pantry areas are often overlooked in spotting insect issues. Consumers should make time to remove outdated products including flours, grains and even seeds. This includes birdseed! Stocking birdseed inside for long periods of time may offer the perfect opportunity for grain weevils to hatch and emerge as tiny flying moths. Since chemistry is not sprayed in areas of foodstuffs, options like the Pantry Pest Trap are highly recommended for indoor use. Encourage your customers to also give pantry shelves and floors a good wipe down using a suitable household cleaner labeled for use in cabinets and around foods.

With the last of the harvest brought indoors, the occurrence of fruit fly is commonplace in homes. While remedies found on Pinterest can be questionable in their effectiveness, an indoor trap from Rescue is a safe and reliable option.

Choosing Your Chemicals for Home Use

When selecting a chemical to treat any insect problem, consumers must review the product label to ensure it’s suitable for WHERE the product will be used. Some chemistry is only to be used OUTDOORS. Other products are available for indoor use and indoor/outdoor (perimeter) use. When applied as directed, these are safe to use around pets and children. Consider stocking several options to meet varying customer needs.

Remind your customers to read the directions carefully. Most all directions clearly state that once you spray, you must make sure the solution is completely dry before allowing pets or children to reenter the area.

You’ll also notice that precautionary declarations on the label will vary based on the type of chemical. Such messages are boldly stamped Caution, Warning or Danger. It’s rare to see anything available for indoor use besides a Caution label. Your choices for types of delivery vary from aerosols to the popular ready-to-spray chemicals. 

Long-Term Control

Perimeter sprays are popular among consumers for home insect control. Such products are usually applied upwards along the foundation wall up to three feet from the ground. Spraying under door jambs, around outdoor window frames, and even patio and under garage doors will help prevent insects from entering your home. These long-term products last anywhere from three months to up to a year.

When a customer needs further clarification on their chemical application, make sure they know where to go for help. Most products include a toll-free phone number on the product label, which consumers can use to contact the manufacturer directly. There may be another phone number for medical assistance.

Whether you’re advising a homeowner customer or a store employee, the importance of personal protection can’t be overstated. Use common sense, of course, and don’t eat, drink or chew gum when applying chemicals. Cover exposed skin thoroughly and protect eyes from spray and drift. After an application is made, wash hands with soap and water, paper towel dry and dispose of materials properly as stated on the product bottle. Your key to success is knowing that the manufacturer makes these products safe when used as directed on the product label. Follow directions all the time, every time.



This Month's Featured Products


Pantry Moth Trap & Lure

Pantry Moth Trap & Lure
No 80820172

Buy Now

Termite & Carpenter Ant Control

Termite & Carpenter Ant Control
No 80100025

Buy Now

Fruit Fly Trap

Fruit Fly Trap
No 80220051

Buy Now

Household Room Fogger

Household Room Fogger
No 80100031

Buy Now

Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer 1.5lb

Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer 1.5lb
No 80190011

Buy Now

Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer 4lb

Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer 4lb
No 80190012

Buy Now

Ant Dust

Ant Dust
No 80190019

Buy Now









Printable version



Wet Feet Remedies




This year’s spring and summer seasons were among the wettest in recent memory on the East Coast. Every region in the country has pendulum swings, alternating years of hot and dry weather with wet and cool conditions. This year, it was the East’s turn for a soaking.

While the West Coast endures historic heat and drought, the East Coast has been pounded by a constant southerly flow of torrential rain, setting records for daily and monthly totals in many states along the Atlantic seaboard. Usually by summer’s end, East Coasters see signs of flowers, trees, and lawns in declining health. Not this year! Here are some tips to optimize lawns and gardens as you and your customers anticipate cooler fall weather on the horizon.

The Backyard Quagmire

Stepping into your backyard shouldn’t require rubber boots. With above-average rainfall, drainage issues are easy to spot when water doesn’t recede or disappear within a half hour or so. This standing water causes stress on turf grasses and can lead to lawn diseases if the turf is unable to dry out. The rate at which water percolates or drains through the topsoil slows when there’s nowhere for water to go or when the subsoil is severely compacted to restrict liquids from absorbing into the ground.

While all that rain keeps the grass growing, the lawn mower can make a bad situation worse. Some turf diseases can be spread when a homeowner mows across an entire lawn area. The act of mowing itself, especially with dull, wet mower blades, can create further lawn stress.

Advise your customers to keep their mower blades sharpened and engines tuned. Encourage them to raise the mower deck a notch or two higher – doing so will reduce drag on the mower engine, especially when the grass is wet.

Curing Standing Water Issues

If water surrounds root systems long enough, it disrupts oxygen exchange for the plant, eventually killing off root development. Top growth is reduced or, in extreme cases of waterlogged root systems, the plant suffocates.

Lawn care specialists recommend using core aeration machines for immediate relief of compacted soils. These machines drill into the ground, pull out plugs and deposit them across the lawn’s surface. These holes are usually positioned two inches apart (and two inches deep) exposing crevices to allow air, water and eventually the soil that was just pulled to penetrate the surface.

Competing plants like trees and shrubs can also drain nutrients and water away from turf grass. The technique of using core aeration along with a generous application of garden gypsum loosens the tension of the soil’s surface and allows water to eventually drain through or percolate.  

Another source of excess water runoff is from the homeowner’s gutter downspouts. The roof of a typical home collects a vast amount of water from its surface and deposits it into the gutters and eventually the downspouts. These channels of high-volume water can easily pool in areas that may not allow the water to move away from the house. Downspouts may be extended away from the home and divert or channel water further away from pooling in problem areas.

Standing water is also a key breeding ground for mosquitoes. Populations can surge quickly if standing water is left undrained.

Kickstarting Root Development

Fall is the optimum time to start grass seed! The days are still warm and the nights are cool, allowing the seed to receive adequate moisture and germinate quickly. Choose to stock only high-quality perennial grass seed types versus annual grass seed types to provide your customers with the greatest value. Advise your customers to be patient: Depending on the type of grass seed, germination may take up to three weeks. Their patience, however, will be rewarded.

Before making a specific grass seed recommendation, engage with your customer to understand their lawn conditions. If the lawn receives full or near-full shade, they’ll need a seed that can thrive in densely shaded areas. Other types are optimized to perform in wet conditions. Poa trivialis is one of those types of grass seed that grows where others fail.

In many cases, a grass seed mixture (a blend of different types of grass seed) is often the best bet. The benefit of using a seed mixture is that one type of seed can establish when others won’t. (Some types may include: ryegrass, hard or chewings fescues, turf-type fescue, and Kentucky bluegrass.) One key to success is to ensure good seed-to-soil contact between the grass seed with the ground. Another key is keeping the seed moist to establish germination.

Whenever your customers are ready for their fall lawn renovation, encourage them to check the lawn’s pH as well. If soil is acidic, an application of lime is in order. This will allow their seed-starting fertilizer to work its best in supplying needed phosphorous to enhance root development. The quicker the spread of the root system, the easier it is to establish top growth of new grass seed by supplying nutrients needed for speedy uptake. While new laws have eliminated the phosphorus content from almost all lawn bagged fertilizer product, seed-starting fertilizers are exempt and able to provide this important element within their formulas.

Even if this summer was a washout where you live, there’s still time for meaningful lawn renovation. Your consultative selling and your customers’ efforts in the fall will yield positive results in the spring, with a greener and stronger lawn that’s better able to withstand future rainy seasons!

Pick a Starter Fertilizer & quality Grass Seed Mixture from one of these great manufacturers!



This Month's Featured Products


Starter Fertilizer 10-18-10

Starter Fertilizer 10-18-10
No 80350023

Buy Now

Green-Up Lawn Food For Seedling & Sodding 5M

Green-Up Lawn Food For Seedling & Sodding 5M
No 81430015

Buy Now

Green-Up Lawn Food For Seedling & Sodding 15M

Green-Up Lawn Food For Seedling & Sodding 15M
No 81430113

Buy Now

Shady Nooks Mixture 1lb

Shady Nooks Mixture 1lb
No 81430044

Buy Now

Shady Nooks Mixture 3lb

Shady Nooks Mixture 3lb
No 81430045

Buy Now

MAG-I-CAL Calcium Fertilizer 5M

MAG-I-CAL Calcium Fertilizer 5M
No 81430153

Buy Now

MAG-I-CAL Calcium Fertilizer 15M

MAG-I-CAL Calcium Fertilizer 15M
No 81430154

Buy Now

EZ Straw Lawn Repair Mix

EZ Straw Lawn Repair Mix
No 81400007

Buy Now

Green Meter Rotary Spreader

Green Meter Rotary Spreader
No 81430127

Buy Now

Green Meter Drop Spreader

Green Meter Drop Spreader
No 81430128

Buy Now

Mosquito Bits 8oz

Mosquito Bits 8oz
No 80530009

Buy Now

Mosquito Bits 30oz

Mosquito Bits 30oz
No 80530011

Buy Now

Printable version



Marching One By One




Many of us recall this song from childhood: “The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah.” It seemed innocent enough back then. Even today, we have ant farm kits available to entertain the most daring and inquisitive minds for willing parents. But as homeowners, we view ants through a different lens, and face the challenges of identifying and controlling ants in and around our homes.

Ants are problematic just about everywhere in North America, whether it’s the nuisance type or ones with a painful bite. They’re found wherever there’s food, moisture or decay. Here are some common ant species to look out for, and the appropriate courses of action to combat each. Depending on your geographic region, you may choose to stock solutions for several different species.

Space Invaders

The Black Garden Ant is a species found under rocks, bricks, lumber and crevices. It’s very active in foraging for food and keeping its colony (and queen) alive for a few decades. Black Garden Ants eat a variety of foods including soft fruits like raspberries and strawberries, small seeds, leftover food particles, small insects and even sugar nectars. Our industry manufactures specific chemistry to neutralize and kill transparent ant colonies in and around the home along with control products for lawn areas. 

The most destructive species of ants to farms and agricultural crops include the Leaf Cutter Ant, which can strip leaves of citrus trees, and the Harvester Ant Research statistics estimate that they cost the crop industry over $1 billion dollars in destroyed vegetation.

The Carpenter Ant tunnels and makes its nests usually in moist or decaying woods and, although they don’t eat wood like the termite, they can weaken structural integrity if left unchecked. It’s a reportable condition with real estate transactions. These ants don’t sting, but they can bite. Just killing the ants that are visible doesn’t eliminate the colony or stop progression. You need to eliminate all colonies, including main and satellite locations. Ant baits containing the active ingredient Borax or boric acid are the most common method of treatment for ant control. However, Carpenter Ants are treated with unique active ingredients developed for indoor and outdoor use.

Unwanted Dinner Guests

In Southern regions, the Red Imported Fire Ant is a painful biting and stinging ant that was accidentally imported from South America in the 1930s. They build nesting mounds in just about any soil type but prefer open grounds like pastures, lawns and fields. Fire Ants reproduce rapidly with aggressive and swarming behaviors. Baiting with the appropriate control product near these mounds in early spring and fall allows worker ants to bring the bait back to kill the queen and the colony.

Another food-craving ant that’s very common indoors is the Sugar Ant. This little ant is attracted to sugar and grease spills. Sugar Ants spread the word quickly to the colony to follow the trail, collecting and redistributing these foods to the queen and colony. White vinegar is a natural repellent to sugar ants as the acid kills the ant and the smell deters. Another common natural product for treatment is diatomaceous earth, which can be used indoors and outdoors.

Encourage do-it-yourself homeowners to keep monitoring the common trails for additional visits. If the situation continues to escalate, they may need to seek the help of a professional ant man. With early and aggressive treatment, hopefully the only Ant-Man they’ll see is in the movie theater.



This Month's Featured Products


Diatomaceous Earth Insect Killer

Diatomaceous Earth Insect Killer
No 80191249

Buy Now

Bonide Termite & Carpenter Ant Aerosol

Bonide Termite & Carpenter Ant Aerosol
No 80100025

Buy Now

Monterey Garden Insect Spray 16 oz. Con.

Monterey Garden Insect Spray 16 oz. Con.
No 80820070

Buy Now

Monterey Garden Insect Spray 30 oz. Con.

Monterey Garden Insect Spray 30 oz. Con.
No 80820071

Buy Now

Monterey Garden Insect Spray 16 oz. RTS

Monterey Garden Insect Spray 16 oz. RTS
No 80820073

Buy Now

Monterey Garden Insect Spray 32 oz. RTU

Monterey Garden Insect Spray 32 oz. RTU
No 80820223

Buy Now

Termite and Carpenter Ant Killer 32 oz. RTU (Not for sale in DC)

Termite and Carpenter Ant Killer 32 oz. RTU (Not for sale in DC)
No 80100026

Buy Now

Ant, Flea and Tick Granules 10lb.

Ant, Flea and Tick Granules 10lb.
No 80100124

Buy Now
Buy Now

Fast Acting Iron

Fast Acting Iron
20 lb
No 80210006

Buy Now

Printable version



Pumping Iron for Gardeners




Optimum performance and good health go hand-in-hand with our perception of fitness, correct? How about your customers’ plants? Are they as fit as they could be? Ornamental plants crave specific elements in their diets. All are important, but iron is especially so. Imagine what would happen if we removed iron from our diets: We’d feel a range of negative effects. Plants are no different.
 


The Green Machine

 
When we think of maximizing green in our industry, we usually think about fertilizer. The more, the better, right? It’s not that simple. Too much fertilizer can be damaging through excessive salts or overwhelming nutrient uptake, the result of which can actually stop plant growth in its tracks.


New and tender root fibers can be irreversibly damaged from excessive feeding of nutrients that offer quick uptake. In fact, this mobility within the plant teaches us how we might diagnose specific symptoms of nutrient deficiency. Age of the plant, moisture, temperature and even the root mass can affect the movement of nutrients throughout a plant.
 

Iron Chlorosis
 

When iron isn’t readily available to plants and lawns, iron chlorosis is a common result. Symptoms include yellowing leaves, slowly developing growth, early leaf defoliation and/or light green leaves with darker veining. These characteristics are often first noticed on young plant foliage, especially in warmer summer temperatures after a cool, wet spring.

Although iron is often present in the soil, uptake by plants can be restricted when soil pH is too high (i.e., pH levels above 6.0). A pH adjustment, with the addition of sulfur or iron sulfate, may be just the ticket for customers who are seeing these symptoms their gardens. These products may be applied as foliar sprays or by incorporating a solution to the drip line around the plant or as application to the lawn. Iron can condense on the foliage, causing pitting. It’s best to rinse the foliage with clear water following any iron application before it dries.
 

Read the Fine Print
 
Lawn care products are available from many manufacturers, but they’re not all created equal in how plants receive their nutrients, especially in the summer months.


Extensive research has been devoted to increasing the speed with which a fertilizer’s effects are visually noticeable in plants and lawns. Some fertilizers include microbes and a non-staining iron supplement to help promote faster greening and deeper roots, while improving soil structure. These fast-acting iron supplements generally range from 1%-12% iron to enhance the deep green color of a lawn without excessive growth. Some high-tech formulas contain humates and gypsum to speed uptake and help condition the soil.


Additional Iron (Fe) Products


Quite a few iron-enhancing products are available on the market today. Options include fertilizers tailored for iron-hungry flowers like petunia, bacopa, calibrachoa and tomatoes!


While ferrous sulfate has been the main ingredient to control and kill lawn moss for years, advise your retail customers to sweep remaining granules off concrete driveways and sidewalks to prevent staining.


One of the newest technologies comes from naturally occurring iron-based herbicides or FeHEDTA. Bonide introduced a unique Weed Beater Fe formula that kills broadleaf weeds, moss, algae and disease, plus greens up your lawn. Results are usually visible within hours and it’s pet-safe. This 5-in-1 product effectively works in cooler temperatures, too! This ready-to-use product represents a whole new way for consumers to pump iron!




This Month's Featured Products


Weed Beater Fe

Weed Beater Fe RTU
1 qt
No 80100849

Buy Now

Petunia FeED 20-6-22 1 1/2 lb.

Petunia FeED 20-6-22
1.5 lb
No 80060021

Buy Now

Petunia FeED 20-6-22 4 lb.

Petunia FeED 20-6-22
4 lb
No 80060038

Buy Now

Petunia FeED 20-6-22 10 lb.

Petunia FeED 20-6-22
10 lb
No 80060020

Buy Now

Petunia FeED 20-6-22 350 Sample packets

Petunia FeED 20-6-22 350 Sample packets
12 oz
No 80060037

Buy Now

Tomato FeED 12-15-30

Tomato FeED 12-15-30
1.5 lb
No 80060042

Buy Now

Iron-tone 4-1-5

Iron-tone 4-1-5
5 lb
No 80030065

Buy Now

Summer Revitalizer 8-0-0

Summer Revitalizer 8-0-0
30 lb
No 80030086

Buy Now

Fast Acting Iron

Fast Acting Iron
20 lb
No 80210006

Buy Now

Printable version



Fruit of the Bloom





















        








Home gardening has enjoyed a centuries-long love affair with fruit trees. As far back as the 1750s, fruit trees had a prominent place in many backyard colonial gardens. Researchers at Colonial Williamsburg have explored documentation and excavation of many on-site water wells, revealing long-kept secrets of landscaping from our nation’s early years.

Many native species of crab apple and cherry trees were bitter for consumption. We owe almost all of our fruit-tree origination to Europe. While nut-baring trees like chestnut and pecan were popular in the New World, fruit trees like apple, peach, plum, quince, pear and even nectarines arrived from overseas via coastal ports. Mostly dormant and bare-root plants were quickly planted on homeowner plots and in nearby orchards.

Homesteading 2.0

While fruit trees have transitioned into niche status among newer generations, their fans are loyal. Homemade jellies and preserves, and fresh-picked fruit are seeing a resurgence in popularity. Mail-order catalogs have largely been replaced by the internet and hard-to-find heirloom cultivars are available.

Over the past 30-40 years, homeowners have been discouraged by failures to produce good quality fruit, often due to lack of knowledge regarding tree care and maintenance. Fruit trees can also be insect magnets, especially for Japanese beetles and bees. When demand for fruit trees began to wane, supply soon followed suit.

Spearheading a Harvest

Citrus fruit is especially on-trend among younger consumers, driven at least in part by the craft beer industry. Many popular IPA and craft beers are infused with citrus flavors. The pacesetter for this was, without question, Corona beer, whose television commercials feature the signature lime wedge atop the beer bottleneck.

A higher demand for lemon and lime trees has even changed the way we sell plant stock today. Grafting both lime and lemon onto the same rootstock has offered a unique two-for-one sale for space-saving gardeners. Dwarf varieties have improved dramatically over the years; many are plantable in large containers on a deck or patio.

Trekking to the local orchard for you-pick apples, peaches and cherries is a favorite fall activity for many families. Some regions of our country really do a great job of promoting and hosting these events! The comeback of canning, jams and jellies, pickling (my favorite is pickled pears) and specialty baking, all using fresh harvested fruit, is another reason to promote fruit tree plantings. 

Simple Steps for Planting Fruit Trees

Advise your customers to plant their trees in well-drained holes that allow the root ball to stand 

slightly above level grade. The area should also receive at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. A soil conditioner or soil amendment can be added, provided it’s not fresh manure, to the existing topsoil drawn from the hole.

Homeowners will want to keep ample spacing between trees. A minimum distance of 12 feet is a good guideline, unless dwarf or espalier varieties are involved. Of course, watering fruit trees is vital to their success, especially if planted in sandy soil. Deep watering helps establish vast root systems. 

Additional Care 

Be sure to stock horticultural spray oil, for use to smother overwintering insect eggs. Bonide and Summit offer quality products in this category. The consumer should spray early in the season, once temperatures rise above freezing but prior to bloom and leaf development.

Fertilizer can be applied as long as ground isn’t frozen using traditional feeds like 10-10-10. There are proven organics available from Espoma like Citrus-tone 4-3-2, Plant-tone 5-3-3 and the popular favorite, Bio-tone Starter Plus 4-3-3 for all planting conditions. A topdressing of mulch (2-3” inches) will also help conserve moisture.

Occasional pruning may be needed to trim away dead wood or sprawling branches. Timing is important on WHEN to prune. Apples, pears and plums are usually pruned during winter months while they’re still dormant. Cherries are pruned during late spring or summer. When in doubt, refer your customer to an arborist or a local county extension service. 

Above all, encourage your customers to enjoy the fruits of their own labor! 



This Month's Featured Products


BioMax Garden Mix 3 in 1

BioMax Garden Mix 3 in 1
No 80310039

Buy Now

D-Handle Garden Spade

D-Handle Garden Spade
No 81380278

Buy Now

Citrus-tone 5-2-6

Citrus-tone 5-2-6
No 80030016

Buy Now

Garden Food 10-10-10

Garden Food 10-10-10
No 80030031

Buy Now

Dew Right

Dew Right
No 80010042

Buy Now

Year-Round Spray Oil 16oz. Con.

Year-Round Spray Oil 16oz. Con.
No 80530018

Buy Now

Year-Round Spray Oil 32oz. Con.

Year-Round Spray Oil 32oz. Con.
No 80530019

Buy Now

Year-Round Spray Oil 1 gal. Con.

Year-Round Spray Oil 1 gal. Con.
No 80530020

Buy Now

Printable version



Clover: The Misunderstood Weed















        





Clover is among the most intriguing weeds in the yard. It’s also one of the toughest to control. Clover commands space in nutrient-deficient soil, often rambling and spreading endlessly in all directions. The soft and delicate leaf surface provides a cushioned feel to anyone seeking barefoot comfort. A large field of white clover showcases an emerald green color unlike few turf grass varieties. It can be marvelous! It can also be a scourge to a homeowner seeking lawn nirvana.

Looking Over the Three-Leaf Clover

Derived from the Latin word, Trifolium, the three (Tri) leaf (folium) characteristic of clover sports a tough stem and dense root system that creeps along shallow soil zones, resists trampling and responds well to mowing.

The most common type of clover in the U.S. is perennial White Dutch Clover. Some clover types grow from 6-12 inches in height and thrive in cool, damp conditions mostly from the Midwest to the eastern half of the United States. For those who choose to brave clover fields in bare feet: Congratulations, you have no fear of stepping on pollenating bees.

Agricultural Applications

Today’s pasture mixes still use clover seed as part of the forage grass make-up to optimize livestock production. Clover serves numerous purposes: Some use clover between nursery plantings of trees, since it resists herbicides and requires little care. Eventual tilling into the soil provides nitrogen for plant uptake. Clover has merit as a companion crop between rows of sweet corn or other vegetables. Clover is often used in vineyards to minimize erosion, reduce soil temperature and retain moisture as a “living mulch” with its dense coverage. As an added bonus, white clover flowers attract all-important pollinators, too!

Shockingly, many years ago, white clover was added into many grass seed mixtures to help reduce soil erosion. It was able to grow in poor soil conditions where other grass seeds wouldn’t germinate. As turf grass development was bred for better texture and color, blends (of the same seed type) replaced mixtures, and clover picked up a reputation as a nuisance weed.

The Only Good Weed is a Dead One

Homeowners are generally obsessive about having a very good to great lawn. It’s a status symbol and an indicator of a green thumb. Selective weed controls have made it convenient for the homeowner to eliminate undesirable weeds and retain only good perennial seed types. 

One of the most common active ingredients used for clover control is dicamba. It works safely and effectively when used as directed. While clover is resistant to many chemicals, dicamba penetrates the leaf surface quickly and effectively, often showing results within hours of application.

While many control products list clover as a targeted weed, many don’t contain dicamba and need to be reapplied several times to achieve eradication. Since well-established clover patches have crawling root systems, chemical combinations consisting of both dicamba and triclopyr are especially effective in killing clover, usually on the first application. Whatever you choose to 

stock and sell in your store for clover control, make sure you recommend specifically labelled products that work to their fullest when used as directed. Your lucky customer will have found their four-leaf clover! 




 

This Month's Featured Products


Weed Beater Plus Crabgrass & Broadleaf Weed Killer

Weed Beater Plus Crabgrass & Broadleaf Weed Killer
No 80100048

Buy Now

Weed Beater ULTRA 16oz Con

Weed Beater ULTRA 16oz Con
No 80100065

Buy Now

Weed Beater ULTRA 16oz RTS

Weed Beater ULTRA 16oz RTS
No 80100023

Buy Now

Weed Beater ULTRA 32oz RTU

Weed Beater ULTRA 32oz RTU
No 80100022

Buy Now

Weed Beater ULTRA 1gal RTU

Weed Beater ULTRA 1gal RTU
No 80100164

Buy Now

Chickweed, Clover & Oxalis Killer 16oz Con

Chickweed, Clover & Oxalis Killer 16oz Con
No 80100202

Buy Now

Chickweed, Clover & Oxalis Killer 32oz RTU

Chickweed, Clover & Oxalis Killer 32oz RTU
No 80100203

Buy Now

Broadleaf Weed Control Plus Lawn Food 27-0-4 5M

Broadleaf Weed Control Plus Lawn Food 27-0-4 5M
No 80350015

Buy Now

Broadleaf Weed Control Plus Lawn Food 27-0-4 15M

Broadleaf Weed Control Plus Lawn Food 27-0-4 15M
No 80350017

Buy Now

2 Gal Premium Funnel Top Sprayer

2 Gal Premium Funnel Top Sprayer
No 81880004

Buy Now

Green Meter Rotary Spreader

Green Meter Rotary Spreader
No 81430127

Buy Now

Printable version



As the Worm Turns















        





Spring has finally arrived! We can laugh about the groundhog, who is still in protective custody after predicting those six extra weeks of winter.

Even during those cold months, one of earth’s most interesting creatures is still diligently at work. I never knew of a manufacturer that worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide an energy tonic that we sell to garden centers nationwide – until now. Alas, earthworm castings are gaining popularity among organic gardeners that prefer an all-organic balance of nutrients of nitrogen, phosphorous and potash. Did you ever imagine that your grade school science project of worm dissection would become a factor in feeding the world? Me neither.

Earthworms play a major role in turning organic matter into rich, usable humus. Did you know that earthworms are a $54 million dollar industry by themselves? I only thought of worms as the bait at the end of a fishing line as a child. But there’s so much more to know. The earthworm feeds on both organic and dead matter in the soil. “Worm casts are five times richer in available nitrogen, seven times richer in available phosphates and 11 times richer in available potassium than the surrounding upper six inches of soil,” according to Wikipedia. Its content is readily available to all types of plant life.

While earthworms are abundant in the United States, research has shown that they’re vulnerable to lime sulfur, DDT and lead arsenate. Recent studies have shown that neonicotinoid insecticides like imidicloprid (Merit) severely damage populations of earthworms and new restrictions have tightened up on its use and application.
Protecting the health of the earthworm ensures healthier soil. Earthworms will thrive where there is moisture, food (organic matter), oxygen and favorable temperatures. They’re contributing garden workers in other ways, too!

Earthworms are very beneficial to gardeners in distributing specific beneficial nematodes that are usually applied in spring. These spores are ingested into their digestive system and spread laterally in their ecosystem, eradicating many sub-soil insects that are harmful to gardens and crops. The Japanese beetle is one such grub that’s destroyed by released bacteria spores when in the larvae stage. Truly a much better solution than applying chemicals to your lawn especially around pets and children.

For years, farmers have encouraged earthworm burrows as their constant tunneling aerates the ground to allow for better root development and easier moisture retention; their casting deposits also fertilize the soil. Earthworms are also known to accelerate the decomposition process of composting. Tireless workers that constantly move and never sleep, earthworms are hermaphrodites, which means that each have both male and female sex organs, but they still need “two to tango” in order to reproduce.

Many new retail products include earthworm castings as a supplemental ingredient. These can be mixed with potting soil, top-dressed onto soil surfaces, or even steeped in a barrel for a magical compost tea. Castings won’t burn and may be applied indoors or outdoors. Worm castings stimulate faster growth, increased biological activity and bigger yields in plants.

If you’d like to include live worms in your product mix, for those consumers who wish to start their own worm farms, we’ve got you covered there, too. We sell and ship directly to your store “live” worms through Orcon Organic Control, which ships approximately 1,800-2,000 worms per pound in all stages and sizes. Just drop or plop into a compost pile… and they’re off to soil utopia!

As a child, I never realized how beneficial the earthworm truly was. I only thought the bigger the worm, the bigger the fish I caught. As a gardener however, Mother Nature has given us an amazing creature with magical powers. I’ll never look at the earthworm in the same way again.




 

This Month's Featured Products



Wicasset Blend Earthworm Castings

Wicasset Blend Earthworm Castings
No 81600014

Buy Now

Organic Earthworm Castings

Organic Earthworm Castings
No 80030140

Buy Now

Earth Keeper Castings

Earth Keeper Castings
No 81890001

Buy Now

Earthworm Castings

Earthworm Castings
No 80320008

Buy Now

Worm Castings

Worm Castings
No 81350021

Buy Now

Worm Castings

Worm Castings
No 81350022

Buy Now

Printable version



Inexpensive Entertainment for Peeps of All Ages


        





On nearly every retailer visit I make, I check to see if the store has a wild-bird display. Quite a few garden centers have outstanding departments with respectable selections of wild bird foods, nectars, suet and appropriate feeders. Since the big-box explosion of home-improvement stores, many independent garden centers have removed the birding category due to declining sales or uncertainty on how to compete. Some retailers explain that they have difficulty in keeping critters from eating more bird seed than is sold to customers. If any of these challenges hit close to home for you, try rethinking your approach: A new look in this category could generate new interest and new sales this spring. 


Universal Appeal
 
Data from the U.S. Department of the Interior, which protects our great outdoors, supports the expanding world of birding. It’s the fastest growing outdoor activity nationwide with more than 55 million people getting involved at every level, from novice to expert.

It’s easy to understand the universal appeal: Birding is accessible everywhere in the country. Spotting and identifying birds is fascinating for all age groups. The price of admission is negligible; all that’s needed is a good pair of binoculars and possibly a wild-bird reference book to get started.

Here are a few websites to consider sharing with your customers: 

www.audubon.org
www.allaboutbirds.org 

Unusual Sightings 
Television stations were intrigued by sightings of the snowy owl this winter along the Atlantic coastline, as far south as Delaware. This unusual occurrence of this arctic species raised awareness and drew travelers to see these magnificent creatures up close. The boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J., provided a cameo appearance on a casino awning for days, to the delight of many.

Unfortunately, not everyone is happy about the snowy owl’s appearance. Airport personnel keep a watchful eye on these birds that find the airfields’ open spaces to be similar to their arctic habitat, with wide-open fields and easy-to-see movement of food sources from a distance. Unfortunately, such conditions also make these owls prone to being shot, killed or captured. 

Ornithologists researching the science behind migration patterns are also studying the impact of hurricanes on bird populations and their relocation. This past summer season was a busy one for hurricanes, but it hasn’t stopped “birders” across the country from counting bird species in Houston, Tex., and up the Carolinas’ coastline. 

Enjoying Sales without the Mess
Drawing unique birds into your garden doesn’t have to require bird seed. Some spectacular species are just looking for a food source to attract them to your home. Hummingbirds, for example, are amazing creatures and their annual migratory journey will be starting soon.

Garden centers are finding that the newest glass hummingbird feeders are as beautiful as they are functional. Easy to fill and clean, these feeders are driving new sales opportunities everywhere. Feeder manufacturers like Perky Pet and Classic continue to be sold in retail stores of all sizes, but you do have a choice. Aspect Feeders are U.S.A.-manufactured in Rhode Island and not sold in the box stores. These high-quality, lifetime-guaranteed feeders are easy to clean and reassemble.  

A Bird of a Different Color
If you live east of the Rocky Mountains, the Baltimore oriole is one of the more colorful and interesting songbirds in America. It’s easily drawn to fruit-bearing plants and enjoys an occasional sip of nectar from the hummingbird feeder. The male oriole has a black head and sports a bright orange crest and underside with a white stripe through its black wings. The female has a duller brown crest. Many homeowners suspend fruit like an orange on a string to entice this little bird with its unmistakable soundtrack.

The month of March is the proper time to begin bird house installations around the yard and garden. Orioles prefer tall deciduous trees to make their nests using string or thin vines. As you plan and prepare to help your customers attract spring songbirds, make sure you’re well stocked with these three things: food, water and protection! These are the keys to birding success at home and, wherever they’re present, the chirping sounds of spring won’t be far behind.


 

This Month's Featured Products



Aspects Hummzinger Excel 16oz Capacity Hummingbird Feeder

Aspects Hummzinger Excel 16oz Capacity Hummingbird Feeder
No 80480004

Buy Now

Classic Brands Twist 11 oz

Classic Brands Twist 11 oz
No 81210087

Buy Now

Cole's Dried Mealworms 3.5oz

Cole's Dried Mealworms 3.5oz
No 80370063

Buy Now

Pine Tree Orange Suet Dough 12 oz

Pine Tree Orange Suet Dough 12 oz
No 80450005

Buy Now

Perky Pet Oriole Plastic Feeder 24 Oz 6/Case

Perky Pet Oriole Plastic Feeder 24 Oz 6/Case
No 80191162

Buy Now

Audubon Going Green Oriole and Bluebird Feeder

Audubon Going Green Oriole and Bluebird Feeder
No 80440130

Buy Now

Panacea 4

Panacea 4" Black Garden S Hook 2 Pack
No 80160022

Buy Now

Panacea 6

Panacea 6" Black Garden S Hook 2 Pack
No 80160023

Buy Now

Panacea 8

Panacea 8" Black Garden S Hook 2 Pack
No 80160024

Buy Now

Panacea 18

Panacea 18" Black Garden S Hook
No 80160026

Buy Now

Panacea 24

Panacea 24" Black Garden S Hook
No 80160027

Buy Now

Panacea 12

Panacea 12" Black Garden S Hook
No 80160883

Buy Now

WSP Woven Rope Acorn Roosting Pocket

WSP Woven Rope Acorn Roosting Pocket
No 81730398

Buy Now

WSP Woven Rope Hive Roosting Pocket

WSP Woven Rope Hive Roosting Pocket
No 81730399

Buy Now

Printable version



The Curse – and Opportunity – of the Uncommon Cold

        





Every so often, a new weather record is broken in your state. Whether it’s rainfall, snowfall, drought or – as we’ve seen this month – frigid temperatures, it’s going to happen. As I write this tip, I see a half-inch of ice layering everything in sight around my home in New Jersey. It reminds me of a winter long ago that was so cold, the Delaware River froze and you could walk from Camden, N.J., to Philadelphia, Penn.! Might this year be a record breaker? Read on to prepare for the challenges and the opportunities that may lie 
ahead in spring 2018.


From Bone-Chilling to Silver Lining
Extreme temperature swings can cause major damage to plants and shrubs, especially those planted in regions where consumers cheated the hardiness zones. Only time will tell whether plants will respond to warming temps this time around.

Winterkill from the record-setting arctic blast of January 1985 eliminated nearly an entire collection of roses at Hershey Gardens in Pennsylvania. With sustained temperatures dipping into negative numbers throughout the eastern United States, we saw the impact of losing well-established plants everywhere.

In contrast, 1985 turned into a good year for nursery sales, as consumers shopped for replacement plant material. Maybe this year’s bitter cold will yield another opportunity for sales and profits when spring arrives.

From Slumber Party to Garden Party

Pruning is among the many routine tasks of springtime. However, it’s more than a simple chore; pruning is an art! Most consumers are unaware of its necessity and its benefits, which presents you with an opportunity to educate. By eliminating deadwood and branches, the growth of the plant is replenished by pushing new basal breaks from the crown of perennials and roses. New buds will emerge from branches and canes, and the strength and energy of the plant is concentrated into a smaller area.

Two types of pruning methods pertain to plants, especially roses. First, is a reduction in size by cutting the canes to the desired height while eliminating crossing canes. These canes are cut about a ¼ inch above an outward facing bud eye. The second part of the process is to eliminate dead wood or blackened canes. After winters like this one, consumers may need to prune these canes right down to the rose crown or bud union, where the canes start.

In situations where extreme pruning is needed, plants may take a while longer to produce roses this season. Encourage your customers to be patient: They’ll be rewarded with an eventual flush of new blooms sometime between Mother’s Day and Flag Day, depending on the variety.

An Ounce of Protection, a Pound of Prevention

Any cut into the pith of a branch or cane can become a new entryway for insect borers or disease. It’s wise to seal these cuts using a suitable pruning sealer. However, I would caution against using a pruning sealer on rose canes. Many contain petroleum distillates, which may damage soft and sensitive tissue. Instead, advise your customers to use Elmer’s Glue, nail polish or orange shellac on these tips.

Remind consumers to examine trees for similar damage, such as branches that have slightly broken away from their trunks from the weight of ice and snow. This is especially a concern with Japanese maple varieties. If a compromised branch fully leafs out, it may produce enough weight to splinter away from the trunk. Clark’s Grafting Wax and binding tape may help salvage the branch; be sure to have these products on your shelves as spring arrives.

The Day the Earth Moved

Frost heaving is a common occurrence during the extreme temperature swings of winter. Water and moisture can expand during winter months and, in some examples, sever roots around trees and plants. No worries! It only takes a springtime feeding of organics or the addition of a root stimulant or mycorrhizae to produce new feeder roots to sustain the plant. To speed the process along, ask your customers to consider the addition of a soil amendment or top dress of mulch to increase moisture availability.

For now, we can only watch and wait for the first signs of spring arrive in our gardens. Only then will we know what damages have occurred and what our tasks will be. Until then, we can prepare for the possibilities.

If all else fails, and some plants will fail, then another type of pruning will be required: Shovel pruning.

 

This Month's Featured Products



Organic Vegtable & Flower Garden Soil

Organic Vegtable & Flower Garden Soil
No 80030129

Buy Now

F-5 Economy Pruner

F-5 Economy Pruner
No 80260010

Buy Now

General Purpose Folding Saw

General Purpose Folding Saw
No 81380244

Buy Now

Pruning Sealer

Pruning Sealer
No 80100013

Buy Now

Grafting Wax 1/4 lb

Grafting Wax 1/4 lb
No 80470167

Buy Now

Grafting Wax 1 lb

Grafting Wax 1 lb
No 80470169

Buy Now

Myke Tree & Shrub 1.4 qt

Myke Tree & Shrub 1.4 qt
No 80310044

Buy Now

Myke Tree & Shrub 3.6 qt

Myke Tree & Shrub 3.6 qt
No 80310045

Buy Now

Printable version