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Garden Guru

The bear

Jim Boxberger
Posted 9/15/23

So on top of the deer problems that I have, now there is a pesky bear hanging around. At least this bear does wander off quickly when he or she knows that I am home. I don’t need to clank pots …

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Garden Guru

The bear


So on top of the deer problems that I have, now there is a pesky bear hanging around. At least this bear does wander off quickly when he or she knows that I am home. I don’t need to clank pots and pans to scare it off. But like I wrote about a few weeks ago, when I do get bees again I will definitely need to put up an electric fence to protect them. 

The bear isn’t the focus of this week’s column, just a slight distraction. The real problem of the week is moss and how to get rid of it. There are many types of moss and many ways on the market today to rid your lawn, deck, patio and roof of it. But buyer beware, read the label before using any moss control product. Let me clarify, there are slow ways to control moss, ie. lime, and then there are fast ways. I’m talking about the fast ways, as there are many products that can rid you of your moss, but they can do damage if not used properly. 

One of the most popular products we sell is “Moss Out”. Moss Out however comes in two types of products, one for lawns and one for decks, patios and roofs. Do not make the mistake of using either product in the wrong area. Moss Out for lawns is a basic iron sulfate product that will kill moss and green up your lawn at the same time, however, if used on a deck or patio will produce black stains that may last for twelve to eighteen months. The Moss Out for decks, patios and roofs, will safely kill moss on those surfaces without staining but will kill all vegetation that it come in contact with. This is particularly important when using on roofs as any valleys that collect leaves on your roof also using start seedlings that can quickly grow and damage shingles. But Moss Out for roofs will kill all types of seedlings that it comes in contact with so that nothing will remain to damage your shingles. So using the correct product is very important. 

Another newer product that has only been around a half dozen years or so is “Wet N Forget”, which besides moss, works on mold and algae too. Green algae, black mold, and moss begin to die off on contact with the product. The combination of wind and rain break down the growth and rinse your surfaces clean over time. Green stains clean up in one to two weeks, black stains and moss clean up within a few months depending on rainfall. Now this product is for home and patio surfaces only and not safe for lawns. 

For lawns, I recommend going old school, using good old fashion lime once or twice a year. There are four basic types of lawn lime, pulverized, pelletized, granular and fast acting (although fast acting lime is also pelletized). Fast acting lime is concentrated so that a twenty-four pound bag will cover roughly five thousand square feet, where as the other three you would use fifty pounds per one thousand square feet if applying once a year or thirty pounds per square feet twice a year. Lime works slowly over time to raise the ph of your lawn which sweetens the soil to help your grass grow better. Putting lime on your lawn is like putting sugar in your coffee, not that I use a lot of sugar at all, but you get the idea. When your soil ph is right your grass can absorb more of the natural minerals in the soil and the fertilizer you put down can be absorbed quicker and to a much fuller extent. Sometimes just by liming your lawn it will green up without adding any fertilizer simply because the grass is able to access fetilizer that was already in the soil from prior seasons. But liming is the slow way to kill moss, it could take four or five years before you get rid of the moss entirely. There is one other type of lime that you really don’t want to use on your lawn and that would be hydrated lime. Hydrated lime is a chemically produced lime, sometimes called hot lime, that is used primarily for odor control. We sell for the horse stalls at the racetrack. The town, county and state D.O.T. workers use it for covering all the deer carcasses they collect along the roads. And it is used under crawl spaces and in basements to reduce that damp musty smell. It can be used on lawns or in gardens, but it must be used in small quantities as it can burn plants if applied too heavily, something that the other lime products will not do. You could break a bag of granular lime on one spot on your lawn and it would not detrimentally impact your lawn. If you have more questions, come in and see us, we’re here seven days a week.


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