TIPS & RESOURCES

Our tips section is here to help you create beautiful landscapes for your home. You can find tips on a variety of sustainable lawn and gardening topics from eliminating weeds naturally, to tips on controlling mold in your mulch. Have additional questions that are not answered in your tips sections? Please refer to our Ask the Expert section where an experienced member of our staff will be more then happy to give you some sound advice.

Fertilizing Organically

Unlike chemical based fertilizers that ruin your lawns natural soil structure, the foundation of the Good Nature fertilizer is a soil feeding fertilizer. The fertilizer will encourage healthy turf and soil which discourages weed growth and creates a thick lush healthy lawn. The spring and fall blend fertilizers contain some corn gluten to help suppress weed control, but If weeds are a major problem, we recommend either plucking them with a handy dandy “Speedy Weedy” or spot spraying them with Natural Feed & Weed. Here are some of the main differences between organic  and chemical fertilizers.

 

1. Organic fertilizer:

* is a slow-release fertilizer without the hazards of over-fertilizing or root damage problems.
* doesn’t work as quickly as chemical fertilizers, but improves the quality of the soil over the growing season.
* doesn’t introduce toxic chemicals into the soil, which is then washed out by the rain and leaked into the water system.
* helps to maintain organic soil structures, and retains naturally occurring bacteria, fungi, and micro-organisms.
* produces food that is higher in nutrients – vitamins and minerals – and retains its natural flavor.

 

2. Synthetic (chemical) fertilizer:

* has a destructive action on soil.
* works quickly but can burn out roots.
* ruins the natural soil structure.
* is absorbed into the food and then into animals and humans.
* requires careful handling using gloves, breathing filters, which is a clue as to how dangerous it is.

 

Fertilizer Application Schedule:

April- Good Nature Spring Blend ( 9-2-1 ) @ 10 lbs / 1000
Late May- Good Nature Spring Blend ( 9-2-1 ) @ 8-10 lbs / 1000
Early September- Good Nature Fall Blend ( 10-2-8 ) @ 8-10 lbs / 1000
Late November- Good Nature Fall Blend ( 10-2-8 ) @ 5-8 lbs / 1000

50lb Bag

 

Natural Weed Control

Corn gluten pre-emergent is an all natural weed inhibitor. Discovered by accident at Iowa Sate University in the 1980’s researchers found there is a natural substance in corn gluten meal (a by product of wet milling corn and not a food source) that inhibits seed germination. Applied at a rate of 20lbs per 1,000 sq. feet corn gluten meal has shown to effectively stop the germination of weed seeds (grass seeds too). Best applied in spring and fall when weeds can germinate- but can be applied at anytime of the year.

 

Pre-Emergent Application Schedule:

Spring- Pre-emergent @ 20lbs per 1,000 sq. feet.
Fall- Pre-emergent @ 20lbs per 1,000 sq. feet.

Almost everyday customers come in and ask, “How do I get rid of weeds?” Many customers come in looking for Round Up or some other chemical-based product. With a little education, we point out that there are many organic alternatives that work just as well.

 

Maintenance

Mow High– 3″-4″ in the summer if possible. Higher grass will actually shade out weed seeds preventing them from germinating.

Water Properly– We suggest providing 1″ of water per week in two sessions( less request and deeper watering is the general rule of thumb). Watering helps the grass by keeping it growing during the summer when it wants to go dormant which then gives the weeds a chance to thrive.

Over seeding– Over seeding with more modern grasses is another way to prevent weeds by having better grass types out compete the weeds.

Pesky Insects– Preventing insect damage naturally with milky spore or nematodes can help prevent weeds. Studies at Ohio State have shown that lawns weakened by insect damage are more prone to weeds later on.

Aeration– Lawns with excessive thatch( 1/2″ or more) can lead to insects and weeds in the future.

 

Products

Burn Out
Bun Out is a natural, fast acting weed and grass killer. Made mainly of clove oil and vinegar, it is as potent as other chemical-derived products. Recommended for use on all weeds, in areas where grass should not grow, in between cracks in your driveway and in many other areas. Burnout works on annuals immediately but perennials may require an additional treatment. Burnout is available in various ready-to-use and concentrated formulas.

Speedy Weedy
The Speedy Weedy tool is the fastest and easiest way to remove the most stubborn weeds right from the root. The Speedy Weedy eliminates chemicals, bending over and prevents dirty hands. It promotes healthy exercise by making you walk around your yard!

Pre Merge Weed Control (Corn Gluten)
Pre Merge is an all natural, granulated weed control. Pre Merge actually works by preventing weed seeds from germination. It is made from corn gluten protein meal crumbles. It can be used for controlling new weed growth in lawns, flower beds, or anywhere in landscapes where weeds are not wanted. Pre-Merge works great on crabgrass and dandelions. It is not recommended to use in areas with new seedlings. Pre Merge can be applied throughout the season for maximum weed control. Available in 6 lb.. and 50 lb. bags.

Are your bare spots bugging you? Spring is a great time to spot seed your lawn. If you have a lot of bare spots it might be best to wait until fall (the best planting time) and slice seed your entire lawn. Follow these simple steps to cover up those spots.

1. Identify the spots and loosed up the soil slightly with a rake.

2. Scatter your seed: the sloppier you are, the more evenly distributed they seem to fall. A hand spreader will work as well.

3. Use the back side of a wire rake to gently blend and smooth the area. The goal is to ensure maximum soil / seed contact.

4. Mulch the area with some compost, only enough to cover about 1/6 to 1/3 inch. Sweet Peet and Leaf Humus are great composts that help your grass seed germinate faster.

5. Firm the area gently to smooth finish. It is a good idea to throw down a light layer of straw or peat moss. This is to keep rainfall from washing away all your seed.

6. Timing: Don’t spread if you have recently applied natural pre-emergent weed control. This will keep the seeds from germinating.

Wet weather can present some challenges for color-enriched products. Below is a brief description of the coloring process and the options on reviving “washed” product.

The colorant is dispersed in a water-based solution.
Wood fibers are then fully saturated to provide a rich color.
When the mulch is dry the colorant particles bond to the wood.
The bond needs time to form between the colorant & wood fibers.

Critical drying time is required and can vary based on fiber moisture content, production inventory & weather.
*24-72 hours based on when the product is installed is a comfortable window to go by.

 

Renewing “Washed” Product

-Already Installed:

* Lightly rake the surface. Color loss is normally limited to the top 1/2″ of material. Mulch is normally applied at a 2″ depth leaving plenty of material to cover the surface once it’s flipped over.
* Top coat the surface with an additional half inch of fresh color-enriched product.

-Bulk Pile:

* Simply mix the surface material in with the rest of the mulch. There will be enough colorant in the pile to blend together.

Mulch enhances the landscapes around your home.  It adds a clean and finished look and also provides nutrient value as it retains moisture to the soil for trees and plants to flourish.  However, we have found that a little mulch maintenance will prevent unattractive matter from growing in various areas.  Mold is the most common issue that homeowners complain about each season after they apply their mulch around their beds.  Mold typically forms when there is an excessive amount of moisture in sunny areas or in shaded areas that receive little to no exposure to the sun.  Mold simply forms in decomposing, wood-based mulch where there is a lack of oxygen.

How do I remove mold from my mulch?

-Simply remove mold with a shovel and discard.

How do I prevent mold from occurring?

-The most effective preventative measure is to allow air to circulate throughout the mulch. Use a shovel or rake and rotate the mulch by shifting it around and flipping it over around the beds, especially in areas where there is excessive amounts of moisture. This step allows air to flow throughout the material where it lacks oxygen and may lead to mold growth.
-You should also never lay mulch thicker then 2 – 3 inches. Laying mulch thick will promote mold growth from decomposing layers underneath. If you have too much mulch when laying new mulch in the spring, rake up a layer of the old decomposing mulch before putting down.

How often should I move my mulch around?

-Based on our experience, every 6-8 weeks or approximately 3 to 4 times per season starting from the date of application. Old mulch from the previous season requires more frequent shifting every 4 weeks due to its age and decomposition.

Are there any products I can purchase that will stop mold from growing?

-There are no effective products on the market that actually “prevent mold from growing” in mulch. Only good “old fashioned” labor will help in preventing mold growth.

-Sweet Peet is an alternative to regular wood mulches that will keep you from getting mold in your beds. It is a 100% organic mulch comprised of composted matter and virgin wood fibers that breaks down over a shorter period of time and creates essential nutrients for your soil.

As a kid growing up, we lived in a colonial-style home covered with white aluminum siding. I remember playing around the house and noticing these black spots around the lower part of the white aluminum siding. As a 5 year old kid, I would try to pick these spots off but never had any luck. They were located directly above the flower beds, covered in black mulch. I remember seeing more spots on the back of our house which faced west. I often wondered, “How did these spots get there?”

Years later, I finally figured out the origins of these mysterious black spots because several customers were coming to us with frustration on how these spots appeared on their homes and cars. Well, they are directly related to the type of mulch used in flower beds. These tiny spots are typically known as “Artillery fungus” or “shotgun fungus.” As light reflects on the wood-based mulch, mold spores form tiny spots and literally “jump” out of the mulch and onto light colored objects, such as the side of a home or light-colored automobiles. So how do you remove these spots from the side of your home or cars? Well, there are some cases where high pressure washers will remove them or by using various types of chemicals but let me ask you, do you really want chemicals washing into your landscapes? Hopefully not. the best solution is using a scrub brush and a high pressure washer.

The next step is to face the source of the spots- the wood-based mulch. Finally, we found a solution to eliminate the spots.  After testing all of our wood-based mulches, we found that Sweet Peet mulch was the most effective in not developing shotgun fungus on light-colored objects.  Sweet Peet lacks the high amounts of composted wood which is considered the ideal source for this type of fungus to occur.  We found in particular that aged mulch (over a year old), regardless of the wood type, promoted shotgun fungus more regularly than newer mulch.  In addition, we removed all of the original material from the beds before we applied Sweet Peet.

The staff at Royalton Supply hopes this article answers questions about shotgun fungus. Please note: based on our personal experience, shot gun fungus did not occur in Sweet Peet. We do not in any way, guarantee that Sweet Peet is the ultimate solution to preventing shotgun fungus, and will not be held liable in any way if you decide to try it yourself and do not experience similar results.

The article was written as an informational tool based on personal experiences and we feel that by sharing this information, we can educate Royalton Supply customers and offer suggestions to similar issues. If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact us and we’ll be glad to assist you.

A great inexpensive way to add a functioning drive, turn around or landscape pad that will give you years of use.
Things you will need:
Measuring Tape
Landscape Fabric
2 to 3 Gravel or Limestone sizes
Shovel and or Backhoe/Tractor
Tamping Machine or Tool is best
Edging Material

It is time to decide exactly where you will be digging. Measure and mark the area with spray paint or string a line. Using your shovel, dig in along the edges of the area you just marked.

You will want to excavate the area to a 10 inch depth. This is where the backhoe or tractor comes in handy but a shovel will work for smaller areas. Measure the depth as you go and be sure that you are consistent. Tamp and compact the soil.

Take your landscape fabric and lay it down. This will prevent your stones from sinking down into the soil but still allow for drainage.

Measure your square footage of the area you will be filling with stone. Our calculator will help you determine how many tons of stone you will need. Limestone is best since it is jagged and will lock together. You will need to order at least 2 different sizes of stone. The first layer will be approximately 4-5 inches thick of a large fist sized stone (#1 & #2 or #4 Limestone is great for this) this adds a solid foundation. Be sure to compact this layer.

Add the next 4-5 inches of your smaller stone (#57 limestone) repeat the steps from above. This layer will settle into the nooks and crannies of the larger stone that you have already put down. You can add a third stone (#8 Limestone/pea size) to the top just remember to adjust your quantities of the other stone.

Edging material can be added in the step above for a clean finished look. You could use brick, steel or wood even small boulders.

Nature

Dormant Seeding
The best time to try this method of seeding a lawn is just before the ground freezes. It needs to be cold enough outside so that germination of the seed will not occur until next spring. This treatment is best used on bare soil areas or to help thinned out lawns. So if you think you missed the boat on seeding your lawn this year, think again. Give this idea a try and in the spring you might just give yourself a pat on the back for planning ahead.

Why Overseeding Your Lawn is Beneficial
With drought plaguing much of the Midwest, this is an ideal time for landscape professionals to assess the condition of the lawns they maintain. After several years, mature plants begin to slow down their reproduction rate. Since a blade of grass lives only an average of 45 to 60 days, production of new tillers must continually out pace the dieback of older leaves. Young grass will produce tillers faster than older grass. Therefore, one of the most important secrets to maintaining a healthy, thick lawn is to make sure your grass is young.

When is the Right Time for Overseeding Lawns?
Overseeding lawns consisting of Cool season grasses should be done in late summer or early fall. There are many reasons for this. With fall germination, the young grass will have two or three months to become better established before temperatures drop too low and growth stops. Next spring, the young plants will have another few months to develop deeper roots before the summer heat sets in. This is the primary reason, but there are also other reasons for overseeding lawns in the fall. Below are a few:

Overseeding lawns in fall reduces or eliminates competition from summer weedy grasses, such as crabgrass, foxtails, and other weeds.

Soil temperatures are still warm in the fall, which is necessary for seed germination, while the cooler air temperatures are better for grass growth.

Rain amounts and soil moisture is generally better in the fall.

Overseeding lawns in the fall gives the grass a head start. The roots have become established before winter, which greatly reduces crop loss should you have a hot, dry spring.

Good Nature Fertilizer – This is an all organic fertilizer that does contain some natural weed control. This is a four step process in the spring, April/May and again fall, Sept/Nov.

Pro Start – For use when seeding. This is an organic fertilizer without any weed control.

Corn Gluten – Great in the SPRING before the weeds start growing but good for all year use. This is an organic weed control product. It works by killing off any of the weed seeds before they start to grow. Do not use this at the same time you are putting grass seed down (the whole point is to kill the seeds).

Natural Grub Control – Remember those Japanese Beetles from last June? They do have a year round life cycle that can be stopped with Milky Spore. Milky Spore is a naturally occurring bacteria that is toxic to the beetle but safe for animals, people and the environment. Bonus… one application of Milky Spore can last up to  10 years!

Overseeding with Core Aeration – Aeration is best done in the fall and allows the seed to grab a bit better.

Topdressing your yard – A very light layer (anywhere from a 1/6 – 1/3 of an inch deep will do) of a fully decomposed product. Leaf Compost  and Sweet Peet are both great products for this. Very little is needed, one yard will cover 900-1800 sq ft.