Unique Garden Solution Products

Garden Centers are, of course, a place to go when you are looking to plant anything from veggies to trees—that’s a given. What isn’t so widely known is that garden centers often keep in stock little-known yet highly valuable products for unique problems gardeners from time to time run into. Let’s explore and highlight these products.

Gardeners love their flowering crabapple trees this time of year as they swing into flower production. What most gardeners absolutely hate is crabapple production. There are way too many crabapples that fall to the ground to rot later in the season. They wish they can have the flowers but not the fruit. Well they can.

It’s called a growth regulator. This product works to upset the hormonal balance of the tree’s ability to produce fruit. It’s applied in a liquid solution directly onto the flowers; but timing is everything. It must be applied when the trees are in full flower production. This product does not harm bees.

Along very similar lines to stop fruit production is a product that inhibits trees from sending up suckers from its root system. Again, this product messes with the trees hormonal balance.

Gardener’s faced with a lot of suckers must first cut the suckers and then immediately apply the product on the open wounds. It’s not a hundred percent effective, and reapplications may be needed, but over time you’ll see a marked reduction in tree suckers.

Because of our unique soils in Wyoming that are mostly alkaline, the element iron becomes unavailable to plants, so some plants become iron deficient and exhibit a condition called iron chlorosis. The leaves turn yellow while the veins of the leaves remain dark green. To correct this iron deficiency use iron products that are uniquely formulated to work in alkaline soils—these are chelated iron products. The best time to use chelated iron is in the spring when new growth emerges. Chelated iron is applied as liquid directly on the plant itself and the soil around it.

Interestingly, golf course superintendents often use chelated iron on their courses to keep the grass dark green without causing the grass to explode in growth, so their courses look lush without the need to hire more crew members to cut the grass.

Wyoming soils are far from being healthy and fertile. They are even less fertile as developers build more homes out on the prairie. Don’t get me wrong; these soils are fertile for the sagebrush and native grasses found on the prairie, but they lack the web of life of soil microorganisms for such things as trees and vegetables.

There are products available to introduce new microbes into the soil. Think of them as “probiotics” for the soil. So if your production is not where you want it—whether trees or tomatoes—you might consider a soil inoculation consisting of fungi and bacteria known to create a positive symbiotic relationship for both the plant and the microbe.

Herbicides kill plants, duh. But sometimes herbicides need help killing plants. Some plants have thick waxy leaves or very hairy leaves that prevent the herbicide from getting inside the plant. That’s where a “spreader sticker” product comes in. It’s not an herbicide but what it does do is it helps the herbicide to penetrate those waxy or hairy leaves; the result is a more efficient kill.

So if you’re one of those gardeners with a unique problem, chances are there’s a remedy for it.

Originally published in the Casper Star-Tribune, April 26, 2015