Moved In and Sodded!

I’ve told my dear husband that this was my last move, and they will have to take me out of this house feet first in a pine box. Moving is no fun, and I am too old for this nonsense. Now that we are settled in, my focus will be on the yard.

The Tif-Tuf Bermuda sod has arrived (Thank you, Super-Sod!) and been laid down dormant. That’s right…dormant. Don’t worry. It will be just fine. Some warm season grasses, like Tif-Tuf and Zenith Zoysia, can be laid dormant. Others cannot. If you are laying dormant sod, please check with your sod professionals to be sure you choose a variety that will be successful in your zone. Timing is everything!

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Ice and snow soon followed, along with single digit temperatures, but the sod loves the slow drip of water from the melting winter precipitation, and the temperatures are right back to southern normal after the brief cold snap.

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Dan Ryan Builders gave us some pretty decent plants. We have a Red Oak, a Crepe Myrtle, 3 Drift Roses, 3 Loropetalum and a Thuja ‘Emerald’. The Compacta Hollies will be re-homed. The others will be worked into my plan somewhere.

Brodgen 6Of course I am planning a major landscape renovation. I sit in front of the fire with a glass of wine and my knitting, and dream of terraces, stone walls, pollinator gardens, vegetable and herb gardens, Japanese Maples, Hostas, Hydrangeas, Camellias… Stay tuned – spring is coming!

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Confessions of a TifTuf Bermuda Convert

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(photo courtesy of Davis Landscapes, Raleigh)

I must admit, I have never been a big Bermuda grass fan. My lawn is Emerald Zoysia, and I love it.

But then this year a new introduction to the market changed my perspective on the less-expensive warm season grass. TifTuf Bermuda was field tested as DT-1 against Tifway Bermuda by the University of Georgia https://www.supersod.com/media/pdf/TifTuf3.pdf , Tifway (also called Tifway 419) has been the industry standard since 1960. Both grasses were forced into drought and the Tifway went dormant. That’s fine. That is a survival technique. Some of it would recover, but in the case of a severe drought, most of the Tifway would suffer. TifTuf is different. In the same drought conditions, it stayed green! In fact, it thrived under stress! And not only that, but it recovered quickly from external damage and showed better shade tolerance than Tifway.

And that is when I sat up and took notice. Here is a drought-tolerant warm season grass that is more affordable than Zoysia, and it needs less water. In fact, once it is established, it needs almost no supplemental water. That is environmentally significant. And shade tolerance has been the Holy Grail in warm season grasses. There is no firm data on the daily required hours of direct sun for TifTuf yet, but the data is being compiled and we are optimistic. And the average price savings of 25% over Zoysia makes TifTuf more accessible for the average homeowner. We are seeing significant interest from builders because TifTuf is a survivor. My colleagues in GA are reporting first hand experience with quick rooting and good performance establishing new TifTuf sod in the face of this year’s drought.

I still love my Zoysia. But I am so pleased to have this more affordable alternative to offer my clients. It’s a real game changer in the turf industry!

(photos by Shannon Hathaway, Cary, NC #TifTuf)

Feral Cat “Zenith” Joins the Crew at Super-Sod

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Everyone loves a friendly kitten. They are cute, fun, energetic, bouncy, cuddly…did I mention cute? And friendly adult cats are almost as adoptable as kittens. But the overlooked cats in shelters all over the country are the feral cats brought in by animal control officers. Feral cats are different from strays. Strays are domestic cats who have been lost or abandoned, but who still want to interact with humans. Feral cats were usually born wild, and have not had much if any positive interaction with humans. They are nearly impossible to place because they are so fearful.  They will likely never cuddle with a human. Giving a feral cat a second chance is not about our needs, it’s about their needs – a purely altruistic gesture.

One solution is TNR (Trap Neuter Return). If you see a feral cat with a notched ear, that is the indication that they have been neutered and vaccinated through one of these programs. But many were taken from locations where they are not welcome to return. So the sad reality is that many feral cats captured by animal control officers are euthanized. But at the Wake County Animal Center in Raleigh, NC, staff have come up with a creative solution – a program they are calling Feral Farm Friends (check out their Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/Feral-Farm-Friends-1721076118136119/?hc_location=ufi ). They are reaching out to farms, garden centers and storage facilities and encouraging them to adopt feral cats.

And what does this have to do with gardening? Farms, large gardens, and garden centers are great placements for feral cats. They can keep the rodent population down without using poisons (organic pest management), they will have outbuildings for shelter, and their lives are saved! The Super-Sod team in Cary (my workplace) thought this was such a good idea, we have adopted a feral cat for our store through Wake County’s Feral Farm Friends! Daniel is cleaning out the shed and turning it into a cat house with a cat door for access. I’ve set up the transition crate with a warm nest out of a milk crate, cardboard, wheat straw and a blanket, as well as a temporary litter box and food and water dishes. Our cat will stay in the transition crate for several days, getting used to the fact that we are a good food source, before being released to the property. The crate will start out in my office, and then be moved to the shed.

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We have named our Feral Farm Friend “Zenith”, after our best-selling Zenith Zoysia, hoping she will be as resilient as this beautiful, adaptable turf grass. www.supersod.com/sod/zoysia-sod/zenith-zoysia-sod.html So far Zenith is very shy and quiet. We are giving her space and time to learn that she can trust us, and that we are her food source. So keep checking back in to Personal Edens to follow the adventures of Zenith. Better yet, come by the store and meet her! If you would like more information on adding a couple Feral Farm Friends from your local shelter to your farm, garden or store, just ask. I’ll help in any way I can.