Category Archives: Lawn Care

The Dirt on Soils

How well do you understand your soil? It’s more than just dirt, and the more you learn about soil, the better you’ll be able to care for it to ensure a stunning landscape, healthy lawn and productive garden.

Soil is often referred to as the “foundation of life.”  The foundation must be strong and healthy before great things can be developed.  We are blessed with two types of soils in Lexington County:  clay soils and sandy soils.  Both of the soil types need some extra help when we are trying to grow vegetables, flowers, turfgrass, shrubs and trees.

All About Soil

All soils are comprised of air, water, minerals, living organisms, and soil particles.  The soil particles are sand, silt and clay.  The percentage of these particles make up the soil’s texture which is important to overall soil and plant health as it relates to soil “porosity”, the pore spaces where water and air reside.  Of course we all want loam – that rich, vibrant soil thriving with beneficial bacteria and with a smooth but crumbly texture ideal for root growth.  Most of the time the particles are not balanced, but amendments can be added to improve soil health and create that loamy soil where plants thrive.

Improving Soil

Improving soil is actually quite easy. All soils are improved by adding minerals and organic material that help balance out the overall components of the soil’s structure.

Soil Testing

The first step in improving the soil is to take a soil sample test.  For spring plantings and maintenance applications take the samples in early winter in order to give you ample time to plan and apply any nutrients that may be needed. The soil samples are analyzed in a laboratory to indicate the levels of nutrients in your soil, the report will tell you the pH value and it will make a recommendation for the amount and type of fertilizer and/or lime you need to add to the soil for optimum plant growth. Using the results of the soil test allow you to apply the correct amount of fertilizer for your specific needs.

How to take a soil sample

To have a soil analysis done you need to collect 8 to 10 or more core samples, which will be combined as one composite sample. The composite samples should include soil from the surface to a depth of 6 inches in all areas, except for lawns where core samples should be taken from a depth of only 2 to 4 inches. A simple garden trowel can be used to collect the core samples.  Place the core samples in a clean plastic bucket and mix them thoroughly. Keep sampling separate from areas that have been fertilized or limed differently, such as lawns, shrub beds, and vegetable gardens. These should be submitted as separate composite samples. It is imperative to use clean sampling tools.  You can obtain a soil test bag from Wingard’s or the Clemson Extension office and fill the bag to the fill line indicated on the bag.  Be sure to keep track of which part of your yard, landscape, or garden the sample represents. Take the soil sample to Wingard’s or the Clemson Extension Service office.  The charge is 6 dollars per sample. It is recommended to soil test every year.

Understanding your soil test results

Within 7 to 14 days the results will be emailed or mailed to you.  Your soil analysis will have the soil pH value and a bar graph representing the amount of soil nutrients found. It will have a section at the bottom of the first page which shows how much lime (if needed) to add for each 1000 square feet and refer you to specific comments on the last page. The comments section will tell you what type of fertilizer(s) you need, how much you need and when to apply it.  Feel free to bring the sample report by Wingard’s for assistance in reading the report.

Amending the soil

Adding organic matter is a great way to improve the health of both sandy and clay type soils. Organic matter refers to plant or animal materials decomposed into compost or “humus.” Organic material aids in moisture holding capacity, aeration of the soil, provides beneficial microbes and bacteria all of which improve nutrient uptake for the plant.  Materials like composted cow manure (Black Kow), Stout Ollie Compost, and Mushroom Compost are excellent amendments for your soil.  These materials can be incorporated into the soil through mechanical or manual tilling of the soil to a depth of 4 – 6 inches.

For sandy soils we recommend Daddy Pete’s Planting Mix as an organic amendment.  This organic  mixture is suitable for flower and vegetable gardens, backfilling shrub and tree plantings, and for general landscape needs.  Daddy Pete’s Planting Mix is a mixture of Daddy Pete’s Composted Cow Manure and premium aged pine bark fines.

When planting shrubs in clay soils we recommend mixing Soil Conditioner/Enhancer in the backfill to add organic matter and loosen the clay particles.

The Magic of Mulch

Mulching is a simple way to add biodegradable materials to the soil. Pine needles, tree leaves, lawn clippings, bark, chicken manure, etc., can be worked into the soil to decompose. This process improves the air spaces between the soil particles and rearranges the sand, silt and clay to produce optimum soil structure, improving the water retention and drainage balance and making nutrients available to plants.


Use Natural Guard organic fertilizers made with Jobe’s Biozome, a unique and proprietary blend of beneficial microorganisms.  These microorganisms break down complex materials and minerals to improve long-term soil quality, helping roots grow and plants to absorb nutrients they need.  Jobe’s Biozome naturally re-establishes a balance between plant and soil.  When soil has proper structure and sufficient nutrients for healthy plants, optimum health has been achieved, and great soil will lead to great landscaping, turf and gardens. Congratulations and keep on growing!

Top 10 Ways to Add Curb Appeal to your Home

Top 10 Ways to Add Curb Appeal to your Home

A well-kept home is a joy to behold.

Curb appeal is that undefinable something that draws you to a home at a glance. It is a combination of visual charm, good upkeep, and attention to detail. And often will be the thing that makes you the envy of the neighborhood.

Here are 10 ways you can add great curb appeal to your home:

  1. Surround your property with fencing

Fencing for your yard is needed to keep wildlife from eating the nasturtiums, but it also provides a quiet oasis to enjoy the beauty of your outdoor space. Fencing can be six-foot high cedar that blocks traffic noise, or it can be white wicker that is only tall enough to delineate the perimeter of your property.

  1. Don’t leave your landscape in the dark

Think about accent lighting highlighting your prize plantings. Patio lights can be judiciously used to make your gazebo comfortable for a late evening get together with friends. Insect zapper lights get mixed reviews since they can be noisy as the insects are incinerated. They also tend to have a harsh brightness that is annoying to some. On the positive side, outlining pathways with small lights prevents stumbles in the twilight.

  1. Lawn furniture

Spending a lot of time just relaxing and enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of a flower garden can be done from a gazebo with sturdy and comfortable garden furniture. Tables, chairs, lounges, and footstools are obvious choices for furniture in the garden area. A grill or barbecue unit located nearby means guests can enjoy the space while grilling fresh produce from the garden. Corn on the cob from the vegetable garden can’t get any fresher.

  1. Plan garden beds

Many gardens would be beautifully accessorized by adding carefully chosen raised garden beds. Look at the style of your house and design the garden plots for pansies or potatoes in garden beds that enhance the look of the house. For example, if your house is split level suburban, why not add a couple split level beds.

Few projects add as much charm and color to a house as flowers in window boxes.

Build your own window box or buy one from a garden center. Use a plastic liner to prolong the life of the planter and simplify fall cleanup. Easier yet, arrange container gardens in pots and planters on the front stoop or along the walkway.

  1. Simple changes make the biggest impact – the $10 idea!

If your mailbox is old, replacing it will instantly change your curb appeal for the better. Mailboxes are relatively inexpensive, and there are many ways that you can make yours look better. If you don’t really want to part with your old mailbox, you could just give it a fresh coat of paint.

A fresh coat of paint on garage doors will instantly make your exterior look better. Garage doors tend to get dirty and faded from all the up and down movement and should probably be repainted every few years.

Replacing hardware on your mailbox, house numbers, doorbell, door knocker, entry light and door handle will make a huge improvement to the look and feel of your home.

Get a little daring, and paint the front door red or blue.

  1. Make pathways interesting

A planned landscape that has permanent beds can also have interesting and decorative pathways.  Think about using colored aquarium pebbles with a seashell motif for edging. Try pathways that meander according to your planned beds rather than sticking to straight lines. Maybe you would like to have a yellow brick road as a pathway in your garden.

  1. Choose colorful or whimsical containers

If a large garden is too much to manage in your free time, or if you are working in limited space, think about establishing your garden in unusual containers. Or, such containers can be simply an interesting accessory to the real garden. Colorful ceramic pots in large sizes and shapes can be placed randomly amongst the flower beds to hold herbs or a salad or two. An old claw-footed bathtub or a little red wagon both make great containers for garden plants.

Even add a bit of your own personality with a garden flag that offers a warm welcome to your visitors and can be changed out with the seasons.  

  1. Add Color

You can add color to the plants that you choose or by the containers you pick for spots of color.  Look for ways to make color spots show up even better by putting them against contrasting background of other plants, walls or trellises.

Plant a tulip border in the fall that will bloom in the spring. Dig a flowerbed by the mailbox and plant some pansies. Place a brightly colored bench or Adirondack chair on the front porch. 

  1. Delight the wee folk

Adding whimsical statuary or ornaments to your garden plots can be fun and useful as well.  Garden gnomes, leprechauns and perhaps even a fairy or too can be an adventure to undertake with your child or grandchild. A ceramic frog by a garden pond is a common sight around gardens, but have you ever seen a dragonfly or a small fire-breathing dragon. Choose a copper weather vane or a birdhouse decorated like a fairytale castle.

  1. Five senses

A well-planned landscape with carefully chosen accessories will be a delight to all five senses. You see the beautiful colors in the plants, flowers, and accessories. You feel the texture of the earth as well as the crisp vegetables that are picked for culinary enjoyment. You can smell the perfume of the flowers and trees. Tasting fresh produce from the garden is a bonanza for your taste buds.  Finally, your sense of hearing is able to pick up the sound of the wind in a set of wind chimes.  Wind chimes are decorative and can sound melodic or mournful, tinkling or hearty. 

Plan your garden accessories to appeal to each, and every human sense and your garden will be a place where your spirit is uplifted.

Take a trip to your favorite local award-winning Lexington, SC garden center, Wingard’s Market for everything you need to make your garden have the best curb appeal of the neighborhood!

For more tips and ideas for adding curb appeal to your home watch Wingard’s TV “Curb Appeal” videos here.


Here at Wingard’s Market, we specialize in providing outstanding customer service, offering professional gardening advice, and answers to your everyday gardening questions. Stop by and visit our Beautiful Gift Shoppe and Fresh Produce Market while you stroll under century-old pecan trees. It’s truly a Garden Wonderland!

Located at 1403 North Lake Drive in Lexington, SC. Call us at (803) 359-9091

The Sting…The Burn…Those Pesky Fire Ants!!

fire ants

If you live in the South, you are sure to have had a run-in with annoying fire ants.  If you’ve ever stepped on an ant hill, you know it only takes one sting to remind you to watch where you’re walking and always wear shoes!.

Here in the Midlands, our sandy soil makes prime real estate for ants. Their mounds can reach up to 50 to 200 mounds per acre if not adequately controlled.  During warmer months, the ants will swarm to reproduce and create new colonies continuously.

Have you ever wondered why you can’t get a handle on controlling fire ants and why they always come back?

Here’s the answer:

  1. Winged male and female fire ants fly high into the air and mate. Wind currents can carry the airborne ants several miles.
  2. Even if you kill every mound in your yard, newly mated queens are steadily dropping out of the sky to start new colonies.
  3. Even if you don’t see any mounds, new ones are continually being built and will soon be large enough to be seen above ground.

Is it a lost cause?  Should we just learn how to cohabitate with the ants? – No

There is a method for getting rid of fire ants once and for all! The most efficient way to control fire ants are to hit them with a one-two punch method.

  1. Come Get ItUse granular fire ant baits (Fertilome Come & Get It) as the foundation of your fire ant control program.When used correctly, baits will give around 80 to 90 percent control, leaving a lot fewer mounds to spot treat than if you rely on mound treatments alone.  Granular fire ant baits contain slow-acting insecticides or insect growth regulators that disrupt development of the immature fire ants. The key to using baits successfully is to spread them over the entire yard, rather than sprinkling them on top of individual mounds.  Application rates are low, only around 1-1.5 pounds per acre, which is only a fraction of an ounce per 1,000 square feet. Worker ants will collect the granules, carry them back to the mound, and feed them to the immature ants. Baits should be applied three times per year: spring, summer, and fall.

    Rain will wash the bait away. Make sure to check the forecast and spread the bait when it will be sure to have a few days exposure. Also, fire ants generally feed late afternoon or evening which makes a perfect time to spread bait.

  2. Fire Ant KillerKeep a can of one of the dry fire ant mound treatment products (Bayer Fire Ant Killer) on hand to spot-treat mounds that survive the bait treatments.Dry mound treatments are applied directly to the mound; just sprinkle the specified amount evenly over the top of the mound and walk away. It will take a couple of days to a week for the mound to die out. For mounds that need to be controlled immediately use a liquid drench. Dilute in water as indicated on the label and pour the drench over the mound. Liquid drenches kill quickly but are more messy and time-consuming than dry mound treatments. The key to success with drenches is to use enough liquid to thoroughly soak the mound, about 1-2 gallons.

If you stay diligent about controlling ants with a One-Two Punch method, you can start to enjoy your lawn again!

Here at Wingard’s Market we specialize in providing outstanding customer service, offer professional gardening advice, and answers to your every day gardening questions.  Stop by and visit our beautiful Gift Shoppe, Fresh Produce Market, and take a stroll under century-old pecan trees through our Garden Wonderland!

Located at 1403 North Lake Drive in Lexington, SC. Call us at (803) 359-9091

Lawn Care for Warm Season Grasses

The climate in Central SC is perfect for the most popular warm season grasses

Have you ever peeked over your neighbors’ fence and wondered why the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence? We bet your neighbor isn’t using any particular lawn care strategy other than knowing lawn care is all about timing.


When those autumn leaves start to fall, it is a time when your lawn is gearing up for the next growing season. If you take steps now, you too can have a beautiful lawn through the next season and beyond.

The climate in central South Carolina is perfect for the most popular warm season grasses.

Some of the most popular grass types are:

  • Centipede Grass
  • Bermuda Grass
  • Zoysia Grass
  • St. Augustine Grass

Grasses grown in this area are generally heat and drought tolerant. These grasses will go completely dormant when exposed to freezing temperatures and will resume growing again once the warm weather returns in early spring.

There are several factors to consider when you are learning lawn care for warm season grasses:

  1. Fertilome Winterizer & Weed Preventer II for Southern Grasses w/Dimension 10-0-14 Weeds – Just like there are cool and warm season grasses, there are also cool and warm weather weeds. Fall/Winter weeds come up in the fall, live through winter, and die in the spring. If you notice weeds showing up in your fall/winter lawn, consider applying a fall weed preventer.Fall weed preventers should be applied when nighttime lows reach 55 to 60 degrees for four consecutive days. Typically the right time is September 15 to October 15 in the Midlands of South Carolina area.
    • Centipede & Zoysia: Hi-Yield Turf & Ornamental Weed & Grass Stopper containing Dimension should be applied Sep. 15 – Oct. 15 for the prevention of many common lawn weeds.
    • Augustine & Bermuda: FertilomeWinterizer & Weed Preventer II for Southern Grasses w/Dimension 10-0-14 should be applied Sep. 15 – Oct. 15.  This product supplies extra potash, which enables warm season grasses to overwinter better and be healthier in the spring.  It will also prevent listed weeds from sprouting.

The effects of these weed preventers may wear off after 12 weeks and may need a second application at least nine weeks after the first application. As with any product, read and follow all label instructions before applying.

  1. Water – After early September all irrigation should cease to help your lawn shut down for winter. Continuing to water during this season will increase cold injury during winter and encourage disease problems. The only exception will be if you are experiencing a fall drought.
  2. New Growth – Late spring and into summer is the best time to seed your lawn.  Wait until temperatures get above 65 degrees during the day and then seed.
    To successfully seed your lawn or patch bare areas follow these simple steps:

    • With a tiller, break up and loosen the soil so the new seeds can easily penetrate the soil.
    • Add an inch of compost and work it into the freshly broken soil.
    • Add grass seed and spread it evenly across the bare patch.
    • Using a rake work the seed into the soil to a depth of about half an inch.
    • Sprinkle straw over the newly seeded area to help prevent the soil from drying out.
    • Water to keep the area moist. Lightly water once or twice a day until the seed germinates and the new grass is one inch tall.

Want to learn more about how you can successfully care for your lawn year round?
Don’t give up on your lawn! We have developed a Easy 4-step Do-It-Yourself Lawn Care Program.


Here at Wingard’s Market we specialize in providing outstanding customer service, offer professional gardening advice, and answers to your everyday gardening questions.  Stop by and visit our beautiful Gift Shoppe and Fresh Produce Market while you stroll under century-old pecan trees.  It’s truly a Garden Wonderland!

Located at 1403 North Lake Drive in Lexington, SC. Call us at (803) 359-9091