Hurricane Hugo hit the Grand Strand of SC in September of 1989. Hurricane season is considered to be June 1st through November  30th. So, we are now in hurricane season. Maybe we have missed the "big one" this year... maybe not... There are a few things you should consider thinking about NOW, before the big one hits.
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1. Drinking water -- do you have plenty of drinking water prepared for you and your family in case a hurricane or other bad storm or natural disaster were to strick the Pee Dee or Grand Strand area? Local utility companies like Grand Strand Water & Sewer Authority say you need a FIVE DAY supply for everyone in your household. GSWSA recommends about one gallon of water per person per day for your family.
2. Clear your gutters -- it is a good practice to clear your gutters at least wtice a year to make sure they are free of debris like sticks and small limbs or leaves. Clogged gutters can cause heavy rainwater to puddle & collect in places that could cause leakage into your home. Another consequence, while not as dire as water getting inside your home, but nonetheless annoying, of blocked gutters is that your mulch or other landscaping bedding or mulch material will get washed out & displaced.
3. Communication -- if your home phone is down due to a long power outage, do you have an alternate cell phone? If your power is out for more than 24 hours, what would you do to charge your cell phone? One idea is to purchase a prepaid minutes phone, keep it charged, and use it only for emergency purposes.
4. Storm clean up -- the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) offers some safety tips for anyone recovering from a disaster such as a hurricane in the Grand Strand or Pee Dee area of South Carolina. Do not let "just anyone" enter your home; ask for proper identification before allowing a clean up company to do work for you or your loved ones. Also, do not give personal information to anyone. The elderly are typically the first to get taken advantage of, so please communicate these things with any older friends or family members. Companies that offer grinding services for municipalities or homeowners will probably appear out of no where if a hurricane hits the Grand Strand. Make sure you choose a reputable company like SB Mulch, Inc., who has a proven track record of doing good business in the coastal area of SC and NC. Ways to check the reliability of companies claiming to offer disaster relief are as follows:
  • Check trucks / cars or business cards for local addresses and phone numbers
  • Get more than one estimate for repairs or services
  • Ask for copies of the contractor's General Liability and Workers Compensation insurance
  • Don't pay in full for work until it is complete and has been inspected


 
 
SB Turf, Inc. checklist
Here in the landscaping industry, March is hopefully the time when our "busy" season is starting. For the next four months, it will be "balls to the wall" for us landscapers, do-it-yourselfers, and landscape material suppliers. Many of us are expanding to ramp up our scaled-down operations after barely surviving about five years in a downturned economy.

Are you the owner of a small but growing landscaping company? A supervisor or a crew leader might be just what you need to take some of the everyday management tasks off your shoulders. Or maybe YOU are a newly-hired crew leader for a landscaping or yard maintenance business. Whatever the case may be, we here at SB Turf, Inc. & SB Mulch, Inc. think it is a good idea to have a written checklist of items for a crew leader to be responsible for.


 
 
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Let's start at the beginning. Here in Coastal NC and SC, we can pretty much think of ourselves in a hardiness zone 7 or zone 8... mostly, zone 8. (See these North Carolina and South Carolina plant hardiness zone maps from the USDA.) Sod is categorized under two main types: warm season and cool season. For our zone, the warm season grasses thrive best. Bermuda, St Augustine, Centipede, and Zoysia are the four most popular varieties of warm season turfgrass (sod). SB Turf, Inc. has top quality warm season grass for sale in coastal North and South Carolina. In fact, these are the only types of sod we sell. When winter gets to our area, we do overseed our 419 Bermuda with rye (which is a cool season type of grass), so if you buy our 419 Bermuda sod from around October through March, chances are, it will be overseeded with annual rye. 

USDA SC Plant Hardiness Zone Map
How do I know which sod is best for my specific yard, though? Well, that, my friends, is an entire other blog post!
Suffice it to say that if you live in plant hardiness zone 7 or zone 8 of North or Carolina, you can narrow your grass decision down to 4 kinds. Again, these are:
  • 419 Bermuda
  • St. Augustine
  • Centipede
  • Zoysia

Do you have a question about a specific type of sod? Ask it now by clicking the button to the left. Oh, go ahead!! The only stupid question is the one that goes UNASKED! And, hey, your answer is coming from SB Turf, Inc., located right here in Horry County, SC. (Ever look up a question on a website, only to find the location of the website is in Wisconsin? Or Austrailia??) Email us & we'll get back to you immediately. (Or at least in 1 business day.)
 
 
SB Mulch and mulch flammabilityPhoto credit Nicholas Keefer & WMBF.
About 10 days ago, in March 2013, the Carolina Forest community of Windsor Green experienced a devastating fire. Many people associate wildfires happening out west where weather conditions are mostly dry -- not right here in South Carolina near the ocean. National Geographic states, though, that only 3 factors need to be present for a wildfire to occur; this is known as the "fire triangle." The 3 factors are: fuel, oxygen, and a heat source. That being said, Horry County, South Carolina is just as vulnerable to a wild fire as anywhere else in the world.
If a destructive fire is burning out of control, and your home is near it, you are probably going to 


 
 
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Are you looking for the perfect Valentine's Day gift for your landscaper or gardener? Does your sweetie love to work outside on the turfgrass or in the mulch? Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and your loved one who likes to work in the yard or who is a landscaper would like something besides roses (cut flowers will die!) or chocolates (really? chocolates don't help our resolutions to lose weight!) or another Teddy Bear.... There are plenty of great gift ideas for a gardener or a landscaper or anyone who likes to work in the outdoor space. We have searched high and low for the best Valentine's Day gift ideas, and have come up with our TOP 4 Unique Valentine's Day great gifts for a gardener, landscaper or DIY-er.

1. Repurpose an Old Pallet
Your sweetheart would love it if you shelled out $9,500 for the Tiffany Metro Bangle bracelet or if you cashed in the IRA to buy a John Deere Compact Utility Tractor for her or his Valentine's Day gift. Wait a minute. No they wouldn't! They'd have a heart attack!!!! You can't spend that much for a Valentine's Day gift. The DIY gardener or landscaper in your life would enjoy his / her Valentine's Day gift a lot more if it didn't cost an arm and a leg. Chances are, you could have something sitting around that could be repurposed into a great, not to mention, thoughtful gift for the gardener in your life. "Something like what?" you ask. A used pallet, for instance. There are a lot of things you can make from a used pallet (or a few used pallets) once the sod has been laid off the pallet. You could make an old rope swing from a pallet. You could even take some old pallets and use them to make some rustic-looking headboards for a set of single matresses. An old sod pallet could also be used to make a low-profile coffee table or an outdoor lounge chair. Check out this pinterest page for more ideas on how to repurpose old sod or rock pallets. Giving your special someone a homemade gift for Valentine's Day this year could win you the brownie points you have been looking for!

2. Store Credit at a Local Landscape Supply Store
Most large, chain home-improvement stores offer gift cards, but a gift card can be such an impersonal gift, especially for Valentine's Day. Try stopping in at that small landscape supply store that has the big pile of mulch out front on the way home, and asking if they would work out some way for you to pre-pay for a certain dollar amount of landscaping material for your loved one. Who knows? Your babe probably already has the perfect way to spend a $200 gift to the local landscape supply store: they will finally be able to till in some compost for that backyard garden this spring! How thoughtful of you! What a great way to help make your sweetie's idea come to fruition! If your loved one is someone who loves working outdoors, he or she could surely use some money to go towards that special outdoor project they are just waiting to get started on! Your sweetheart will know you took time to think about a gift they would really use, instead of just running to a chain store and grabbing a random gift card.

3. Shoes / Boots
There are great shoes for the working man or woman from Red Wing. Never heard of 'em? Well, that's what we're here for: to sift through all those products and inform you about the best ones! This company boasts many different types of shoes and boots for the person who is on his / her feet outside on turf or outdoor areas that could be slippery, like small-sloping lawns or ditch-bank areas. Some boots that fit the bill in the 'sturdy' department fall short in the 'comfort' & 'style' department. We like the Women's 1621 Slip-On Clogs & the Men's 414 8" Boot. These are shoes & boots that are stylish while providing alot of industrial characteristics like safety-toe, steel-toe, waterproof, etc and all offer foot support. The quality and service can't be beat for heavy duty working footwear. Your DIY darling would love to get a pair of these in lieu of the usual go-to "candy-and-card" Valentine gift.

SB Mulch, Inc. & SB Turf, Inc. loves Red Wing!
There are lots of Red Wing Stores in the Carolinas for service.
4. Sprinkler Times App
This cool gift idea for your outdoor-loving lovely will only apply if he or she has a smart-phone or tablet. An app like Sprinkler Times (available for Apple and Android devices) could help your gardener set customizable watering zones to assist in creating a custom watering schedule to help you water like a pro. Research it for yourself at the Sprinkler Times home page. This app will be great for the landscaper himself and also great for that same landscaper to recommend to every homeowner they set up with a new irrigation install. How much time could most landscapers save if each of his customers had an app that would help them keep track of how they are watering their lawn? With so much focus in our industry on water conservation, this small app could help sell the professionality of your landscaper to his / her customers. By getting your gardener the gift of this app for Valentine's Day, you will be giving him / her a tool to save money and conserve water -- two things they probably love, by nature! -- in their own yard. Once they learn the app for themselves, they could possibly help set it up for many of their customers!

While you don't have to break the bank for Valentine's Day, most men and women appreciate being remembered on this special day with a gift. The four ideas listed here are just a drop in the bucket to help you get started thinking outside the box for some great gifts for that special someone who likes to work in the yard.
 
 
Do you want a short list of ideas for things you can do in January to put a little "GREEN" in what is usually such a bleak-feeling month? Words like "landscaping" and "green" and "January" just don't seem to make sense in the same sentence. Rest assured: there are lots of ways to stay active in your yard NOW. Here is a quick, 10-item punch list of things you may have done or may want to do this January before the month is gone. (Click the link at the bottom after the 'Read More' link for a FREE printable-friendly checklist.)
1. CLEAN GUTTERS
Gutters are one of the most important features of landscaping beds. Huh? Can you repeat that please? Yes, I said GUTTERS are one of the most important landscaping features you can have in the Pee Dee and Coastal areas of South Carolina. Why? Because of the heavy rain storms we get around these areas. Have you ever mulched a landscape bed around your home, and had one of those long afternoon rain showers hit? You have either learned the hard way or you can picture in your mind what would happen if you don't have gutters: all your money and hard work literally washed out of the bed into a big puddle/pile in the side of your yard. Bummer. Now do you see what I mean about the gutter being a very important part of your landscape? I am going to assume you have gutters in place around already. Just make sure they are good and cleaned out. January is the perfect time of year to do this. If a bird has made its nest in your gutters or if a bunch of leaves are blocking a bunch of leaves are blocking a bunch of the area of your gutters, your gutters may as well not even be there.

2. PICK UP STORM DEBRIS
Think its ok to just leave that multitude of sticks and twigs and, well, crap, that blew into your yard from your neighbor's yard? Well, it isn't. Chances are, that some of the worst winter storms are done when January is over, and it is time to walk over your yard and pick up the more obvious debris and remove it from your outdoor area.

3. PLAN A SPRING GARDEN
There is a reason that the first 4 letters of the word "plant" are P-L-A-N. Your spring garden in the Myrtle Beach area may be different from someone's garden in the Pee Dee area of South Carolina. Someone who lives near the North Carolina coast will have a spring garden that isn't like someone who lives in Wilmington NC. Wherever you live in the Carolinas, you have a wonderful opportunity to try out having your own spring garden. Robert Brault says it best, "If you've never experienced the joy of accomplishing more than you can imagine, plant a garden." January is a great month to envision what you want your spring garden to be.

4. MOVE FORWARD WITH THAT HARDSCAPE PROJECT
A "hardscape" is just a fancy word for a seating wall, a retaining wall, a paver-area, or masonry section in your outdoor space. If you have a sloping lawn that leads down to a body of water, a nice seating wall could be a hardscape project  you want to try. A very big trend for landscaping now is outdoor cooking areas or outdoor fire pits. A lot of Americans are putting money back into their homes / landscapes instead of spending it on things like travel or clothing. Make an outdoor getaway to escape from the daily norm of your house.
SB Turf, Inc. and SB Mulch, Inc. hardscape example.
SB Turf, Inc. and SB Mulch, Inc. think a hardscape project is a great way to incorporate sod and rock together.
5. CARE FOR YOUR FEATHERED FRIENDS
Your sod isn't the only thing that still needs water in January. Birds need water too! Make sure those birds you have attracted with those lovely bird feeders have plenty of water during the winter months. It is nice to supplement them with extra bird seed now too. Also, clean your bird feeders out during January. Be sure you don't get pecked!

 
 
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Your yard is alive and well, even in the months of December, January, and February. Although these are typically the coldest months of the year for our climate zones 7 and 8, there are ways to stay connected with your yard during December, Januray, and February. Many of us want to know what to do to care for our lawn during the winter months. Now that the new year (2013) is here, we have a lot of things on our "to-do" lists (or "honey-do" lists). There are so many resolutions to fulfill! If your yard, lawn, or landscape is a priority for you in 2013, there are a lot of things you can do starting now (*yes, even in January!) to help your efforts later on in the year when the growing season is more active here in the Columbia, Charleston, and Myrtle Beach areas of South Carolina, and coastal areas of North Carolina.

The first thing you can do for your yard now that it is 2013 is to PLAN. That's right. Planning is a good thing if you are the most organized person on the planet or if you are the least organized person on the planet. In other words, planning never hurt anyone.  And your plan for your landscape in 2013 can be elaborate or very simple. I suggest you take small steps. Your plan could be something as simple as jotting down one thing you would like to do each week in your yard or for your landscape from now until the last Saturday of February. Seriously, GET OUT A CALENDAR AND WRITE IT DOWN. Take out your smartphone and set up a recurring alert every Saturday for something involving the outside space that is your lawn. There is just something about March... when the month of March arrives, we all get spring fever. So plan NOW to be ready when your spring fever hits.
  • This Saturday, you could order that great book on landscape plants of the Southeast.
  • Next Saturday, go to the planting section of the library and peruse the shelves.
  • The Saturday after that, take a trip to the local hardware store, get a can of landscape paint & "create" some new planting beds.... you know, the beautiful landscape beds you have pictured in your mind. Use that spray!
  • The Saturday after that, look into the idea of planting some bulbs to give yourself some early spring color. 

You get the idea... with those few simple ideas from above, we already have a landscaping plan for the whole month of January!