Why Gardener’s do not dig Groundhogs
- A groundhog’s, or woodchuck’s burrow are holes with large piles of dirt at the entrances and are a nuisance and can be dangerous.
- A groundhog’s tunnels are very large and have many chambers which are invasive to your lawn and garden.
- An average groundhog excavates 700 pounds of dirt for one den. They may have four or five dens in their territory!
- Common locations for permanent dens are at fence lines and brush bordering fields. So basically, they love to set up around your garden’s fence or a farm’s field.
- A groundhog will help itself to anything and everything you have planted. They are vegetarians and are partial to leaves, flowers and grasses. They especially like certain garden crops like carrots, beans and peas. They will even climb trees to eat apples and pears.
- When it comes to setting up burrows, Groundhogs are lazy and will dig them near your garden and use it as their own personal salad bar. They will also dig burrows near recently dug fence posts and planted trees so they can be constructed quickly and with little effort. This weakens costly new fences and the roots of expensive new trees.
- Groundhogs have been known to decimate an entire garden by taking a single bite out of a dozen different zucchini or peppers. They do the same to pumpkins ruining farmers’ seasonal chance of selling them at Halloween.
Although he is cute, we now know that YES, the groundhog can cause vast damage on your property. So the next step is to send them on their way.
- The first suggestion to deter groundhogs (and other pests) in your yard is to build a fence. A chicken-wire fence will work nicely. It needs to be at least 3.5 feet high and buried 1 foot into the ground with the fence angled away from the garden. Effective, but a big project and may not be the best “look” for your property.
- Groundhogs are leery of strange objects and can be scared away with things that rattle and clang. Tin pie plates can be tied to trees or try hanging wind chimes for a more decorative touch.
- There are effective repellents available at garden centers. Bobbex-R is specially formulated to repel small animals. These repellents keep groundhogs at bay with an unpleasant odor and taste.
- Spread Epsom salts on your plants. Groundhogs do not care for the taste and they have an added benefit of being good for plants. Epsom salts will wash off very easily in the rain so will need to be reapplied.
- Soaking rags in ammonia and placing around your garden will also repel the groundhog in the same manner as the Epsom salts. It will last longer, but need to be refreshed regularly.
Groundhogs are very persistent so however you decide to protect your garden, be vigilant all season!
The New Year has come and gone and for many so have resolutions. If you are like me, busy, stressed and trying to carve out “me time”, spring will bring the perfect opportunity: Gardening! After looking into it a bit, the mental and physical benefits are huge. Just what we busy people need: guilt free time to ourselves. Check out these excellent reasons to garden:
- Exercise. When you are doing something you enjoy, you won’t even know you are exercising. Moving dirt, hauling gardening tools, pushing a wheelbarrow and pulling weeds are all hidden forms of fitness training. You are supporting your own weight, increasing balance and strengthening bones.
- Outside activity. Everyone knows we need Vitamin D and that 15 minutes a day in the sun can keep depression away so reap these benefits while gardening. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
- Fresh food and flowers. The satisfaction of serving your home grown veggies and decorating with flowers from your garden is amazing. Talk about all-natural and organic-what could be fresher or healthier?
- Stress relief. You cannot be on your smart phone when your hands are covered in dirt. The therapeutic benefits of unplugging cannot be denied. Feeling productive and seeing the results of your gardening projects are very gratifying. Unlike doing the dishes or laundry which is a never ending battle, growing tomatoes, lettuce or sunflowers has a beginning, middle and end which makes us feel like we have used our time well.
- Attitude adjustment. Studies show that gardening decreases the levels of the stress hormone cortisol which improves your mood. Being outside with nature makes you feel good without effort; you do not have to work at enjoying nature.
- Guilt free. Unlike leaving your family to head to the gym or a Zumba class, you are at home, spending a minimal amount of money. If you like, get your family involved. Kids love to get dirty and will feel that same sense of accomplishment from growing and eating something they planted themselves. You may even get them to eat their vegetables!
- Curb appeal. Do not under estimate the satisfaction and pride you will feel when you drive up to your house and see that while you thought you were reducing stress you have been also added to the beauty of your property.
Spring has always felt like a new beginning to me. It is when things bloom, snow gives way to grass and baseball starts. So maybe gardening is not a New Year’s resolution per say, but the start of something new and wonderful. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a beginner, I hope you have a beautiful growing season.
The tulips in my front yard are always a welcome sign after a cold Connecticut winter. We have a dog and a cat which patrol the yard and thankfully allow them to grow and bloom beautifully each year. Unfortunately, this is not true for everyone who looks forward to enjoying tulips each spring. When the flowers emerge, so do hungry animals, leaving tulips looking like they were trimmed with scissors, a sure sign that rabbits have been eating them. Rabbits love tulip leaves like deer love roses and voles love bulbs! If you want to protect your tulips (and other flowers) from hungry rabbits, there are actions you can take.
- Build fence around your flower gardens and line the inside with chicken wire fencing. Make sure that it is pushed many inches firmly into the ground to ensure rabbits cannot dig under.
- Gardeners have had success with sprinkling human hair clippings around the beds to trick the bunnies into thinking a human is nearby. The smell of coffee grounds is not the favorite of the rabbit and squirrel. A bonus is that the grounds also provide nutrients that help your plants flourish!
- Trap rabbits with a humane trap and call the local humane society to find out where they can be released.
- Include plants that rabbits do not like in your garden. Lavender and cat nip are unappealing to them. Plant garlic cloves in the flower beds, its strong odor will send the bunnies on their way. Try these rabbit resistant flowers in your landscape: daylily, bellflower, iris, bleeding heart, foxglove and daffodils.
- When the flowers are small or still seedlings, row covers can be used. They look like fabric draped over the area you are protecting. Not very attractive, but will protect from the hungry rabbits.
- Make the area around your tulips hard to negotiate by creating a barrier with sharp sticks and scattering egg shells.
- Spraying rabbit repellents that include garlic and capsaicin will repel rabbits with their strong odor. Treating the bulbs by soaking with a concentrated repellent before planting will do the same.
There is always the option of living in harmony with nature. Maybe Elmer Fudd should have just given up and let Bugs Bunny do his worst. It may have been less stress in the long run.
Can a cute little creature cause big problems? Just ask landscapers and gardening enthusiasts and you will find that the answer is a resounding “yes”! Voles or field mice are small rodents which are often mistaken for mice and can make a mess of landscapes. Although they may look alike, Mice and Voles are different kind of pests to deal with. The most common types of voles are Prairie and Meadow. Before you deal with your vole problem, make sure that you are targeting the correct furry creature.
Identify Voles and their Damage:
- Physical appearance: 3-7 inches in length, brown with cream or yellow bellies, blunt noses, small eyes and a stubby tail. (Vole damage is much more visible than the actual animal).
- Spongy soil on your property as a result of these tunneling creatures that nest and live in burrows.
- Unlike mice, they prefer not to climb and enter homes.
- Young plants clipped, seeds dug up, leaves, roots, and tubers eaten.
- Bulbs, flowers and vegetables ruined.
- Grass clipped down and runways in your lawn.
- Girdling of young trees and shrubs.
- Finding extensive damage in the spring that took place in the winter under the snow. Voles do not hibernate!
Controlling the Damage:
- Make your property a place where voles would not like to habituate by removing tall grasses, brush and woodpiles which provide cover for voles. By clearing your yard you are exposing them to their predators: coyotes, foxes, bobcat and owls. Encourage your dog to be a presence in your yard; my cat has been known to leave a vole as a “gift” at the back door. These natural predators can greatly reduce the vole population.
- Keep vegetation away from young trees to deter voles from chewing bark.
- Put up a fence around gardens or trees. Make sure you bury fence to keep burrowing animals out.
- A vole treatment that is much preferred to extermination and trapping with poisonous baits is to use a natural vole repellent. Homemade concoctions using capsaicin (hot pepper) will make your vegetation taste bad to the pest in the garden. An easier way to eliminate voles is to spray repellent bought at your local garden center. These pest control products will repel by making the vole uncomfortable by the smell and the taste will send him to snack elsewhere.
- Trap voles with a humane trap.
These rodents may have 4 litters a year of 12, so the damage may be extensive. Use one or a combination of methods to keep your property free of these small, but harmful animals.
- Start Thinking Ahead to Spring
The calendar says it is February, but gardening enthusiasts have already begun planning for spring. Seeds are being ordered, grow lights are being tested and garden centers will have a run on grow pots. Every gardener wants to improve upon last year’s results. Many will try to new strategies to protect against the pest that drove them crazy the previous year.
A big pest is the deer that come to browse in your yard. These beautiful creatures have now become a nuisance and your hard work and planning will have been in vain! If you are suspicious, but have not actually seen the deer snacking, footprints and droppings are a sure sign that they have been in your yard. Also, typical signs of deer damage are plants with ripped or jagged edges leaves and tree bark with score marks. An adult deer eats 6-10 pounds of greenery per day so you will need a definite plan to keep the deer out of the garden.
- Find a Plan to Repel Deer that Works for you
Try one or a combination of strategies to discourage the deer:
- A fence is a sure way to keep them out, but costly and may take away from the natural beauty of your property.
- Deer resistant plants can be planted around the plants that the deer are targeting. For example: plants with furred leaves or spines and that have a strong smell will be less appealing to them.
- Surround your garden with herbs with a strong scent which will mask the aroma of your annuals.
- Repellents are another way to deter deer. Because deer have such a keen sense of smell repellents can be very effective. Just as the wonderful smell of your flower garden attracts, repellents can do the opposite with odoriferous ingredients.
Peter Rabbit did not listen to his mother when she warned him NOT to go into Mr. McGregor’s garden. This story is not surprising to gardeners. They are completely aware of the persistent rabbits that cannot help but visit their gardens. It is a shame to walk out into your garden to see it look like someone gave your young plants and vegetables an unnecessary pruning. Rabbits will snip the stems of your plants in clean cuts, level your lettuce and gnaw rings around the trunks of trees. If this is not enough evidence that you have a rabbit problem, look for their footprint marks (large in the back and small in the front) and small pellet-like droppings. Now that you have identified the intruder, it is time to make your lawn and garden less appealing to the bunnies. The first thing to do is to make sure that the environments around your flower and vegetable gardens are free of the cover that rabbits like to nest in. By removing brush, rock piles and weeds where rabbits like to habituate, they may relocate. A barrier fence of at least 3 feet is recommended to keep out both cottontails and jackrabbits. The fencing should have mesh no larger than 1 inch and should be buried 6 inches under the ground to discourage rabbits from digging under. If you would rather protect individual plantings, plants and tree trunks can be protected by circling with wire fencing and bury 3 inches into the ground. Make sure to leave the fencing 2 inches away from the trunk so the rabbits cannot push against it and get at the foliage. There are natural repellents usually containing capsaicin (hot pepper) that make the plant distasteful to the rabbit. You will need to reapply to plants new growth. Be careful to avoid spraying portions of the plant that you plan on eating. Another way to keep the rabbits out of your yard is to trap and relocate them. Cottontail is easier to capture than the jackrabbit that are a more leery of the trap. Some people swear by their dogs to keep the rabbits away. The answers are out there: a strong fence, a smelly repellent, a humane trap or a good dog.
The calendar says it is January, but gardening enthusiasts have already begun planning for spring. Seeds are being ordered, grow lights are being tested and garden centers will have a run on grow pots. Every gardener wants to improve upon last year’s results. Many will try to new strategies to protect against the pest that drove them crazy the previous year. A big pest is the deer that come to browse in your yard. These beautiful creatures have now become a nuisance and your hard work and planning will have been in vain! If you are suspicious, but have not actually seen the deer snacking, footprints and droppings are a sure sign that they have been in your yard. Also, typical signs of deer damage are plants with ripped or jagged edges leaves and tree bark with score marks. An adult deer eats 6-10 pounds of greenery per day so you will need a definite plan to keep the deer out of the garden. A fence is a sure way to keep them out, but costly and may take away from the natural beauty of your property. Deer resistant plants can be planted around the plants that the deer are targeting. For example: plants with furred leaves or spines and that have a strong smell will be less appealing to them. Surround your garden with herbs with a strong scent which will mask the aroma of your annuals. Repellents are another way to deter deer. Because deer have such a keen sense of smell repellents can be very effective. Just as the wonderful smell of your flower garden attracts, repellents can do the opposite with odoriferous ingredients. Bobbex Deer Repellent is proven the most effective on the market and can be used year-round to protect against the deer. So while you are planning your garden, plan on all natural, environmentally friendly Bobbex Deer and Animal Repellents.
Did you ever wonder how those pathways you find in your lawn after the snow melts got there? Unfortunately, these unsightly pathways are made by voles (also known as meadow mice) and may run by your favorite trees and flower bulbs. If you are lucky the paths only run from one animal burrow opening to another. Damage can be extensive during the winter when voles multiply and their food source is limited. The snow becomes a safe place from predators and the vole population increases. Voles are active throughout the year. They can kill trees and ornamentals by chewing bark around the trunk and girdling them. The majority of vole damage is made in the winter months and the worst cases have coincided with years when there are heavy snowfalls. Preventative measures can be taken to protect from voles: keep the snow away from shrubs and young trees. Also, wrapping wire mesh around the lower trunks of trees will keep the voles from getting the chance to damage them. Animal repellents and humane traps are also available for vole control.
People may be surprised to hear that birds learn to migrate from their parents and flock—they don't hatch with this complex knowledge. So released geese never learned to fly north and instead take up residence year-round. We've also provided food and safety right here in our cities and suburbs. The geese have no reason to leave, so they settle in and raise families. Expanses of short grass, lakes and ponds, lack of natural predators, limited hunting, and supplemental feeding have created an increase in resident goose numbers. Mowed grass (like that found at parks and ball fields) provide an ideal habitat for geese. While many people find a few geese acceptable, problems develop as local flocks grow and the droppings become excessive (a goose produces about a pound per day). Problems include over-grazed lawns, buildup of droppings and feathers on play areas and walkways, nutrient loading to ponds, public health concerns at beaches and drinking water supplies, aggressive behavior by nesting birds, and safety hazards near roads and airports.
This time of year in Connecticut we see trees tied on top of every third car that passes on their way home to be decorated, but did you know that you can have a tree that suits your needs? Here is a guide to help!
The Fraser Fir may be the perfect holiday tree. It has 1 inch needles which are soft to the touch. It also has space between the branches to make for easy decorating. The branches are also strong enough to hold heavy ornaments. The Frasier Fir has a great shape and with proper watering it has excellent needle retention.
The Noble Fir is deep green in color and also has space between branches for easy decorating. The boughs are a lovely shape and are often used for fresh wreaths. Its branches are sturdy yet the needles are not too sharp.
A Colorado Blue Spruce has a nice shape with strong limbs that can hold heavy ornaments. The Blue Spruce is known for its distinctive blue foliage which can also appear silvery.
The Grand Fir is a pretty tree that has a glossy dark green color with needles that are 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. This tree is soft to the touch and not the best choice for heavier ornaments.
The Balsam Fir is a beautiful dark-green color with flexible boughs that may not be able to hold heavy ornaments. It has a nice shape that has a pleasant fragrance and holds its needles well.
White Fir or Concolor Fir has long pointed needles that are usually 1/2 to 1 1/2 inch long, As a Christmas tree, white fir has good foliage color, a pleasing natural shape and aroma, and good needle retention.
The Eastern White Pine boughs are ideal for use used in garlands, wreaths, and centerpieces because of their long, feathery, soft needles. Though it is a beautiful tree, branches can be a bit too flexible to support heavier decorations. The White Pine needles last a long time when properly watered.
The Scotch Pine is known for being a tree that will last through the holiday season. I will resist drying and dropping its needles. Wear gloves when decorating since its needles can be sharp as pins!
A Douglas Fir is beautiful Christmas tree with soft shiny green needles. It may be difficult to decorate if the branches have been sheared into a perfect conical shape, leaving too little space between branches to hang decorations. A Douglas Fir needs to be freshly cut and kept well watered.
The Norway Spruce is a beautiful tree that needs to be purchased just a week or so before Christmas because it does not hold its needles well. It can be a lovely tree if kept watered properly.
Remember to keep deer away from your outdoor evergreens all year round with Bobbex Deer Repellent.