22October 6, 2016

Over the past few years, we have had a series of unusual winters. Heavy snow one winter versus a little amount of snow the following winter. This has lead to damage to our trees and shrubs from a variety of sources. As the old saying goes, you have to prepare for the worst winter and hope for the best winter. There are things you can start to do now that will help to prepare for potential damage to your plants.

My gut feeling is that animals will be looking to our shrubs and trees as a source of food. A dry summer usually means less natural food for animals. When this happens, the animals usually turn to the plants we have in our yards as a food source.

Deer can be a problem in many parts of our area. So many of the shrubs that we plant can turn out to be a tasty salad bar for deer. Many customers have told me that they never see deer in their yard yet there is damage to their shrubs. In many cases, deer will feed at night. You can go to bed with some beautiful shrubs and wake up in the morning to find half a shrub eaten. Now would be a good time to protect your shrubs from deer. You should apply a deer repellent to your shrubs to make the shrubs taste bad to the deer. There are many brands of deer repellent on the market. One of the issues that we have found is that many of the deer repellents need to be applied when the temperatures are above 32 degrees. Unfortunately, that rules out applying that deer repellent in the winter month when the temperatures are below freezing. We have found a cinnamon based deer repellent called Oh No Deer. The smell of cinnamon and the taste of cinnamon are a very effective deer repellent. In can be applied at temperatures as low as 10 degrees. You should start applying deer repellent now so that the deer learn that the plants in your yard taste bad. You will have to do additional applications during the winter but we have found that the Oh No Deer repellent is very effective at keeping the deer from damaging your plants.

Rabbits and mice are always looking for food sources during the winter. The bark of some trees is a good food source for mice and rabbits. Unfortunately, if they eat off enough bark on your ornamental flowering trees, they can cause the trees to die. Now would be a good time to apply a tree wrap around the trunk of your ornamental flowering trees. The ornamental flowering trees appear to be a favorite food of animals. The same hold true for any fruit trees you have in your yard. By wrapping the trunk of the trees with the tree wrap, it makes it harder for the animals to eat the bark. The sooner you put this on the trees, the sooner the animals learn that the trees are not a good source of food.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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