Use moose deterrent wisely

GardeningJune 6, 2012 

Wow, some really great questions this week.

The first is about moose and keeping them out of the yard during the summer months. The answer is not much different than the one I give every fall: Don't let moose get into the habit of being in your yard.

As in the fall, now is a good time to consider using various moose deterrents. The one that has worked the best, so far, is Plantskydd. This is the emulsified blood meal that can be sprayed or painted on that gives moose the feeling that there is a wolf nearby and so it is time to move on. Applied when it is sunny and given 24 hours to dry, Plantskydd should last the rest of the season.

OK, here is the good news and the bad news. Blood meal is also an organic fertilizer NPK numbers range from 13-1-.5 to 9-.5-0. In all cases, it is a high-nitrogen fertilizer. If you were applying it to the garden, you would limit it to leafy, green vegetables. Even then, it would only be applied once, early in the season. It will green up lawns, help cole crops and also have the ability to cause flowering plants (vegetables, annuals and perennials) to go a bit bonkers on the leaves to the expense of what you are really after.

This means you should spay judiciously. In fact, you might simply try spraying around gardens instead of in them. Or cover your lawns. Depending on the size of your yard, you might even try and make a "fence" around it. A real one, of course, is the only ultimate way of preventing these ungulates from decimating everything.

I always worry about too many people using the same moose deterrent. Eventually they will overcome their distaste because they have to eat. Summer is the time to try other remedies that don't work in the winter. Bags of hair, laundry softener strips and the like don't work when the temperatures are cold. They do better this time of year. Still, you have to like a repellent that is also an organic lawn food.

Next, many folks put their crops in and then read about my advice to use mycorrhizal fungi on transplants and seeds (except cole crops and blueberries). A few years back you would have been out of luck if you were in this group. Not so now. There are liquid formulations premixed or powder forms that can be mixed with water. Both can be applied after transplanting. If you are going to do it, it pays to do so early in the season as it takes these fungi a few weeks to get up and running.

Equisetum is up in full force and causing readers great concern. You cannot -- and I repeat, you cannot -- spray it to death. People have been trying, I suppose, ever since the first Neanderthal started a garden, with no success for all these years. Don't be a Neanderthal and try to be the first to succeed. Simply hand pull to the ground and remove the pickings from the garden. Then mulch.

Finally, some astute readers know about the one night a year when there is a party at the Alaska Botanical Garden and want to know when it is this year. Called "The Midsummer Gala in The Garden," it is June 12. It requires a ticket (and there are limited numbers for adults and even fewer for children, Alaskabg.org) and is the only time you can be wined, dined and "artified" in the Alaska Botanical Garden unless you happen to be invited to a wedding held there.

Jeff Lowenfels is a member of the Garden Writers Hall of Fame. You can reach him at teamingwithmicrobes.com and hear him (and call in) on the Garden Party from 10 a.m.-noon on Saturdays on KBYR, 700 AM.

Garden calendar HILL POTATOES: ONLY ABOUT TWO OR THREE INCHES OF THE TOPS OF THE PLANTS SHOULD BE EXPOSED TO LIGHT. HILL AROUND STEMS WITH LEAVES OR SOIL. WATER: YOUR TRANSPLANTS AND SEEDLINGS NEED IT, BUT NOT TOO MUCH. TRY TO WORK WITH NATURE. KEEP AN EYE ON THE EXTENDED FORECAST AND WATER ACCORDINGLY. CHEMICALS FOR THOSE WEEDS IN THE LAWN: MT. SINAI HOSPITAL REPORTS ON A STUDY SHOWING THAT ORGANOPHOSPHATE PESTICIDES, ORGANOCHLORINE PESTICIDES AND ENDOCRINE DISRUPTERS ARE IN THE LIST OF THE TOP 10 CHEMICALS SUSPECTED OF CAUSING AUTISM. BE CONCERNED, VERY CONCERNED. DO NOT USE CHEMICALS IN YOUR YARD. WEEDS WE CAN LIVE WITH. AUTISM IS NOT A GOOD THING TO PRODUCE IN YOUR YARD. 15TH ANNUAL GARDEN FAIR & GARDEN ART SHOW: 11 A.M. TO 6 P.M. SATURDAY, JUNE 16 (EMBERS ONLY PREVIEW 10-11 A.M.) AND 11 A.M. TO 5 P.M. SUNDAY, JUNE 17. EARLY RATE ADMISSION UNTIL JUNE 12, $8 AFTER OR AT THE GAT. ALASKABG.ORG.

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