Help Me, Help My Garden! Oh, Deer!

They're cute, but they'll gobble up your garden.

They’re cute, but they’ll gobble up your garden.

How cute are these guys? Not so cute if they are in your garden munching away on your Hydrangea…

Deer Proof Plants Q: I love seeing deer in my neighborhood, but they are a menace to my garden! Are there plants that deer won’t eat?

A: Yes, they’re cute, but deer are not particularly picky when it comes to what they like to eat. They can also jump over fences. While you won’t be able to deer proof your garden completely, there are plants that deer tend to pass over on the buffet. Here are some plants that I like, and you can also ask a local nursery professional if these plants aren’t available in your area.

Shrubs: Cape Mallow (Anisodontea), Bamboo, Angel’s Trumpet (Brugmansia), Bottlebrush (Callistemon), Lavender, Oleander (Nerium Oleander), Rosemary, Jade Plant

Vines: Bougainvillea, Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium Sempervirens), Jasmine, Potato vine (Solanum laxum)

Perennials/ Annuals: Yarrow (Achillea), Agave, Columbine (Aquilegia), Aster, Artemesia, Dahlias, Freesia, Hellebore, Peony, Gloriosa daisy (Rudbeckia hirta), Calla lily, Narcissus, Impatiens, Basil, Thyme

Deer can jump up to eight feet high, so erecting fencing that is at least that high around vegetable gardens, fruit gardens,  and rose gardens will also help deter these lovelies.

 

The effects of root knot nematodes.

The effects of root knot nematodes.

Root Knot Nematodes Q: I have root knot nematodes and probably fusarium wilt, too, living in my soil. I’m trying a number of things to solve this problem, but what do you recommend?

A: Root knot nematodes are plant parasitic microscopic round worms (ick). Some live in the roots of plants causing the roots to swell and grow knots or galls. Root knot nematodes are more damaging to plants since they feed off the roots. Fusarium wilt is a fungus that infects the plant’s veins and causes the plant’s leaves to turn brown, wilt, and die.  Both of these plant diseases can be present in the soil and are difficult to eliminate or control. Here are my recommendations:

1. Allow the areas that are infected to go fallow (unplanted) for a season or two, especially the summer. Remove all of the plant material; till the area; water well, and cover with sheets of black plastic. Do not move infected plants from one area to another or put infected plants into a compost pile. Bag them, and discard them.

2. Buy plants that are resistant to root knot nematodes, Fusarium wilt, and Verticillium wilt. Check for plant tags that have the letters “VFN”.

3. Water and feed your plants on a regular schedule. Healthy, unstressed plants have more defenses to fight off parasites and diseases (just like people).

4. Always clean your garden tools after each use. Here’s a video I made on cleaning garden shears.

So what’s going on in your garden? How can I help.  Comment below with your questions!

 
Eden Condensed

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