Don't let your garden become a woodchuck salad bar! Several fencing solutions to deter wildlife.
Fencing around your gardens can keep kids, pets and wildlife out so you'll have veggies to harvest as they mature.
Finding the right kind of fencing and learning a couple of techniques will gain you success.
For instance, if you have small kids and smaller dogs frolicking and running around the backyard, a simple way to keep them from trampling your plants and flowers is to install a small, two-foot-tall wire or mesh fence.
For older kids and bigger dogs, go for a three-to-four-foot tall, sturdy wire or wooden fence with stakes.
If it's local wildlife that you're trying to keep out of your garden, like rabbits and woodchucks, use that same three-to-four-foot fence but at the bottom of it, curve the fencing at a 90-degree angle away from the garden.
By doing this, you're creating an L-shaped apron upon which you can throw some dirt, grass or bark mulch.
This fencing apron is the key to keeping rabbits and 'chucks out. As they encounter the fence around your garden, the rabbits and woodchucks will naturally try to dig under it to gain access but this apron will deter them.
Smaller, younger woodchucks might try to climb the fence and go over it. There is a way to deter these industrious critters: leave the top part of the fencing unattached from the stakes.
When the young woodchuck climbs up, its body weight will be too heavy and the fence will bend, dropping it back to the ground outside of your garden.
If you have squirrels, chipmunks and cats around your yard, you might note that they don't seem to care how much fencing you have or what kind you've used. They will find a way in.
Two methods can keep them at bay: covering your plants or growing them underneath little hoop houses preserves them from chipmunks and squirrels. Or try protecting the plants with repellent spray.
And if cats are getting into your garden and considering it the neighborhood's most luxurious litter box, try laying some brambles or rose canes on that soil, especially early in the season.
Then when a cat comes along and walks into your garden, kitty will get thorns in its paws and decide to go elsewhere.
With a bit of planning, these techniques can keep kids and pets happy, wildlife out, and your garden growing, too.
Q: I've planted peonies before and I've been successful, but I'm still waiting for the tree peony to show some life. It's not in a sunny location. Might that be the problem? How soon should I expect something to come up? - Lee, in Saxton's River
A: By now, you should be seeing some new growth after all this extremely hot weather.
Tree peonies are like shrubs with growth inside woody stems. Planting it in full sun would be a better choice but they can do well in the part shade, too.
If you're not seeing any green growth coming out, go in with your pruners and prune the branches.
This can reveal whether there is any green inside the stems. If there isn't any green growth inside the stems, cut your tree peony down to a point where you do start seeing green growth.
If the plant is dead all the way to the ground, you might have to start all over again.
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Hear All Things Gardening during Weekend Edition Sunday with VPR host Mary Engisch, Sunday mornings at 9:35.
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