Linn County Master Gardener, Claire Smith, wrote the following: The driver of the car at the stop light next to me looked rather aghast when I broke into a hearty laugh this morning. I guess some radio and TV facts are just meant to be light hearted even though reported in a most serious manner, for example, the obnoxious little black flies that are so prevalent this spring are called buffalo gnats. Do you know why? Because they have a hump in their back. With no disrespect intended to those folks who study insects, that “need-to-know” fact really struck my funny bone.
Not so funny is in the onslaught of beetles again this year. Just a reminder, do not spray edible plants to rid the beetles. Traps seem fairly effective. The traps do attract the little critters in addition to killing them so it is suggested you locate traps at the ends of your property.
The ugly tunnels in your lawn are probably mole trails. Another little known fact is that moles eat more than their own weight in worms daily. Worms are good for the soil. They constantly aerate the earth. Keep the worms; eradicate the moles. The most practical method of eviction is a scissor or harpoon type trap. Locate the active tunnel by tamping down all of the tunnels. Place the trap in the one the mole reopens.
And then there are the garden invaders, the ground hogs, rabbits and raccoons. Probably the best offense against them is a good fence. Hardware cloth or wire mesh should be at least 1½ to 2 ft. tall supported with wood or metal stakes. Bury the fence into the ground a bit or secure it down with landscape pins. Repellents are somewhat effective, but more costly as they need to be reapplied after each heavy rain. You could consider live traps, but the last time we tried live traps, an opossum was smarter than we were. We did capture two cats, though.
And, finally, Oh! Deer! It is best to discourage deer before they become accustomed to the delicacies in your garden or yard. The most reliable deer prevention maintenance is a fence. However, a deer proof fence will be at least eight feet tall which can be a costly venture, be aesthetically unattractive, and possible prohibited by local building codes. Repellents and scare tactics are ineffective as deer ignore them. Try temporary fences around new plants and special plants. Deer may force you to choose plants that are less tasty to them, have an unusual texture, or a strong aroma. Call your local extension office (in Linn County 447-0647) for a list of deer resistant plants. Perhaps impractical in some cases, a good dog will be as efficient as anything else you might try.