For this week’s column on Claycord I will answer three questions that have been asked. One by email, and two others left in the comment section of last’s week’s column.
The one by email was written by Mike Stinnett. Mike’s neighborhood is being overrun by ground squirrels.
We are Fencers front line to CNWS. Our back yard and gardens were taken over by ground squirrels, but now our lawns and potted plants are suffering as well only getting worse. Now the vermin are moving south into the neighborhood. It’s never enough of a problem until it’s an epidemic and trust me it’s just begun. I know I speak for hundreds of folks. Perhaps a article suggesting an alliance to combat these destructive little devils.
Garden Girl: Well Mike, having lived in a farm house on Marsh Creek road for 5 years, I can feel your pain. We found there really wasn’t anything that we could do to detour or eliminate the ground squirrels. They bored under our detached garages foundation, scarfed down lobelia and gerbera daisy plants and annoyed us with their loud, high pitch noise.
We did through the years learn how to keep the ground squirrels away from our immediate outdoor living areas. We took back our yard. We spent more time outside working and playing in the yard. We started digging for plant installs, mowing the lawn area more frequently, weed-wacking the weeds down, walking\running around and playing with the dogs. All of the activity and noise drove the ground squirrels away.
They no longer felt as comfortable sharing the area.
Mike, this may not be the best answer, but it’s the one that worked for us. Traps didn’t work. We had too many squirrels. Repellents were a waste of money. We would never consider poisons or baits. Hope this helps.
Garden Girl: JenA left a couple questions in the comment section of last week’s column. She was looking for an easy to grow, shade tree that she could have installed into a small space. JenA, consider a Chitalpa tree. They are very hardy to both our Claycord summers and winters. This tree is drought tolerant and fast growing. The head of the Chitalpa tree is naturally wide, with large lance shaped leaves. This tree will provide dappled shade. You will also get to enjoy a spring through summer flower. Chitalpa trees lose their leaves in the fall, all at once so there only one mess to clean.
JenA was also looking for a shrub to provide privacy from a neighbor’s window. Three different plants to consider are the Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘MargorieChannon’, or ‘Silver Sheen’ and Rhamnusalaternus ‘Argenteo-variegata’. All of these shrubs are evergreen, and they’ve been proven to thrive in our Claycord climate. They will reach heights from 6-8’ tall and taller with age. One of the best features of these shrubs are their small leaves. Small leaves look tidier when pruned.
Grape Leaf Panties also asked a question last week regarding their rosemary hedge.
Have a large Rosemary hedge about four feet tall max. Over the few years one or two areas of no growth and dying portions showed up. I noticed leaves from the big tree filled up in thespaces and thought that was the cause. I figure if the leave piles are removed the surrounding rosemary will grow and fill in the non growth areas. My husband looked this up and is under the impression the areas just die off over time and the leaves just gathered there because of the gaps. He read to fill in the non growth gaps we need to plant more Rosemary into the ground. With this idea, it might take years to get the rosemary plants to grow as big as the surrounding healthy shrub.
So garden girl: what do you suggest to regain the continuity of our large Rosemary hedge?
And how can we avoid future issues like this?
Garden Girl: Plants have life spans. They die off. Sometimes the whole plant dies, and other times branches die. It just happens. Unfortunately in your case, the rosemary has been grown as a hedge. You have a couple choices. You can plant new rosemary in the gaps of the hedge, and ignore the lack of continuity, or you can remove and replant the hedge with rosemary or a different plant material. The latter option will insure the instant continuity you desire. Shrubs without flowers have long lifespans, and have the most longevity when planted as a hedge.
Thank you all for reading.
Nicole Hackett is the Garden Girl at R&M Pool, Patio and Gardens, located at 6780 Marsh Creek Road in Clayton, 925-672-0207.
Nicole writes for the Clayton Pioneer Newspaper, and Claycord.com. She is also the Clayton Valley Garden Club 2012 President.