Friday, April 22nd, 2011...4:41 am

Battling Animals in the Garden – Part I

snoopy baby deer by AlicePopkorn

I wrote in a recent TheGardenLady column about the deer seemingly decimating my plants. For example, the hemerocallis or day lily shoots that have emerged this spring have been shorn aImost down to the ground. The same thing has happened to the leaves of the tulips that are emerging from the ground. It looks like they were mowed. I am hoping that the eating of the leaves will not affect the flowers which have not yet emerged. So I have sprayed a lot of Liquid Fence on these pathetic stumps of plants hoping to prevent more eating damage. There is other evidence of chewed plants. I based this blame on the deer because I have seen what looked like deer tracks in the mud and deer scat otherwise known as poop all over the lawn and garden.

But am I correct that it was the deer that ate my plants? I have a variety of wild animals residing in my gardens, so the blame could be on numerous animals. On the one hand, I am still excited whenever I see a wild animal on my property. But on the other hand, I am really upset when I see my plants eaten. I had written in one column that gardening is like a battle- a judicious battle.

Can’t these animals just enjoy the weeds? There are so many pretty weeds that should be deliciously young, tender and succulent at this time of year?. Weeds like the Hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) that I have been pulling out already (see here) or lesser celandine (see here) that is taking over my yard. After all the leaves of both of these noxious weeds are supposed to be edible (see here). Or can’t wild animals tell between the look alike poisonous plants and these two plants? I should think that animals could be able to tell which is which. (There are often similar looking plants that are poisonous which is one reason humans have to be careful when eating plants to be able to be sure you are not eating poisonous plants or there are plants that only certain parts are edible). Why do the wild animals have to enjoy the same plants that I want to enjoy?

In the next post TheGardenLady will discuss other animals that she battles in her garden.



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