Gardener sees shrubs, deer see a free lunch

Garden Q&A

March 24, 2007|By Ellen Nibali and David Clement | Ellen Nibali and David Clement,Special to The Sun

I have to rethink my garden because of deer damage. What shrubs won't deer eat?

There are no guarantees. Where deer populations are very high, they eat just about anything. Usually American holly, osmanthus, viburnums, caryopteris, rose of Sharon, butterfly bush, sweet box, Oregon grape holly, red osier dogwood and boxwood are reliable survivors. Many plants do well once they're established, if protected by fencing or repellents when small and tender. Resist planting barberry or other nonnative invasive plants.

When pruning our cherry tree, I saw limbs newly split lengthwise, oozing sap. What should I do?

Longitudinal cracks result from rapid and repeated freezing and thawing, especially on the south or west side of a tree. Cherry trees are very thin-skinned and particularly susceptible. Painting the trunk with white latex paint helps prevent this problem. An opportunistic fungi moving into the damaged area can cause cankers and gummosis or "oozing." Pruning out damaged limbs might be your best option, if that is possible.

Ellen Nibali, horticulture consultant, works at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, and David Clement is the center's director. Call the center's "hotline" at 800-342-2507 (8 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday-Friday) or e-mail plant and pest questions through the Send a Question feature at hgic.umd.edu.

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