Moose-proofing and other last-minute winter yard prep
Published: October 27th, 2010
ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS – GARDENING
…….. All gardeners know the problem with moose this time of year. You want to make them go to your neighbors’ yards and keep them out of yours. If you haven’t fixed things up so that they stay away from your favorite trees and shrubs, you better get to it now.
First of all, hanging Irish Spring soap doesn’t work. Nor does hanging bags of human hair, spraying garlic or having a big dog. Good tricks where the temps stay about 32, perhaps, but once it gets really cold, even the moose fail to detect the smells and the dog doesn’t want to live outside all day and night. Tying dryer softener strips up in trees seems to work for some, but I am not sure that isn’t because a bunch of these in a tree looks silly.
What does work, and you must think I own stock in the company (unfortunately, I don’t) as I repeat this advice often, is Plantskydd. This sticky, smelly-when-applied, emulsified, blood meal keeps moose away from plants.
The theory is that the smell of blood makes moose think wolves are nearby with a kill, so they stay away. This could be, or may be they are extra sensitive to the smell of the stuff which you will experience when it is first applied. I don’t know. What I do know is Plantskydd works all winter, especially when we have a shorter one like this year. The deal is, it only works when applied and it isn’t fun to apply it when it is below freezing, as in the winter after the moose have decimated your spouse’s favorite shrub.
This time of year it may make more sense to paint rather than spray Plantskydd on trees and shrubs. You only need to get some on the bark, there are no leaves. Wear old clothes. Use a sponge or a paint brush. At least treat your very special plants like those rhododendrons and maple saplings.
Wire does a great job too. You can mold chicken wire around plants and tie it up and thus get away without creating cages that need strong support stakes, though these may be a better solution for your yard. If so, better hurry. First, the leaves are down and bark and buds are what moose are eating. And second, it will freeze and those stakes won’t go into the ground. Again, just thinking about moose proofing things doesn’t work. Either Plantskydd or some sort of fencing for the plants or the yard. It will be really cold soon, and the moose will be wandering around hungry. Make your yard the least desirable place to eat.