“Avoid a catastrophe in your garden this summer”
Fighting back: Zap them, soak them, make a big stink
By KATE CHENEY DAVIDSON
Anchorage Daily News
Published: June 8, 2006
To help you avoid a catastrophe in your garden and yard this summer, we’ve polled Alaska gardeners, scientists and gardening experts about ways to keep moose gulping grass and willows and away from the fruits of your labor.
* Repellent sprays: Plantskydd (www. plantskydd.com for local distributors) is among the best products on the market, says Daily News gardening columnist Jeff Lowenfels. The blood-meal product was developed in Sweden to deter elk, but many Alaska gardeners are finding it effective with moose too. It’s sold in powder and liquid form at most gardening stores, and an application can last up to six months.
Mary Tribbey, assistant manager at Alaska Mill and Feed in Anchorage, says Plantskydd is a best-seller. She suggests gardeners use a liquid spray that comes in 1- and 5-liter bottles ($21.95 and $54.95) but cautions that it must be used at temperatures above 30 degrees. The only strike against it, Lowenfels said, is that it stinks when you first apply it, but the odor doesn’t last long….
URBAN WILDLIFE IN FLUX
As urban sprawl continues in Alaska, moose habitat is shrinking. Some think this is already having an impact on moose eating habits and preferences. Michael Rasy, an integrated pest management technician for Alaska Cooperative Extension, has noticed that moose are browsing on foods they never used to eat.
Anchorage gardener Mary Shier noticed the change when moose began eating her rosebushes and the bark off her mugo pines. “For 10 years, they never touched those pines,” Shier said.
If less-discriminating moose aren’t problem enough, there could be something worse on the horizon for Southcentral. According to Lowenfels, one to two sightings a week of Sitka black-tailed deer are being reported in Anchorage. The deer are thought to be migrating from Prince William Sound, where they were introduced in the 1930s for hunting.
Lowenfels believes two or three deer overwintered in Anchorage and more are probably on the way. This is not good news for gardeners, he says.
“If people don’t like moose, they’re going to want to commit suicide if the deer come.”
Daily News reporter Kate Cheney Davidson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.