Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

First Things First: Dealing with Those Pesky Animals

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

First Things First: Dealing with Those Pesky Animals

Article excerpt

Those of us who give talks on gardening often conclude with, "And now are there any questions?" We can almost make bet on what the first questions will be: "What can I do about moles in my garden?" Or rabbits, or squirrels or, if your audience is in a rural area, deer.

Frank Holdener, who works at Sappington Garden Shop and gives a great many talks on gardening, has developed a new practice. He begins each talk by telling what to do about moles, etc., and that leaves him clear at the end of a talk to get on with other problems.

I thought of Frank when I spoke at the 50th anniversary party of the Garden Study Club in Granite City last week. "Any questions?" I asked at the end of the talk, and predictably, the first one was, "What can I do about moles?" According to Frank, garden shops have a great many commercial products designed to repel animal pests. These range from a spray designed to keep your yard free of mosquitoes to the pepper product you mix with birdseed which, according to its claims, does not bother the birds but keeps the squirrels away. Among the repellants are mole and gopher bait, smoke bombs, poison pellets, and traps. If the problem is really serious, a professional exterminator may be necessary. Gardeners should know that moles do not visit your garden to eat your tulip bulbs or flower roots but to feed on the webworms and grubs in the grass. One way to deter them is to rid the lawn of what attracts them. Mike Miller recommends nematodes from The Bug Store, as the nematodes will eat the webworms. My suggestion is to get a cat, based on personal experience with my Twiggy who wandered into our barn as a scrawny stray 13 years ago and became my pampered pet. The vet estimated her age at six or seven months, which meant she had lived off the land that long, eating whatever she could catch. Old habits die hard. For a long time, she continued to catch moles, proudly depositing them at my feet and then eating them, fur and all. …

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