Deer, Landscape Plants, and the Winter of 2018

Deer damage arborvitae

Will landscape plants see lots of deer damage in the winter of 2018? Could be . . . and here's a reason: The preceding summer didn't produce a large crop of acorns and nuts from oak and beech trees. In other words, 2017 wasn't a "mast year."

During mast years, trees supercharge the output of acorns and nuts—apparently by agreement among themselves. It’s an unpredictable phenomenon that occurs in three- to five-year cycles. The trees seem to communicate among their kind, oak to oak and beech to beech. To make it even more mysterious,  masting is regional. It can be a mast year in one part of the state and not another.

Love a monarch (butterfly), discourage a deer

Swamp milkweed Asclepias incarnata

Plant shopping, anyone? If you want to encourage our bees, butterflies and birds this year, think native plants. Monarch butterflies, for instance, require plants of the milkweed family to complete their life cycles. And--what a bonus--milkweed happens to be very deer-resistant. 

I love to make lists and here's a list help the cause: deer-resistant native perennials, shrubs and trees. See The Day/Shoreline Times

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