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Thursday, 23 February 2017

How to get rid of moles Best products review

Having just cut your freshly grown lawn, there is nothing more annoying than coming out the following morning to find a mole has left crumbly mounds of soil on your carefully tended grass. Although it may look like you have had an invasion of dozens of the little (and some might say cute) furry critters at work on your lawn. Most often it can be the work of only one or two moles, even though there may be multiple heaps of soil on your lawn. They are very efficient at tunneling given their shovel like front claws, and can quickly excavate a large amount of soil . As you walk over a lawn where a mole has been working it feels spongey under foot where their tunnels are.
Moles are not nocturnal and will dig every few hours day and night. They tend to live solitary lives and are rarely seen above ground. They are very territorial, getting quite aggressive when defending their underground tunnel network from other moles. But while they are reluctant to share their tunnels, inevitably burrows do sometimes cross over and are jointly occupied but only as travelling routes. There are different levels of tunnels the deeper ones are living quarters and where they raise their young. The shallow ones are usually the feeding tunnels the network of which can travel many metres.
Moles are not blind but it's their amazing sense of smell they use to find their prey and get around. Moles favourite food are earthworms but they will also eat a wide variety of invertebrates including beetle and leatherjacket larvae. The are exclusively carnivorous and although they may undermine the root systems of plants they are unlikely to eat any shoots. Mole activity in a flower border nonetheless is very undesirable as all that rummaging around below the surface can seriously affect plant growth.

Mole control Products

 There are a number of ultra sonic mole repellers on the market. A clean 'hands free'  way to deter moles.

Some mole catchers say strong scents can deter moles from lawns. Undetectable by humans these bulbs give off a pungent smell that moles are said to hate.

Mole repellant scatter granules contain caster oil which penetrates deep into the tunnels and taints the moles food sources. Without harming the moles it makes them move away to untreated areas. The manufacturers say it is totally harmless to pets and children.

Mole Traps

Traps are best placed in a feeding tunnel which runs from/to a molehill. Cut the lawn turf open to expose a section of the tunnel and place the trap in the tunnel making sure that there is no loose soil obscuring the entrance to the trap. Recover the trap with turf so there is no possibility of any sunlight or difference in air current in the tunnel. Then wait. It may take a day or two for the mole to spring the trap but they MUST be checked daily. 

There are several different types of trap on the market. Lets start with a humane one which captures the mole alive so it can be released away from your garden.

If you have a large infestation it may be necessary to use traps that humanely dispatch the mole. There are two basic types. The scissor claw trap. Placed in the tunnel running to/from the molehill the unwary mole is caught in a scissor action as it moves through the trap.

The other type is the tunnel type trap and as the name suggests sits in the tunnel running to/from the mole hill. Which ever type you decide to use make sure the entrance is clear of soil and covered so that no daylight enters the trapping area.
If you don't manage to catch your mole yourself, and it can be quite tricky, then there are many professional mole catchers here in the Britain. A look in your local paper is all that is usually needed to find one. 
General discussion and your views are welcome please say hello. I regret however because of my busy schedule, I am unable to answer many questions. Sneaky advertising will be deleted sorry. Thanks so much for visiting my blog today.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Garrya elliptica, Silk tassel bush, Silver tassel shrub evergreen grey catkins

The evergreen shrub Garrya Elliptica is commonly known as the The Silk Tassel Bush. It brings much needed Winter interest to a garden, largely because of the silver grey catkins which appear from around December through to early Spring here in Britain
Garrya Elliptica originates from North America, principally from coastal California. It has a compact habit and can be planted as a single free standing specimen, or together as a hedge, and can be a very effective espalier or fan trained against a wall. .
The Silk Tassel bush is a dioecious shrub. That is to say there are both male and female plants. The difference is reasonably easy to determine and its all about the tassels. Male Garrya's have greener grey tassels with some cultivars growing as long as 12 inches (30cm). The females tassels tend to be shorter at around 3.5 inches (9cm) with a more silvery grey look.
This particular evergreen doesn't require a great deal of pruning especially if your specimen is free standing. However should you wish to reduce its size pruning is best done in Spring. The silk tassel catkins that have provided a wonderful show over Winter will have begun fading and the shrub will be shedding any yellow or brown leaves in preparation for new growth so now is the time to shape it. Spring is also the time to cut Garrya hedges.
Garrya Elliptica prefers soil that is well drained and loamy. As with all shrubs soak the root ball and dig a hole twice the size of the pot backfilling with plenty of compost and a handful of fish blood and bone. This will give your Silk tassel bush the best start. Ideally you should site it in a sheltered position away from frosty winds as the leaves are susceptible to scorch.

General discussion and your views are welcome please say hello. I regret however because of my busy schedule, I am unable to answer many questions. Sneaky advertising will be deleted sorry. Thanks so much for visiting my blog today.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Garden Birds: The Robin, Britain's National and Favourite Bird

Britain is well known as a nation of wildlife lovers and in gardens large and small up and down these isles birds and animals happily share the green spaces around our homes. The Robin is probably Britain's most favourite bird. In the 1960's in a vote published in The Times of London the robin was voted the UK's unofficial national bird and in 2015, the robin was again voted Britain's national bird in a poll organised by birdwatcher David Lindo. An old English folk tale seeks to explain the robin's distinctive breast. Legend has it that when Jesus was dying on the cross, the robin, then simply brown in colour, flew to his side and sang into his ear in order to comfort him in his pain. The blood from his wounds stained the robin's breast, and thereafter all robins got the mark of Christ's blood upon them.
Robins are unmistakable with their bold red chests which are the same for both male and female birds. They are very territorial and will defend their patch aggressively. Flashing its red breast and singing from the highest tree is sometimes enough, but all to often intruders are met by combat. This is especially so in the breeding season.
Junior birds have a golden brown speckled chest which prevents adults seeing them as a threat to their territory (as picture above) Mature birds will only defend their territories against other robins. All other birds it seems can come and go in the patch without hindrance.
Robins like to nest fairly near the ground and can often be found in all manner of unusual locations. A flower pot lying on its side, a pile of logs, old tins and tree stumps are among many things that robins will nest in. Robins usually have several broods in a season.

If you want to encourage Robins to nest in your garden you could try putting up a nest box which needs to be open fronted rather than having a small hole.  Place the box around a metre from the ground (higher if there are a lot of cats around) and hide it amongst dense Ivy, or wisteria or similar climber against a wall or trellis. Do not be tempted to take a peak during the building of nests and laying and hatching of eggs. Robins have been known to abandon sites if there is to much human activity. Robins start looking for a suitable mate as early as January, but breeding usually starts in earnest around March here in the UK.
Robins eat a wide variety of insects, spiders, beetles and worms. During the winter months when food is scarce they will supplement their diet with berries and remaining fruits from the hedgerows.

They will readily visit a bird table to eat seed mixtures especially during cold and frosty weather.

Mealworms are a real favourite of robins, so much so that given a little time for them to get used to you putting them out on the bird table they will begin to take them from an outstretched hand.

Robins are wonderful singers and are amongst the first to join in the dawn chorus to herald a new day. It is not unusual to hear robins sing at night especially in suburban areas where the streets are artificially lit.
Robins are seldom shy when humans are around especially if you are turning over a vegetable patch or weeding. Most gardeners will be familiar with a robin waiting patiently in a nearby tree or even perched on the wheelbarrow ready to swoop down when your work uncovers a worm or beetle.
Most British robins stay within the UK and defend their territories all year round but a few migrate south in winter to the European Continent. The robin has become strongly associated with Christmas, taking a starring role on many Christmas cards since the mid 19th century and has appeared on many Christmas postage stamps.  The association with Christmas more probably arises from the fact that postmen in Victorian Britain wore red jackets and were nicknamed "Robins"; the robin featured on the Christmas card is an emblem of the postman delivering the card.
General discussion and your views are welcome please say hello. I regret however because of my busy schedule, I am unable to answer many questions. Sneaky advertising will be deleted sorry. Thanks so much for visiting my blog today.