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It’s the last of the month, which means garden questions and
answers again!
It’s the last of the month, which means garden questions and answers again! You may E-mail me questions at: [email protected]. Or you can mail me questions in care of this newspaper. For a faster, personal response, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Q. We live in the country and planted many shrubs and trees that were supposedly deer resistant. After 12 years, the deer are so hungry, they are eating more and more of the landscaping. Any thoughts about this? – J.K., Gilroy, via e-mail.

Move to the city or buy a large dog. OK, that’s only half in jest. The truth of the matter is, as you are already well aware, deer will eat almost anything if hungry enough – even so-called deer resistant plants. There’s not much you can do short of a 10-foot-high fence! There are even some states that will help pay for the cost of a fence, but California isn’t one of them. It seems most Californians object to 10-foot-high fences in their gardens. I don’t know why – they’re doing wonders with cyclone these days! Now that was a joke, but the following isn’t. There is a product that sounds promising. It’s called Scarecrow, which is a motion-activated sprinkler. It seems that when deer activate the sensor, the sprinkler comes on for a short time and scares them away.

Supposedly, 87-percent of those using the product against deer have had success. Cost of the product is $79. More information is available on the web site:, or by calling 800-767-8558.

Q. I want to reduce the size of my wild blackberry patch. How do I get rid of some of them, while leaving a strip for them to grow along the fence? I tried digging them when the soil was soft, but that didn’t work at all. Also, I have two chickens that have the run of the yard. Can I spray the blackberries without hurting the chickens? – P.L., Hollister, via e-mail.

Spray with Roundup or Finale when the weather gets warm and dry. Buy the contact killer type that you have to mix yourself in a pump sprayer rather than the pre-mixed, ready-to-use type.

This way, you can dilute at a higher solution for better kill power. I would also cut down the vines you want to get rid of as much as possible so you won’t waste your spray and it will work faster. You might even cover the sprayed vines with black plastic to heat things up even more. As for spraying around the chickens, as long as you spray when there are no berries on the plants, the chickens won’t nibble on the foliage alone. Even chickens are smart enough to stay away from thorny blackberry vines when there aren’t any berries on them!

Q. We have many kinds of lavender. Some plants are drying up, while others appear to be perfectly healthy. The soil is heavy clay and once I now that we overwatered some of the smaller plants and they died and had to be replaced. Any ideas? – S.U., Gilroy, via e-mail.

You’ve got it right in that it sounds that your drought-tolerant lavenders have been overwatered. They are particularly suseceptible because of the heavy clay soil that doesn’t drain well. You might try amending your soil with porous, well-draining soil, going so far as to replant them if need be. Good luck.

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