Deer

©Lisa Johnson

To kill, or not to kill?   That is the question—

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The deer and rabbits of outrageous hunger,

Or to take arms against them in defence of the garden,

And, by opposing, end them?

(with apologies to William Shakespeare)

Lisa Johnson

Whatever you plan to do about the deer in your yard, from making them feel welcome to scooting them on down the road, Tom Kasper says you need to start doing it NOW before they get in the habit of dropping by your place for a meal.

And just like we're happy when Minnesota Governor Tim Walz tells us to go out and get some exercise, we should be delighted that Tom Kasper is telling us to get outside and start gardening.

Cam Miller/Flickr

Spring hasn't quite sprung - that will be next week on March 19, the earliest vernal equinox in over 100 years.

Meanwhile, whatever we may think about the winter, the DNR's Winter Severity Index of 130 says it was a tough one.  And the deer agree.

Greg Schechter [via Flickr]

Larry Weber notes that the February snows are, as usual, light and dry; not much has fallen in the past couple weeks.  The warm temps that gave way to the cold temps have created a crusty layer of snow on top of the deep snow pack.  While this is not so much fun for deer whose legs have to punch through it, it is great for lighter, smaller animals like the fox who now can walk across the top of it.

Lisa Johnson

We've got more snow so far this month than we usually get in all of February.  But the days are getting longer; Larry says we have ten hours of daylight now and by the end of the month, we'll have eleven.

And between the deep snow (for hiding) and more light (for romance), things are hopping out in the natural world.

If you need a bettter view of the birdfeeders, Tom Kasper says now is a fine time to do a little "structural pruning."

But speaking of wild things and feeding them, now is also a great time to wrap trees, bushes and plantings to keep them safe from rabbits and deer.

Lisa Johnson

Raking is hard on your lawn when it - and the blanket of leaves - is as wet as it is.

Luckily, there are other things you can do, like planting spring bulbs and protecting your young trees from the onslaught of deer, rabbits and sun scald.

©Lisa Johnson

With temperatures in the 40s forecast for Friday, this might be the perfect time to wrap the trees, bushes and other plantings you want to protect from woodland marauders.

©Lisa Johnson

It's that time again when a young buck's thoughts lightly turn to love ... and running across the road in front of speeding motorists.

When are you most at risk,  what you should  check on with regard to your insurance coverage and where the insurance companies and the Minnesota State Patrol part company, philosophically speaking.

In related news ...

The annuals and vegetables are going into the ground - along with the haul from some recent local plant sales - and the game of wits between gardeners and deer and rabbits begins another season ...

Tom Kasper with advice on how to protect your trees, shrubs and other plantings from bands of hungry thugs.  This gang was photographed trolling the streets of Duluth's Woodland neighborhood.

Pupparazzi - Companion Animal Photography

Master Gardener Tom Kasper says we can use the rainy/snowy cool days expected for this week to gently remove the remains of last year's perennials from the new emerging shoots.  And he says we can use rotten-egg-smelling sprays and blood or bone meal to repel/terrify deer and squirrels from ever returning to our yards!