Pesky Squirrels

Garden Clock

By Pauline Keegan

The ends of my juniper tree have been chewed off and dropped to the ground. Is there an insect that lives at this time of the year that behaves like that?

It is probably a pest that is not an insect, likely a squirrel. In early spring, squirrels forget that they have buried nuts so they seek other sources of nutrition. They chew off a few inches of the terminal end of branches, suck the sap that oozes out and drop the remaining twig to the ground. Other trees as well are used as a source of food for the squirrels. This is primarily an urban problem because the over population of squirrels and other pests brought about by development. We wonder if the squirrels are on to something. After all, gin is made from juniper berries, which grow on juniper trees.


Which vegetables can I plant now?

This winter has been mostly cold and cloudy. That means there have not been many sunny days to warm the soil to at least 40 degrees. You can plant English peas, all greens and potatoes. However, the seeds may be slow to germinate. Plants of broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower can be put in the ground. These members of the Brassica olerasa family can survive temperatures of 27-28 degrees.


I lost three trees in the ice storm in January. Can you suggest what I can do to replace them with trees that are more likely to survive?

It’s difficult to guess which trees will resist storm damage. According to Dr. Steve Vann, extension urban plant pathologist with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, some trees are more prone to ice and storm damage than others. Among the trees to avoid: ornamental Bradford or callery pear, cottonwood, river 

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birch, tulip trees, silver maples, long leaf pines, pin oak, green ash and American elm. There is no guarantee, but some trees show resistance to ice damage. They are sycamores, sugar and red maple, sweet gum, ironwood, bald cypress and catalpas. Catalpa is on the list, but it is not recommended for a decorative tree. 


There is something dripping down on my birch tree. What is it and what shall I do for it?

The same thing is happening to your birch that is happening to maples and a few other trees. These trees have a sap that runs at this time of the year. It will stop and the tree will be OK.


Send your gardening and landscaping questions and tips to Washington County Master Gardeners, 2536 N. McConnell Ave., Fayetteville 72704.

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