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why do squirrels eat green pine cones

I have a massive Pinus strobus on the property, Scot -- the squirrels can have their fill of that one -- other than that, however, I have smaller, newer specimens only, Pinus densiflora 'Oculus Draconis', Pinus Parviflora 'Venus,' a small Pinus strobus 'Thunderhead,' and a Pinus mugo 'Mops' Squirrels haven't touched any of those latter pines. but. What I'm paranoid about are these two new arrivals. The Pinus heldreicheii 'Smidtii' particularly (from Stanley and Sons) is a perfect, stunning miniature pine specimen. One rogue squirrel could decimate it. Ken -- I'm certain it was grey squirrels who attacked my Picea pungens 'The Blues' last April. Like your despised rabbits, they chewed off every new growth bud, leaving them scattered around, not eating them but they kept trying the next, as if the flavor might change. They also destroyed almost evey bud on a nearby Camellia (which may have lured them in -- then after being frustrated by the Camellia's inedibility, they attacked my poor Picea out of spite). I love animals, in fact I'm a vegan, but that's pure evil. Do you know there are bounties on grey squirrels in England, where they have edged the native red squirrel virtually out of existence?
I have, I believe, Norfolk pine trees on my property that I bought in 2010 in Ormond-by-the-Sea. I have, I believe, Norfolk pine trees on my property that I bought in 2010 in Ormond-by-the-Sea.

These tree are very tall and for the past 2 1/2 years these trees have dropped long needles. I have continued to rake them up with no problems because the trees create a lot of welcome shade on my property. However, this year, they bore pine cones and have shed little pieces of those cones each and every day for the last three months in addition to the needles. My question is, why have they just showed up this year? And is this situation going to be yearly or is this something like the 17-year locust? Douglas N. Kinney You must be referring to a slash pine, as Norfolk Island pines have small needles. Anyway, I need you to look up in the tree. Do you see squirrels? They are the culprits. They will chew the green pine cone, stripping it to get to the seeds inside each cone bract. When finished, they drop the cone down from the tree where it dries and remains for us to find with the lawn mower. It appears cone-shaped with the scattered bracts. The frequency of this depends on your squirrel population. It must be a good year for tasty pine cone seeds. Once squirrels find your location, they tend to remember it. Expect them yearly if you have cones. People at the local nursery said you would identify this flower/plant from a picture. Is there a website that tells me how to dry a flower like this and get seeds for replanting?

This looks like a Rudbeckia hirta variety. It's a keeper! Pretty flower! Try going to edis. ifas. ufl. edu/ep139 for guidance on wildflower seed collection. The Florida Wildflower Federation, flawildflowers. org, is also a good source for seed. Seed is usually available in fall in most nurseries, and big box stores (Lowe's, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, etc. ). Have fun with it! Is there any rule of thumb regarding the use of mulch? We seem to have so many options and urgings to use mulch but I wonder if is always beneficial. I know some veggies and crops thrive (or do poorly) when planted near certain other veggies. Is there any such thing with using mulches around shrubbery, or lilies, or fruit trees? What about heavily colored (red, black) mulch? As a rule of thumb, the University of Florida recommends the use of mulch around ornamentals to reduce weeds, conserve water and the aesthetic value. However, we do not recommend it around citrus, palms or any plants that generally like their pH at alkaline conditions. If you do mulch, use only enough to cover the area away from the base 8 to 10 inches away from the shrub, tree, etc. those areas that are in contact with the sun to prevent weed germination. Avoid having it touch the base of any plant, shrub or tree to prevent any ant, gnat, beetle or foot rot.

It is shaded under the canopy of the plant anyway. Rake away any from the foundation of the house as well (2 to 3 feet). It only encourages extra moisture, roaches and termites. As far as the colored mulches, it really doesn't matter the color you use except that it may impact heat. The darker the color, the hotter the mulch. If you lay down ground cloth first then mulch on top, it helps to reduce the weed growth, moisture, etc. However, weeds and moisture can still grow/pass through it. Do not dump the colored mulch on your driveway as you spread it in your landscape. It permanently stains the concrete, especially after a Florida rain. I use plastic mulch (black plastic) only around vegetables to maximize heat. Clear plastic mulch is used in solarization. As far as companion plants. yes, some respond better than others depending upon nearby plants. It is recommended that you rotate your crops on a four-year rotation in Florida. In other words, if you plant tomatoes in one area of the garden, rotate the next year with beans, then corn, then broccoli as an example. This prevents buildup of diseases specific to any crops. Karen Stauderman is commercial horticulture agent for the University of Florida/Volusia County Extension. Reach her at 3100 E. New York Ave. , DeLand, FL 32724-6497, 386-822-5778 or email kstauderman@co. volusia. fl. us.

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