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upat5
Dec 10, 2016 7:30 AM CST
Hello.

Wondering if someone can direct me....I am trying to find some blogs of people in the mid atlantic region that are related to trying to "restore" land in a woodland setting (increase variety of mostly native species) while battling deer. I used to be part of gardenweb and would have joined daves but I was put off by forced subscription and I can't find a similar forum here so I thought I'd read some blogs....

Thanks for any help!
Name: Ed
Central ,NJ (Zone 6b)
Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Sempervivums Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1
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herrwood
Dec 10, 2016 7:36 AM CST
at the top menu there are link to other parts of the site but this should get you to the blogs
https://garden.org/blogs/
Plants are like that little ray of sunshine on a rainy day.

upat5
Dec 10, 2016 8:13 AM CST
Thank-you Ed, but, I was wondering if there was any way that I could search by topic as opposed to region or if maybe someone on this forum had a blog along the lines of habitat restoration. I searched for habitat restoration but there were no matches found. Could be that they do something similar and just don't call it that?

Thank-you.
Name: Susan
Vienna, VA (Zone 7a)
Birds Echinacea Composter Foliage Fan Hummingbirder Bee Lover
Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Critters Allowed Cat Lover Native Plants and Wildflowers Dragonflies
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Muddy1
Dec 10, 2016 10:09 PM CST
We don't have blogs (at least I don't), but a couple of us in the Mid-Atlantic Gardening Forum are very focused on getting rid of non-native plants and restoring native habitat wherever we can.

I tried ridding a forested area of non-native plants (with a special focus on Japanese Stilt Grass) over a period of several years before admitting defeat. I still plant native perennials, shrubs and trees in that area, with limited success because there isn't much that deer don't like as I suspect you already know! I found that they'll eat the flower buds off just about anything, even mint family plants they're "supposed" to hate! The main tactic I'm taking now is planting Conifers in a clearing to shade out the stilt grass ( Crossing Fingers! ) and provide food and shelter for birds and other critters.

If you're trying to get ideas for plants that will survive even in areas with heavy deer populations, I and others will be happy to tell you what works in our areas. We love sharing native plant seeds and plants, too!

Have you heard of this program? While not a blog, there's also a lot of useful info here....and of course they do great work! I've volunteered with them several times. http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/p...
This link is useful, too: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/n...

[Last edited by Muddy1 - Dec 10, 2016 10:26 PM (+)]
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upat5
Dec 15, 2016 6:20 AM CST
Thanks for the suggestions Susan. I found the only way to reduce stiltgrass is to block the deer from using trails...they kill vegetation on the trails by eating or stepping on it, leaving bare dirt which is full of stiltgrass seeds just waiting to germinate! I dragged a bunch of downed tree limbs and brush onto as many trails as I could find to make it difficult for the deer to walk there...apparently they don't like to have to pay attention to where they're putting their hooves...distracts them from watching for potential danger and, of course, looking for more food. It has actually done wonders for reducing the stiltgrass as some other plants that were there but never had a chance to grow, have grown and now give the stiltgrass some stiff competition! So far, the best advice I’ve collected has been on websites aimed at deer hunters….I just do the opposite of everything they suggest for attracting deer. The deer population is so high here that they will even eat blue cohosh and some other plants that are not just distasteful but that are also quite toxic to them.

Good luck with the conifers. That does sound like a good plan! On a trip to western NC I noticed that heavy growth of jewelweed and deer tongue grass (Dichanthelium clandestinum) completely outcompetes stiltgrass. I’m working on a patch of Dichanthelium but the jewelweed isn’t going so well…seeds easily but the critters like it so it doesn’t grow thickly enough to outcompete anything.

Thank-you for the links…I haven’t heard of that program in Fairfax…I will read and add their suggestions to my list….I guess I am always looking for new ways to grow some more shrubs and trees that should be here…I know the deer will eventually find them and there is NO magic bullet in the fight against them but maybe if I can just make it a little more difficult for the deer to get to these things they might have half a chance? So that’s why I was looking for blogs of people who might have tried a number of techniques for dissuading deer…

PS not sure which mint species you are growing but deer will absolutely not touch hoary mountain mint (Pycnanthemum incanum)…it grows in huge clumps here…and I have noticed that during the peak of the pollinator season there is no other species that attracts as many insects….none come close to it! Flies, moths, butterflies, bees…you name it!
Name: David
Lucketts, Va (Zone 7a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers Birds Region: Virginia Herbs Cat Lover Bee Lover
Seed Starter Butterflies Winter Sowing Ferns Region: Mid-Atlantic Hellebores
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greenthumb99
Dec 15, 2016 7:41 AM CST
If you want some variety, there are several mountain mints readily available that bloom on different schedules and are likely just as distasteful to deer and competitive with stiltgrass . They too are excellent pollinator plants and extend the feeding season.
Earth is a galactic insane asylum where the inmates have been left in charge.

upat5
Dec 15, 2016 11:30 AM CST
Hi David!

Questions for you. Do you have a number of mountain mint species and if so do you find that some are more aggressive than others? The hoary mtn mint seems to bloom from June to November, are there mtn mints that bloom earlier?

Thank-you!
Name: David
Lucketts, Va (Zone 7a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers Birds Region: Virginia Herbs Cat Lover Bee Lover
Seed Starter Butterflies Winter Sowing Ferns Region: Mid-Atlantic Hellebores
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greenthumb99
Dec 15, 2016 2:03 PM CST
Hi upat5,
I grow 5 Pycnanthemum; P. flexuosum, P. muticum, P. tenuifolium, P. pilosum and P. virginianum, but I have never kept track of the bloom periods of the various species. Of the species I grow, P. muticum is the most aggressive in my garden. Since environmental factors such as exposure, soil type, pH, etc. favor one species over another, it cannot be said with certainty which will outperform the others in a new setting, so trial and error is the best method. What is best in my garden is not a true predictor of what will perform best in a garden a mile away. This brings up the point that most regular participants on this site give at least some info in their profile that shows up in the upper right of a post. This gives others some idea of where you garden and factors like zone, climate and such, enabling more useful responses. Also, you will find more responsiveness if you do not present yourself as totally anonymous.

P.S. oddly enough, I do not grow P. incanum, an omission I'll have to remedy.
Earth is a galactic insane asylum where the inmates have been left in charge.
Name: Susan
Vienna, VA (Zone 7a)
Birds Echinacea Composter Foliage Fan Hummingbirder Bee Lover
Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Critters Allowed Cat Lover Native Plants and Wildflowers Dragonflies
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Muddy1
Dec 15, 2016 9:14 PM CST
That's a good idea to use brush to block the trails, Upat5; unfortunately, in the woods near me, the areas off the trails are already covered in Stiltgrass so it wouldn't help.

I have used brush piled up around young shrubs to make it harder for deer to reach them, but only on a temporary basis because it didn't look very nice!
Edited to add that I was able to keep deer from shrubs by wrapping netting around four stakes, leaving the top open so that leaves didn't accumulate on top. It worked for years, but vines started to grow on it and I became concerned that critters would get trapped in it, so I recently removed it.

I have sowed thousands of native perennial seeds right in the middle of brush piles, too, in the hope that deer wouldn't be able to reach the seedlings. I can't say it was very successful, though, because I didn't notice anything blooming there this year.

One phenomenon I've noticed is that deer eat some plants I've tried to grow in the woods, but don't touch the same plants growing in my yard 2 blocks away (fortunately!). I attribute it to laziness: When the plant's right in front of their faces and they don't have to leave the forest to find it, it somehow tastes better!



[Last edited by Muddy1 - Dec 16, 2016 10:53 AM (+)]
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upat5
Dec 17, 2016 7:01 AM CST
Susan, I know what you mean about the brush piles not looking nice but I don't have a yard...I live in the woods....and the deer will come right up to my house to chew dock leaves....I have tried netting but both times I ended up having to cut black rat snakes out of the netting! It's bizarre but they seem to be attracted to netting and it takes a lot of luck to cut them out without cutting them…. so no more netting for me! I went with brush piles because in my neck of the woods, that’s where I always find the remnants of what was probably here before the area was leveled for building and deer passage. I’ve found 3 species of fairly common orchids….well, they should be common in this area and a number of other natives that seem to occur sporadically under or around brush piles but nowhere else….assumption is they have escaped notice! So, to me, brush piles have become a thing of beauty Smiling

I'm also trying to grow a bunch of shrubs from "livestakes" ....so far the deer haven't noticed numerous elderberries and Aronia (not sure of species) plants....they aren’t supposed to go for elderberries leaves…right! If they do grow I’m hoping to plant some things near them, and in the huge patches of wingstem (deer will not eat these either!) and goldenrod (S. altissisima) to hide them for as long as possible.

What I’ve noticed with stiltgrass is that it can survive under trees but understory or perennials give it much more competition. This property has a dense population of Lindera benzoin and in places where the deer have browsed and these shrubs grow to 15 ft but have no foliage below about 5 ft the stiltgrass can grow, but if I find shrubs that still have foliage below 5ft, the stiltgrass is wiped out. I’ve used cardboard and mulch in some areas adjacent to the deer trail areas and though the stiltgrass is still present, it is less so, giving plants that might be in these areas time to grow….in some areas I am growing sedges or native grasses to crowd out the stiltgrass.

One thing I've been wondering about is starting a patch of deer-friendly food that regenerates quickly....one species that comes to mind is blue mist flower (Conoclinium coelestinum) which is heavily browsed but seems to regenerate strongly and just keeps on growing or a species of clover or something...a patch that is easily accessed....if the deer can eat well here will they maybe not want to take the risk entering a fishing line strewn patch hemmed in by high rock piles and brush (this is in front of my house *Blush* )? It probably wouldn't work because the deer would eat through it faster than it can grow but maybe it would work for a small portion of the growing season? Have you tried anything like this? Is this a silly idea?
Name: Susan
Vienna, VA (Zone 7a)
Birds Echinacea Composter Foliage Fan Hummingbirder Bee Lover
Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Critters Allowed Cat Lover Native Plants and Wildflowers Dragonflies
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Muddy1
Dec 18, 2016 8:21 PM CST
Yeah, netting can be a problem. I found a dead bird caught in netting in the woods, which was distressing. I've rescued a chipmunk and birds from netting in my yard. The only netting I use now is cicada netting, which has smaller holes, on seed trays in my yard.

I hesitated to leave brush piles because the area in question belongs to the HOA (they wouldn't bother me in my own yard, either), but they really don't look that out of place after all, so I might pile up some around the remaining shrubs they haven't eaten to the ground. Hamamelis virginiana (Witchhazel) seems to have the best chance of surviving, because the shrubs grow quickly and they don't seem to be deer candy like Sumac is.
You're lucky to have mature Lindera benzoin! I haven't seen that in woods near us.

Using plants deer won't eat to shield others is a good idea. Deer left the shrub seedlings alone until I pulled out the Stiltgrass that was shielding them D'Oh!
I've tried planting shrubs alongside and in a huge blackberry patch, but they didn't seem to make it. It's possible that rabbits were eating them, too.

Deer have left Wingstem alone, also Sanicle gregaria (Clustered Black Snakeroot) and Elephantopus carolinianus (Carolina elephantsfoot). They eat all species of Goldenrod I've tried, though.
They don't eat the leaves of Monarda fistulosa, Lobelia siphilitica, and Conoclinium coelestinum, but they do eat the buds. I got some blooms by spraying the flower buds with my homemade deer repellent, though: 1 tbs. baking powder mixed with 1 egg yolk and 1 quart water.

I think your idea of planting food for deer is a good one, perhaps with brush to protect the young seedlings so they don't get eaten to the ground immediately. I consider every seed I throw in the forest to be probable deer food, but I still try!
[Last edited by Muddy1 - Dec 18, 2016 8:25 PM (+)]
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