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Got Moles & Voles? We’ve Got Solutions!

Moles have become a major nuisance in this area and can cause damage as well as frustration to any gardener. Here’s some helpful information to help you rid your yard of these pests with organic solutions that are safe for you and the environment.

MOLES: (meat eaters that feed on grubs & insects)

The best way to rid your lawn of moles is to control the insects in the soil that they feed on. Their main diet consists of grubs. Your lawn can be treated in several ways to remove the moles’ food source. Less food, less moles!

The best long-term control is Milky Spore. Safe for the environment, this natural spore is harmless to fish, birds, bees, animals, plants and people. It kills grubs in the soil and remains active in the soil for up to 15 years. This is a great long-term solution for moles.

Once you eliminate their food source, the moles may stay. They are stubborn and like your yard for reasons beyond food. Lush lawns, mulched beds, and good soil makes for easy digging and more insects and earthworms that they also feed on. So, the next step is to repell them. We recommend using REPELLEX MOLE & VOLE REPELLANT. The main ingredients is castor oil, which burns their face as they dig, therefor forcing them out of your yard. Repellex uses a recycled newspaper granule which allows the castor oil to slowly release into the soil as it biodegrades. This allows the castor oil to stay in the soil for up to 6 months - twice as long as any other product. It also has double the amount of castor oil than any other product. You’ll need 1lb. per 1000 sq. ft., so it goes a long way.

VOLES: (vegetarians that feed on plant material)

Voles do not like to dig as much as moles, so they follow the mole tunnels into your yard. Rarely do you see voles, and no moles. Voles tend to cause the most expensive and major damage as they eat almost all plant roots, as well as most bulbs -- though they don’t eat daffodils or fritillaria. They also will nibble away at trees and shrubs.

Repellants work very well for getting rid of voles. All repellants are organic and safe to use around plants. As with moles, REPELLEX MOLE & VOLE REPELLANT is the best for its longevity. It also contains cinnamon, garlic and white pepper -- which voles particularly dislike. Also, the castor oil burns their face just like the moles making them leave the area.

Repellex also makes a systemic repellant, that gets absorbed by the plant and the roots, therefore protecting the roots from vole damage (designed for rabbits and deer, but works great for voles as well). Permatill is a kiln-fired slate product that is very coarse and voles can not dig through it. It is a great soil amendment by itself, but is also designed to be a vole barrier. Try using it to create a barrier along a bed line and sprinkle it in your soil when planting to protect the roots and amend soil.

Visit any of our three year-round locations on Saturdays, beginning June 19 through July 2, at 11:00AM for a complimentary class on solutions for moles & voles. learn more >>

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Ingredients for Growing Success

Healthy soil equals healthy plants, and what happens below the soil line really does make a difference! When you build and maintain fertile soil, you are laying the groundwork for thriving plants that can develop quickly, resist pests and diseases, and give way to thriving, beautiful plants. Here are five ingredients our experts recommend to help ensure your planting success:

McDonald Soil Builder

  • A complete planting mix that is designed to be used with all plants that are planted in the ground
  • Helps sandy soil hold more moisture and helps break up heavy clay soils
  • Mycorrhizae are a beneficial fungus that attaches to the roots of plants and helps pull more nutrients and moisture to the roots, and grow with the plant in a symbiotic relationship and will continue to support living plants
  • Ingredients: processed pine bark, composted pine bark, peat moss, dolomitic lime and mycorrhizae

McDonald Garden Compost

  • A superb all purpose compost for vegetable gardening, raised bed amendment and soil amendment during dry times
  • Adds organic matter to the soil, which increases nutrient and moisture retention in the soil
  • Ingredients: composted bark, composted peanut hulls and peat moss

McDonald Greenleaf Fertilizer

  • A professional fertilizer designed specifically for Hampton Roads to provide nutrients that the soil lacks
  • Ideal for all plants from houseplants to trees and shrubs
  • Aides in beautiful green-up and flowering of all plants
  • 12-4-8 slow release formula that gives an excellent initial feed you will see within days and continues to feed for 1-3 months depending on plant needs
  • All fertilizers have macro nutrients, Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium, but Greenleaf has micro nutrients, including boron, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc and molybdenum to help increase the nutrients that Hampton Road’s soil naturally lacks
  • Fertilize at least 2-3 times a year. Plants that bloom or grow more aggressively should be fertilized more often

Root Stimulator - a liquid plant fertilizer developed to encourage quick root development and reduce transplant shock

Perlite - a horticultural product that aides in breaking up of heavy soils and allowing water and nutrients access to the roots of your new plant.

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10 Ways to Go Green in the Garden

Earth Day is a time to both celebrate Mother Nature and find ways to improve it. We're all looking for ways to make a difference in the world around us. Take a look at some simple ways to go green in your garden.

  1. Keep it clean. When it comes to weedkillers and fertilizers, choose organic options such as Natural Guard Weed Control and Jonathan Green Organic Weed Control. We recommend Espoma Organic Fertilizer to add organic nutrients for your plants. Stick to good old fashion, all-natural compost, like McDonald’s Compost! This naturally rich compost blend is ideal to use in outdoor gardens, plant beds, raised veggie gardens and lawns.
  2. Become a composting champ. Sure it’s easy to go out and buy a great bag of organic compost for your garden, but you can save a little green by making your own ‘gardener’s gold’ compost. Compost is just organic matter that decomposes over time, leaving a fertile, rich soil. You can speed up the natural decomposition with a Natural Guard Compost Maker. You now are keeping trash out of landfills forever, while creating high quality compost.
  3. Reduce, reuse, recycle your plastic pots. Stock up on fresh plants this spring and return your plastic pots to any year-round McDonald location. Just empty your pots’ contents and bring the pots to the Trees & Shrubs nursery yard and drop them in our Pot Recycle Bin. We gladly accept #2, #5, and #6 pots (number is found no the underside of the pot inside a small triangle). learn more >>
  4. Grow your own food. There’s never been a better time to be a backyard farmer. With all the hoopla out there about pesticides, organics, and GMOs, just skip the risks and know exactly where your food comes from. Don’t have space? Forget mowing your lawn, just make your lawn your farm!
  5. Harvest rainwater. Saving water is cheap and effortless if you add a rain barrel to your outdoor space. This will capture mineral and chlorine-free water for putting back into your lawn or garden. An added benefit of harvesting rainwater is you will help reduce storm water runoff, which helps prevent erosion and flooding. Worried about bugs getting in your water? just pop a screen on top of your barrel.
  6. Go native. Grow plants that are already adapted to your local conditions. Native plants are easy to grow and maintain, and they benefit the local ecosystems. learn more >>
  7. Help beautiful butterflies and bees bloom. Create a pesticide-free sanctuary for out pollinator pals like bees and butterflies. We're in the middle of a major bee-loss epidemic in the US and a little local hospitality can really help out. Grow a variety of native flowers that they are attracted to such as butterfly bushes, petunias, phlox, and verbena. Pick up a backyard Mason Beehouse at any year-round McDonald. Find local plants for butterflies >>
  8. Plant a tree.Trees help purify the air, give wildlife a home, and could save you big on energy costs. Large deciduous trees planted on the east and west sides of your home create shade from the hot sun and reduce summer air conditioning costs by up to 35%.
  9. Repel bugs the natural way. Help beat the bugs with a do-it-yourself mosquito repelling container. Try a recipe of marigolds, mint, rosemary, citronella geranium, and lemon grass in a large container. It’ll smell and look great, and keep the bugs away. You can also use lady bugs and praying mantis to eliminate harmful bugs in your garden. learn more >>
  10. Water wisely. Water your garden early in the morning when it’s cooler so the water won’t evaporate. Watering in the afternoon and early evening is also key so the plants have time to dry before nightfall. Install a trickle-drip irrigation system close to the roots of your plants so the water is dripped slowly, without spraying. learn more >>
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