Ask the Gardener

We have a big beautiful Birch Tree in our front yard that a woodpecker has been on this morning. Is there a reason and how can I get rid of him?

Posted on May 3, 2018

As pretty as woodpeckers are to observe in your backyard or garden, these noisy birds can cause major damage to your trees and wooden structures if left unattended—not to mention, their constant drumming can be extremely disruptive to the peace and quiet you need to be productive around the house. Prevent woodpeckers from taking over your outdoor space with these tips for handling the winged troublemakers.

You’re most likely to hear woodpeckers in the spring, during their mating season. That’s when the medium-size birds are usually most active—and noisy—drumming to attract mates and mark their territories. The hallmark pecking will aid you in locating where a bird’s nest might be and therefore usher them out of your backyard.

To get rid of woodpeckers that have already made themselves at home in your yard, it’s best to use a technique that will scare them off. Always avoid solutions that could harm woodpeckers, such as sticky substances that trap the birds. Instead, use one of these four ideas that have been proven to help ward off woodpeckers safely.

  1. Hang up a shiny object. A mirror (or aluminum foil if you’re in a pinch) near the spot where a woodpecker has made its home will show the bird its reflection when it returns, startling it and potentially scaring it away from the area.
  2. Set up a wind chime or a pinwheel near the spot. The noise or motion these objects make in the wind may fool your woodpecker into thinking a predator is near and deter them from coming any closer.
  3. Set up a pretend predator. Because owls prey on woodpeckers, artificial decoy owls often serve as effective deterrents-we have those in stock. You can purchase ready-made decoys.
  4. Spook them with noise. This last simple deterrent (no purchase necessary!) only requires you to clap your hands, whoop, or make another loud noise to frighten the bird off if you’re outdoors and you see one.

Prevent the Woodpeckers’ Return

Even if you successfully scare the woodpeckers away, the fact that these birds are frequent visitors to your yard could be an indicator of a bigger problem: an insect infestation.

Do some investigating to see if carpenter ants, carpenter bees, or termites are present in your yard. If so, treat the infested trees with an insecticide that is specifically made to kill pests without affecting other animals or the trees themselves. Stay inside while the insecticide goes to work, as the chemicals can be harmful to children and pets. Then, plug up any hole made by wood-boring insects. This will trap them deep inside the tree so they will die off, and other members of the colony will not be able to enter the structure easily.

Not only will this process rid your property of unwanted insects, it will also keep woodpeckers from returning to your yard and causing any further damage to your home.

Is it better to wrap or stake a cedar?

Posted on March 15, 2017

Wrapping cedars is a bad idea. On warm days the internal temperature under the burlap may get too high. When it gets too warm under the wrap, the tissue that has been warmed may be damaged when the temperature drops again.The cedars may also break dormancy too early in the spring. Stake AROUND the cedar and attach the burlap to the stakes leaving a 2-3″ gap between the burlap and the cedar.

I have a lot of clay in my garden, a friend suggested using a product called clay buster, do you sell this product? Can you tell me how much it is?

Posted on March 14, 2017

Yes, we sell it $15.99/bag.

do you sell seed potatoes? I don’t need very many, planting a small garden, maybe enough for 20 plants.

Posted on March 14, 2017

Yes, current stock is Russet, Norland, Yukon Gold, Banana and Purple potatoes.

i have 900 s/f yard and i want to put grass on it can u let me know how much it cost

Posted on March 14, 2017

You would need 100 yards. Each piece is 2′ x 4′ 6″ and is peat based.

In the winter I use salt to de-ice my sidewalk and then in the spring the grass along the sides of my sidewalk is dead. Is there anything else I can do?

Posted on March 14, 2017

Instead of using salt try using sand after you shovel your walk. Use ‘concrete sand’ this is used in soils to provide aeration and will provide traction to your sidewalk while being less damaging to the lawn.

Have your own question for the Gardener? Ask here!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.