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Pollinator-Friendly Plants in Deer Country

air date: April 28, 2018

Dearly we love plants that send butterflies, bees, and other pollinators straight over. In deer country, Matt Kolodzie from Friendly Natives in Fredericksburg picks out plants that get along with antlered nibblers. Plant of the Week, deer-resistant native perennial skeleton-leaf goldeneye, loves the heat to crank out late summer and fall flowers for pollinators. On tour at Redeemer Lutheran School, students go wild about science lessons outdoors in a wildlife habitat, vegetable gardens and a mini-farmyard. Daphne identifies that mystery growth on your red oak that looks like a lemon. Jeff Pavlat from the Austin Cactus & Succulent Society divides overcrowded dyckias (without getting a scratch!).

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Interview

Plants for Pollinators That Deer Don't Eat with Matt Kolodzie

Dearly we love plants that send butterflies, bees, and other pollinators straight over. In deer country, Matt Kolodzie from Friendly Natives in Fredericksburg picks out plants that get along with antlered nibblers.

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Question of the Week

What is this large yellow growth on a red oak?

On a hike around the Hamilton Pool river trail, Erin Lawler spied a 2” wide yellow fruit-like growth on a red oak tree. It’s an oak apple gall, so named because of its fruit-like shape and its obligate oak host.

The structure is not a fruit, but it was created by the plant, although in response to one of a variety of pests known as Cynipid gall wasps. The wasp lays its larvae on a newly-forming oak leaf and in response, instead of forming a leaf, the tree creates this protective structure for the developing wasp.

While the larvae is growing inside, the gall will be green, and once the fully-formed insect emerges, gall will begin to die, turning brown.

This opportunistic insect really does no damage to the tree. The galls will fall off in time, and there will rarely be very many of them on the same tree at the same time. So if spotted on trees in your landscape, just ignore the structures, and know that nature is taking care of itself.

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Plant of the Week

Skeleton-Leaf Goldeneye

Skeleton-Leaf Goldeneye

Viguiera Stenoloba

This native member of the sunflower family forms an attractive, deep-green mound with finely-textured aromatic leaves. It flowers from summer until frost. Size: Listed to 3 feet tall; normally grows to about a foot to a foot and a half. It will spread to about 2-3 feet. Soil: Skeleton-leaf goldeneye is native to very rocky areas, so it needs very well-drained soil to grow well. If you grow it in clay soils, add decomposed granite and possibly plant on small berms. Light: It loves the heat and will do great in full sun, but can also take light shade. Water: Very drought tough once established. Will benefit from irrigation in prolonged drought. Perennial: In cold winters it will die back to the ground but will re-emerge from the roots. In mild winters it will be evergreen, but it would still benefit from shearing-back to encourage new, bushier growth. Otherwise it will get leggy and unattractive. Cut the plants back to about 6 inches in late winter. Flowers: Yellow daisy flowers from late spring/summer to frost. Wildlife benefit: Flowers attract beneficial pollinators. Deer-resistant: The gorgeous, finely-textured foliage is aromatic, containing volatile oils, and so has some resistance to deer.

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