Q: Are there any local suppliers of native plants? John Schultz, email
A: Local nurseries sell a limited selection of native plants but four local operations specialize in natives. The first is Nearly Native Nursery near Fayetteville (nearlynativenursery.com). The second is the Georgia Perimeter College Native Plant garden (bit.ly/natplant), which has regular sales of plants and ferns throughout the year. Trees Atlanta (treesatlanta.org) has regular sales of native trees and shrubs. In addition, the Georgia Native Plant Society (gnps.org) schedules regular plant-rescue trips, where members can collect native plants that are threatened by development.
Q: I am looking for a liner that will keep weeds from growing up in my shrub beds that are mulched with wood shavings. I had someone line them last year but weeds were back before summer barely started. Birdie Sanford, College Park
A: I do not recommend using weed prevention fabric/liner. Your experience demonstrates exactly what happens with it: once you put it on the ground and cover it with mulch, weeds grow in the mulch and send roots through the fabric. It’s a real tribulation to pull out the weeds, whose roots pull the fabric up again. I think your best option is to apply a three-inch layer of pine chip mulch under the shrubs, pull it back a few inches from the trunks, and be vigilant about pulling small weeds that grow in the mulch in summer.
Q: I need advice on ultrasound devices that repel rodents. Denise Dietel, email
A: They are useless. The reason ultrasonic devices don’t repel animals, even though they can hear sounds we can’t, is that ultrasound does not pack much energy. A sofa, a kitchen cabinet, or a wall can block almost all of the sound waves. Just as you might quickly roll up your car window when an ambulance howls past, a mouse or rat can duck behind a solid object to hide from loud noise. When food, water, and shelter are present, a rodent can easily find different paths to them that avoid the ultrasonic sound waves.
Q: I have moles making roadways in my yard. I’ve been told that they feed on grubs. How can I make the moles move on? Teresa Tapp, Johns Creek
A: Moles certainly eat grubs and earthworms, but they also enjoy beetles, spiders, centipedes, and any other living creature they can find as they tunnel in your yard. Killing grubs does nothing more than make the moles dig faster to find other food. Vibrating windmills and chewing gum do nothing to repel them. Traps and poisons are available for mole control but it is very difficult to determine where to place them so that the mole finds them. My best advice for mole control? Hire a teenager to walk on top of the tunnels and mash the soil back to level. Hopefully the moles will become discouraged and move to a more welcoming place.