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LifestyleHome & Garden

Getting vultures to relocate takes persistence

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Vultures have moved into a very tall tree above our house and car. To say there are "bird droppings" is an understatement. Not to mention our house looks cursed. What can we do?

Many bird dispersal methods won't work because the vultures are perched so high. The keys are timing, persistence and diversity. Notice what time they congregate and be ready to preemptively target them at those times, every day, until they leave. Subject them to loud noises such as an air horn or distress calls. Try to reach them with a jet of water from your hose. Success has been achieved with vulture effigies and handheld lasers. The Maryland Wildlife Hotline at 877-463-6497 provides nuisance wildlife advice.

When will the cicada invasion hit Baltimore City? I'm planning a garden party this spring!

Plan away, because the cicadas aren't coming. The 17-year cicadas you've been hearing about are a different brood, or population group, than the Brood X that appeared in Maryland in 2004. Brood X won't be back until 2021. Broods are staggered. This year's brood is Brood II, and it lives in Virginia and some southern parts of Maryland. There is a good map and schedule for all the cicada broods at http://www.cicadas.info. All of Maryland will see our usual green "dog days" cicadas, which sing their thrumming chorus later each summer.

University of Maryland Extension's Home and Garden Information Center offers free gardening and pest information. Call 800-342-2507 or send a question to the website at extension.umd.edu/hgic.

Plant of the Week

Chives

Allium schoenoprasum

No herb or vegetable garden should be without chives. A perennial member of the onion family, this culinary herb lends a flavor more delicate than onion to salads, soups, sauces, herbal butters and vinegars. The bright green hollow leaves can be used fresh or frozen, and the edible lavender flowers can be used in salads as well as flower arrangements. Chives can be started from seed or grown from transplants in spring in full sun and well-drained soil. Begin to harvest when plants are about 6 inches tall by snipping leaves from the base of the plant. Divide plants every three years in the spring. As a bonus, this easy-to-grow perennial makes an eye-catching edging for ornamental beds or containers outside your kitchen door while providing fresh flavor all season. — Marian Hengemihle

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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