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Protecting tree bark from deer rubbing

The Baltimore Sun

The flower buds on my Cherokee Brave dogwood are dried out. Half the trunk is damaged from deer rubbing their bodies against it. Is it dead?

When deer rub their antlers on bark, it damages the cambium layer beneath. The cambium layer transports nutrients and water. It appears your dogwood could not get enough water up to open buds. If the tree leafs out, it may survive the damage, though always suffer from losing so much bark. Water deeply during droughts and mulch (no more than 2-3 inches). Deer rut in October and November and do most of their antler-rubbing then, so protect the trunk next fall.

My boxwoods' leaves have puffy blisters. What's going on?

The larvae of boxwood leafminer feed inside the leaves, causing that blistered look. Shake the bushes in late April to spot emerging adults, which are mosquitolike flies. Spray with a labeled contact insecticide in late April. Adults lay eggs on leaves, and emerging larvae tunnel inside. You can also use acephate or an imidacloprid soil drench in mid-June to control larvae. These two insecticides are systemic, designed to be translocated into leaves. New mines will not become visible until late summer. Read our publication, IPM Series: Boxwood.


Repot and prune back indoor plants to promote thicker growth this summer. Begin fertilizing as temperatures and light levels increase.

Do not remove bulb foliage until it yellows and dies. (It's bulking up the bulb for next year's flowers.) You can dig up and divide it then.

Ellen Nibali, horticulture consultant, works at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, and David Clement is the regional specialist. The center offers Maryland residents free gardening information. Call the center's "hotline" at 800-342-2507 (8 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday-Friday) or e-mail plant and pest questions through the Send a Question feature at hgic.umd.edu.

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