Frequently Asked Questions The deer are eating the leaves and buds off my plants. What’s the best way to deter them? A tall fence seven to eight feet in height is by far the best deer deterrent, although installing one isn’t always feasible. Organic or chemical repellents can offer good results. Most repellants need to be reapplied regularly since they eventually lose their efficacy, or the deer learn to ignore them. Are lady bugs good for my garden? Yes. Lady bugs, also called lady beetles, prey on harmful insects like aphids that can damage your plants. However, there are lady bug look-alikes that eat plants, so take some time to observe their habits. Also, there’s no need to purchase lady bugs for your garden, since they don’t tend to stay put. My roses have ugly black splotches on their leaves. What’s wrong with them? Your roses are suffering from a fungus called black spot (Diplocarpon rosae). Clean up the infected area by removing and discarding damaged leaves on and around the plant. Avoid wetting the leaves when you water. Improving air circulation around your plants will also help. Treat your roses with a fungicide labeled for black spot, and consider replanting roses that are resistant to black spot. When can I transplant peonies? Is it hard to divide them? Peonies can be moved in early fall, and are easily divided. Simply cut off the top, dig up the clump, and shake off the soil. Use your hands to gently pull apart the clump into sections, making sure that each has three to five eyes, or buds. Replant each section so that its eyes are one to two inches below the ground. Mulch with leaves or straw for winter protection. When can I cut back the foliage of daffodils and other hardy spring bulbs? It’s best to wait until the foliage has died back on its own (mid- to late June) since the bulbs need their foliage to replenish themselves and make flowers for next year. When should I cut back my ornamental grasses? Cut your ornamental grasses to within a few inches of the ground in March, before growth resumes. This way, you can enjoy their lovely, light-catching foliage throughout the winter, and help to encourage new growth come spring. My mums were awfully leggy last year. How can I avoid that? Pinching off the tips of the branches periodically throughout the spring and summer will encourage your mums to branch and to fill out, rather than to get tall and lanky. Stop pinching before August 1 so that the plants have time to set buds. Doesn’t goldenrod contribute to hay fever? No. The showy flowers of goldenrod (Solidago spp.) take the blame for causing hay fever, but it’s actually ragweed (Ambrosia spp.), and its abundant pollen, that is the real culprit. Goldenrod is a lovely late-summer plant that attracts numerous butterflies and bees. Try it in your borders.