Ground Work: Strong fence functional against armadillos

What can I do to prevent armadillos from ruining my vegetable and flower gardens?

A determined armadillo can play havoc with lawns and gardens searching for soil insects to eat. Trapping and relocating may provide relief. A strong wire fence that is partially buried is functional, but not attractive.

We have two bougainvilleas in a sunny area, about 1-2 years old. They have grown like crazy, but don’t bloom very much. Any suggestions?

The plants may be too young or improper pruning are likely reasons for no flowers.

In the landscape, roots grow unimpeded resulting in lush foliage at the expense of few to no flowers. Once the plant matures, it will flower. Cutting some roots (root pruning) will limit water and nutrient uptake and promote flowering.

What are some effective methods of preventing squirrels and rabbits from eating bedding plants and potted plants on the patio?

You can trap and release the animals. Installing a fence will prevent rabbit damage.

Animal repellants do not prove successful over the entire growing season. Nothing known to mankind will prevent squirrels from having their way with your plants.

I saw my first buck moth yesterday and wanted to know if there is anything I can do to prevent these stinging caterpillars from being a bother next spring?

Nothing can be done to prevent the female moth from laying eggs on tree branches.

Next spring, when the caterpillars emerge in the tree canopy, the tree can be sprayed. Treating the trunk will not prevent the caterpillars.

I had my sewer line repaired and now have an ugly bare trench in my front yard. Is it too late to plant rye grass?

Rye grass is best planted in early November, but with mild winter temperatures I would suggest try planting it. It requires daily irrigation to germinate the seed. If a really hard freeze does not occur while still young, you should be fine.

Got a gardening question? Write to Bob Souvestre, horticulturist with the LSU AgCenter, at Burden Center, 4560 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70809, or email to, or call Master Gardeners at (225) 763-3990.