If you are done getting your garden ready to sprout for the summer, give your yard the same care with plants that are both hardy and durable. Besides surviving strong storms, it is important to know if the plants you are looking to buy can survive with the amount of light or shade that reaches the part of your yard where you want to plant them. Also, it is important for plants to also be able to survive one of the common threats to plants on Long Island: Deer. Though deer are beautiful, they often become pests that ravage gardens, particularly those on the East End. Here are some tips and tricks to create a beautiful yard that will be able to survive for years to come.
Instead of putting exotic, non-native plants in your yard that require substantial maintenance and may not even thrive through the summer, try putting in native plants that were meant to live and grow across Long Island. Bluestern grasses make great short barrier plants for the border of your yard, and beautiful aster flowers are perennials that will come back year after year. You could even plan to attract butterflies to your yard with milkweed plants – the favorite food of monarch caterpillars. If you have questions about the best plants to grow in your area, contact a local nursery, or the Long Island Native Plant Initiative – a not-for-profit group that has multiple native plant sales during the summer.
There is no plant that is completely deer proof, but there are many plants that deer do not care to eat, including catmint, Jack-in-the-pulpit, and Lily of the Valley. Cornell University Professor Dr. Mark Bridgen has posted a PDF based on studies of which plants deer will avoid 95% of the time, which is available here. You can also buy a few butterfly bushes to attract brightly colored butterflies instead of deer.
Fertilizing Your Yard
If you choose to fertilize your yard, you can choose between liquid or granular fertilizer. Liquid fertilizers work faster, as they can quickly be absorbed into the ground, so you would only need to re-apply every two or three weeks. Granular fertilizer on the other hand must be applied with a spreader and watered into grass, and if it is not applied correctly, it can quickly burn the grass and leave streaks of yellow grass on your lawn. Consider minimizing your impact on the environment by purchasing organic fertilizer, which are often made with feather meal, bone meal, alfalfa meal, cottonseed meal, or corn gluten meal.