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Gopher guards for roses or bulbs; using wire baskets you make or buy.

Gophers find many fleshy roots tasty, and expensive bulbs and rose roots are too often their gourment delicacies. If gophers have invaded your garden in the past but your arsenal or weapons (traps, poison) has failed to control them, the best solution may be to prevent them from reaching your plants in the first place.

Now, during bulb-planting season and before planting time for bare-root roses, you can take steps to protect your valued plants by lining planting holes or raised beds with wire mesh.

Before setting out a small number of bulbs, sink wire baskets into planting holes. An old wire-frame basket, like the one pictured at right, will work fine; bury it so the top two rings of wire extend above the soil line.

You can also construct your own planting baskets from chicken wire. Larger versions can be used to protect roses, too. Wire basket making

Use 1-inch (or finer) mesh, 36-inch-wide galvanized chicken wire. To form the basket, cut a section of chicken wire about 12 inches long for six to eight medium-size bulbs, 40 inches long for bare-root roses. Twist or wire ends together to form a cylinder: 12 inches high for bulbs, 36 inches high for roses.

To make the bottom, cut a square of chicken wire to fit the diameter of the cylinder, and attach it to the bottom by folding the corners up the sides, then hooking them into the wire mesh.

Another way to form a bottom for a basket is by making 5 cuts 7 inches long on one end of the cylinder, spaced evenly around the circumference. Bend flaps to the center and wire them together.

Slip the baskets into planting holes. Allow the upper rim to extend 4 to 6 inches above the final soil level to discourage gophers from climbing over the top. Fill the hole with soil to the desired planting depth of the bulbs or roses. Camouflage the wire above the ground by planting annuals around the perimeter. Armoring raised beds

Before adding soil, place chicken wire or 1/2-inch-mesh hardware cloth at the bottom of the raised bed, extending the edges 2 to 3 inches up the inside.

Hardware cloth is sturdier than chicken wire but is sold in small (3- by 5-foot) pieces and is more expensive (about 75 cents per square foot). For a large planting area, chicken wire is more economical (about 40 cents per liner foot for 36-inch-wide mesh in 50-foot rolls).
COPYRIGHT 1984 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Nov 1, 1984
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