Fixit: Protecting pumpkins from hungry squirrels

  • Article by: KAREN YOUSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 13, 2006 - 4:10 PM

Q How do I keep squirrels from eating the pumpkins in my outdoor Halloween display?

Q How do I keep squirrels from eating the pumpkins in my outdoor Halloween display?

A Play to the squirrel's keen sense of smell.

Spray repellents for squirrels are available at garden and hardware stores and on the Internet. Use them if you don't plan to use the pumpkin for food.

Or make your own with petroleum jelly and hot pepper sauce or powder. A thin coat covering the pumpkin should do the trick.

Refresh any repellent regularly because the effect will weather away.

Discolored roof problem

Q I have a discoloration on my six-year-old roof on the north side of the house and garage and under mature trees. It doesn't wash off with a garden hose. Do you know what it is, how to get rid of it and how to prevent it?

A It sounds like a fungus or algae. A north-facing roof under overhanging tree branches is ideal for such growth -- damp, shady conditions that stay relatively cool and dark.

To solve the problem, you'll either have to alter those conditions or regularly remove the growth.

• Trimming the trees will let in more light and air.

• Add copper or zinc strips to the roof ridge and under shingles at intervals down the slope. Metal inhibits the growth of algae and moss, and as rain falls, it will pick up minute amounts of metal, washing it down the roof. Or install algae-resistant asphalt shingles imbedded with granules of copper or zinc.

• Try removing the growth yourself. Start with an application of half chlorine bleach and half water and apply at the rate of 1 gallon per 30 to 50 square feet. Wear protective glasses, gloves and clothes. Attach plastic garbage bags to the ends of downspouts to keep the runoff from killing grass and plants. Cover foundation plants. Finish by rinsing the gutters with clear water to prevent corrosion. The solution will kill algae immediately, but it may take several days for the black discoloration to disappear. If it doesn't, repeat with a stronger solution.

• Consider hiring a contractor to clean the roof. Check yellow-page directories under "Roofing Contractors."

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