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Garden & Lawn Maintenance Calendar

Winter, summer, spring and fall – with each new season comes a different set of garden maintenance needs. Knowing when and what to do is vital to keeping your gardens, trees, shrubs, and houseplants healthy and weed and disease free.

From lawns and gardens to plants and wildlife, we've put together monthly tips to help you plan, organize and complete your gardening projects.

As always, for further assistance on garden maintenance for all seasons,
please visit your local Earl May Garden Center.




  • Dig out those gardening books and begin planning your vegetable garden or landscape project.
  • By the end of the month, begin starting certain flower and vegetable seeds indoors. Invest in a seed tray heat mat for best results.
Lawn Care
  • Avoid walking or driving on frozen lawns to prevent damage to the turf.
  • Do not use ice melts high in sodium chloride (salt). They can cause damage to lawns and plantings where snow and ice are allowed to pile, or from melting run off.
  • Use a moisture meter to determine if houseplants need to be watered. They are inexpensive and save plants from over or under watering.
  • Watch houseplants for yellowing leaves and webbing. Insect damage can be controlled.
  • Attract woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees and other songbirds by feeding high-energy suet blends. Suet is essential in the coldest winter months as birds need the extra energy to survive.
  • Peanuts are also high energy and will attract a wide range of birds to your feeder.



  • Start your geranium, impatiens and petunia seeds indoors.
  • Plan your garden layout and begin shopping for seeds at your local Earl May Garden Center or online.
  • Be sure to use a "soilless" seed starting mix when starting seeds indoors to avoid soil-borne diseases in the seedlings.
  • Watch newly planted seedlings that have been started indoors for signs of "stretching". Add more light as needed to remedy. Special grow light systems are availabe.
  • Start tomatoes, peppers and most flower varieties from seed indoors by the end of the month.
  • Pick up your copy of our free seed guide for a complete listing of the varieties we stock. Most varieties are also available in bulk quantities.
  • Warm February days are the perfect time to prune grapes and fruit trees. A free brochure on pruning is available online and at our garden centers.
Lawn Care
  • Pre-book your Lawn Care Program. Your local Earl May Garden Center will store the bags for you until it is time to apply.
  • Avoid walking or driving on frozen lawns to prevent damage to the turf.
  • Do not use ice melts high in sodium chloride (salt). They can cause damage to lawns and plantings where snow and ice are allowed to pile, or from melting run off.
  • Rotate your houseplants from time to time to keep the plants from leaning too much to one side. Plants tend to grow toward the light.
  • Be sure to keep the leaves shined so they can capture as much sun energy as possible. We recommend Pokon Leaf Shine.
  • Discard any wet or moldy seed in your feeders and replace with fresh seeds. Birds know the difference.
  • If you're having trouble with squirrels dining at your bird feeders, consider feeding them at a different location away from your feeders. Squirrels like ear corn or a special wildlife food with corn, sunflower seeds and peanuts.


Edible Gardening

  • Incorporate lime and organic compost into your garden soil in the spring to prepare your garden for growing high quality vegetables. Granular time-released fertilizer can be added at this time as well.
  • Apply Earl May Structure Soil Conditioner to gardens with heavy soil. This will increase the size of root crops like potatoes, radish and onions and ensure a better growing environment for asparagus as well.
  • As soon as the soil can be worked, you can plant potatoes, peas, onions and asparagus.
  • Did you know? Most store bought potatoes have been treated with a chemical to keep them from sprouting. The seed potatoes sold at Earl May for planting are not treated so they will sprout and grow after planting. What you don't plant, you can eat.
  • Apply weed preventers to perennial beds, strawberries and around asparagus to prevent weeds from growing later. Corn Gluten is an organic fertilizer and weed preventer that can be applied to strawberry beds. Repeat applications will be necessary in two to three months.
Flower Gardening
  • Uncover perennials and roses as they begin to grow. Fertilize with Earl May time-release granular plant food to encourage more blooms and healthier plants.
Trees and Shrubs
  • Control insects that attack your plants in the spring and summer by applying All-Seasons Oil in early spring before leaves emerge. Mites that defoliate Burning Bush in summer and Scale on Euonymus and Magnolia exemplify insects that can be controlled now using an All-Seasons Oil spray. Be sure to apply when temperatures are above 40° for two consecutive days.
  • Prune back summer flowering shrubs like Spirea and Potentilla. Other shrubs like Barberry, Burning Bush and Evergreen shrubs can also be pruned at this time. Apply Earl May time-released plant food to encourage healthy, thick re-growth.
  • Remove tree wrap from young trees once the weather begins to warm.
Water Gardening
  • Jump-start the biological process in your garden pond by adding beneficial bacteria.
Lawn Care
  • Rake and aerify your lawn before applying Earl May Season Long Crabgrass Preventer.
  • When sowing lawn seed, be patient for it to germinate. Cool soils in March will delay germination until April in most seasons. Remember, regular crabgrass preventer will also prevent lawn seed from germinating. Be sure to apply a crabgrass preventer that is designed for new lawn seed.
  • Nightcrawler mounds may. bea nuisance, but your lawn is much better off with the worms underground aerifying your soil naturally and bringing beneficial bacteria to the surface. Use a garden rake to level out the mounds where they are a problem.
  • Discard any wet or moldy seed in your feeders and replace with fresh seeds. Birds know the difference.
  • If you're having trouble with squirrels dining at your bird feeders, consider feeding them at a different location away from your feeders. Squirrels like ear corn or a special wildlife food with corn, sunflower seeds and peanuts.


Edible Gardening

  • Use Repels-All organic animal repellent in your vegetable garden and landscape to repel wide variety of nuisance animals.
  • Do not spray fruit trees while they are in bloom. After most of the blooms have fallen, a spray schedule should be followed to ensure pest free fruit. We recommend Earl May Fruit Tree Spray.
Flower Gardening
  • Divide Hostas, Daylilies and other perennials before they grow to 4 inches.
  • Apply systemic insect controls to roses in April to prevent insect leaf damage later in the season.
  • Clean up your flower beds by removing dead leaves from your perennials and applying a fresh layer of mulch.
  • Cold tolerant annuals like snapdragons, pansies and violas can be planted in most areas during April. They will withstand a light frost, but may need to be covered if temperatures dip colder than this.
  • Be patient with slow emerging perennials. Some varieties like butterfly bush, hardy hibiscus and ornamental grasses require warm soil prior to showing signs of growth.
  • Do not cut back the leaves from Daffodils, Tulips and other spring flowering bulbs until they naturally die back in May and June. They will continue to feed the bulb so that they will bloom again next year.
  • Install grow-through-grids above peonies, lilies and other perennials early in the month. The plants will grow up through the supports and be held securely without flopping over later in the season.
Trees and Shrubs
  • Treat evergreens early to prevent several common diseases that affect conifers in the Midwest. Formulations of Copper and Fungonil are both good control options.
  • Prune spring flowering shrubs like Lilac, Azalea, Rhododendron and Weigela right after they are done blooming in the spring. Feed with a time-release granular fertilizer at this time as well.
Lawn Care
  • Apply Weed & Feed when there is dew on the lawn and no rain in the forecast for a day or two. This application needs to be 3-4 weeks after your last application of fertilizer.
  • Use Earl May Super Brush & Weed Killer to control hard to kill weeds like Ground Ivy (Creeping Charlie) and wild violets. Trying to kill these weeds later in warm summer conditions is very difficult. They are much easier to kill in April and May. For best results add Turbo Spreader Sticker when spraying.
  • Moles can do alot of damage to lawns. They are tunneling in search of grubs and earthworms as a food source. Repel moles with Castor Oil-based granules or kill with baits. Traps are the most effective control device when used correctly.
  • Prepare for colorful backyard birds this month. Set out wren and bluebird houses and prepare your finch and oriole feeders for their arrival. Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned and filled as well.
  • Clean out bird houses to welcome migrating birds like purple martins and wrens.


Edible Gardening

  • Frost-free planting dates vary widely from year to year. In general, by the first of May, most tender plants can be planted in Kansas and Missouri. In Iowa and Nebraska, the frost-free date generally occurs the first week or two of May.
  • Plant tomatoes, peppers, herbs and other transplants this month after the danger of frost passes.
  • Sow garden seeds, like sweet corn, cucumbers, beans, squash and herbs.
Flower Gardening
  • Plant annual flowers and perennials in your landscape and containers after the danger of frost passes.
  • Amend planting beds with Earl May Organic Planting Mix. Your plants will root better, fill in faster and perform better for years to come. Use Organic Planting Mix when planting trees, shrubs, evergreens, roses and anything else directly in the ground.
  • Use Earl May Plant Start Root Stimulant when planting. Plant Start is designed to promote early and strong root development, which means healthier, greener plants with more fruit and flowers. Plant Start contains the same rooting hormone used by professional growers.
  • If you did not do so in April, apply a fresh layer of mulch around your flower beds.
Trees and Shrubs
  • Plant new trees and shrubs. Use Earl May Plant Start to promote early and strong root development.
  • Fertilize existing trees and shrubs with a timed-release granular fertilizer.
Lawn Care
  • Monitor your lawn for signs of disease and treat as soon as a problem is noticed. Powdery Mildew and Leaf Spot are common lawn diseases in May. Mow frequently to avoid letting your grass get too tall.
  • If you haven’t applied Earl May Weed & Feed there is still time. Apply when there is a dew on the lawn and no rain in the forecast for a day or two. This application needs to be 30 days from your last application of fertilizer.
  • Spot spray broadleaf weeds with Earl May Super Brush & Weed Killer.
  • Mow bluegrass and tall fescue lawns at a 3 inch height.
  • Feed niger thistle seed and sunflower chips to attract goldfinches and other small songbirds.
  • Be sure to clean out any uneaten food from the feeders if they were not cleaned after last season.


Edible Gardening

  • Harvest fruits and vegetables as they become ready.
  • Watch for insects and diseases, and treat as needed. Visit your local Earl May Garden Center for identification and solutions. Or ask our experts online!
Flower Gardening
  • Remove old flower heads from roses and annual flowers. Encourage new blooms with Earl May Nutri-Gro Water Soluble Plant Food. Our food has more essential nutrients for healthier plants and more flowers.
Water Gardening
  • Add new pond plants to your water garden this month. Be careful when treating for algae, as some controls will reduce oxygen levels in your water. This is especially important when it is very warm and oxygen levels are normally at their lowest. Algae can be minimized by creating a natural environment where beneficial bacteria thrive. Lots of water moving over rocks and waterfalls will create this environment. Pond plants will shade the water and feed on excess nutrients needed by algae to grow.
  • Be sure to avoid over stocking and over feeding your ponds.
Trees and Shrubs
  • Control bagworms and sawfly with Systemic Insect Controls. Repeat applications are usually needed for complete control. The silken bagworm bags can be cut from trees and destroyed if they are noticed later.
  • Trim Japanese Yew evergreen in June and early July after the flush of spring growth. Trimming too late in the season will encourage new growth that is susceptible to winter burn.
Lawn Care
  • Surface insects that damage turf and a host of nuisance insects make their appearance in May. Control almost all outdoor insects with Super Eight Insect Control. Apply as a foundation treatment to protect your home and as a general spray on your lawn and in your landscape plantings.
  • Apply Season Long Grub Control. Be sure it gets watered in to move it into the root zone. Don’t worry about getting grub control in your landscape plantings. They will benefit from the added insect protection also. Keep in mind that no one grub controls will control 100% of the grub population, just enough to reduce the amount that cause serious turf injury.
  • Your lawn can be mowed at the highest setting during the summer months. Just be sure to mow often to avoid disease problems. Mowing high will delay summer dormancy of bluegrass and help keep a thicker lawn in shady areas.
  • To control mosquitoes, asian lady beetles, boxelder bugs, ticks, Japanese beetles, ants, borers, termites and more, use Earl May Super Eight.
  • Attract nectar and fruit eating birds in June.
  • Orioles will be frequenting feeders offering fresh cut oranges or special liquid oriole food.
  • Hummingbirds will flock to nectar feeders. Be sure to use ant moats above your feeders to protect the nectar.


Edible Gardening

  • Tomato “Blight” is typically beginning to show up by July. There are a number of specific diseases that are usually lumped together and referred to by gardeners as blight. Apply Copper or Fung-onil Disease Control as a preventative or as soon as symptoms appear. Cultural controls include choosing resistant plant varieties, crop rotation each year and mulching with straw and grass clippings.
  • Control garden insects as they are spotted. Earl May carries a wide range of natural organic and traditional treatment options.
  • Now would be a good time to give your garden an application of fertilizer to keep your crops producing. A liquid calcium supplement is also beneficial.
  • Continue harvesting fruits and vegetables as they become ready.
  • Remove weeds to preserve water and nutrients in your garden.
  • Fall garden crops that can be planted in July include: bush beans, bush cucumber, summer squash (zucchini), lettuce, beets, carrots, sweet corn (Early July), peas and radish (Late July). Fertilizer will be essential for this second garden crop as well as moisture.
Flower Gardening
  • Plant fresh summer blooming annuals for parties and celebrations.
  • Plants that attract butterflies include: purple coneflower, black-eyed susan, blue salvia, garden phlox, russian sage, butterfly bush, sedum and asters. Avoid double flowered varieties as they are bred for showiness, not nectar production.
  • Blackspot and Mildew are a common problem of roses and other ornamental plants. Control with Infuse Disease Control.
  • Deadhead annual flowers to promote continuous flower blooms.
  • Remove spent blooms from your perennials to encourage plant growth rather than allowing them to go to seed.
  • Pinch back mums to ensure a fall bloom.
Trees and Shrubs
  • Make sure you are watering newly planted trees and shrubs as needed throughout the heat of the summer. A good deep watering is better than frequent light waterings. This promotes deep rooting and a healthier plant.
Lawn Care
  • Bluegrass lawns will require at least 1 inch of water a week to keep from going dormant. If you decide to water your lawn, be sure to do so in the morning, this will reduce the amount of disease pressure in the lawn. A good deep watering is better than frequent light waterings. This promotes deep rooting and a drought tolerant lawn.
  • Fertilize lawns with Earl May Summer Lawn Food designed to green lawns without making them grow so fast. Earl May Summer Lawn Food is designed with extra Iron and Sulfur to do just that. Iron provides the extra deep greening while sulfur lowers the soil Ph making the iron more available to the lawn. Iron is the secret for the deep green golf courses you are familiar with. Be careful though. This iron will stain any concrete surface it lands on. It must be blown or swept off any concrete surface.
  • Check your birdbaths daily for water supply. This will ensure birds keep coming back to your yard.


Edible Gardening

  • Keep harvested herbs like parsley, sage, basil and rosemary fresh by placing stems in water. Cover leaves with a plastic bag and refrigerate up to one week.
  • If you started a compost pile this year, be sure to keep it moist during dry weather to keep the composting process going.
  • Leave at least half of green stem on beets when you harvest them to prevent bleeding.
  • Dig potatoes as soon as the vines turn brown and die. Keep them out of the sun after they have been dug to cure.
  • Harvest onions after tops have fallen. Pull the onions and dry in the shade before storing in a cool dry place.
Flower Gardening
  • Feed your roses for the last time in August.
  • Plant and divide fragrant Iris this month. Be sure to position the root or rhizome just below the soil surface.
  • Peonies can be cut back and divided.
Trees and Shrubs
  • Summer planted nursery stock performs very well in the landscape. New container-grown growing methods make it possible for homeowners to landscape successfully throughout the growing season. New stock is shipped into the garden centers specifically for fall planting starting in August.
  • Maintain a 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch around newly planted trees and shrubs.
  • Tent caterpillars and fall webworms can be controlled by pruning out the “tents” or treating with insect control. Natural Dipel Insecticide or Super Eight are good control options.
Lawn Care
  • August and September are the best time of year to start a lawn from seed. Germination is quick in warm soil, while cooler temperatures that follow make watering much easier. By the time next summer’s heat arrives, your lawn will be well established and filled in completely.
  • Apply Kleenup Weed & Grass Killer prior to seeding lawn seed to insure tough perennial weeds are killed out completely to the roots. Seeding is possible within 7 to 14 days of application. Till deeply to prepare a loose seed bed that will fill in quickly.
  • Repel gnats and mosquitoes during your late summer parties with all natural mosquito repelling granules. Made from food grade organic ingredients, it will repel insects with a clean pleasant odor.
  • Provide adequate water for birds with a clean open birdbath. Position your birdbath so it can be seen from the house, but not too close. Remember to keep your bath clean.
  • Control mosquitoes naturally by putting up a bat house. One small brown bat can consume 600 mosquitoes per hour! Locate your house in an open area where it receives four to nine hours of light per day.


Edible Gardening

  • Pumpkins and winter squash should have a hard rind before harvesting.
  • Harvest herbs in the early morning when their flowers are at their peak. Rinse well with water, pat dry and tie together in small bundles by their stem. Hang upside down in a warm airy location.
  • Harvest and store fall vegetables.
Flower Gardening
  • Purchase spring blooming bulbs like daffodils, tulips and hyacinths now for best selection, but wait until October or early November to plant.
  • Divide perennials and peonies.
  • Add fall color to your container gardens with mums, asters, pansies, flowering kale and more.
Trees and Shrubs
  • Asian Lady Beetles and Box elder Bugs can be controlled by using Earl May Household Insect Control both inside and outside the home. A follow-up application of Super Eight Insect Control around the perimeter of your home and landscape plantings will keep your home and property insect free.
  • Fall is a great time to plant trees, shrubs, and perennials. Planting now is easier on the plants as they set root in the fall. By next spring and summer they will be more established and will be easier to maintain through the summer. New stock is brought in to the garden centers for fall landscaping needs.
  • Bring your houseplants inside before the first fall frosts set in. Be sure to treat for insects with Earl May Earth Rx Natural Insect Control.
  • As you’re bringing your houseplants inside, now is a great time to re-pot them. Earl May Nursery & Garden Centers have a huge selection of pottery in a variety of shapes, colors and materials
Lawn Care
  • Grub damage in lawns will appear as off color or dead patches in your lawn. Holes may be present where birds have been eating the grubs. The turf can be peeled back to reveal white ¼” to ½” grubs. At this stage a curative grub control is needed. Visit your local Earl May Garden Center for the best control options.
  • August and September is the best time of year to start a lawn from seed. Germination is quick in warm soil, while cooler temperatures that follow make watering much easier. By the time next summer’s heat arrives, your lawn will be well established and filled in completely.
  • An application of Earl May lawn food in September will help your lawn rejuvenate after a long hot summer.
  • Late in the month, Core aerate your lawn to improve soil compaction and reduce thatch.
  • Many seed eating bird species will begin finding their winter eating locations this time of year. Once you start feeding, you should continue through the winter months.


Edible Gardening

  • Remove all vine crop residue from your garden to prevent over wintering diseases from infecting plants next year. Avoid adding them to the compost pile.
  • Turn garden soil over and add a layer of organic matter.
Flower Gardening
  • Begin planting daffodils, tulips and other spring flowering bulbs this month. These bulbs are a great way to add early color to your landscape. Daffodils are avoided by deer and somewhat shade tolerant making them a very valuable plant with a home in every landscape. They also come in white, two-tone and of course yellow.
  • When planting bulbs, be sure the soil is amended to prevent heavy soil from rotting the bulbs. This is a common problem with bulb plantings in the Midwest. Mix Structure Soil Conditioner with your existing soil when planting and be sure to plant at the recommended depth.
  • Plant pansies now for some fresh fall color. They will bloom until the heaviest frost.
  • Dig and store gladiolus, canna, begonia, and dahlia bulbs after several frosts. Store in vermiculite in a cool dry place during the winter.
  • Clean old foliage and debris from Iris beds to prevent Iris Borers next summer.
Water Gardening
  • Cover ponds with protective netting to keep leaves from falling in and polluting the water during the winter months. Decaying leaves reduces oxygen levels in ponds and could kill your fish.
Trees and Shrubs
  • Fall is a great time to plant trees, shrubs, and perennials. Planting now is easier on the plants as they set root in the fall. By next spring and summer they will be more established and will be easier to maintain through the summer. New stock is brought in to the garden centers for fall landscaping needs.
  • Re-apply mulch if it has settled or washed away during the year. Mulch acts as insulation, protecting plants from frost heave and extreme temperatures. It also helps evergreens conserve soil moisture and extended periods of frozen soil will lead to severe winter burn in evergreens. Mulch plants at a two to three inch depth.
Lawn Care
  • Apply Earl May Fall Lawn Food at about the time of your last mowing. This is when the winterizing process will be the most effective as the turf is storing foods for next year. Turf experts say this is the single most important time to fertilizer a lawn.
  • October is the best time of year to kill perennial broadleaf weeds, especially ground ivy (Creeping Charlie) and wild violets. The secret is the fact that weeds that are not completely killed in fall are weakened to the point that winter will finish most of them off. Whatever survives into spring can then be spot killed. Be sure to spray twice, 7 to 10 days apart, around the middle of October with Earl May Super Brush & Weed Killer mixed with Turbo Spreader Sticker.
  • Squirrels will be busy gobbling up as much food as they can before winter. Provide sunflower and corn while enjoying their playful antics.


Flower Gardening

  • Try forcing some spring bulbs indoors for a splash of color in January and February. Paperwhites, daffodils, hyacinth, tulips and crocus are excellent bulbs for forcing in pots. They will need six to ten weeks of chilling (40° or below) to mimic their natural dormancy period. After chilling, place in a cool room with a temperature of 50° – 60° and keep shaded for the first few days.
  • Roses (hybrid teas, floribundas, and gradifloras) should be protected during the winter months so the low temperatures and rapid temperature changes don’t injure them. Mounding soil over the base of each plant is a great way to protect your roses. NOTE: Shrub roses do not need mounded soil.
Water Gardening
  • Use pond de-icers to keep a small space of open water in your pond during the winter. This will allow toxic natural gases to escape the water and keep from potentially killing your pond fish.
Trees and Shrubs
  • All young trees without “true” bark should be wrapped during the winter months. True bark is the traditional corky looking bark we think of when talking about bark. Young trees lack this natural protection and are susceptible to injury from animals and especially sunscald. Sunscald refers to the injury of living cells inside the outer bark of the tree and usually results in discoloration and cracking of the bark. Sunscald will normally happen in late winter on the southwest side of the trunk and is caused by the fluctuations in day to night temperatures. Tree wrap can reduce these temperature fluctuations. Red Maples are very vulnerable to sunscald.
  • Protect trees & shrubs from deer and rabbits by using fencing or animal repellents.
  • Apply Wilt-Stop to evergreen trees and shrubs to protect them from winter burn. Boxwood, Yew, Rhododendron and Holly are especially susceptible to winter burn and should be treated. Watering before the ground freezes and mulching will also help.
Lawn Care
  • Rake fallen leaves as soon as possible from your lawn. Leaving leaves on your lawn for any extended amount of time will weaken it and could lead to disease issues and eventually kill the lawn if left long enough. Mulching a small amount of leaves when you mow also works well.
  • Mow your lawn for the last time.
  • Bird bath de-icers allow homeowners a way to attract more birds all year long. Having open water in conjunction with a few feeders will assure a real bird sanctuary in your backyard. Birds use open water to drink and clean, but also as a way to stay warm. Open water in the winter is a real bird magnet.
  • Consider a fresh cut Christmas tree for your home this season. All of our cut trees are Midwest grown on renewable resource tree farms and support American producers.
  • Add fresh cut greenery, berry picks, tree branches and pine cones to your outdoor container gardens.



  • Protect hybrid tea and floribunda roses from winter kill. After the ground has frozen, cut the roses back to 10 to 12 inches, place plastic rose collars around the base of your roses and fill with soil. Water to settle the soil and cover with wood mulch.
  • Wilt Stop should be sprayed on all fresh cut trees, wreaths and roping to preserve freshness.
  • Heavy accumulations of snow should be carefully removed from evergreen branches if possible to avoid damaged or broken branches. Shaking the branch from the bottom with a pole works best.
Lawn Care
  • Avoid walking or driving on frozen lawns to prevent damage to the turf.
  • Do not use ice melts high in sodium chloride (salt). They can cause damage to lawns and plantings where snow and ice are allowed to pile, or from melting run off.
  • With proper care, poinsettias can be enjoyed inside the home for many weeks after they are purchased. Be sure to discard any standing water in the speed cover after they are watered. Poinsettias will die quickly if left in standing water. Cool drafts can also kill poinsettias. Keep away from outside doors and elevate if possible. Moderate to full sunlight is recommended.
  • The colorful Amaryllis is a popular holiday plant. Treat Amaryllis like any other houseplant after they have bloomed. They can be set outside in the spring and re-potted as needed.
  • Continue feeding birds that you started feeding earlier in the fall.
  • While squirrel proof birdfeeders are available, the best way to deal with squirrels raiding your birdfeeders is to feed them in a separate location away from your feeders. Ear corn is available in our wild bird feeding department.