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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - February 23, 2016

From: walnut creek, CA
Region: California
Topic: Problem Plants
Title: A puppy's challenge in the ivy
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

ok.. so, heres the thing: my puppy &i often play with a frisbee toy in the yard (cuz the boy's got leaps!). however, it has become apparent that, simply put: i am a TERRIBLE frisbee player!! truly the worst. the ever-so-frequent result: our frisbee lands on the other side of the fence amid a dense spread of ivy plant. &armed with just a general area where "im pretty sure it went over about here..ish?", it is next to impossible to actually find the toy!! (needless to say, should the ivy ever be removed, theres a plethora of goodies to be discovered within!) alas, my question: have you any suggestions of methods i might try to successfully "sift" through the ivy for our toys without causing extreme trauma to the plant?? ive considered a rake or even a hoe, but i wind up tearing out so much ivy and/or constantly getting the tool "stuck" amid the branches &then fighting just to get THAT back again!! PLEASE HELP!! ive searched the web on countless occasions, but to no avail.. it IS an extremely odd question, i know! but im hoping this might just be the place to FINALLY get some answers!! 🙃

ANSWER:

I think I have the answer to your problem.  But first ascertain that your ivy is not Toxicodendron diversilobum (Pacific poison oak).

Next, go to Trader Joe's, buy yourself a package of bacon or a nice ham steak (with bone).  Go home and test your pup's sense of smell.  Does he salivate when you hold these morsels near him?  Of course he does.

Now have a wonderful meal with one of these meats, being careful to save the  "drippins".  These will be generously massaged onto the frisbee.  Now you are ready for the real test.

Take your pup outside and toss the frisbee (very carefully) a couple of times.  Then toss it over the fence. Point your pup in the right direction and relax in a lawn chair while he fetches it and hopefully places it in your lap. Dogs have truly amazing noses.

I believe this will eliminate your problem.

P. S.  The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center will not be responsible for replacing any half-eaten frisbees.

 

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