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Prevent Garden Damage from Animals

Prevent Garden Damage from Animals

Raccoons/Skunks

  • White grubs are a perfect food source for raccoons and skunks and they will destroy your lawn to get at them. For small areas apply Critter Ridder. For larger segments place well anchored chicken wire to prevent them from digging. After a week or two passes the wire can be removed.
  • If you have a grub problem, it is imperative that you treat the problem before these voracious insects chew their way through the grass roots killing the whole lawn. Beneficial Nematodes are a long-term organic solution to rid the grubs.
  • To prevent raccoons from ravaging water plants and eating all the fish, make it impossible for them to waddle into the water. Position flat flagstones so they hang over the water. They do not like jumping in from the edge. Rocks with large cavities positioned at the bottom of the pool provide a safe place for fish to hide.

garden racoons kissingRabbits

  • Try to make your plants unpalatable to the rabbits by spraying them with Skoot, Rabbit Repellent, or a home brew of Tabasco, garlic, and chili powder.
  • For vegetable gardens, the easiest remedy is to surround the plot with strong metal netting or chicken wire stapled to sturdy posts in early spring. Bury 10 cm (4″) below ground or bend the bottom edge outward so they can’t burrow under.
  • Plant common Foxglove, Bishop’s Hat, Bergenia, Catmint, Spiderwort, Globeflower, Gooseneck Loosestrife, Lungwort, Rosemary, Periwinkle, Golden Elder, Rockspray Cotoneaster, and Anthony Waterer Spirea as rabbits do not seem to like these.
  • In winter, rabbits particularly like to chew on the bark of Crab Apple and fruit trees. Protect trunks with spiral wrap in late fall and remove in early spring.

Moles

  • Moles can cause serious damage to lawns by tunneling in search of grubs and earthworms.
  • Place open bottles in the middle of molehills so the sound of wind blowing over them will scare them away. They intensely dislike noise and vibration.
  • You can also purchase commercial “thumpers” available to create vibration that discourages groundhogs too.
  • Moles do not like castor beans. Unfortunately, the seeds of the plant are very poisonous so they are not recommended for gardens where young children are present. Instead, make a solution of 1 tablespoon of castor oil and 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap in one gallon of warm water and spray the area thoroughly.

mole hole digging

  • Place dog or cat hair at the entrance of the mole runs as it will scare them away.

Deer

  • Deer are inconsistent in their likes and dislikes. What they won’t eat in one garden, they’ll completely devour in another. If it’s a very severe winter they’ll eat anything including roses.
  • Deer destroy Junipers, Yews, Cedars, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Euonymus, Hostas, and Daylilies. They also find fruit and vegetables delicious. Corn and apples are particular favourites.
  • Gardeners report that deer seem to dislike plants with leaves that are sticky, aromatic, or hairy. So, they generally stay away from things like herbs, garlic, and lamb’s ears.
  • Deer have been known to avoid Barberry, Holly, Potentilla, Forsythia, Privet, Bumingbush, Hypericum, Weigela, Butterflybush, certain Dogwoods (Cornus Alba), Boxwood, Japanese Pieris, and Caryopteris.
  • Deer seem uninterested in Perennials like Salvia, Lavender, Black-Eyed Susan, Yarrow, Iris, Artemisia, Speedwell, Columbine, Rose Campion, Peony, Lupine, Monkshood, Lady’s Mantle, Astilbe, Beebalm, Russian Sage, Foxglove, Poppy, and many Ornamental Grasses.
  • Fencing is ultimately the best way to keep them out. The fence should be at least 3 m (9 or 10′) high to prevent them vaulting over.

Squirrels

  • Squirrels covet Crocus and Tulip bulbs. To prevent them from being dug up in fall, lay chicken wire over the planted area.
  • Squirrels dislike the smell of Critter Ridder.
  • Squirrels are not fond of such plant bulbs as Daffodils, Hyacinths, Crown Imperial, Allium, Scilla, Snowdrops, Grape Hyacinths, and Camassia.
  • If you feed the birds, expect squirrels to do everything in their power to get at the seed in the feeders.

cat kitten garden orange tabbyCats

  • While a dog’s freedom is restricted by local leash by-laws, there are no restrictions on where cats can roam. To minimize their digging, try Critter Ridder.
  • Spray the area they keep returning to with citrus juice as they don’t seem to like the smell. Even placing lemon, orange, or grapefruit rinds can help.
  • Cover the soil with thorny branch clippings, a thick layer of bark chips, or chicken wire.
  • Do not encourage them with plantings of catnip.
  • Avoid using Blood Meal or Fish Emulsion fertilizer as cats are drawn to the smell of both.