If you’ve been gardening for any amount of time, then you know that nature’s critters are attracted to plants. Whether they want to eat them, dig in the dirt around them, or just trample over them, these critters can present a problem. So a good gardener needs to take precautions to keep critters from the garden.
Mice are frequent visitors. They like to take up residents in mulch that surrounds trees. The best way to prevent mulch from serving as a friendly invitation for mice is to consider waiting until the ground freezes over before applying it. You also should keep mulch away from tree trunks and avoid piling it more than a few inches high.
Trees also attract the attention of critters that like to nibble on bark. To discourage these inquisitive forays it is suggested that you wrap hard cloth around your trees. Since trunks grow, it is essential that you also replace the cloth as the trunk size increases.
One of those critters that may nibble at your tree’s bark is a rabbit. They also enjoy chewing bark of shrubs in the winter and spring. To dissuade them place 1-inch mesh wire 2-inches away from the trunk. Another alternative is to put up a fence around the entire area. Use wire mesh and stretch it 2-feet high and extend out about 3-inches below the ground. To protect bulbs you can create wire mesh cases around them.
Soda bottles have been used to scare away rabbits and small rodents. Bury them with their necks coming out from the ground. The wind rushing over the holes of the bottles creates a whistling sound and thus keeps these animals away.
Of course homemade repellants can be used to discourage animals from entering your garden. Grounded hot peppers, human hair, and dog hair have been known to be very effective. You can also spread garlic, onion, Mexican marigolds and Dusty Miller around the plants.
Although it is true that squirrels and chipmunks are also critters that favor bark, they are not much of a threat to your garden. However, the nuts that they store may result in trees in locations where you don’t want them. Clear the collected nuts from your property every once and a while.
Not many residential yards have ponds, but there may be small indentations in the ground where water can collect. It is not unusual for raccoons to be attracted to these areas. Raccoons can be a friendly garden critter because they prey on mice. Still, gardeners have learned over time that they do a little bit more harm than good. To keep them away, use repellants along with clothing with human scent, dog dropping, blood meal and even baby powder.
Floating row covers can protect plants from woodchucks or ground hogs. Of course, the best alternative to discourage them may be a fence. Chicken wire spread 1-foot deep into the ground and 1-foot wide along the perimeter of the garden should do the trick. Make sure that a vertical post is used to hold the wire in place. The fence will not only keep the critters out, but also prevent them from digging in the garden.
Box-type traps with an alluring bit of peanut butter and/or apples can be set up to catch ground hog invaders. Remember, however, that you will have to transport the captured critter further than a mile away and let it go in a wild uncultivated area. Set the trap in early morning so it won’t gain the attention of nocturnal skunks.
Skunks are not considered to be a major problem for gardens. Instead, they enjoy eating grubs and insects that live in the lawn.
Larger animals including whitetail deer can prove to be a nuisance for your garden. Hanging bars of soap or human hair n mesh bags can repel them. Another alternative that appears to work against deer include a mixture of water with eggs, garlic, or hot pepper. However, if food is in short supply for the deer, then it may be persistent. In this case, a fence may be the best solution.
The fence should be 8-feet high. You can elevate the fence on concrete blocks or another form of support. A solid fence of 5- to 6-feet high could suffice as well. Deer jump over only what they can see through. Hanging dark plastic sheets have also been used to keep them out.