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If you are an avid gardener, pest control is sure to be one of those things that’s always on your mind. Sure, you can manage to control the population of some bugs, slugs, and snails by using sprays and zappers, but what are you going to do about the larger critters that are eating out of your flowerbed and ruining your vegetable garden?
Well, we’re going to take you through some effective and easy tips on how to protect your garden from animals.
Nine effective ways to keep animals away from your garden
Know who’s at fault
The first thing you will need to do is recognize the garden pest responsible for the damage to your garden. Some small animals like rabbits and deer leave behind telltale signs.
You can know when you have a deer problem because they leave behind very recognizable tracks in the soil, and when they eat, they make clean snips on herbaceous plants.
Rabbits can also be recognized by the sharp cut marks they leave behind on woody and herbaceous plants, as well as by their pellet-like droppings.
If you have fruiting trees, but you see the fruits often have holes in them, the culprits are most likely birds. And if you see an area strewn with the husks of nuts and often find your flower bulbs dug up, you know squirrels are the culprits.
Fence your garden
One of the most effective ways to keep critters out of your garden is to use fencing. If your culprits are rabbits, then a fence made of chicken wire, and hardware cloth rabbit fencing installed at a height of between two and three feet ought to suffice.
Remember to extend the fence by a foot underground as well in order to keep persistent burrowing bunnies out as well.
Deer will need a fence that is at least six to eight feet tall to be deterred, while you can keep birds away from your fruits and berries by using plastic bird netting around the bushes before they begin to ripen.
Plant stuff they won’t like
A lot of animals tend to stay away from plants that are highly aromatic, as well as thorny plants. It might serve you well to talk to your neighbors and the kinds folks at your local gardening store or nursery to figure out which local species of flora is effective at keeping pests away.
For example, cayenne peppers and other hot peppers have been known to discourage deer, rabbits, and bears.
Utilize height to your advantage
Using raised beds that are a couple of feet tall for your plants is an effective way to make sure rabbits cannot get to your plants, more so if you have an additional fence to complement the beds.
Similarly, you can prevent deer from nibbling on your greens by using pots that can be mounted on railing and window boxes.
The smell from open compost pits is one of the things that attract wildlife to domestic gardens, where they then discover other yummy treats. This can be prevented if you use a self-contained compost that comes with a lid.
Bird seed and pet feed must also always be stored in chew-proof containers or sealed buckets. And if you have pets that you feed outside, be sure to bring the containers in after they’re done eating to keep skunks and raccoons at bay.
Protect the young
Young plants that have just begun sprouting tend to be more tender and tastier, and as a result, will attract more animals to graze on them. This means you need to make protective arrangements for these younglings, because they may be unable to grow back after being grazed on.
If these young plants are in planter boxes, use a light net to protect them. Otherwise, fences and trunk wraps will need to be employed.
Let it grow wild
We ought to remember that no animal would forage in a domestic garden if its natural food source was available. If you have a large garden, it might be a good idea to let it grow wild, especially towards the outer extremities.
There’s a good chance that by doing so, local plant species that these animals eat will be among the things that grow in those spaces. This is sure to keep these animals away from your herb and vegetable garden since their natural food is freely available.
Odor repellents and taste repellents work in some cases, but it involves a bit of trial and error. For one, you will need to keep using these repellents all year round, especially after it rains.
Then, there is the fact that animals have also been known to get used to bad-smelling plants and the taste of these after a while and eat the plants anyway. While store-bought odor repellents, such as predator urine that gardening stores sell, have had more success, homemade ones, made of everything from bars of soap and human hair to garlic, have been known to be less effective.
Try scaring them
There are multiple things you could use to try and scare animals away from your garden, including wind chimes, motion-activated lights, motion-activated sprinklers, bird tape, or even a good old scarecrow.
Could we live and let live?
Something that we humans need to realize is that in a lot of cases, we have taken over what used to be the natural habitat of these wild animals to build our homes. So in a way, we cannot fault local wildlife for foraging in our gardens for food.
What has been found to work best in these situations is a live and let live policy, where we let go of some of our crops for these animals, while keeping some for ourselves. After all, they were here before we were, and will probably be here long after we’re gone as well.
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