The tulips are about to bloom, the tomatoes are plump and ready to harvest, the apples are red and shiny, and then it happens! You turn your head for just a minute, and a thief sneaks into your garden to snatch up your plants, fruits and veggies!
Whether you have skunks, raccoons, deer, bunnies or house cats in your garden, they can do a lot of damage and eat up all of your hard work. Look at it from their point of view – you’ve planted and tended to the garden all season and have provided them with a beautiful buffet!
The key is to play with their senses. If you make that beautiful, abundant buffet less attractive, they’ll seek out their next meal somewhere else. (And leave you to sit back and enjoy the beautiful view with your feet up).
Rather than trap or hurt the animals in our gardens, we want to create a less attractive space, so they’ll decide to leave on their own.
Most of the critters digging in your garden are sensitive to smell and easily frightened away by the scents of their predators.
Specific scents can deter critters from digging in your garden. Their noses are also highly tuned to sniff out delicious treats. Be sure not to leave uncovered food outdoors – consider it an invitation for a family of raccoons.
A healthy, happy vegetable garden is a massive attraction for hungry furry or feathered friends. But if they see something that scares them, they’ll look for their next meal somewhere else!
An owl statue will scare off birds and bunnies, while a rubber snake will stop neighbourhood cats from using your garden as a litter box.
If you have a great blue heron circling your pond, add a statue of one near your water garden. While beautiful, they will snatch up a prized koi collection quickly! Thankfully, they are territorial animals, so seeing another one will keep them away.
A quiet, calm space is peaceful and welcomes critters to your garden, so it’s time to make some noise! Playing talk radio on an outdoor speaker has been known to keep furry friends like deer or rabbits away as they love silence.
If your problem is underground tunnelers like moles or mice, vibrations can scare them away. Bury a wine bottle up to the stout or add a whirl-a-gig. When the wind blows, the vibrations make for an unsettling environment.
In the eyes of “the unwanted,” your garden is full of yummy treats! But if they think it all tastes horrible, they’ll leave it alone. Try a product called Ortho Animal B Gone. It’s odourless to humans but tastes awful to animals. They learn quickly, taste it once, and won’t return.
To protect your trees and shrubs in winter, apply Skoot by Plant Prod, another distasteful yet harmless chemical repellant that discourages mice, rabbits, and deer from snacking for up to 6 months.
If squirrels are your problem, plant narcissus (daffodils), which taste bad and are poisonous. Squirrels are stubborn and can cause a lot of damage to your plants. If you can’t beat them, feed them! Placing a squirrel feeder in another area of your property helps keep them away from your prize garden.
ORTHO ANIMAL BEGON MAX
Rich organic garden soil is excellent for the garden and soft to walk on. Cats love its feel on their tender paws. Adding a coarse mulch (crush brick, river stone) looks great, reduces weeds, retains water, and can help keep cats and other digging critters at bay.
If you have diggers like chipmunks or squirrels, add chicken wire on top of planted bulbs with a layer of fresh soil to create a hidden guard. Crushed shells of mussels and clams can help rid your garden of crawling insects.
An unpleasant smell, a scary sight, a disturbing sound, a distasteful leaf or an uncomfortable walking space will keep critters from ripping up your gardens. But remember that nature’s creatures are adaptable and resilient. If they start to catch on to your tricks, you may have to switch things up!