The damage may vary, but the ways to keep animals out of your garden are usually the same no matter the size and intelligence of the animal.
“What are the best ways to keep animals out of my garden?” you ask. The two common methods are by excluding the animal or repelling it.
Love Your Yard has ideas on how to do both, so read on and learn all your options.
Excluding the Animal
Stopping an animal from getting close to your garden is a sensible tactic to keep your plants safe. The problem lies in how to properly and completely seal off the area.
- Standard Fencing — Putting up chicken wire or hardware cloth are your best options when it comes to “all exclusive” fencing. Both make it nearly impossible for large animals to enter an area if your fence is properly constructed and every gap is appropriately sealed.
Your fencing should be two to three feet high (so a rabbit standing on its hind legs cannot reach the plant being protected) and buried at least three inches into the ground. If you have problem with deer, you may need a higher fence. If birds are the problem, place a net over your the plants.
- Electric Fencing — You may also opt to use an electrified exclusion method. Use an electrical fence kit made for garden protection to deliver a small but memorable shock to any animal that’s looking for an easy meal.
While a little pricey, this sort of protection is certainly going to make a rabbit, squirrel, or skunk think twice about coming back to your garden!
- Trapping — Yet another “exclusion” tactic is to humanely trap the offending animals and remove them from the area. When doing so, make sure to follow local rules on working with wildlife!
Repelling the Animal
You can also work to actively repel or deceive the animals visiting your garden for a bite to eat. There are more options than you would think that serve as an animal repellent!
Here are some ideas:
- Granules and Powders — An animal repellent uses powerful scent and taste deterrents to irritate the animal when it smells, touches, or tastes your protected plant. This unpleasant experience drives the animal away unharmed and encourages them to not return to the treated area.
Common ingredients used in repellents include oil of black pepper, piperine, and capsaicin. These ingredients, combined with a secret recipe, work by immediately irritating nuisance animals after they smell, taste, or touch areas that are treated with the solution. To humans, it would be like eating a hot pepper on steroids. The unpleasant, peppery experience is one the animal will remember and won’t want again.
When using repellents, be sure to employ a formula that is OMRI Listed® and compliant with organic gardening. These substances will be on or around your fruits, berries, and vegetables and can be washed off your crops when you’re ready to eat them.
- Water Sprayers — If you want to go high-tech in your battle against your furred and feathered invaders, try the Havahart® Spray Away Elite II, a great little squirt-gun device that senses, targets and then blasts any intruders who venture too close to your prized petunias! This device is a great way to train animals not to approach.
- Motion Detectors — Speaking of high-tech, another idea is to rig up a motion detector that triggers an alarm or other device. When the alarm goes off, the offending animals are so startled they run away.
- Guard animals — A well-trained dog (and maybe even a sneaky cat) can do a a lot to send any critters exploring your lawn packing. Your best bet is to help your dog know his territory and encourage him to defend it from any furred encroachers.
- Scarecrows — An oldie but a goodie, a scarecrow of some sort can work to keep animals out of your garden. Don’t limit your scarecrow to that old set of straw-filled clothes, either.
Technically, a scarecrow is any sort of “dummy” used to shoo animals away. Try adding a plastic owl on a nearby fence post or hang shiny pie tins from a line above your crops to spook invading birds.
Just remember to keep changing up your scarecrows by moving them to different locations around the garden. Some experts even suggest changing your scarecrow’s clothes every few days!
What’s Your Favorite Animal Repellent?
Do you have another tactic you’ve tried that works? Do you have any questions on the tactics we suggested above? Leave a message for us in the comments below!