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Animals can destroy a garden almost overnight, especially if you have a small garden. Two or three deer can devour a complete bed of lettuce in one night. Rabbits come in at a close second. The animals listed below are those most common encountered by North American gardeners.

Some of the solutions below have been proven to deter these animals, other solutions provided have not been tested - however, some solutions are not very expensive, or cost nothing to try and many people claim they work. For example, Environment Canada recommends using garlic cloves in mole nests - not having moles, I have not been able to test this, but if it works, it is inexpensive and is a natural, humane solution (the best kind).

Keep in mind that it may take a combination of solutions to fully deter any animal - Try experimenting. Many small animals can be kept away by natural predators like owls and hawks. You can find plans and instructions for here - these may attract owls to your garden.

Another great product for the garden is the Scarecrow Owl With Rotating Head which moves with the slightest breeze. Most small animals cannot tell it is not real since owls often only move their head.

One other product that we have to mention is the Solar Ground Rodent Repeller by Pestacator, it emits powerful sonic waves (vibrations) to the keen ears of underground rodents. It causes them to flee the region. It effectively repels underground moles, shrews, gophers, groundhogs, field mice and squirrels.


Deer:

We Have Added A Completely New Section Dedicated To Deer.
This includes an overview of deer related problems, 11 different solutions, and a complete, very extensive list of plants that deer will eat, sometimes eat, and generally never eat.

Go To New Deer Section







Cats:

Problem: Cats can be a real problem in the garden. Cats can destroy transplants and damage seed beds; they defecate and urinate in the garden soil. Making these spots unpleasant and unhealthy. Cat feces can contain parasites that can affect the health of people. It is in your best interests to keep them out of the garden!

Solution: Cats do not like to get wet and a very good product, is called the Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler - again, I have used this with great success. Cats won't use your garden as a latrine anymore if you spread a pungent mixture of orange peels and used coffee grounds around your plants. The mix acts as fertilizer too


Dogs:

Problem: The only major problems with dogs, is digging holes and trampling young beds or freshly planted seeds. Using your garden as a favorite spot to urinate or defecate is not pleasant either.

Solution: While keeping your own dogs out of the garden may not be too difficult, neighborhood dogs may be a different story. Either way, there are only a few options. A fence is usually 100% effective. Sound devices may work but might irritate others. A very good product, is called the Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler - I have used this with great success and overall reports (including the BC Government in Canada) suggest an effectiveness rate from 85% to 95%.


Rabbits:

Problem: 90% of a rabbits diet is grass. When they get into the garden, we might think it is the reverse. Rabbits will feed on almost any plant in your garden that is easy for them to reach.

Solution: Fencing is probably the most effective way to keep rabbits out of the garden. Use a 1/2-inch wire mesh fence and make sure it is buried into the ground (12" if possible). It does not need to be very high - 36" should be fine. Keep your eyes open for even the smallest holes since rabbits can get through these easier than you may think - a 1 inch diameter hole may be enough for small rabbits.


A low electric fence is very good. The wire is attached to insulated posts angled outward from the garden. The first wire is close to the ground, the second wire is somewhat higher and not directly above the first. The angled arrangement makes it possible for the rabbit to approach the fence until his ears contact the electrified wire. A larger rabbit will encounter the upper wire, smaller rabbits the lower wire. The electricity is sufficient to startle and discourage rabbits but not to harm them. Such electric fences are available as kits from some suppliers. They may be battery powered or powered by alternating current to which a fence charger is attached. Keep grass and shrubs clear of the fence wire to prevent grounding out and reducing the charge. This will also deter racoons and skunks.

Dogs are effective if they are outside at night and free to run around your property. Build perches to attract owls and hawks - these birds of prey are not a problem for the garden and may use the perches to spot prey. Place perches on the side of your garden furthest away from your house and make them at least 8' high (small diameter trees work well if available). If you have a tree near your garden, look for natural perches within the tree (spots that you notice birds using on a regular basis) and then remove branches and foliage to provide a clear line of site over your garden.

A very good product, is called the Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler - I have used this with great success and overall reports (including the BC Government in Canada) suggest an effectiveness rate from 85% to 95%.


Mice:

Problem: Mice cause damage by feeding on a wide range of garden plants including artichoke, beet, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, turnip, sweet potato, spinach, and tomato.

Solution: One of the easiest ways to prevent mice is to remove natural protective habitat. Keep grass and areas near your garden short. Remove any piles of debris (lumber, plywood etc.). In other words, if predators of mice can spot them easily, mice are not likely to hang around or come out in the open if protective cover is not nearby. Mouse traps may help for small populations. Good mouser cats are also very effective.

Build perches to attract owls and hawks - these birds of prey are not a problem for the garden and may use the perches to spot prey. Place perches on the side of your garden furthest away from your house and make them at least 8' high (small diameter trees work well if available). If you have a tree near your garden, look for natural perches within the tree (spots that you notice birds using on a regular basis) and then remove branches and foliage to provide a clear line of site over your garden.


Moles & Gophers:

Problem: The biggest problem with moles is they dig deep tunnels where they have their young and retreat during very dry or cold weather. Piles of excavated soil often cap these deep tunnels. The deep tunnels connect to a constantly expanding and changing network of feeding tunnels located just below the surface of the soil or turf.

Gophers are very much the same except much more damaging in that they love to munch on your root crops.

Solution: Gophers have been difficult to get rid of in the past, but new products have come out recently that should resolve your gopher problems. The Solar Ground Rodent Repeller by Pestacator emits powerful sonic waves (vibrations) to the keen ears of underground rodents. It causes them to flee the region. It effectively repels underground moles, shrews, gophers, groundhogs, field mice and squirrels.

Moles are repelled by hyacinths and castor oil plants. An alternate method get rid of these pests is to place garlic cloves in their nest, or stick an empty bottle in the entrance to the nest, right side up. The sound of the wind whistling in the bottle will prompt them to move elsewhere. Most other methods, including flooding their nest, have proven ineffective.


Birds:

Problem: Birds are beneficial in a garden when they eat bugs. However, when they eat freshly planted seeds or start eyeing up your berry plants near harvest time, they can be a real nuisance.

Solution: Row and plant covers made of netting is the best defence against birds. You can try products designed to scare away birds, but most fail in the long run - birds just seem to figure out what is a threat, and what is not. Some gardeners claim that a wire (rope), with thin strips of reflective metal and spaced 3 feet apart, works well for them.













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