Garden Animal and Pest Control
Both home and commercial gardens constantly face a broad assault from a wide
array of animals and other pests. That assault comes from the air, on the
ground and underground. As a gardener, consider yourself an excellent soldier.
Even the best armies in history would find it a difficult challenge to face
an enemy coming from this many directions at the same time. As good growers,
we successfully beat back the never ending invasion each and every year.
We can help you to defend against this wide range of garden enemies, and
win the battle!
Types of Enemy:
This section of The Gardener's Net covers animal and other
pests. Also see: Insects Pests.
Ground Troops on the Offensive:
When we think about a ground attack, we think about bunnies eating our beans
and lettuce, or woodchucks (ground hogs) eagerly munching on a variety of
fruits and vegetables, or deer in the cornfield, apple trees and lettuces.
In reality, just about any animal that walks or crawls on the surface of
the planet can cause a threat to your vegetable crop, flower beds,and even
the thorny rose garden. Homo Sapien animals can be a hazard to your garden,
too. Take for example, my son's High School graduation party. The kids
played volleyball next to the pumpkin patch and volleyball "missiles" were
flying in every direction. If a dog is loose in your yard, your flower and
vegetable gardens are at risk of being trampled.
A defensive stand is important to deter a wide array of varmints. The
best defense is twenty foot stone castle and complete with moat. The moat
will deter the beasts that can't swim and the stone wall is unscalable by
climbing critters. Can't build a castle and moat? Then, we recommend you
start with a good rabbit fence that is three, preferably four feet high.
Then, add to your weaponry as you are able, and as necessary.
Here is our recommendations to deter animals from your garden:
First Step: Install a three to four foot rabbit fence. The close netting
will keep out the rabbits and other small animals who can slip between normally
wide fencing. Don't be surprised though to find a few small and energetic
bunnies who learned to jump up and through the wider spacing towards the
top. The enemy is stealthy. Deer can jump a fence, or simply step over a
short one. If you have plants that deer enjoy, raise the pole vault by taking
clothesline or rope and tying it five to six feet above ground over the fence.
This may require higher stakes.
Step Two: Frequently check the bottom of the fence for spots where
an animal can crawl under. Fortify these weak points. Consider rimming the
fence with boards or bricks to deter animals from digging under the
Step Three: There are a variety of products at your local garden store
that produce varying degrees of success. These include concentrated urine
from fox and other carnivore animals that are natural predators to garden
munching animals. Some suggest that garlic and blood meal will also deter
some animals. Hot pepper sprays can also deter pests.
Step Four: Set out "Have-a-heart" or "Live Traps". These traps capture
small animals without harming them. They then can be transferred to another
location and released far from your garden. If you pursue this option, it
is very important that you check local rules and regulations for trapping,
transporting and release of wild animals. Some communities allow homeowners
to trap the animals, but insist upon removal and release by an animal control
Step Five: Consider a cat. They do a great job keeping rabbits
and other small animals away.
Tunnel Boring Enemies:
Tunnel boring pests are primarily rodents, most often moles and mice, but
also include chipmunks. They can cause damage to your garden in two ways.
First, they eat vegetables in the garden. They attack both the root crops
and above ground crops. It can be really disappointing to grow carrots with
great tops and a wide root protruding from the soil only to find a mole has
chewed away at the carrot below the surface. And if you have ever had a mole
tunnel under a cantaloupe or pumpkin and eat through just as the fruit ripens,
you know the dis-appointment these pests can inflict.
A second problem with tunneling rodents is disruption of the root system.
In their tunneling effort, they do not care about the primary or secondary
roots they disrupt. This weakens and can even kill the plant. More than once,
this gardener has had a giant sunflower topple over as a result of weakened
root system from tunneling moles.
Here are some ideas to minimize this problem. We say "minimize", as moles
and mice are often difficult to completely eradicate.
A Better Mouse Trap- Actually, the old fashioned mouse trap is difficult
to improve upon from a standpoint of effectiveness. And it is environmentally
friendly. What makes it work is the right bait. Perhaps the best bait is
peanut butter. Mouse traps are easily used in sheds and under woodpiles.
For use in the garden, we recommend they be covered by a five gallon bucket
or box. This offers some protection to domestic animals and kids from
accidentally getting hurt.
Many have asked: Unfortunately, there are few ways to keep those cute
little chipmunks from becoming caught in these traps.
Poison Baits: While you almost never see the dead rodent, manufacturers
claim these poison baits are very effective. Your only proof is a decline
of rodent activity. If you do not want to deal with disposal of the carcass,
this may be the answer for you. Also note these poisons are not good for
the environment or your health. If you use them, do not put them inside a
vegetable garden. Very importantly, keep it out of reach of young
Gas Bombs: A gas bomb can be effective in eliminating rodents. Like
poisons, it is not environmentally friendly and you usually don't see the
results. It takes work to set up and is only effective if the rodents are
in the tunnels.
There are a number of other methods. Some of which emit a high pitch sound
to discourage the pests from your yard. But this only causes them to move
somewhere else...perhaps to your neighbor's yard. And, the move may only
Attacks from the air are the hardest to control. Just about anything you
use will have limited results. Cherry trees are popular targets just as the
fruit ripens. Pea plants and tender shoots of many plants are common
targets too. Corn can be raided by crows, Blue Jays and other birds. Sunflowers
are popular of many birds, especially the widely popular Cardinals. The list
On the other hand, many gardeners grow specific fruits and vegetables to
attract song birds. Those same beautiful birds that grace your bird feeder,
also enjoy snacking on your garden. Some gardeners are really bird lovers
in disguise, and use flowers and vegetables to entice birds to their backyard
bird sanctuary. In this case, the birds are the end result of your gardening
Here are some bird control and deterrence ideas:
Ye Olde Scarecrow: Some people actually do claim limited success with
scaring birds away. Even if they afford little deterrence, scarecrows are
a neat visual addition to your garden.
Noise makers: Birds are skittish. A little noise goes a long way in
scaring them off. Common noisemakers include aluminum pans (an increasingly
rare commodity in a microwave society), wind chimes, and tape recordings
of bird predators.
Replicas of Natural Enemies: Plastic and inflatable owls and snakes
can sometimes fool the birds. However, we believe you can fool some of the
birds all of the time, all of the birds some of the time, but you can't fool
all of the birds all of the time.
While we talk a lot about garden pests, you do have some allies in the insect
and animal kingdom. Some good examples are birds that eat insects and grubs.
Bats are among this group. There are also beneficial insects like lady bugs
and preying mantis that chow down on other harmful insects. Make sure your
animal and insect control program considers the impact of these beneficial
Bird, Deer, and Rabbit Pest Netting - Why let
the critters eat eat the fruits of your hard earned efforts?
Are Deer, Bunnies or birds feasting on your plants?
Brunch time is over.....period!
Buy the Buffet Buster now!