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Seasonal Tips: Keep Critters Out of the Garden

by Lynn Hunt

They may look innocent. They may even look cute. But when bunnies, deer, raccoons, dogs, and other pests damage your plants, you may want to wring their furry necks. Of course there is no totally foolproof way to keep animals out of the garden. Experts recommend erecting a six-foot tall fence trimmed at the bottom with chicken wire that's firmly planted six inches into the ground. An electric fence is better yet. But for those who don't want to go the fencing route, there are some natural ways to keep critters at bay.

Deer can defoliate a garden in one evening; however, deterring their destructive visits isn’t easy. One thing is sure, deer don't like walking through thorny bushes. A hedge of Rugosa roses, holly or other prickly plants may discourage them. Ask your Growise expert for a recommendation. You can also try using plants that deer dislike, including buddleia, boxwood, peonies, pine and daffodils. As for repellents, the new protein-based sprays have been quite successful. Wood ashes are another traditional remedy.

Every year those "wascally wabbits" chomp on my rose bushes, then stare at me defiantly as if challenging me to do something about it. I’ve tried just about everything including dried blood, human hair and bone meal without much success. Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening recommends powdered phosphate rock, wood ashes and moth crystals. Small cages of chicken wire around young plants and hot pepper spray (1 tablespoon Tabasco or other hot sauce mixed with one gallon of water) have worked well in my garden.

Raccoons love sweet corn but don’t like moth crystals or small bowls of ammonia spread between cornrows. Dogs supposedly run from a tea made with water and cigar butts. Moles are offended by castor oil and red pepper. Cats actually may be the best deterrent for moles. So how do you discourage kitty from your flowers? Scatter citrus peels throughout your beds. Then cross your fingers and hope.


 

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Growise Home - Growise Center Locator - Who We Are - Gifts for Gardeners - Gift Certificates - Garden Guide - Wise Buys - National Gardening Sale - Fall Festival