"Gardens are not just about plants; they're also about battling nature's cunning invaders." - John Green
For someone who has been trying to work with wildlife in my backyard for years, this quote says it all. :)
Strategies that works for me:
Barriers and Deterrents for Pest Control
- Electric fence - I didn't want the expense nor the work, but I couldn't get anything else to work.
- Traps baited with peanuts and peanut butter- only because anything smaller than a squirrel can still get through the electric fence.
- We have used live traps and relocated them, but it's against the law now where we live.
- Cages made with 1/4" or 1/2" hardwarecloth - are a lot of work, but they work. Small rodents will get through chickenwire.
- A cat - yes! My neighbours' cats hunt chipmunks, mice and whatever else they can catch.
- A dog - yes! It works, but only during the day if you have neighbours. :)
Internet Barriers and Deterrent Suggestions that didn't work for me:
- Motion-activated animal deterrent water sprayer - ( Scarecrow ) - they said "thank you for the cool sprinkle"
- Deterrents like peppers, garlic, soaps and "Critter Ridder" - didn't stop any of my animal pests.
- Reflectors and Noise makers etc. - just cluttered my garden.
Culprits: Animal Pests in my garden:
Managing Bird Pests in the Garden
Bird netting and floating row covers, works.
With bird netting birds will eat the fruit that grows through the netting or whatever they can reach through the holes from the outside.
I don't have anything that foxes would like to eat.
Sometimes they will sit on the vegetable beds and wait for rabbits to arrive.
They just break a lot of stuff as they walk through or sit.
Usually Raccoons are not much of a problem until corn and grape season. They must smell my corn miles away and then nothing can stop them. They will destroy my whole corn bed in one evening and eat most of my grapes and leave me the skins. The electric fence is stopping them.
Dealing with Rabbits:
Rabbits start early spring by eating my tulip shoots and flowers.
Then they come back to harvest peas, cabbages, lettuce and beets.
Electric or wire fence. Rabbits will chew through plastic fencing.
I also protect my young trees by wrapping chickenwire around the trunks.
Skunks make holes all over the garden looking for grubs, but they also like corn.
Protecting Your Garden from Squirrel and Chipmunk Damage
This the hardest for me to protect my garden from.
They will eat spring bulbs, but I protect those with chickenwire or 1/2" hardwarecloth.
I made bulb baskets and if I'm in a hurry I just plant my bulbs deeper that the book suggests and cover the spring bulbs with chickenwire. If they can't get the bulbs they come back and eat the flowers in the spring.
I don't know anything in my garden that squirrels and chipmunks won't eat.
Cages made with chickenwire will keep squirrels out, but not chipmunks or mice. For that I replaced the chickenwire with 1/4" hardwarecloth.
Also my neighbours have birdfeeders, walnuts and maple trees that squirrels love. So, they come and bury their treasures in my garden and flower pots.
The garden, I can keep the squirrels and chipmunks out with electric fence and traps.
The flowerpots; is another story.
I made barriers with chickenwire ( chipmunks can get through chickenwire fencing ) and bought critter deterrents to no avail.
I wanted pretty flowers by my back door, but they would dig up the plants and splatter fresh soil everywhere.
I tried it again one year and planted my plants deeper and used "pea gravel" as a mulch and keep my soil from washing everywhere every time I watered.
Next day I went to check my pots and everything was still intact.
"Why?" was my first thought.
So I planted another pot, but this time without gravel and I'm sure the chipmunks and squirrels were in there as soon as I came in the house. Next day I poured some gravel around my plants and they stopped.
Chipmunks and Squirrels do not like digging in gravel?
Unique Statistics on Animal Pest Infestations:
- Over 70% of gardeners report encountering rabbit or hare damage in their gardens annually.
- Squirrels are responsible for approximately 40% of garden-related pest complaints in urban areas.
- Bird pests cause an estimated $5 billion in agricultural losses worldwide each year.