Most people’s idea of a beautiful, relaxing garden includes not just exquisite flowers and vegetables, but also carefree butterflies, buzzing bees and perhaps a charming bunny hopping through the landscape. Unfortunately, the reality is that critters inside your garden means that your harvest won’t be nearly as fruitful. In fact, it will get damaged and bruised if you don’t take the time and make the effort to deter the wildlife in your area.
As appealing as the idea might be of creating a garden that fully encompasses wildlife, any of your plantings are vulnerable to their insatiable hunger and need to feed wherever they find sustenance. Food for wildlife is rarely in such abundance that they will overlook your garden because they are “full”. That’s why it’s best to protect it with some natural methods that simply divert the critters’ attention to other destinations.
It might take a little bit of strategizing, but it is entirely possible to find the right methods to keep deer, voles, skunks, raccoons, groundhogs, rabbits, and every other hungry furry woodland creature away from your garden. After all, you spend hours there during cool and hot days, planting, soil enhancing, checking on growth, watering roots and applying TLC. The last thing you need is to visit your garden and have all the crops stomped on and/ or ravaged.
Deer Fencing – Proven to Be a Super-Deterrent
Quality deer fencing is an affordable and durable way to keep deer, and other four-legged critters out of your garden, and to gently guide them in another direction. Fencing can last up to 25 years and withstand all types of weather conditions. Deer are able to jump as high as a grown man, so deer fencing should be at least seven to eight feet tall. There is a plethora of fencing choices that can be easily put in place. They can be nearly invisible, strengthened to repel large critters and overlapping at the bottom to keep small intruders out.
Heavy Aroma Plants – Pungent Provocateurs
Even if food looks delicious, if the smell is ‘off’ most people, and as it turns out deer too, will avoid it. One way to keep deer and other creatures out of your garden is by planting foliage that has a distinct spicy, odorous and robust aroma. Fragrant plants, both herbs and flowers with toxicity deter deer and other critters.
- Bee Balm
- Dead Nettle
- Chili Peppers
- Bearded Iris
These are just a few of the many plants that are pungently fragrant enough to be distasteful to deer, and even toxic. You may also consider foliage that is fibrous and leathery such as dragon wing begonias, pachysandra, lambs’ ear, boxwood, yarrow, and elephant ears.
Tree Tubes & Cages – Creating Critter Barriers
Deer can cause a lot of damage to a tree for various reasons. Depending on the tree size, of course, they may eat the foliage voraciously but also gash and gouge the bark and trunk of the tree, causing severe damage. Bucks use the tender tree bark to rub the velvet from their antlers when they are growing, and then gnaw on the tree to mark their territory.
Using tree tubes and cages inside of your garden and landscape will also help keep deer and critters at bay. Wrapping chicken wire or other types of strong mesh around the trunk of the tree will allow it to grow properly and will protect it from critter-imposed damage.
You might also consider fencing in certain plants, which is a far less problematic solution than continually replanting them.
Use Repellants – From Human Hair to Egg Based Concoctions
Repellants serve as an effective tool against deer and other creatures entering your garden area. However, they must be reapplied often. Consider what types of wildlife are entering your garden or will be potentially entering your garden to best determine proper repellant use.
- Raccoons rely keenly on their noses to find themselves food. They especially don’t like vinegar or ammonia, hot pepper, peppermint oil or Epsom salt.
- Squirrels are not fans of black pepper, garlic, peppermint, white or black pepper. You can easily spray flowers and plants with water and then sprinkle with a natural deterrent.
- Rabbits will be triggered to run away from smells that include dried blood, rancid egg, and most certainly, a mixture of them both.
- Deer detest human hair, if you have any extra, scatter it in vulnerable areas. Deer will flee if they come into contact with any smell that is egg-based. Consider sprinkling putrefied eggs, soaps, garlic and dried blood among the garden’s rows.
Most people don’t acknowledge that when you start a garden, regardless of how big or how small, you in essence become a habitat manager. Your garden is relying on you to keep it free from pests and woodland creatures that, because of instinct, are determined to claim it for their own. Change up your repellants. Deer are wise and find ways to accommodate repulsive smells.
Keeping your garden free of pests doesn’t have to mean introducing dangerous chemicals, with a little ingenuity you can keep your garden safe and still enjoy a natural habitat for the enjoyment of all.