Natural Remedy to Keep Animals out of My Garden

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There is nothing more frustrating than starting a garden only to have it destroyed by animals that seem to love your vegetables and flowers as much as you do. Luckily there are a variety of ways to keep animals out of your garden naturally without harming them.

Barriers

Although barriers like fencing and raised beds can be expensive, they are the most reliable method for keeping animals out of your garden.

Raised Beds

Raised beds can be purchased or built yourself from untreated lumber and plywood. Whether you purchase or build a raised bed, ensure the sides are at least 18 inches tall to keep animals out. Prior to adding dirt to the beds, cover the bottom of each bed with 1/4-inch mesh hardware cloth and attach it with staples, nails, or nuts and bolts. This will prevent burrowing animals from entering the raised bed.

Mesh Fencing

Mesh fencing is an adequate method for preventing rabbits and other small animals from entering your garden. Measure the perimeter of your garden with a tape measure. Use 1 1/2- to 2-foot-tall, 1-inch mesh wire stapled to four or more wooden stakes to surround and protect your garden. Bury the bottom edge of the wire several inches within the ground to prevent rabbits from digging their way under the fence. If you have a pre-existing larger fence around your garden, simply attach the mesh fencing to the bottom 2 feet of the fence to keep small animals out.

Electric Fencing

If you have problems with deer eating or destroying your flowers or vegetables, tall wire electrical fencing at least 6, but preferably 7 to 8 feet tall is the best method to keep them out. Secure the fence to the ground to prevent them from burrowing underneath the fence.

Natural Repellents

Plant Extracts and Animal Repellents

Some plant extracts known to deter animals include capsicum, garlic, mustard oils and other plant oils. Hot sauce or pepper extracts that include capsicum have worked to repel rabbits, squirrels and deer. Predator urine, especially coyote urine, has been shown to repel rabbits from flower beds and gardens, but it may also draw dogs and other undesirable animals to your garden. Meat proteins and dried blood may scare animals away from your garden but should not be used on vegetable gardens due to contamination risks.

Acoustic and Visual Repellents

Acoustic and visual repellents are typically not recommended because they are only minimally useful. Acoustic repellents use sound such as fireworks or recorded distress signals to scare or irritate animals away from gardens. Acoustic repellents using sound frequencies have not been proven to be effective. Visual repellents such as scarecrows or flashing lights may work for a time period but, similarly to acoustic repellents, animals quickly get used to them and render them ineffective.

Repellent Considerations

Although repellents are much less costly than fencing, they must be used properly to be reliable. Make sure the repellent you choose is known to repel the animal pest in question. If an animal is very hungry or gets used to a particular repellent, it will no longer work, although changing the brand or type of repellent may help. Apply repellents before damage occurs for best results.

Instructions for Using Commercial Sprays

Warning

    • Avoid using any repellent designed for landscape plants on edible plants unless the product levels states that it is safe for use on food crops.
    • Avoid applying commercial pepper sprays to new transplants or new
      flowers or plants.
    • Do not apply at temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • Avoid
      making contact with eyes or skin and wear protective clothing and gloves
      during application.
    • Flush eyes with water for 20 minutes if you get
      this spray in your eyes. Wash thoroughly with soap and water after use.

Ready-to-use commercial sprays containing black pepper and capsaicin can deter cats, dogs, raccoons, skunks and squirrels from flowers and non-edible gardens. Carefully read all product instructions prior to use.

Things You'll Need

  • Ready-to-use spray repellent containing black pepper oil, piperine and capsaicin and capsaicinoids.
  • Soap
  • Water

Step 1

Spray approximately three trigger sprays per square foot of area around the border of your garden in a 5-foot-wide perimeter.

Step 2

Spray a small area of ornamental plants directly at a rate of three trigger sprays per square foot. Wait 24 hours, and if there is no damage, continue to treat your ornamental plants, saturating them until the product runs off.

Step 3

Wash your hands and clothing immediately after use.

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