Dealing with animals in your garden can be a real hassle, especially if these animals are digging up, eating, or otherwise damaging your plants. By being able to identify what type of animal is invading your garden, you can come up with a viable game plan to control the problem. From there, you can regain control of your beloved garden while preventing future damage from animal invaders as humanely as possible.
Identify What Kind of Animal is Invading Your Garden
Sometimes, it’s easy to figure out what kind of animal is wreaking havoc in your garden—especially if you’re able to keep a close eye on the garden itself and catch animals in the act. Unfortunately, identifying garden intruders isn’t always as easy as you might think—especially when you consider that some animals will strike gardens at night.
If you’re having trouble figuring out which animal is the culprit, there are some tips you can keep in mind to help you. Start by looking for tracks leading to and from your garden; a quick online search can help you identify animals based on the tracks they leave in the mud or dirt. You may also be able to identify intruders based on bite marks they may leave in your fruits, vegetables, or other plants.
If things get desperate, you might even consider setting up a trail camera, which will record all activity around your garden and help you get to the bottom of the issue.
Don’t Allow Hiding Places to Remain
Once you know what’s causing damage to your garden, you may be able to deter invaders by getting rid of obvious hiding spots. Brush piles and tall grass, for example, are popular nesting and hiding places for smaller animals. By getting rid of brush piles and even sealing off any crawl spaces on your nearby porch or deck, you may force pests to relocate.
Minimizing food sources for garden invaders is also a must. Avoid leaving compost piles near your garden uncovered, as these become an open invitation for critters like raccoons. You’ll also want to clean up bird seed to discourage squirrels from hanging around—and reduce grub populations using Milky Spore and nematodes.
Other Control Methods
In addition to taking the above measures, there are some other control methods you may want to consider to keep your garden free of unwanted pests.
Installing a Garden Fence
If you haven’t done so already, consider installing a fence around your garden. This is often the most effective way to keep animals out and works especially well for smaller animals (such as rabbits) that will not be able to easily scale a fence.
How high should your garden fence be? It really depends on the type of animal you’re trying to keep out. Ideally, garden fences should be at least five feet high, as this height will discourage both small and large animals (such as deer).
Installing a Wire Cloche
One alternative to installing a full garden fence is to build a wire cloche, which is a small wire cage that surrounds a specific plant. This is a great option if you seem to have animals attacking only certain plants (such as tomato plants) around your garden.
Wire cloche can be easily made out of chicken wire, so it’s also an inexpensive option. All you have to do is wrap it around the plant and secure it within the soil to create a protective cover. Just make sure that it’s loose enough to easily remove as needed so that you can continue to care for your plant.
Depending on the animal you’re trying to deter, there may be an effective scent repellent worth trying. Some common examples of effective scent repellents can include:
- garlic clips
- castor oil
- predator urine
Visual and auditory repellents can also be effective at discouraging animals from getting close to your garden. These can include ultrasonic repellers, water sprayers, reflective tapes, and even noisemakers. Whatever you choose, just be sure to “mix things up” from time to time, as animals can become used to repellents making them less effective over time.
Before setting any kind of live trap to deal with a garden pest, you’ll want to check your local wildlife laws. In many cases, you may be required to safely and humanely relocate pests once they are trapped. Some common examples of live animal traps (which are typically made out of galvanized steel mesh or similar material) consist of:
- putting food out to lure an animal inside a trap
- using a trap with a spring-loaded door
Need a Garden Fence Installed?
Considering a garden fence as a means of protecting your garden from unwanted pests? A & O Texas Solutions has you covered! Contact our team to schedule your free consultation or find out more about our available fencing options. We look forward to helping you reclaim your garden!