How to Protect Your Garden from Pests
There is truly nothing more frustrating for a gardener than realizing an animal has been feasting on your veggies. All that time and effort to raise your crops wasn’t intended to feed the neighborhood deer!
The best way to control garden intruders is to keep them out of your plants from the start. Some simple up-front planning before the next growing season can help reduce the risk of pests. But if you’re already growing and animals have come knocking, there are a few techniques to keep them at bay.
Assess the Damage
Is your herb garden often overrun with rabbits? Do you wake up to a daily herd of deer grazing on your raised beds? You’ll need to understand the animals’ habits and size to pick a solution that deters them.
Remove Any Animal Attractors
If you have a brush pile close to your garden or raised bed near the edge of the porch, they could be attracting pesky critters. Animals love to nest in piles of wood and yard debris, as well as burrow under decks and porches. Removing any brush collections and sealing off crawl spaces minimizes the ability for pests to make homes. A chipper shredder can help you by quickly mulching brush piles to reuse the organic materials. And don’t forget about cleaning up any spilled birdseed and covering your compost bin – getting rid of potential food will send animals packing.
Try Scarecrows or DIY Natural Repellents
Most animals can be easily thrown off course with a sensory distraction. Aromas like predator urine, castor oil, garlic, hot peppers, and mothballs are used as scent deterrents (be careful about using these around children). Scaring an animal with lights, noise makers, faux predators, water sprayers, and reflectors are also good solutions. Plan to switch around your strategies occasionally to maintain the element of surprise!
An easy and humane way of deterring pests is with a simple scarecrow or other faux predator. There are many types available, including motion-detecting owls and bird-scaring balloons. Some options are even solar powered so you don’t have to think about changing batteries. These can add a fun decorative element to your garden and feel like you have real owls hanging around.
Let Your Pet Defend the Territory
Usually cats and dogs are best kept out of the garden, but when your prized plants are under attack, it’s time to call in your furry allies! Dogs barking and patrolling the area will make pests think twice before entering. Some dogs might even nab an intruder. Cats are particularly useful at catching rats, gophers, and other small pests.
Cover Your Crops with Nets
To help with issues of bugs or birds attacking from the top, cover the plants with netting or row covers. These can rest directly on top of plants or over wire hoops. Leave slack so the crops have room to breathe and weigh the sides down with rocks or bricks so nothing can crawl underneath. Remove the covers when plants start budding so healthy pollinators can help!
Install Garden Fencing or a Greenhouse
If you’ve tried the above options and pests are still bothering your plants, consider adding a barrier. There are many types of portable garden fences, which prevent deer, rabbits, squirrels, and other four-legged animals from grazing on your plants from the sides. These can easily be moved around to protect different areas of your property from pests.
Many raised bed manufacturers also offer custom-fitted fences or covers that latch onto the beds’ edges. These can help protect the raised beds against pests as well as wind, rain, and excessive sun. Raised bed covers and fences vary in terms of portability depending on model.
To help with issues of bugs or birds attacking from the top, cover the plants with light netting or row covers. These can rest directly on top of plants or over wire hoops. Leave slack so the crops have room to breathe and weigh the sides down with rocks or bricks so nothing can crawl underneath. Remove the covers when plants start budding so healthy pollinators can help!
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Last updated: 7/22/2022