Yes, he’s looking directly at your plants…And he seems to work so fast, that it’s hard to even keep up with the damage sometimes. The list of animal pests in the garden seems long. When one stops bothering your yard, another moves in to continue the job.
It helps immensely if you can identify your perpetrator as various solutions work well with one critter, but not another. Not great news, is it? Here’s the short story; Rabbits like to eat anything, squirrels and chipmunks are the ones digging up your bulbs, groundhogs are exceedingly stubborn about leaving “their” territory, and voles are stealthy in their underground dens.
There are a few things you can do to discourage critters from setting up housekeeping in your yard.
- Get rid of nice hiding places if you can. Spots like brush piles, stone walls, and wood piles can serve as the perfect place for animals to hide and live. Take a minute to look around and decide what you’re willing to eliminate. Plug any obvious openings that shouldn’t be there that lead to space under a porch or in the garden shed.
- Fencing. Think about some garden fencing for obvious intruders in certain areas. A vegetable garden definitely needs fencing around it. It’s like ringing the dinner bell for rabbits, skunks and woodchucks. When you can fence, do so!
- Change your strategy or plan when you can. Did the plastic owl stop having any effect on birds nesting in your gazebo? Good time to try a sonic deterrent if you’re determined. Physically screening the area often works best, such as you could do in rain gutters or gingerbreading woodwork. A note about sonic repellents. They often work right away, but some pests can get used to the sound and begin living with it.
- Consider. Also, take a minute to consider what you’re repelling. Birds can be messy in the wrong spot, but they’re keeping lots of insects at a manageable level in your yard. If you can stand to be around snakes, don’t send them away! They’re the ones eating mice and voles.
- Strategy: Repellents come in a few forms and cover a wide variety of animals. Some products that we recommend trying are Repels-All by Bonide and Shake-Away. These products are not a permanent solution. You’ll need to reapply depending on weather and circumstances. Repellents contain a variety of substances such as; garlic oil, dried blood, animal urine and castor oil and are generally safe to use in the yard. (Most chemicals that kill wildlife have been outlawed in New York State.)
- Strategy: Trapping is another option, best left to a professional. For territorial animals such as groundhogs, sometimes this may be your only choice.