We put our hearts and souls into our gardens. We dream of tender tulips in spring. Of Winterberries in winter. Of sun-ripened tomatoes plucked right from the vine. So when a critter sneaks in and devours our dreams, it’s devastating. They’re cute. They’re very, very cute. But they gotta go.
Here are some ways you can deter the habitual offenders: deer, rabbits, groundhogs, mice, skunks, squirrels, moles, voles, and yes, even adorable little chipmunks (which are currently invading New Hampshire apparently).
Deer browse on tender twigs, buds, fruits, nuts, seeds, and leaves. They often come out in the evening, after we’ve gone to bed feeling really great about our garden. Too often, we wake up to the damage they’ve done.
- We highly recommend Everguard or PlantSkydd repellent sprays. Both products are eco-friendly and non-toxic, which means they are safe for people, pets, pollinators, and plants alike. Spray your plants once a week (after it rains) and the scent and flavor of the spray will disgust them. Eventually, they will decide to move on to greener pastures. We use both of these products on our grounds here at the nursery, and find they work beautifully. You can even spray Everguard right onto your bulbs before planting them, and it works great.
- Choose deer-resistant plants for your garden. However, please be warned that if deer are hungry enough, they will eat whatever plants they can access.
- Keep deer-attracting plants closer to your home, and closer to areas of family traffic. Noise, motion, and scent will help deter them.
- Harvest fruits and vegetables right away, so they are not inviting deer to come eat them.
- Use deer fencing around your raised beds.
- Use clear fishing line as a fence around beds or plants. Deer don’t like feeling an invisible object brush at their nose or feet, and will back away from it.
- They also do not like irregular movement or reflected light, so hang scare tape or shiny, metallic items (like aluminum foil) from the fishing line to make the deer wary.
- Add levels to your garden. Deer want to be able to escape quickly, so they do not like venturing onto uneven ground.
The Trouble with Tunnelers
Rabbits, moles, voles, mice and chipmunks can sometimes tunnel underground and attack from below. They often want to create a cozy, subterranean lodging or eat insects or roots in the soil. You may find a family of rabbits living under your porch, or discover the roots of your favorite shrub have been shorn off just below the soil line.
- Many of these pests rely on quickly escaping to a system of shelters, and do not like to linger in open spaces where they are visible. So keep your lawn mown, your trees and shrubs pruned upward from the soil line a bit, and your property cleared of debris like discarded firewood or autumn leaves.
- Again, use Everguard or PlantSkydd repellent sprays or granules. Both products are eco-friendly and non-toxic, which means they are safe for people, pets, pollinators, and plants alike. Spray your plants once a week (after it rains) and the scent and flavor of the spray will strongly discourage them.
- Use blood or bone meal fertilizer, which repel herbivores, and, as an added bonus, is great for your garden.
- Clean up discarded seed shells under bird feeders.
- Use chickenwire or deer fencing to fence in your raised beds, including underneath the raised bed where they will try to tunnel underneath.
- Regularly check your garden beds for signs of tunneling, even in winter, and dig up or expose any networks you find. Fill their burrow entrances with gravel and rocks.
- Use tree guards or wraps to protect the delicate bark on young trees from voles and other critters, and keep snow pulled away from the base of your precious trees and shrubs.
- Let your dog or cat sit in the yard with you as you garden. Their scent will send a signal for critters to be wary.
We’re Ready to Help
We carry tree guards and wrappings, blood and bone meal, scare tape, deer fencing, and Everguard or PlantSkydd repellents for managing any critter you’re battling.
Keep at It
Use a combination of these tactics to deter critters from your yard. They will eventually decide it’s too much work to deal with your constant interruptions, and find another territory to set up house. Keep at it, and eventually, you’ll win the war.