Protect Your Garden From Animals
Nothing is more frustrating than spending the time, money and effort creating a beautiful, useful garden only to realize you haven’t taken any precautions to protect your garden from animals. Keep reading for some tips on preventing animals from doing damage to your garden.
What Are You Dealing With?
The three main animals that tend to give gardeners the most problems are deer, rabbits, and gophers. They each have a different attraction to gardens and use them in different ways. If you noticed holes leading to underground tunnels around your garden, you obviously have a problem with gophers. If you notice the tops of your taller plants being eaten, you are probably dealing with deer. When you notice the vegetables being eaten lower down, about a feet off the ground or less, you are probably dealing with rabbits. Although some techniques work for all three, you should know which animal you are dealing with so you can narrow your focus and method of prevention.
The most difficult animal to deter can be the deer. Simply because of their height and strength, deer tend to be a little more difficult to deal with than other animals. The best way to prevent deer from eating the plants in your garden is with a fence. A simple wire mesh fence will do the trick as long as it is strong enough to withstand pressure from animals and harsh weather. Since deer are such great jumpers, you should make the fence a minimum of eight feet tall. For a less involved approach, you should visit your local gardening or home improvement store to find a commercial spray made to keep deer away. Another way to deter deer is to add plants they hate around your garden. Echinacea, daisies, and oregano are a few of the many plants that will deter deer and other animals around your garden.
The cute, furry animals bouncing around your yard are also responsible for eating your most flavorful, decorative vegetables. To keep rabbits out of your garden, install a fence in the same fashion you did for the deer. However, you only need to make this fence about 18 inches off the ground with four inches of the fence underground for stability. If you are dealing with jack rabbits, make the fence about 24 inches tall. If you already have a deer fence, simply reinforce the bottom 24 inches with tighter, smaller wire mesh. The holes should be less than an inch to avoid rabbits slipping through them.
These hidden attackers go after root vegetables from the bottom and create destructive air spaces around the root systems. To rid your garden of gophers, make the bed of your garden raised about 18 inches. This will also deter rabbits. You can also add fine-meshed hardware cloth to the bottom floor of the bed before you add the soil in order to “block” them from the bottom. For extreme cases, you can build an owl nest (12 feet high, ½ mile from your garden) so they will hunt the gophers, or you can use smoke to force them out of their tunnels.