It’s easy to see why gardens can be a big attraction to various wildlife, but thieving animals can be incredibly frustrating for gardeners of any kind. Finding ways to keep animals away from your garden is critical, but use the wrong methods, and you can end up with dead or injured animals. For animal lovers who want to protect their garden, here are a few ways to humanely deter wildlife from your garden.
One of the easiest ways to deter animals from feasting on your plants is to use physical barriers like tents, wire cloche, fencing, or raised beds. The problem with some of these methods is that you’ll have to remove and reattach them every time you need to get to the plant. You’ll also have to consider the kind of animal disturbing your garden. For example, wire cloche or chicken wire may not work well for animals like field mice, but they work well when protecting plants from larger animals.
Animal Safe Repellents
If physical barriers aren’t for you, there are repellents you can apply on and around the plants that won’t harm your garden or the animals. Animals aren’t big fans of spicy food, so you can spray diluted hot pepper sauce on your plants to help keep them away; you can also add aromatics like peppermint oil. There are store-bought animal-safe repellents, such as predator urine, but beware that they smell and may also repel you from your garden.
Visual and Auditory Deterrents
The animals that like to steal from your garden are usually prey animals, meaning they’re generally easy to scare. Visual deterrents like plastic predators, scarecrows, or repellent lights are great at keeping animals away in the short term. However, if the deterrents don’t move, animals will get used to them. Auditory deterrents that are intermittent or triggered by movement can be a better way to go, such as windchimes, predator sounds, or even music.
Animal Specific Tips
Animal-based destruction is one of the most common garden problems, but depending on the type of animal pestering your garden, the way to combat them varies. If birds are your problem, many don’t have the receptors to taste capsaicin, so don’t bother using a spicy spray. Instead, stick to visual or auditory repellents. It’s also important to understand that if small critters like field mice occasionally eat your plants, this is a sign of healthy plants, and it’s a good idea to learn to coexist. For small critters like those, providing an alternative food source like seeds can make a big difference.
Diluted milk with crushed garlic and cayenne pepper makes for an excellent deer repellent. But if too much milk drips off the plants and absorbs into the soil, you risk disturbing the delicate balance of bacteria in the dirt. Make sure to put a healthy layer of much underneath beforehand.
Knowing how to keep wild animals out of your garden is essential for gardeners of any experience level. Now that you know how to deter wildlife from your garden humanely, you can protect your plants while keeping the local animals safe.