Whether you have a flower garden or a vegetable one, you probably feel very protective about it. Your dog is not allowed to walk on your precious tulip flower beds. And your vegetable garden is a fortress, or so you think! The reality is, there are many animals out there that are after your juicy lettuce and even your flower bulbs. And it’s best to take measures before you wake up to a vandalized flowery mess or half-eaten tomatoes. Here are a few tips from our Maryland wildlife removal and pest control experts on how to keep the garden animal pests away.
Know Who You Are Up Against
There are quite a few animals that may be interested in what you are growing. Here is the list of the usual suspects and how to identify them:
Raccoons in the Garden
Among other things, raccoons eat worms and bugs found in the soil. And what’s a better place to look for this kind of food than your flower beds? Raccoons may also eat some flower bulbs, but if the bulbs were dug up and left untouched, it’s clear that the animal is after something else. Sometimes, they may be attracted by the smell of your fertilizer, especially if it’s fishy. Raccoons think you buried something delicious and will dig until they find it. So if you are using a fertilizer on your flower beds, go with the smell that is not similar to something raccoons would eat.
Deer in the Garden
White-tail deer are very common in Maryland. And although they appear graceful and majestic, you don’t want those animals anywhere near your garden. They eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and flower plants, consuming all leafy parts and leaving naked stems. You can tell that a deer visited your garden by checking the ground for hoof prints. You may also find that some of your plants have been trampled as deer went through your garden as if it was a buffet.
Groundhogs in the Garden
Groundhogs live in borrows deep under the ground and use tunnels to travel unnoticed. They can easily tunnel into your garden even if it’s fenced, and take a bite of your fruits and veggies. Groundhogs essentially live to feed and reproduce. They hibernate in winter, so in summer they want to make sure they have enough fat stored to last until spring. Your garden comes very handy, especially if other food supplies are low.
Rabbits in the Garden
Rabbits may be small, but they can do quite a bit of damage in your garden. They often go for new, tender growth, which is probably the best part of every plant. And for younger plants, that’s all they’ve got! Rabbit damage is always at ground level and typically on the outskirts of the garden.
How to Keep Your Garden Safe
Install a Fence
A fence is the most basic protection against animal pests. If you are worried about groundhogs and other underground animals, make sure that your fence extends a few feet underneath the surface. Try not to plant anything too close to the edge of the fence, especially if it’s a wire mesh fence, because some animals may still be able to nibble on your greens from the other side.
Eliminate Hiding Spots
Most animals are rather careful and won’t risk being out in the open for a long time. Make sure there is nothing around your garden that offers a hiding spot. Eliminate any wood and brush piles and keep the grass short.
Depending on the type of animal pest you are dealing with, certain repellents may be effective in keeping them away from your garden. For example, motion-activated devices can scare rabbits and deer. And certain smaller animals and birds may be scared by an owl scarecrow. When it comes to deer repellents, there is a whole range of products we use that help deter deer from gardens and landscapes.
To protect your main garden, you could plant a small patch of lettuce (or whatever plant suffers the most damage in your garden) on the outskirts of your property. This may be enough to keep the animal pests happy and away from you garden.
Capture and Remove
If you are looking for a more serious, long-term solution, capturing and removing offending animals is the way to go. At Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control, we can set live traps and safely relocate the animals we capture, so that everyone is happy. Of course, this doesn’t work for deer, but some smaller animals like raccoons and groundhogs can be removed using this method. Call us or contact online today to talk about how we can help you protect your garden from nuisance wildlife.