How to Keep Skunks, Raccoons, Squirrels and Other Pests Out of Your Garden

Isn’t it amazing how our furry little wildlife friends seem to know the minute you’re done planting a new vegetable patch or raised flowerbed? As soon as your back is turned, they have some sort of a meeting and conspire to chomp on your tulip bulbs, dig up your seedlings or steal your prize-winning plants. But don’t despair! We’ve gathered a bunch of helpful tips to deter these foraging fiends from devouring your beautiful garden:

Start by discouraging them from wanting to invade your turf

Local wildlife are always looking for a snack, so don’t let your garden be their picnic site! Harvest ripe fruit and veggies regularly, never leave pet food out on your porch, and keep your compost bins tightly sealed so you’re not inviting unwanted guests!

Sprinkle some heat into your soil

Most critters will stay far away if you add red pepper flakes around your plants. While you’re at it, add a few colorful pinwheels to scare them when a breeze comes in. You can also spray your grass with vegetable oil, as many animals don’t like a greasy coat.

Save those barbershop clippings

Spreading human hair at the base of your plants keeps animals from digging them up. Rabbits, squirrels and other wildlife don’t like the texture of hair, or the human scent.

Grab some soap-on-a-rope

If you live in a rural area where deer love to eat all your berries, a bar of strong-smelling soap or air freshener hanging from a branch works wonders to ward off chipmunks and other pests.

Plant some plastic forks

With the tines up, these cheap utensils will keep flower boxes and beds pest-free, and will disappear once your plants grow in.

Get out your dish soap

Nocturnal skunks can do lots of damage; while you’re sleeping, they hunt for grubs in your lawn. Spray the area right before bedtime with a mixture of castor oil and diluted dishwashing detergent. Believe it or not, skunks are repelled by this smell, but not their own spray!

Let there be light

Skunks hate bright lights, so install motion sensor lighting in the yard. Motion-activated sprinklers are another great idea.

Fool them into thinking they’re being watched

Rubber snakes or a coiled garden hose near trouble spots work because some animals are afraid of these predators.

Lemony fresh

Many animals are repelled by citrus scents; gather up orange, lemon and grapefruit peels and scatter them around your plants.

Hang some ghosts

Animals don’t like shapes that move in the night – so hang strips of rags, aluminum foil or balloons from branches or a clothesline to chase them away.

Go for the really stinky weapons

If none of these methods are working, it’s time to bring out the big guns: predator urine from dogs or coyotes can be purchased at garden centers, or you may want to place rags soaked in ammonia around the garden.

What are your best tips to keep critters at bay?


Photo Credit: Tambako the Jaguar Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: gamppart Flickr via Compfight cc

Squirrel in garden:
Photo Credit: ☺ Lee J Haywood Flickr via Compfight cc

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