Garden Pests – And How to Get Rid of Them

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Rabbit in gardenYou love your garden and all of the vegetables growing in it. Unfortunately, so do the critters living in your neighborhood. Whether you have deer chewing on your tomato plants, birds stealing your strawberries or mice, rats and raccoons walking off with your carrots, you’ll need to do something to protect your crops. After all, you’re trying to grow vegetables, not provide food for  every creature in the neighborhood.

Deer – Deer will wander into your garden in the evenings, early mornings and even the middle of the night, so you may not see them until they have already damaged your drops. You can protect your garden by erecting a tall fence that’s made of wood or chunks of stone, since deer don’t like to jump solid fences. If this is out of the question, then hanging bars of soap from area trees or tying them to stakes sticking out of the ground will keep the deer away.

Rabbit – Rabbits are cute, but they’ll lose their cuteness once you realize that they’ve eaten all of the low-hanging leaves off of your vegetable plants. The best way to keep rabbits out of your garden is by installing a very low fence that is around 2-feet tall all around your growing area. If you have cats, sprinkling some used cat litter around the borders of your garden will also scare away rabbits, since cats are their natural predators. The downfall to this is that it might attract all of the feral cats in your neighborhood.

Birds – Birds like to eat ripe berries right off of your strawberry plants and raspberry bushes. They will also eat any invading insects, which makes them kind of a mixed blessing. Rather than scare off birds altogether, simply protect your fruit plants by covering them with netting. This will prevent the birds from getting to the ripe fruit, but make it easy for you to pick the fruit, as all that you need to do is remove the netting. If you don’t want the birds around at all, setting up plastic replicas of their predators (large owls and snakes) around your garden will scare them away.

Raccoons – Raccoons sneak into your garden at night and eat all that they can get their paws on. Motion-sending lights can scare them off, as will recordings of loud noises. You can also place a low fence around your entire garden (similar to the one that will prevent rabbits from getting in) or place particularly appealing plants in a cage to keep raccoons from getting to them. If none of these measures work, contact your local animal control officers about setting up humane traps to catch the raccoons.

Mice and Rats – Mice and rats will eat just about any fruits or vegetables that they can reach. Rats are mainly nocturnal, but mice will venture out at all times of the day. You will know that you have them when you find small droppings around your garden and bite marks on your vegetables. Placing a series of humane traps around your garden should take care of these pests.

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 Pic by see phar