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How to keep animals out of the garden

FALLBROOK – Many gardeners understand the frustration that stems from seeing a garden destroyed by wildlife. While protecting wildlife is a cause that's near and dear to many gardening enthusiasts, even the most ardent wildlife supporter does not want to see his or her garden trampled, eaten or adversely affected by animals.

Safeguarding gardens from local wildlife can require some trial and error. Animals may find ways to circumvent gardeners' initial efforts to protect their gardens, but the following methods might just do the trick the first time around.

  • Erect physical barriers around gardens. Barriers may not be gardeners' first choices, as some people feel barriers such as wire cages or mesh coverings make it more difficult to tend to gardens and rob gardens of some of their aesthetic appeal. But coverings and wire cages can effectively prevent wildlife from trampling or eating plants while still allowing the gardens to get adequate sunlight. Make sure barriers extend to the ground so animals cannot access gardens by entering beneath the barricades.
  • Fight intruders with odor. Stray cats may mistake gardens for litter boxes and enter them to relieve themselves. Preventing such intrusions can be as simple as placing items around the garden to reduce the likelihood that gardens will be mistaken for litter boxes. Peels from oranges and lemons or coffee grounds can be placed in the garden and can emit odors strong enough to deter cats.
  • Install motion detecting lights around gardens. Motion detection technology might be enough to deter nocturnal wildlife from trampling or eating gardens. Animals might be spooked and run away when lights suddenly turn on.
  • A similar approach can be taken using noise instead of lights. Gardeners who hope to avoid erecting barriers around their gardens can put up posts instead, attaching aluminum cans or wind chimes to the posts that will make noise when animals come near. Much like light, noise can be enough to deter animals.
  • Consider raised garden beds. When small critters, such as moles, are the main problem, then raised garden beds with wood or plastic bottoms and sides can be enough to safeguard gardens. Raised garden beds might not be accessible to small critters, though such beds likely won't deter larger animals from getting into gardens that are not barricaded.
  • Erect fencing around the yard. Though fencing is expensive, fencing in a backyard or side yard where gardens are located can deter wildlife big and small from trampling or eating gardens.
Wildlife is worth protecting, but gardeners must also take steps to protect their gardens from animals looking for something to eat.


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