Critter Control

By September 18, 2010In The Garden


Three basic control methods can be used to minimize damage.

  1. Employ scare tactics. Scare tactics can include a domestic dog or cat prowling around the property, visual imitations of predators, sounds, and shiny pie plates.
  2. Block ’em with barriers. Barriers can include fencing and netting to control animal access.
  3. Repel their sense of smell. Try commercially made repellents or make homemade varieties such as soap bars, human hair, and pepper sprays.

Here are eight common pests and how to control them:

Scare birds off with fake predators like snakes or owls during the peak season. Or you can distract them by planting mulberries. You can also protect crops with bird netting.

You can scare deer away with a dog (or the scent of one) or repellents like soap, fabric softener sheets, human hair, or hot sauce. Mix one egg per gallon of water and spray on plants.  Reapply once a week or after rain.  Blood meal sprinkled around the base of plants has also worked.  You may even want to resort to electric fencing. Conventional fencing is another option, but deer can jump high, so it will have to be at least 8 feet tall.

Dogs, cats and repellents can help deter chipmunks, too. Castor oil spray is a repellent that works on these small guys. Underground barriers such as wire mesh or hardware cloth around bulbs and new plantings can prevent access to your plants.

Mice and Voles
Besides the barriers and repellents mentioned above, protect your trees in winter by wrapping the trunks in hardware cloth and burying the ends in the soil. Keep the mulch layer thin near tree trunks so mice or voles won’t have a place to hide.

You can simply try to eliminate their food supply—grubs—by applying milky spore disease or parasitic nematodes on your lawn.  Castor oil sprays also work well.

Besides dogs and repellents, put up a chicken wire fence around your vegetable bed, or use hardware cloth barriers around vulnerable shrubs and tree trunks.

Control the number of beetle grubs in your lawn by applying milky spore disease or parasitic nematodes.

Woodchucks or Groundhogs
The mere scent of a dog can do the trick, so place dog hair or carpet squares that your dog has slept on around your garden.