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Keeping Animals Out Of Your Garden

July 11, 2022


Easy Ideas!

In order to prevent your wildlife friends from making your beloved spring flowers and tomato garden their favorite buffet, there are steps you can take to keep all the plants you’ve painstakingly grown safe from harm. While there’s the obvious choice of fencing, there are also other tips and tricks to try, whether it’s including natural repellants or tweaking landscaping ideas like placing stones instead of mulch. Your garden will be critter-free in no time with these easy-to-do ideas.

Japanese Beetle Prevention


Start by identifying the creature that is causing the damage and then learns a little about the habits of that animal. This knowledge is essential for putting together an effective solution.

Photo courtesy of Coramuller Getty Images.


Eliminate hiding or nesting areas, such as brush piles and tall grass. Seal off access to crawl spaces beneath your porch or deck. Minimize other food sources: covering your compost pile will discourage raccoons, cleaning up birdseed will discourage squirrels, and using Milky Spore and beneficial nematodes on your lawn will reduce grub populations, which are a favorite food of moles and skunks.

Remove food sources such as pet food bowls and reduce attractive habitat sites such as rock piles or fallen logs. You can also modify your plant choices when you know which species they don’t like. For example, squirrels and chipmunks do not like the smell or taste of daffodils. They do, however, love to eat tulip bulbs. Planting daffodils with your other flowering bulbs can help mask the scent of tulips and help protect them.

Chipmunks are also repelled by onions and French marigolds, so strategic placement of these plants might save any crops that chipmunks seem to target. As a bonus, you’ll get to enjoy fresh onions while cooking and your garden will be filled with lots of beautiful flowers!

Try Spice in the Garden

Spice It Up

Sprinkling deterrents like hot cayenne, garlic, apple cider, peppermint, or coffee grounds around your plants and gardens will help to keep animals out of your garden for long periods of time. Coffee grounds are particularly good around acid-loving plants, so it does double duty, While it is a deterrent against chipmunks, it is also a fertilizer for acid-loving plants, like hydrangea, azaleas, and Rhodes. Reapply whatever you use as a deterrent after rainstorms, since it will wash away over time.

Deer, insects, and some other outdoor pests do not like the smell or taste of mint. If they smell mint while scoping out your garden, they’ll likely try to get away from the scent. There are a few different ways you can use mint to keep animals out of gardens. These include planting a mint border around the garden, planting peppermint alongside pest-targeted plants, spraying peppermint essential oil on fencing, rocks, or other hard surfaces, or scattering mint tea bags around the area.


Depending on your pests, you may be able to purchase store-bought repellents that are made to work for specific animals. A popular option is predator urine.

America’s Finest Deer and Rabbit Repellent, Deer Scram – is all-natural, biodegradable, environmentally safe, and guaranteed to keep deer and rabbits away from your prized gardens, shrubs, and trees, while not being offensive to humans. Deer Scram won’t harm animals, the environment, and, most importantly, you and your family. Blended from selected organic components, Deer Scram will keep deer off your plantings because it convinces deer that harm is nearby through their uncanny sense of smell. Deer Scram will change deer behavior. As they near the applied barrier of Deer Scram, deer actually alert to a sense of danger – even death!

Apply Deer Scram any time of year! Apply Deer Scram now to stop deer browsing, change the paths the deer have grown accustomed to using through your yard and guard your gardens, trees and shrubs! Deer Scram can be applied as a protective perimeter strip or it can be evenly spread over a garden bed or flowerbed. Deer Scram will shield your flowers, shrubs, trees, ornamentals, vegetable gardens, forests, vineyards, orchards, field crops and nursery stock when used as directed and consistently applied every 30-45 days

Gophers in the garden


Fencing is the most effective way to keep unwanted visitors out of your garden. A fence that’s a few feet tall will work for most rabbits, though persistent bunnies and groundhogs may burrow under. To prevent that, bury it about 10″ deep. Chicken wire, hardware cloth, or rabbit fencing are the least expensive alternatives for small mammals. A fence that’s at least 4-8 feet tall will work for many deer situations. Plastic bird netting can be placed over small edible bushes like berries the week or so before they ripen, to protect fruit.


There are actually a number of steps you can take to humanely deter cats from entering your garden. Cats are cunning creatures and may become wise to your tricks, so it’s important to regularly vary your methods.

Cats prefer to walk on soft, loose soil and will avoid prickly surfaces. Make your garden beds less inviting, or less like a litter box. Try these solutions:

Cover garden soil where cats frequent in twigs until your spring plants get established. Place them a couple of inches apart throughout the bed. Note: bundles of twigs help wild bees!

Cats are persistent, and able to squeeze into many places. However, a 6 feet (1.8 m) high chain-link fence, with 2 by 2 inches (5.1 by 5.1 cm) mesh can be effective at keeping cats out of your garden. A 2 ft (0.61 m) overhang can provide additional protection.

Push pine cones or other prickly yard trimmings (maybe fall leaves) down into the soil around your plants. Stone mulch, eggshells, holly cuttings, or repurposed plastic carpet runners with the nub side up are other options.

Repurpose wooden chopsticks as garden stakes! Experiment with spacing. The idea is to put them at close enough intervals so the kitty has a hard time turning around.

Wire – Freshly turned soil is very appealing as a litter box so we have found that laying down chicken wire, plastic fencing, or even bird netting on top of the soil keeps them from digging. It is easier to do it before planting and just clip the wire to make larger holes for the plants. It can be covered with mulch to make it look more pleasing.

Upcycle mesh produce bags from onions or potatoes by spreading them on the garden and anchoring them with twigs or stakes. Increase the hole size around your budding plants if necessary. Tip: Keep an eye on any plastic materials you add to the garden so they don’t blow away and become litter.

Water – Cats like dry soil so keep yours moist to make it less inviting. Or go one step farther and squirt them with a hose if you catch them in the act. If neighborhood cats are sneaking in at night, try a motion-activated sprinkler. They’ll soon get the message!





Along with the spice tip listed above, pick up ultrasonic devices at your local hardware store or purchase a few online. They emit vibrations and sounds that unsettle chipmunks and will keep the rodents out of your garden for good. Not to worry, you won’t hear a thing.

Build an owl box to try to attract these beautiful, nighttime predators to your yard. Owls feed on small rodents like chipmunks. Not only will the owl take care of chipmunk control, but will also control voles, moles, mice, and rats. Rodents may eventually catch on that the threat isn’t real. To keep them terrified, you should place the owl in a tree branch and move its location every few days. Position reflective tape and wind chimes near your fake owl to make it more intimidating and discourage brave chipmunks from getting too close.

Bulb cages bought or homemade with chicken wire, work well for small plantings. If you have a large area to protect, try covering it with chicken wire after your fall planting is done. Tack down the wire and cover it with a thin layer of mulch to hide it. Remove the barrier in early spring as soon as you see your bulbs coming up.

Also, you can help hide your bulbs by spreading an even layer of mulch over the soil after you plant. Squirrels and chipmunks recognize freshly dug soil, so without that mask of mulch, they will have an easier time finding your freshly planted bulbs.

Chipmunks are afraid of cats, dogs, and humans. Consider collecting some hair that has shed from your pets or from a hairbrush, or ask your local groomer or stylist for clippings. Then, sprinkle the hair around your plants and watch the chipmunks stay away.




Moles love to eat grubs. Eliminate the grubs, and you’ll not only repel moles, but you will help out your lawn and landscape as well. 

BONIDE Annual® Grub Beater® is an annual application that takes control all-year round. Kills grubs, European crane fly larvae, mole crickets, and other listed insects. Apply anytime of the year. It can be used on turf grass and ornamentals

Humans and moles alike will turn up their noses and run the other way from castor oil. Apply Bonide Molemax. It’s castor oil-based pest repellents in liquid and granular forms. They dissolve into the soil and release a scent that drives away moles, voles and gophers. To use them, apply to the soil wherever tunnels or cone-shaped mounds appear, then water with a hose or wait for it to rain. The castor oil won’t kill the varmints; it’ll just send them scampering away. You may need to reapply. Check the back of the package for detailed instructions.