Unwelcome Garden Visitors

Many gardens are visited by wildlife, even in urban areas, and often these visitations are beneficial; wildlife is often responsible for pollination, pest control, and soil enrichment. Sometimes, however, the visits aren’t as welcome, and your garden becomes an open buffet for the local fauna. Here are some tips on controlling the unwelcome visitors without damaging the environment.

Rabbits are a common sight in gardens both rural and urban, and while they are cute, they can do a lot of damage in a small amount of time. A rabbit family can decimate your vegetable garden, and by chewing on the bark and stems, they can damage larger plants such as trees and shrubs. Netting fencing or wire fencing can do much to prevent rabbit damage, but remember: rabbits burrow. You’re going to have to bury the bottom edge of the fencing material a few inches into the ground to help thwart tunneling bunnies. You might also consider planting a “rabbit patch” of something really tasty, like clover, at some distance from your main crops. Rabbits love clover, and might just ignore your runner beans in favor of it. Rabbits dislike strong smelling crops, so a border of onions, leeks and such might make your plot less attractive.

Slugs aren’t welcome in the vegetable or flower garden; they’re just unattractive, and do some major damage. Try to keep damp, shady places that have abundant foliage to a minimum (this is why snails like hosta so much). If your plants will tolerate it, lime the soil, as snails prefer something more acidic. You can also spread a border of wood ash around your beds, as the slugs don’t like the sulfur it contains.

Unless you live in Ireland, you may find yourself up against a mole (there are no moles on the emerald isle). Lots of people have tried the old wives’ tales of moth balls in the mole run, etc., but the fact is, they don’t work. Sonic probes, however, have had a fair degree of success lately. These probes, put into the ground, emit a sound that super-sensitive mole ears find unbearable. The moles will vacate the property for someplace quieter. The probes are environmentally friendly and humane, as they neither kill the mole nor put chemicals into the environment.

You can make your garden less hospitable to unwelcome visitors without destroying them, or endangering the wildlife you wish to see. A little planning is all it takes.