I’ve always been a big fan of everything outdoors. Ok, maybe not everything — but pretty darn close. This, unfortunately, includes anything on four legs that has fur and deep brown eyes.
I’ll admit it: when I was young, my father used to (and still does) feed these critters behind his back fence by providing them with a daily supply of corn, seed, and sometimes, if they’re lucky, some stale bread that never made it to the table. It provided great entertainment at the dinner table as we watched our furry friends eat their own dinner in our back yard. Unfortunately, this adoration does not mix well with my love for working the earth and nurturing plants. I constantly struggle with my love for wild animals and wanting to provide them food (not out of my garden), especially during these winter months, versus my desire to grow plants they like to eat. Even though there is not much growing during these winter months to protect, it’s important to remember that if you encourage these said animals to enter your yard now, they’ll most likely continue to do so come spring. Therefore, a plan of how to combat this once the growing season arrives is of utmost importance.
As gardeners, we are faced with a few choices in regards to this dilemma:
- Choose only plants which the critters who live by you don’t find appetizing. (I hate to tell you but, with the exception of few, if an animal is hungry enough, it will eat just about anything.)
- Give up gardening all together and “plant” silk flowers in your garden beds (you’ll be the envy of the neighbors during the winter months!).
- Create some kind of physical barrier between the plant/bulb and the animal.
- My personal fave: use an all-natural, organic spray repellent
So out of those options, you will need to determine which sounds the most appealing to you.
Choosing plants that are not desirable to the “visitors” to your yard is definitely an option, and can be a good one at that. For instance, most animals will not touch daffodils, allium, hyacinth, fritillaria, cannas, gladiolus, dahlias, caladium, begonias, calla lilies, various perennials, and more. However, it is important to keep in mind (like I said above) that if hungry enough, a deer, rabbit or squirrel will eat anything. Not only that, but do you really want to give up your chance at tulips or lilies, both delicacies to most woodland creatures?
I don’t know about you, but giving up gardening is not an option for me. I literally laughed out loud as I wrote that bullet point above.
Creating physical barriers is not necessarily difficult, but can be a bit cumbersome and, quite frankly, present quite the eye sore. What’s the point of a beautiful garden filled with fragrant lilies, gorgeous dahlias, and stunning perennials if you have to look between the fence rails to see it? And if your main culprit is a chipmunk or squirrel, good luck keeping them at bay with this method! One “barrier” method that I have found to be quite effective and virtually undetectable to the admirer’s eye, is a way to protect flower bulbs underneath the soil. If your main problem is finding your bulbs have eaten and lying on top of the soil after you worked hours the day before to plant them, then you may want to try surrounding them in chicken wire “cages” before covering them with soil. Or, if you are planting a much larger area, simply lay a large piece of chicken wire fencing on top of the area that was planted but still an inch or two below the ground’s surface. Then cover with soil. The chicken wire has large enough holes which will allow the growth to protrude but will keep the rodents out.
The last option I mentioned in my points above — using some kind of organic repellent — is by far the most effective and easy to accomplish. These organic repellents are typically made of a mixture of products all found naturally outdoors, such as eggs, fish oil, garlic oil, and various proteins. As you probably would’ve guessed, it smells horrid when fresh, but once it dries, it is undetectable to the human sense of smell. The smell, however is so rancid that it keeps all animals at bay. Liquid Fence is my personal favorite as I have found it to be the most reliable and inexpensive. America’s number-one selling deer and rabbit repellent! Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent stops deer and rabbits from eating flowers, trees, shrubs, and vines. Eco-friendly, long-lasting and rain resistant, this 100% money-back guaranteed product won’t harm your plants or the animals that like them. If you only seem to have a problem keeping the critters from eating the plant itself (foliage and/or blooms), then the spray should be all you’ll need. Repeat 1 week later and then once per month thereafter.
Liquid Fence is also available in a granular formula – this product is great for gardeners who wish to protect low-growing plants, such as flower beds, ground cover areas, and lawns. Simply shake it on – no spreader is needed! Plants will also benefit from the diatomaceous earth-based formula which actually improves drainage of the soil and can enhance air circulation around plant roots. Simply reapply every 3-4 weeks or after excessive rainfall. Each pound of product covers approximately 500 square feet.
So as the winter drags on and your mind starts to wander into your spring garden plans, don’t shy away from the plants you really love which just also happen to be tasty treats for your furry friends. Defend them with Liquid Fence and everyone will be able to live in peace and harmony 🙂