How to - Pests & Diseases

Five ways to keep pests out of the garden

Citytv garden and weather expert Frankie Flowers explains how he keeps the creepers out

Whether your tulips are just about to bloom, your heirloom tomatoes are plump and ready to harvest, or your apples are shining the perfect red, it always seems to happen: Your flora is perfect, but you just turn your head, or blink, and before your eyes, some small fauna thief has stolen your dreams of a perfect garden season. Mother Nature’s critters (or garden thugs) come in many shapes and sizes—some cute to look at, some beautiful to listen to, some stinky (I’m looking right at you, skunks!) and some we even cuddle with in our own homes. So how can we repel these unwelcome visitors that play with all our senses? We play with theirs!

1. Make them smell fear
Most critters are sensitive to odour, so you can easily frighten them away with smell. And with so many predators in our animal kingdom, the options are ample. A few drops of coyote, fox or wolf urine (purchased at select sportmen’s outfitters) can keep rabbits, deer and even raccoons at bay; a generous dose of human or dog hair repels rabbits; and soaps hung from tree branches around the perimeter of your property deter deer. And if blood meal isn’t keeping those squirrels safely away from your spring sprouts and fall bulbs, try a dusting of pelletized chicken manure. While scents are easy pest repellents, remember that good ones can just as easily attract—so don’t leave your alfresco eats uncovered for long.

2.  Haunt through hearing
We all want a quiet, calm garden retreat, but in the battle against unwanted pests, decibels and disturbance actually help keep the garden peace. Play some talk radio at dusk and dawn to scare off deer and rabbits, the furry lovers of silence. And to keep moles and mice out of the garden, add a whirligig or bury an empty wine bottle up to its neck, which reverberates in the ground when the wind blows. Good vibrations might keep us dancing, but ground vibrations repel underground tunnellers!


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