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

3. Touch a sore spot
Rich, organic garden soil is great for the garden and wonderful to walk on. Trouble is, cats and other garden pests also love its feel on their tender paws. So cover your garden beds in coarse mulch like crushed brick or river stone. Not only does it look great, but it also reduces weeds, retains water and, most importantly, can help keep digging critters at bay. Guard newly planted bulbs from chipmunks and squirrels by covering them in chicken wire with a thin layer of soil overtop. And for crawling insects, crush the shells of just-enjoyed mussels and clams and scatter atop the soil.

4. Put some scare in sight
A happy, healthy vegetable garden is a huge attraction for furry and feathered “frenemies,” but a careful placement of faux predators will help keep unwanted guests away. Have the neighbours’ cats claimed your garden as their outdoor litter box? A few rubber snakes in the soil will tell them to dig somewhere else. Are birds nesting and overstaying their welcome while the bunnies eat everything? Set out some owl statuary to stake your territorial claim. And if you’re worried about protecting those pricey koi in your pond, place a statue of a blue heron nearby before the real thing consumes your whole koi collection (blue herons are territorial, so seeing one keeps others away).   

5. Put a bad taste in their mouths

Your garden is a veritable gourmet buffet for those four-legged trespassers, so it’s time to make it a little less tasty. If their food tastes bad, they’re unlikely to come back for more. Plant narcissus, for example, to repel squirrels—it’s poisonous and will keep those bushy-tailed rascals from picking apart your plantings. But, if you can’t beat them, feed them! Use feeders to distract squirrels from eating in your favourite areas of the garden. For winter protection of trees and shrubs, apply Skoot by Plant Products—a distasteful yet harmless chemical repellent that discourages mice, rabbits and deer from feeding on your yard for up to six months.


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