The Q&A Archives: Lawn & Garden Animal Pests

Question: I live in the country and I continue to have problems with chipmunks, rabbits, and groundhogs. The chipmunks digs holes throughout my lawn. Rabbits and groundhogs keep eating the foliage on my perennials and annuals. My husband has been shooting the groundhogs, and of course, that is one solution. I've tried dried blood for the rabbits, but this hasn't been very effective. Can you suggest anything? I don't want to put fencing around my gardens because they detract from the beauty of my landscaping. If you can suggest anything, I would appreciate you help.

Answer: To be honest, in my experience fencing is the most reliably effective means of controlling wild animal pests, and when a potentially dangerous animal such as a woodchuck is close by, live trapping is of course also an option although it is usually a good idea to hire a professional to do this rather than attempt it yourself . As you have discovered, the repellants can have varied results and it may take some experimenting to find what works in your garden. However, some gardeners report good results using the commercial repellants such as Ropel, Deer Away Deer and Rabbit Repellant and Get Away Animal Repellant, the Natural Scent Repellants containing exotic animal urine, and home made sprays containing ingredients such as pepper and garlic while other gardeners report that pet cats and dogs can be effective at deterring the smaller critters such as chipmunks. Finally, sometimes the only alternative is to accept a certain amount of damage as being inevitable, especially ina rural location.

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