The Q&A Archives: getting rid of critters in the garden

Question: How do I keep squirrels and rabbits out of the vegetable garden?

Answer: It's tough to deter these furry fellows. They seem to adapt to human strategies fairly well. You can try covering the soil around planting beds with sheets of 1-2 inch diameter wire mesh. Squirrels don't like to walk on it. You can also try pruning trees so the lowest branches are at least 6 feet above ground and placing 2 foot wide metal bands around the tree trunks, positioning them so the bottom of each band is at least 2 feet off the ground. This will discourage squirrels from taking up residence in your yard.

Rabbits can be repelled by a number of home remedies including cayenne pepper mixed with garlic and sprayed around the lawn or blood meal sprinkled on plants. Other repellents include Ro-pel, Bonide rabbit-deer repellent, fox urine and vinegar. You can try to scare rabbits from your garden by burying empty pop bottles with the tops poking up a few inches above the ground.The eerie whistle that results when the wind blows can scare them away. A good dog or cat provides defense, but sometimes just the presence of pet hair around the garden is enough. Obtain dog or cat hair from a groomer if you don't have a pet. Or try a fence - use 1-inch chicken wire, 2 feet high and buried at least 6 inches deep. Good luck!

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