May I always be the
person my pets think I am
Post your gardening related questions and
answers on the
Garden in Harmony with
Nature message board
Grind up grapefruit or lemon rind. Spread over the soil.
Use any thorny plant
clippings like rose or raspberry canes to spread on the soil.
Plant some catnip or
catmint in an out of the way area to keep cats away from other garden
There is a repellent
sold at PetSmart called "Reppers" that quite a few people have
said is very effective against cats.
Make a tea from rue and spray the
boundary. Cats hate rue. Try planting rue here and there to repel them and to
have some to make your own sprays. Rue is a pretty perennial herb with
blue, green leaves and yellow flowers. It can cause contact dermatitis in
some people. Also try planting a thick groundcover like sedum acres, hardy
Dogs and cats: Some
folks have had success by sprinkling bloodmeal on the soil.
If you can get seeds
from a sweet gum tree try using them as a ground barrier.
Try spraying full strength lemon
juice where they get in the garden.
Plant calendula (pot marigold)
which repels dogs.
Use chicken wire or plastic mesh disguised under some
mulch in garden beds. Cats can't dig so they won't poop.
There is no real sure cure for repelling deer other
than tall fences. Some of the methods that follow may work better for certain types
of deer than others. When food is scarce deer can and will eat just about everything.
Experiment to see what make work for your deer problem.
Here is the
definitive answer on deer fencing methods from Jan Reeves in WV.
thanks to Jan for sharing this!
We have some very
aggressive deer here in West Virginia. This is the only deterrent that has
worked when the bush beans are in full flower. We've had this barrier broached once.
During hunting season a spooked buck tore through the upper wires but he was
running so hard he never noticed the garden. All the other deer have been
content to trim our hedge and munch on marigolds.
1. When using Ropel for deer control
it can be made much more effective with the addition of an antitranspirant such as
Cloudcover, Wiltproof, Forevergreen etc. The actions of the antitranspirants along
with the Ropel make the effectiveness of the treatment last all season long.
2. Plant time-released garlic
capsules at the bases of trees or shrubs.
3. Wrap bars of "gold Dial
deodorant soap" in cheesecloth. Hang bars at intervals of 4 feet apart and 4 feet
above the ground.
4. To stop bark chewing: Mix bone
tar oil at a ratio of 1 part bone tar oil to 50 parts water to. Paint on tree trunks. Nah,
it won't hurt your trees. Bone tar oil is available as Magic Circle Deer Repellant.
5. Egg spray: mix 5-6 raw eggs in 1
gallon of water and spray. This will cover approximately 17,00 sq. feet. The smell of
decomposing eggs keep the deer away while being too faint a dilution for humans to detect.
The U.S. Forest service has used this for years. Also including some antitranspirant in
this mix will extend the benefits. An alternative is to use wettable sulfur which gives
off that rotten egg smell. Mix according to directions and spray as a barrier.
More Homemade Deer Repellent Sprays:
2 raw eggs 1 cup skim milk 1 cup water 3
garlic cloves 1 Tbs. sticker/spreader (available at nursery) or dish soap.
Application: Blend together, add to a gallon sprayer and fill to line with
water. Spray oo plants as needed.
Homemade Deer Repellent with Eggs In a blender, mix two eggs to one cup
of water. Blend well then add one cup of skim milk and any type of sticker such
as soap. Put this mixture into a sprayer and spray a light mist over the plant.
There will be very little odor but deer will not find it appetizing. This recipe
is over one hundred years old and is suppose to be very effective.
6. Hot sauce spray: Mix 1-2 tsp. of
Tabasco sauce and 2 tsp. of antitranspirant in 1 gallon of water. Spray. Must be reapplied
7. Plant some specific plants at the
outermost perimeter of your yard for the deer to graze on. These plants can generally take
the "natural pruning" done by the deer and flourish. Deer will eat just about
anything when feeding conditions are poor.
Choices: Gambel Oak, Fourwing
Saltbush, Rocky Mountain Smooth Sumac,
Saskatoon Serviceberry, Wood's Rose.
8. Inside the feeding ground barrier
a buffer of possibly deer resistant plants is wise. The following table has a selection of
plants that are considered more deer-proof. When hungry deer will eat just about anything
so nothing is infallible. For a great listing of deer resistant plants visit Rutgers
University Deer Plant Page.
||Lily of Valley
||St. Johns Wort
||Hen & Chick
9. Try putting pallets flat on the ground around
your garden. Deer usually will not walk on or jump over these. Usually your local
newspaper is a good source for free pallets.
10. Hang fabric softener sheets in and around areas to be protected. Replace after
11. Mix a gallon bucket of clay soil and water with cayenne or any hot pepper and
garlic. Paint this on trunks of trees and stems of shrubs. This will not harm the plants.
12.Hang deodorant type soap every 4 feet or so from your trees' branches. Keep them at
a height of 30". One warning: ground hogs like the soap.
13. Coyote urine which is available commercially has been reported to be effective as a
deer repellant. We have had quite a few people write in to the contrary that predators
urine scents don't seem to work at all.
14. From the Bartlett Tree Experts' Research
Laboratory in North Carolina is this interesting deer control technique. They have
installed a post and rail fence strung with solar powered electric wires. Sure the deer
might figure out how to get past it without getting jolted so Bartlett has come up with
this behavior modifier. They put blobs of peanut butter on the fence which deer find
irresistible. They come to get the goodies and the shock is such an unpleasant surprise
that they remember the experience and don't bother coming back to try and jump the fence!
15. We have been told that deer will avoid
Russian Sage like the plague. Russian sage is certainly a beautiful perennial and worth a
try! Bees love it.
16. To keep deer from bulb plants- soak
them in Alum water before planting.
Voles and Groundhog
1. Castor beans or mole plants (Euphorbia lathyris) can be planted around or in a
garden. The bean seeds can also be dropped in tunnels. However, both plants are very
poisonous and should not be used where small children may come in contact with them.
2. Spray a solution of 1 tbsp. of castor oil and
1 tbsp. of liquid dish soap per gallon of warm water on soil and plants.
3. Place elderberry cuttings in the tunnels.
4. Sprinkle chile powder and powdered garlic into tunnels weekly.
5. Scatter ground red pepper into the runs.
6. Plant ornamental blooming scilla (squill) bulbs as a garden border or around
susceptible plants to repel moles. Also known as "Wood Hyacinth." Scilla comes
in shades of white lavender, blue, and pink with nodding bell-like flowers. Over the years
they will multiply and fill in. Easy to grow and an attractive spring flower.
7. Last resort:
Place rolled up pieces of Juicy fruit gum in mole
tunnels. Wear gloves to mask your scent when you unwrap the gum. Moles love it, but it
clogs their innards, fatally. Or use Ex-Lax which has the opposite effect.
8 Find the entrances then put sulfur into the holes and seal all of them with soil..
Another option is to place small ammonia soaked sponges into each hole and seal.
9. Some people have had success at keeping moles at bay using hot peppers. Use
jalapenos, habaneros, the hotter the better! Keep a bag full in the freezer to have on
hand when you need them...ready to use against moles and for your bug sprays. What you
want to do is tightly pack the peppers into the openings of the runs using as many as you
need. Do this everywhere you find an entrance and at intervals along the tunnels if you
can find them. Dig an opening then stuff with peppers. For every spot you pack with
peppers be sure to fill it in with dirt and tamp down firmly.
10. Try placing dog or cat hair in the entrance holes and runs.
1. Tree guards: In fall wrap the lower portions of the trunks with commercial tree
wrap, burlap, foil, or metal window screen. The wrapping should be 2' above the height of
the deepest snow expected, rabbits can walk on top of the snow. Remove wrappings from the
trunks in spring.
2. Sprinkle or hang cheesecloth bags of
bloodmeal around plants. If sprinkled it must be redone after rain.
3. Vinegar: Soak corn cobs (cut in half)
left over from a meal in vinegar for 5 minutes, then scatter throughout the flower or
vegetable garden. Two weeks later soak them again in the same vinegar. You can keep
reusing this same vinegar again and again.
4. Spray a tea made from cow manure and water as
5. Soybean plants will repel rabbits
or some say they attract them.
6. Onions will repel them. So will bonemeal.
7. Use red pepper, black pepper, cayenne, paprika
etc. as a dust to repel. Rabbits are always sniffing so they snort this up and it sends
8. Mix 1 well beaten egg, 1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce,
and 1 gal. of water. Paint this on the tree trunks to prevent munching. This will not harm
9. Plant "Mexican Marigolds" (Tagetes
Minuta) and garlic in the garden to repel them.
10. Set old leather shoes (from the thrift shop)
around the garden to give it that "humans are here" smell.
11. Garlic Oil Spray may help to repel rabbits.
- To make: Combine 3 ounces of minced garlic
cloves with 1 ounce of mineral oil. Let soak for 24 hours or longer. Strain. Next mix 1
teaspoon of fish emulsion with 16 ounces of water. Add 1 tablespoon of castille soap to
this. Now slowly combine the fish emulsion water with the garlic oil. Kept in a sealed
glass container this mixture will stay viable for several months. To use: Mix 2
tablespoons of garlic oil with 1 pint of water and spray.
12. Try planting some crops that
rabbits will eat instead with, we hope, the intention of deterring them from
your other garden crops. Try annual crimson red clover, planted as a strip
border around the garden. Now even if it is not successful as a distraction the
clover will up the nitrogen content of your soil. Soybeans are said to be good
munchies for bunnies but some say they act as a repellant.
13. Pepper and Glue Spray: Mix together 2 tablespoons of ground red pepper or
Tabasco sauce, 1 tablespoon of Elmer's white glue and a quart of water. Spray as
needed but not right before you are ready to harvest as the solution may be
difficult to wash off your produce.
14. A good rabbit repellent is a mixture of 85% raw linseed oil, 5% household
detergent and 10% water. This can be applied with either a paintbrush or small
sprayer. Use as a barrier spray but not directly on plant foliage.
NOTE: Skunks have been known to go after sweet corn just like raccoons!
To add to that not much will stop raccoons.
Raccoons usually have litters of
between two to seven babies. They travel what we call "runs" and will
use the same runs generation after generation for decades. They can easily scale
high wooden fences. They are nocturnal and do their scavenging at night.
Skunks are also nocturnal or nighttime
marauders and can claim up to 10 acres in their territory! Skunks habitually use
old borrows left from other creatures or like to make a home in hollows
underneath buildings and porches. They will, on occasion, dig their own
1. Plant anything with prickly foliage to
deter them such as squash plants, oriental poppies, globe thistle, pumpkins, Kentucky
Wonder pole beans etc. Raccoons have incredibly sensitive toes.
2. To keep them from corn plants: put 2-3 drops
of Tabasco sauce near the tip of the ear at least one week before picking.
3. To trap raccoons: use baits like sardines,
marshmallows, or honey soaked bread.
4. Surround the area with a horizontal border
that coons and skunks don't like to walk over-crumpled up black plastic, newspaper, or
aluminum foil. Hold these in place with some rocks, landscape pins, or soil.
5. Use mesh fencing or chicken wire as a
horizontal barrier. Raise these slightly above the ground with some bricks to make it even
more of a hassle to cross.
6. Spread naphthalene flakes or balls around, raccoons
hate the taste of this in their paws and they are said to also aid in
7. Put paper bags over ears of corn and fasten
shut with a rubber band.
8. When the ears are getting close to harvest
time tape them to the stalks with masking tape!
9. Use any kind of old netting: fish netting,
tennis net, whatever as a barrier. Stake loosely to hold in place.
10. Use rose bush trimmings as a barrier, or
anything with stickers.
11. Plant cucumbers with your corn. Both raccoons
and skunks hate cucumbers for some reason.
12. Sprinkle a barrier of lime around the perimeter to be protected.
13. To keep raccoons from getting the fruit in
your trees: wrap a barrier of aluminum or sheet metal 2 feet in height around the trunk of
the tree. Be sure not to make it tight you want to let your tree trunk breathe.
14. Soak old corn cobs in vinegar. Place them
around the plant to be protected. Supposedly once they chew on these they will not come
back. We found that last season this worked on both skunks and raccoons for about 2
months. Apparently after that they got wise and were up to their old tricks.
15. Skunk Spray:
Make a spray out of 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda
and 1 teaspoon dish soap. Spray this around areas where
you would like skunks
to stear clear of such as garbage
cans. Don't get this on foliage.
16. Sprinkle flour
around suspected nesting or sleeping areas.
17. Raccons Trashing the Trash: To help keep them
away remove the lid of your garbage can and pour ammonia over the contents. Put
the lid back on and sprinkle some cayenne pepper on the top of it. When they try
to pry the lid off, the pepper will irritate them.
Rat and Mice Control
1. For trapping mice: Use pumpkin
seeds; you'll find that mice can't resist them! They sure are great roasted and
salted, the pumpkin seeds, that is!
2. Scatter fresh or dried mint or holly leaves as
a repellent. The mint works like a charm! We use it everywhere mice are a problem and they
will not go near it. Smells nice too. We have had a good deal of email from
folks that wrote us to say mint works great for them too!
3. Protect the bases of trees by wrapping loosely
with 1/4" hardware cloth or foil. Be sure to keep any mulch pulled away from the
There is always cats as an option!
4. Don't mulch any perennials until after a few
frosts. The rodents will have found a home by then and not in your mulch!
5. Encourage snakes and owls to stay near the
garden to provide natural control.
6. Trap baits: nut meats, dried fruits, or bacon.
7. Plant "barriers" of perennial sweet
peas (Lathyrus latifolius) which will repel mice. You will enjoy the beauty of these
plants for many years to come too.
8. Spray Ropel on the plants that are being
bothered by mice.
9. Keep the soil around plants bare, as mice do
not like to come out in the open.
10. Daffodils (Narcissus spp.), wood hyacinth
(Scilla or squill) and grape hyacinth (Muscari) are said to repel rodents. Plant a pretty
spring blooming border of them to help protect your other plants year round.
11. Planting herbs with a powerful scent will
repel mice. Best choices are alliums, camphor plant, dwarf elder, elderberry,
any mints and wormwood.
12. If you are allergic to or cannot
tolerate cats then there are certain dogs which will take care of mice for you.
Certain terriers are well known as "ratters" and so are Italian
Snakes may seek refuge beneath buildings. If there is a gap or opening,
they will enter and inhabit a building, just as house mice do. Sealing all
cracks and other openings greater than 1/4 inch can prevent them from
entering. Gaps beneath garage doors are often large enough to permit snakes to
enter, especially young ones. In summer, snakes may be attracted to cool
and/or damp places, such as beneath buildings and in basements. Access doors
on crawl spaces should be inspected carefully for breaks or gaps. Use caution
if you must crawl under a house or other building. Hot tub or swimming pool
pump enclosures may provide cover if they are not well sealed. The dampness
associated with ornamental water fountains, pools, and fishponds may also make
the surrounding area attractive to snakes.
1. Burn the leaves of Comfrey, Rue, and Bay. Scatter where snakes
2. A barrier of "Flowers of sulfur"
may repel snakes. This should be available at local drugstore or pharmacy and is also
known as elemental sulfur. We have heard of this being used successfully where copperheads
are a problem.
3. Wormwood: this herb when dried and scattered
around may repel snakes. Planting a barrier of wormwood plants is another method. A
perimeter spraying of wormwood tea may help.
4. Spray ammonia around the snakes hole to repel,
then later fill them in with dirt.
What can be done for snake bite initial first aid?
- DO Try to calm the victim.
- DO Gently wash the area with soap and water.
- DO Apply a cold, wet cloth over the bite.
- DO Transport victim to the nearest emergency facility for further
What should NOT be done after a poisonous bite?
- DON'T apply a tourniquet.
- DON'T pack the bite area in ice.
- DON'T cut the wound with a knife or razor.
- DON'T use your mouth to suck out the venom.
- DON'T let the victim drink alcohol.
1. Bulbs: soak them in Ropel before planting and squirrels
will leave them alone. You can also dust them with medicated baby powder.
2. Put sheet metal collars on trees to keep them
from climbing the trunks. Prune back any access limbs also.
3. To keep squirrels from the bird feeders in winter try growing witch hazel,
Hamamelis virginiana. It can be grown in the East and Midwest. They grow
underneath trees and can continue blooming into December. The flowers form a
seed pod that will eventually shoot out the seeds on the ground which supplies
squirrels with some winter forage.
4. Sprinkle pepper or paprika around
squirrel prone areas.
5. Using any type of "sticky barrier"
can be effective as the squirrels' hate the sticky feeling on their paws.
6. For pole type bird feeders: grease the pole
with petroleum jelly. They will get the message pretty quick and go elsewhere for goodies.
7. Learn to get along with them. We have
squirrels who do get into the bird feeders but in general cause no trouble at all! In 15
years they have dug up some bulbs one time and that is it!
8. Plant Fritillaria imperialis bulbs
in the area of plants that you want to protect. Supposedly they have a
particular smell that squirrels and chipmunks find repulsive. They are certainly
beautiful plants and a great addition to your garden!
9. Beware that water features will
attract squirrels and chipmunks too!
10. To keep squirrels and chipmunks
from bulb plants- soak them in Alum water before planting.