Well, I do not know the answer to that but I do know that woodchucks, also called groundhogs, moles, voles, mice, and other critters sure can do a number on your yard! Everyone wants to have a nice yard, right? Whether you are an avid gardener or just one of those people who only go out and mow the lawn when it gets high enough to bother your neighbors, it is always nice to be able to look outside and see nice green grass and maybe even a garden. If you are a serious gardener, you certainly do not want critters coming into your yard and eating or destroying what you spent hours and hours planting and tending to. However, if you are like me, you like to have a nice yard and enjoy having these critters visit. But that is a different story soon to come. For now, let's focus on keeping the critters from ruining your hard work.
Woodchucks or Groundhogs
These busy little guys are famous for predicting the winter weather and matching wits with Bill Murray on Caddyshack but you would probably not want them hanging out in your yard. They will do a lot of damage to more than just your garden. These guys can even damage your house by burrowing under and around your foundation and deck. It is important to evict them as soon as you see signs of them. You can try using repellent first but if they do not get the hint, you will need to trap them and move them somewhere else.
Moles, voles, and mice can do some serious damage to your lawn but they can also help your garden by eating thousands of insects that would otherwise be feasting on your garden. These little buggers can kill your grass pretty quickly if there are enough of them. Spotting the damage is pretty easy. You will usually see mounds of dirt (aka molehills) with tunnels running through your yard. These piles of soil are the dirt they are displacing to make their tunnels and burrows. While they do make your yard look pretty bad if they multiply unchecked, they also get rid of some of the worst kind of pests such as grubs, which can destroy your lawn much faster. But if you need to get rid of the moles, try traps or castor oil. I do not recommend using poisons or anything inhumane.
You remember Peter Rabbit, right? Well, they really do like to munch on the veggies. They can be super cute and fun to watch but they can damage your vegetable garden, flowers, and even the trees in your yard. In fact, we planted several trees and bushes one year and the rabbits pretty much demolished them within a week. We even caught the little buggers chewing up the strings holding up the poles of our badminton set. The best way to get rid of these furry friends is with traps. You can get some from a garden or tractor supply store. Trap them and let them go at least five miles from your home. Do not just dump them in your neighbor’s yard, though. That is not nice. Try to find a nice park to take them to. If this does not work, you can fence off the parts of the yard you do not want the rabbits to mess with but you will have to run the fencing at least 12 inches under the ground because they can dig. A fence can stop many of those critters you are trying to get rid of. Lastly, you can try using a repellent such as a predator urine (sold at garden and tractor supply stores) to keep them away.
Deer are really beautiful and majestic animals but they too can destroy your garden when they do not have anything else to eat. In fact, deer can eat a lot! According to the experts, they eat approximately five pounds of plant material per day. So, if you are like me and have 10-12 deer passing through the yard on a daily basis, you better hope they have already eaten somewhere else. We put out deer corn and mineral blocks for the deer so they have something to eat rather than our flowers or other plants. And so far they have not messed with any of the foliage we have planted since we moved in here six years ago. Unlike the rabbits, who have eaten a ton of our plants. There are plenty of nontoxic repellents for deer but I have a few recipes for some that you can make yourself.
-> You can mix a quarter cup of water with an egg and put it into a spray bottle. Spray it on the plants you want to protect.
-> You can also use an ounce of hot sauce, a tablespoon of dish soap, and a liter of water.
-> Another recipe is to use 2 tablespoons of dish soap, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 2 eggs, 1 cup milk, and 2 gallons of water.
-> Others say that you can hang a bar of soap in the bush to keep the deer away.
-> The last one is to wrap some of your hair in cheesecloth and hang it by the plants you do not want them to eat.
Squirrels are pests too. Yep, they do eat more than just acorns. In fact, when they are not hunting for nuts, they are raiding the bird feeders or chomping on the lettuce in your garden. While they may be kind of cute, they can become annoying when they steal all the birdseed or chomp up all of your apples or peaches. You can trap them and move them somewhere else if that is what you want to do. Just get some traps from a pet shop or hardware store and bait it with peanut butter or something else they like but hardly ever get. You may just want to use some repellent. You can get some from the store or use something natural you probably have in your house. Cayenne pepper, capsaicin, serrano, jalapeno peppers, cinnamon, or nutmeg are all good squirrel repellents.
Bugs and Other Critters
Beetles, aphids, slugs, leafhoppers, caterpillars, and other little buggers that terrorize your garden every year can be quite annoying and even costly. There are plenty of repellents you can buy at the local garden store or hardware store but you can also use natural sources you probably have in your home now. Beetles and aphids do not like mint, catnip, chives, or basil. Just plant some nearby or grind up some of your own and sprinkle it around your garden. Slugs can be prevented with salt or crushed eggshells. Leafhoppers hate Geraniums so maybe you could plant some in your garden to repel them. Caterpillars can be removed by hand or you can use some soap spray. To make this, all you have to do is mix two tablespoons of liquid soap with one quart of water.
I hope you enjoyed the article. Please feel free to comment or leave suggestions below. Thanks!