Tips to keep deer and other wildlife from munching your plants
Fences and deer-resistant plants are among some of the ways to keep unwanted four-footed guests out of the garden.
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Wildlife shares our space. It's difficult to rid your property of them humanely because it's often illegal to take live-trapped mammals away from properties. Here are some of Mr. Soderstrom's suggestions for repelling other pesky critters:Skip to next paragraph
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– Chipmunks. Eastern chipmunks, the only ones in the eastern United States, are considered cute, but their antics make them pests. They are omnivores, eating birdseed, bird eggs, crocuses, and other shallow bulbs. Burrows can undermine porches, stairs, masonry walks and concrete patios. Keep them out of bird food by installing plants with berries birds eat instead of using feeders. Plant serviceberries, hackberries, hollies, viburnums, American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens), American euonymus (E. americanus) and American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana).
– Moles. Tunneling is their greatest threat, creating humps and uneven walking surfaces that can disturb plants' root zones. Moles are insectivores, eating beetle grubs, worms, centipedes, and millipedes. This can be beneficial. Use repellents to discourage them from digging shallow feeding tunnels. Mole Med and Mole & Vole Stopper are safe and can be used by organic growers.
– Rabbits. Rabbits pose a threat to gardeners by eating vegetables, ornamentals, and tree bark in winter. An effective rabbit repellent for organic gardeners is Messina Wildlife's Rabbit Stopper. Quarter-inch wire mesh around tree trunks provides winter bark protection. One-inch wire mesh rabbit fences will protect vegetable and flower gardens.
– Raccoons. They are omnivores and will eat almost any food. You can usually blame them when trash is scattered about or when a hole is ripped into your trash can. They make dens in sheds, chimney flues, and houses. Eliminate food sources, cover all openings to houses or sheds, use trash cans that latch, cover compost containers, cover gardens with wire mesh, and install pet doors that latch. Raccoons don't just harbor ticks and fleas; they're also susceptible to rabies, worms, and other parasites and can pass them on to humans.
– Voles. Primarily herbivores, they eat roots of ornamental plants, stems, seeds and tree bark. This makes them a greater pest to gardeners than moles. Their burrows are shallow, and they feed around the clock. Mole & Vole Stopper is a safe, effective repellent.
Joel Lerner is president of Environmental Design in Capitol View Park, Md., and author of "Anyone Can Landscape." Contact him through his website, www.gardenlerner.com.
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