Steamboat Springs Most gardeners love to have visitors browse through their gardens. It's nice to be appreciated for the thought and the work you put into creating a beautiful environment around your house. It's nice, that is, unless your visitors express appreciation by nibbling on tree buds, chewing on leaves and flowers and digging up bulbs and plant roots.
Frustrated gardeners have tried many different remedies through the years to keep pests away from their trees and plants. Solutions such as hanging bars of perfumed soap, human hair or smelly clothing from trees work for a while until the wildlife become accustomed to the scents. Spraying the plants and ground with a nasty tasting (or smelly) repellent requires many repeat applications as the plants grow or precipitation washes it away.
Here are a few products that local gardeners have claimed limited success with for deterring deer, rabbits, squirrels, moles, porcupines, cats, dogs and other pesky animals from garden plants.
Dried blood, bone meal and commercial repellents such as Deer-Away, Hinder or Miller's Hot Sauce spread on the plants and on the ground around the garden work for a while until animals get used to the smell. A home-made solution of Tabasco sauce diluted in water and sprayed on some groundcover and tree leaves has helped salvage some plants.
To discourage burrowing and digging animals from going after your bulbs, seeds, rhizomes and tubers, products such as Mol-Med can be saturated into the soil. This nontoxic product claims to give the soil an unpleasant taste and smell similar to castor oil.
A fence is another solution for repelling wildlife from your garden, but it must be at least eight feet high to keep deer from jumping over it and often needs to be planted six to 12 inches deep to hinder burrowing animals.
Some local gardeners have also had success with special motion detectors in their gardens that either spray a stream of water when it detects an animal in the garden or emits a loud noise to scare the intruder away.
Probably the best solution is to eliminate the obvious sources of food and shelter around your premises and replace them with plants that are not attractive to the animals that visit you.
Be wary of solutions that include trapping, poisoning and shooting. Many of the animals discussed here are protected by local, state and national regulations. Check with the state wildlife agency before using any lethal controls.
Deb Babcock is a Master Gardener through the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension office in Routt County. Products mentioned in this article are not endorsed by Master Gardeners or the CSU Cooperative Extension. They are mentioned for informational purposes only. Questions? Call 879-0825 or e-mail: email@example.com.