As you head out to your yard this spring, you may discover you’re not the first to get your paws in the dirt. Deer, rabbits and groundhogs can be pleasant reminders of the wonders of this season, but they’re also destructive intruders, trampling and chomping on all your hard work.
Before you give up on gardening plans or give in to drastic measures, consider other strategies that are fauna-friendly yet send the message that your yard is no longer open as a local buffet.
Deer return to the same feeding grounds every year, showing new family members their favorite spots and consuming over ten pounds of foliage in a day. Beyond installing fortress-height fencing, you can stop the damage by consulting with your local extension service or university to find out what native plants are the most deer-resistant. There’s no such thing as a deer-proof plant, but if you know what a deer will tend to eat first versus later, you can design a beautiful yet defensive landscape featuring the plants they’re least likely to munch on.
Meanwhile, rabbits, groundhogs and other nesting animals launch ground attacks on budding plants, so consider their size and use it against them. Small decorative fences and walls can protect your plantings from intrusions. And if you’re able to find out where these animals tunnel and make their nests, you can use other decorative means of closing them up. A large flower pot can be a strategic solution, and freshly mulched beds can disrupt familiar nesting spots just enough to relocate unwanted guests.
When all else fails, there are plenty of homemade remedies and garden center products that safely, organically keep nature’s neighbors away from your plants. No matter how you decide to defend your garden or yard from deer, rabbits and groundhogs this spring, ultimately being able to coexist with these animals can bring its own rewards to your backyard ecosystem.