Keeping Small Wildlife Out Flower Beds

I have aggressive and destructive squirrels, raccoons and possums that are ruining the flower garden. I need to deter these garden pests this spring, summer and fall. The squirrels are the worst! Any Ideas?


ML Dubose from Chicago, IL



Keeping small animals out of the vegetable garden is easy. Just erect a fence around the perimeter. Since no one wants to erect a 6 ft. high mesh fence around his or her flowerbeds, you're going to have to do a bit of experimenting to see what works best. Deterring raccoons and possum (especially raccoons) is a bit trickier than keeping squirrels out because they are so good at getting in and out of places that seem to be secure. First of all, I would suggest laying some human or animal hair around your plants. You might contact a local barber or grooming salon for their excess trimmings. Any type of predatory scent (available at garden centers) should help temporarily, but expect to reapply them after it rains. Both of these animals are quite skittish, so installing a motion detector or setting a radio in the garden at night may also work to scare them off. Above all, keep your garbage tightly sealed and bring any pet food and water dishes in at night. Live trapping and relocation may also be viable options, but be sure to check with you local state conservation department about live trapping laws before attempting to do so.


You options are similar with squirrels-scare tactics or repellants. Bulbs can be covered with a wire mesh to keep squirrels and other rodents from digging them up. I feed my squirrels black sunflower seeds at a feeder located well away from my flowers. It's not always a popular response among gardeners, but I can tell you that I've never had a squirrel attack my flowerbeds.



About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert.

January 22, 20070 found this helpful

Not sure if this will help or not. My dogs were destroying our yard, ferns, flowers, garden etc....

We tried red pepper and chlorine luck.

I started putting their poo where I wanted them to stay out of and it worked like a charm!!! They want nothing to do with anything smellinglike poo!

Maybe you could try some manure in your flowerbeds? Oh...and I heard this trick once. Get some deer urine...the kind hunters use, and sprinkle it around. Because its a larger animal, small animals see it as a "marked territory",and should steer clear.

You can get it at Wal-Mart, or any hunting supply store.

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January 25, 20070 found this helpful

We also have had squirrels, and rabbits in our flower beds,we put golf balls through out our gardens,the little guys think that they are eggs and won,t go near them,I thought that was crazy but it worked.

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February 8, 20070 found this helpful

One time on this site someone needed some ideas on how to get moles and pest like that out of their garden and a stinky baby diaper was HIGHLY recommended. Might bury some an inch deep (just enough to hide them) around the garden.

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April 29, 20070 found this helpful

Plastic snakes work at keeping small animals out as well. Just move them around every few days. It's your call as to whether or not you want to tell family members/friends that the snakes are fake :)

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February 3, 20080 found this helpful

What we are using on Australian Possums!!......

*Blood & bone may work for you too??

*Smoky tea spray around trees/plants

*Bin trap works as do commercially avail ones

(be prepared to drive!)

[A similarly simple trapping devise can be made with a student ruler & a bucket to catch mice with out any serious harm to animal( look up on nett)]

*Inspecting and boarding up all entry points to house.

*Bird netting around trees they like it confuses them as they can not see it only feel it at night.

*we cut back tree branch's within 3 feet of house and each other so they can not climb up and jump across onto roof or follow tree highways!

(our possums are wild acrobats!

* I have heard the piss in a bucket and sprinkle around theory too .I know it works for trespassing cats as well (they think its a huge wild cat LOL)

I live in Australia we have possums (Phalangeriformes) and you have Opossums (Didelphimorphia): not totally different looking but opossums do look a bit more "super rat" like.

Where as ours look a bit more bear like and indigenous .

But Some very similar behaviors .

We have trouble In our Australian gardens as they stripe ornamental/ fruit trees of leaves,until the tree literally dies's . They enter our house to fossick for fruit etc if a window is left open ,Ands they live permanently in our Roof's , wall and garages if given the chance.

Highly territorial they keep other possums away from garden but can house up to 20 on one block if enough homes for them such as in a house!

We should make them tree boxes!

Although they don't seem eat cats LOL

They are a major pain for us too.


We may not harm or remove them further than 12 feet from property by law as they are a native protected species!!

If you do trap them in one of the pre mentioned garbage bin traps (which do work on you're type) or in 'Elliot" traps here.

Then illegally Australians take them at least 15-20 km away or closer if somewhere over a river because they can always find there way back somehow if you drop them in the nearest park.

Also for there sakes they have huge trouble finding new available home nest as they are so territorial.

WE found out from a local gardening shop that put us onto Blood & Bone (you add it to soil as a powder)

It worked a treat they hate the smell

Sprinkle everywhere they like to hang out!

As an Experiment I am now sewing it into fabric bags and planting them around garden.

also I have heard smoky flavored tea in a spray bottle works but I have not tried that yet.

Post back if these work for Opossums as well.

good luck

{The opossum is North Americas only marsupial and is related to the Kangaroo and Koala from Australia!Opossums, Didelphimorphia: they are commonly also called "possums", though that term is more correctly applied to Australian fauna of the suborder Phalangeriformes}

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February 18, 20080 found this helpful

My dogs love the straw I use for mulch so I started to sprinkle mothballs around(use Naphthalene only !) it works so does garlic spray and black and red pepper. You do need to reapply the pepper after a heavy dew or rain but it is cheap and effective for me. Any mammal will be effected by strong odors and hot food. To keep squirrels out of bird seed just add some hot pepper and shake to distribute well.

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October 11, 20120 found this helpful

We recently replaced our roof due to seven holes chewed by raccoons! We have had them professionally trapped to remove the offenders who are repeat visitors. But one of the trappers suggested using spray of Coyote pee found at the local sports store. Spray around your garden to ward them off. Of course, it has to be repeated after rains. But it's worth it to be rid of the little pests.

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In This Article
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Protecting Your Garden From Pests
Home and Garden Gardening Pest ControlFebruary 8, 2007
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Shaping Flower Beds
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Animals Eating My Tomato Plants
A fenced vegetable and flower garden.
Fencing Your Vegetable Garden
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