Keeping Animals Out of Your Garden

June 30, 2005

A photo fo a carrot growing in a vegetable garden.We use mousetraps to keep squirrels, rabbits and cats from ruining our garden. The noise scares them without hurting them so that they don't return.


By Pat K

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May 30, 2013

We had a raccoon and cats that were being nuisances. I purchased several of the "old fashioned" toilet bowl fresheners. I hung them along the bottom of the fence especially in areas I know the animal used for access.


September 15, 2010

I've tried various methods to keep pests (cats and birds) away from sown beds and young seedling beds without any success, until I tried this method. Spread rose twigs (after pruning) over the bed. Make sure pets can't creep through twigs.

Rose Prunings To Keep Animals Out Of Garden Beds


Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,298 Posts
June 26, 2017

We have been having bunny and squirrel problems invading our little garden. To prevent animals from coming, we placed plastic forks all around.


You can use other plastic utensils like knives and spoons, but forks work best!

Forks in the Garden to Scare off Animals - black plastic forks, tines up, placed in raised garden

June 3, 2005

Tips and ideas for protecting your plants from small animals. Post your ideas.



Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

June 28, 2019

I planted my pots on my deck and now every night some rodent snips off flowers or plants half way up and leaves by the pot or eats trailing plants leaves in piles? There is no rat or rabbit poop or any poop at all. This is the first time this has happened in 14 years in Nelson B.C Canada in the forest.


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June 28, 20190 found this helpful
Best Answer

I just had deer eat all of my tomato plants, so I feel your pain.

The only safe thing to do is move the things UP and out of their zone...whatever it is...Is that something you can do? I do have a ledge where no critters can easily get to, but the back lower space gets better sun. This is the first time in years I have had issues.


I guess before I go on, are you sure this wasn't a human doing this since you saw no poop? I ask because we had kids in the neighborhood a few years ago and they were cutting flowers and taking them. They left everything else alone...but took people's hydrangeas and day and tiger lilies.

If you are sure it is critters--I know mine was the deer as they were later seen doing the same in my neighbor's yard, you risk hurting other critters and humans if you put any chemicals or even pepper type products on the plants. We have a lot of critters who don't bother plants but walk through areas that could be hurt bad if we did this so that is a big NO NO in our neighborhood.

If you can't move the plants, it looks hideous, but chicken wire works also to keep critters safely at bay. I saw my neighbor out doing this after the tomato debacle.


The last thought is to plant things like Marigolds that just about no critter will eat AROUND anything you want to keep. We just had this conversation in my gals group that they do that with their gardens--two rows of marigolds circle the garden and that seems to keep most things at bay.

Post back what you decide.


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June 30, 20190 found this helpful
Best Answer

Here is a tip on how to find out what type of "guest" you have eating all your nice plants. Maybe some sort of identity will help you decide how to discourage the critter.

Since your plants are outside try to find some sort of medium that your critter will have to step in and maybe leave some foot prints.
This medium can be fresh dirt, sand (bag from local store), flour (this can be difficult to remove), baking soda, etc.


Just put enough around the pots that a footprint (paw print ? Size?) will show up; smooth it out and check it out in the AM.
Take pictures and ask your agriculture agent for help.
Try this link for help as they should be able to direct you to someone that can give some suggestions for handling animals in your area.

Many years ago, I even used this method for 'catching' someone who happened to be coming in my yard uninvited (stealing plants) by smoothing out the ground around the plants where a footprint could be seen.
I did not have a camera but I made a ''cast' and saved it for 'proof'.
Solution; I posted a sign in front of my plants saying "We know who you are and will report the next theft!"


Everyone thought it was so funny - but - it worked - no more thefts.
No security cameras back then...

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August 10, 2010

Is there a natural way to repel deer from eating garden veggies, besides a fence?

Hardiness Zone: 3b

By linn from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia


August 10, 20101 found this helpful

Try sprinkling some cayenne pepper along your flower beds. Animals have a heightened sense of smell and they can't stand the smell or tingle of it. :) Best of luck!

August 10, 20101 found this helpful

If you are troubled by deer or rabbits eating plants in your garden, try this inexpensive spray. Whisk one egg with 1 cup water; pour into a 1 quart pistol grip spray bottle. Add 1 tsp dish soap. Fill rest with water. Set outside in the sun for about 3 days, until it's putrefied. One little squirt does the job. You do not have to over saturate. Reapply after a rain. Source is unknown. I heard it from a friend who has used it for a long time.

October 21, 20101 found this helpful

There are motion activated 'scare crows' that when there's moment of a dear, rabbit, bird, raccoon or other animal (even your neighbors dig happy dog) ill make a sudden movement to startle them away. That's also variations of that with a sprinkler that shoots a bit of water to startle the intruder away.

There is absolutely no harm done to the animals and no poisons or affected plants. And its also aesthetically pleasing. And unlike owl and coyote statues the animals wont become desensitized to them and ignore it. The only down fall is they may be a touch costly. but its well worth it. And unlike topical sprays it wont harm the flowers or produce, It wont add a bad odor and you don't need to remember to reapply it weekly.

June 9, 20160 found this helpful

This worked for an elderly gardener in the country: She saved her urine and buried open jars of it around the garden with the openings exposed. She also saved hair from her hairbrush and put it in the garden.

June 21, 20161 found this helpful

The motion activated sensors do not work for me. I have had rabbits eating grass right in front of them and squirrels don't seem bothered either.

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November 6, 2010

How do you keep the deer, squirrels, coons, ground hogs, and rabbits out or your garden?

Hardiness Zone: 6a

By THOMAS BRYANT from Kansas City, MO


November 6, 20101 found this helpful

If you figure out a foolproof way, patent it, and you'll be rich! A good fence goes far in helping to keep them out; but groundhogs and raccoons can climb, and deer can jump (unless it is very high). The 'hogs will also dig underneath, as can rabbits.

If you can make a four-foot fence, with small enough wire to keep the rabbits out, you can run an electric (fence) wire at the top and bottom. Watch for digging, and you should be fine. I have tried the mothballs and marigolds, pepper wax, and all of that. It seems to make no difference for me. Since my fence is only 3 feet tall, and the 'hog gets in anyway, I am thinking that next year I may add the electric, or maybe plant a row of tasty things on the outside of the fence, to see if that will stop him before he goes in! I am also going to try a havahart trap. Only time will tell!

November 12, 20100 found this helpful

Go get hair at the local salon or salons. We give lots free to people for their gardens.

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December 15, 2015

One of my favorite cooking ingredients is fresh herbs. I've grown many different kinds over the years: rosemary, parsley, thyme, oregano, mint, chives, sage, basil, dill, and more. All have proved hardy enough to withstand the outdoors year round, even insects, here in Georgia, but they are usually mangled by reckless squirrels, even when I've grown them in large clay pots on our deck.

At the moment, I'm experimenting with growing 4 varieties indoors in a sunny window, but they will soon be too big for that space. I suppose I could resort to covering them outside with netting, but wonder if there is a better way to protect them. I am looking forward to having your thoughts. Many thanks.


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October 1, 20170 found this helpful

Sprinkle with cayenne pepper. It will have to be reapplied after watering or rain.

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January 14, 2014

How do I stop them from entering my yard?

By Thomas K.


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 255 Posts
January 19, 20140 found this helpful

I use a 410 or a 22...Coyotes do a lot of damage in my area. We farm. They have killed my chickens, ducks, cats, taken down and killed several young calves, taken trash out of the trash barrel, rooted in the garden, torn up my compost pile, and carried of my kids toys and chewed on them. Several years ago a neighbor shot one that was acting strange and it was sent off. While it tested neg for rabies, it was full of parasites and very sick looking, with stuff running from its eyes. You don't want them in your yard.
Depending on your state, try your local conservation agent for suggestions, as well as your local county extension office for ideas.
Good luck.

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March 23, 2018

This is a page about protecting tomato plants from animals. We are not the only ones who enjoy a delicious tomato. Deer and even squirrels will help themselves to your garden produce. Depending on who is nibbling, there are different measures you can take to discourage your unwelcome dinner guests.

A tomato plant with yellow flowers.

July 16, 2013

This is a page about keeping squirrels out of a vegetable garden. Has your vegetable garden become the salad bowl for the local squirrel population? If so, then you are probably looking for a way to keep them out.

A squirrel eating a pumpkin in a vegetable garden.


ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

March 25, 2010

How can I keep the animals away from my vegetable plants?


November 6, 2010

What is the best way to keep rabbits out of your tomatoes?


August 10, 2010

What non chemical method can be used to keep deer and cats out of the vegetable and the flower beds?


June 6, 2010

What is a cheap way to keep wildlife (rabbits,chipmunks, etc.) out of my vegetable garden? I want to keep them from eating all my produce? I do love animals. How about moth balls around it?


June 25, 2009

How do I keep animals from eating my garden?

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