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Search Results for ' Control of wildlife pests'

PAL Questions: 4 - Garden Tools:

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Keywords: Control of wildlife pests

PAL Question:

Wild rabbits invaded our garden area this year and ate 20 feet of bean plants and then ate all the leaves from my strawberry plants. What can I do next year to discourage the little creatures?

View Answer:

We have looked at several resources, and there are several options for keeping rabbits away from your plants.

1. Exclusion fencing: You can use chain link, rabbit wire, 1-inch chicken wire, hardware cloth, or similar materials. The fence need only be 2 to 3 feet tall, but rabbits are great at digging under things, so the bottom of the fence material should be secured by staking it or burying it 8-10 inches deep. You can also make a hardware cloth skirt for the bottom of your fence, extending out on top of the ground about 2 feet. Secure it with stakes or garden staples, and then cover it with soil, mulch, or gravel. Make sure your gate areas are also secure.

You might try planting in raised beds which will discourage, if not totally stop, the rabbit visitors. Cages made with chicken wire and rebar can be placed over the raised beds. Chicken wire placed in the bottom of the raised bed or planter will keep rabbits from burrowing and tunneling from below.

One source recommends using electrified wire 4-6 inches from the bottom of an existing fence, but this requires a consistent power source, and cannot be touching any vegetation or it will short out. Some urban areas do not allow the use of hot wires.

2. Provide an easier food source for the rabbits, such as sunflowers, or cracked corn, outside your fenced/protected garden area.

3. Use pepper spray (this is available in garden centers or you can make it at home) on your plants. The spray is diluted in water and applied to the plants (about 1 tablespoon per gallon of water).

4. Install motion-activated noisemakers, such as croaking frog statues, and the sound might scare away the rabbits.

5. Live-trapping (used in combination with exclusion fence): "have-a-heart" traps are available in garden centers, and can be placed in sheltered areas (so rabbits won't have to cross large open spaces to reach them). Bait the traps with apples, carrots, cabbage, or other green vegetables (or better yet, use whatever the rabbits have been munching on in your garden!). The rabbits should be released away from urban areas.

Season All Season
Date 2006-02-11
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Keywords: Control of wildlife pests, Thuja plicata

PAL Question:

I have a medium size cedar in my yard. Squirrels have been stripping the bark off - it is reddish and seems to come off fairly easily in flexible strips a few to several inches long. I wonder if I should be concerned about this affecting the health of the tree and if so what I should do to protect it.

View Answer:

It is possible that the bark-stripping may cause lasting damage to your cedar tree. Here is a document on managing squirrel damage from the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and Lands. Here is an excerpt:
"The location of bark damage on a tree varies among tree species and is probably related to the ease of bark removal and bark thickness, and hence to the growth characteristics of different species. Basal damage (within 1 m of the ground)is the most common type of damage in beech (Fagus sylvatica). Crown damage frequently occurs in the main canopy of oaks and many conifers, while stem damage usually occurs between the base and canopy in, for example, sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus), beech, birch (Betula spp.), larch (Larix spp.), and lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta). [...] Crown damage affects the growth and appearance of the tree; severe crown damage kills it. Damage to the base and stem is cumulative occurring over a number of years. Wounds tend to callous over, hiding the damage until the tree is felled. Trees girdled by excessive stem or basal damage will die."

There are various methods of discouraging squirrels, but nothing is a fail-safe approach. The book, Outwitting Critters, by Bill Adler, Jr. (HarperPerennial, 1992) suggests dried blood fertilizer, ultrasonic devices, or live-trapping with peanut butter and small fruit as bait.

Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife's website has a page which includes suggestions on how to protect trees from squirrels.

Season All Season
Date 2006-08-24
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Keywords: Acer palmatum, Control of wildlife pests

PAL Question:

The bark on a Coral Bark Maple is peeling away on one side of the trunk...about 1 1/2 to 2 feet long. The tree looks healthy otherwise. Cause? Anything to do?

View Answer:

Trees (maples and others) are attacked by various diseases and pests, but nothing that removes sections of bark on a trunk. Damage might be from larger pests such as raccoons, deer or squirrels. In the city, squirrels often strip bark from trees for their nests. You might want to:

1. Put chicken wire or other protective barrier around the tree. The tree will heal itself as long as the entire trunk is not girdled (that is when bark is stripped all the way around the trunk so moisture and nutrients can't flow).

2. Have an arborist look at the tree for an accurate diagnosis. To locate an arborist in your area, contact Plant Amnesty's referral service or call their Referral Service Coordinator at 206-783-9813 and leave the following information:

General Location (city or town)
Phone Numbers (work, home, cell)
Email (will get the quickest response!)

Season All Season
Date 2006-10-05
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Keywords: Control of wildlife pests, Deer

PAL Question:

How can I keep deer out of my garden? Something is eating my plants, and I think it's deer. Do they like dahlias? Those are my favorite, and they seem to be especially hard hit. They don't seem to like it when we water, so maybe we could do something with that?

View Answer:

Deer are very hard to repel. Information about managing deer around your home and garden is available at the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife site, Living with Wildlife. (There are no guaranteed or complete repellents. As the link above mentions, some of the repellents may be toxic to plants, and may not be effective for very long. Furthermore, some of the predator urine repellents may not be humanely produced.)

First, you should identify which plants are being eaten; rodents and rabbits make a clean cut, while deer leave a jagged edge. And, of course, the browse marks are higher up on the plants if deer are the culprits. Fortunately, most native plants can survive some browsing. Unfortunately, deer do eat dahlias.

Once you determine which plants the deer is eating, you can often protect just those plants with a 4-6 foot circular fence just around the base of the plant. If you are trying to protect a small vegetable garden, you might be able to fence and cover it (suspending netting or chicken wire from the tops of the fence posts) as well. Fencing material can be made of woven wire or rigid polypropylene mesh.

You might consider motion-sensitive sprinklers, lights, or a radio--you did say that water scared off the deer. Some people have used blinking lights with success, strung so that they cast many shadows.

Some home remedies will work some of the time, though none work all of the time. And, they all have to be replenished after a good rain or watering. Here are some anecdotal examples of things that have worked (taken from Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife biologist Russell Link's book, Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest, 1999):

  1. Keeping dogs near the plants (for instance, installing their run near the garden).
  2. Human hair, strong-smelling soap, or blood meal placed in stockings or cheesecloth bags and hung near the plants.
  3. Several old eggs blended in a gallon of water and placed in vented containers, hanging near the plants.

The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife's Living with Wildlife website includes Link's list of plants that are at least somewhat deer-resistant. There are lists from Spokane County Extension and University of California, Davis, too.

While you may have to put up with some damage, I hope the ideas above will give you some places to start.

Season All Season
Date 2008-06-04
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December 12 2014 11:33:49