How To Deter Dogs and Cats from Your Garden

Use these gentle tactics to keep dogs and cats away from your garden.

Doggie Don’t!
Keep dogs away from your most vulnerable garden plants by trying these tips:

  • Fortifying the area with thorny hedges and plants. Roses, barberry, pyracantha, holly, and gooseberry are all bothersome enough to deter the most determined canine intruders.
  • Fence off the vegetable garden with wire fencing or, even better, a picket fence.
  • Border the barrier with colorful flowers for a decorative effect.
  • Use the sprinkler. If a neighborhood dog is an unwanted visitor in your yard, set up a sprinkler in the area it frequents and train it to stay away by regularly surprising it with a spray of cold water.
  • Plant common rue (Ruta graveolens) anywhere that dogs are a problem. One rue plant beside each tomato plant will discourage dogs. A bonus: Pesky ants are also repelled by rue. Note: Rue is toxic to humans, especially to children.

Keep Away Kitty!
Cats getting comfy in your vegetable patch? These tips will keep their claws out of the dirt.

  • Felines are attracted to freshly dug earth. After you’ve been digging or cultivating, insert brambles or thorny prunings into the soil.The sharp branches will keep cats from getting too comfortable in your newly worked beds. If that doesn’t work, try stretching some small-gauge chicken wire across the surface of the soil.
  • Save breakfast leftovers. Cats won’t think of your garden as a latrine any more if you spread a pungent mixture of orange peels and coffee grounds around your plants.The mix is a great fertilizer, too.
  • Protect the birds. Keep their broods out of the reach of your cat’s claws by planting a climbing rose on the sunny side of a tree where birds like to nest.
  • A collar of chicken wire will keep cats from climbing the tree, too.
  • Cover your seedbeds with holly branches or rose trimmings, which will discourage cats in search of a comfort station. It will also discourage neighborhood dogs looking for a cool, soft place to nap.
  • Keep cats out of your vegetable garden and add mulch to growing vegetables by placing conifer branches that you’ve trimmed off among garden rows. The needles serve as aprickly barrier that keeps animals from digging in the garden,while the dropped needles provide mulch.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest