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5 Strategies for Keeping Four-Legged Visitors Out of Your Yard

Unwelcome visitors in your yard? Here are 5 easy ways to protect your yard and garden.

1. Stink that groundhog out with cat litter.

A groundhog (woodchuck) hastaken up residence in a burrow that’sconveniently next to your backyard garden. What the pest controlcompany won’t tell you is that it’s easyto stink a groundhog out of his home for zero cost. Each day when you scoopout the cat boxes in your house, dumpthat foul-smelling debris down Mr.Groundhog’s hole instead of throwing itinto the trash can. After a few days ofthis treatment, the groundhog will packup and move. Once he’s gone, pourrocks into all of the entrances to theburrow so no other animals will decideto move in.

2. Protect your garden from deer with eggs.
A family of deer can wreak havoc on your yard. They breakfast in vegetable gardens andmunch ornamentals and fruit trees atnight while you sleep. What to do? Save your money bysaying no to high-tech gadgets likestrobe lights and noisemakers, expensiverepellents, and tall, ugly fences. Fora fence to be effective, it must be a full8 feet (2.4 meters) high-11 inches(28 cm) taller than Shaquille O’Neal. Instead, arm yourself with eggs. Deerhate the taste and smell of raw eggs,which is why many popular commercialrepellents feature stinky egg solids asthe main ingredient. Here’s what youdo: Crack half a dozen eggs into2 quarts (2 liters) water. Mix well, untilall the yolks are broken and blendedwith the water. Sprinkle the raw-eggmixture on the leaves of the plants youwant to protect. The mixture shouldremain effective until the next rain.Reapply after that.There are other odors that deer don’t like: Try hanging cheesecloth bags of stinky socks, deodorant soap, or human hair in the garden.

3. Choose plants to keep deer away.
Deer also don’t like to brush againstcertain aromatic plants. So try plantingartemisia, lavender, and Russian sageas a natural fence line. Or, if you can’tget the deer to stop eating the plantsthey like, consider replanting withplants that deer dislike. These includesuch popular plants as begonias, cosmos,daffodils, foxgloves, irises, marigolds, peonies, snapdragons, andzinnias, along with shrubs and treessuch as boxwood, holly, juniper, lilac,pine, and spruce.

4. Fence rabbits out of your veggiepatch.
Numerous sprays and powdersare sold to deter rabbits from the garden,but many of these are not safe foruse on garden vegetables. A rabbitprooffence is the best protection foryour vegetable garden. Use chickenwire, and make sure the fence’s bottomis buried by at least 6 to 12 inches (15 to30 cm), otherwise the rabbits will tunnelunderneath it. The fence needs toextend at least 30 inches (76 cm) abovethe ground.

5. Try other rabbit deterrents.
Becausea fence is an unattractive addition tomany gardens, you may want to try afew low-impact deterrents against voraciousbunnies:
– Remove brush piles and other hidingplaces for rabbits. Clean up spilledbirdseed from feeders.
– Post realistic-looking rubber modelsof snakes or owls in the garden, orcut an old hose into snakelike lengthsand coil them among your plants.
– Hang dog hair in cheesecloth bags ordistribute it among the plants tofrighten away rabbits. Strong-smellingsoaps are also said to deterrabbits.

– You can buy coyote or fox urine tospread among plants, fooling rabbitsinto thinking a predator is nearby.

Remember, rabbits are not dumb bunnies.Eventually they will figure outthey’re safe from each of these deterrents,so you’ll have to mix up yourmethods to keep them on their toes.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest