Deer- and raccoon-proofing your yard 101

Deer and raccoons can do a number on your lawn, plants and trees. But luckily for you, it won't cost what the exterminators would charge to get rid of them. And without the use of chemicals or force.

Deer- and raccoon-proofing your yard 101

Discourage deer with eggs

A family of deer can wreak havoc on your yard. They breakfast in vegetable gardens and munch ornamentals and fruit trees at night while you sleep. What to do? Put the shotguns away.

  • Save your money by saying no to high-tech gadgets like strobe lights and noisemakers, expensive repellents and tall, ugly fences. For a fence to be effective, it must be a full 2.4 metres (eight feet) high — 28 centimetres (11 inches) taller than Shaquille O'Neal.

Instead, arm yourself with eggs. Deer hate the taste and smell of raw eggs, which is why many popular commercial repellents feature stinky egg solids as the main ingredient.

  1. Here's what you do: crack half a dozen eggs into two litres (two quarts) of water.
  2. Mix well, until all the yolks are broken and blended with the water. S
  3. prinkle the raw-egg mixture on the leaves of the plants you want to protect.
  4. The mixture should remain effective until the next rain. Reapply after that.
  5. There are other odours that deer don't like: try hanging cheesecloth bags of stinky socks, deodorant soap or human hair in the garden. (You can get hair at a salon or barbershop.) The smell may make wary deer steer clear of your garden.

Choose plants to keep deer away

Deer also don't like to brush against certain aromatic plants. So try planting artemisia, lavender and Russian sage as a natural fence line.

Or, if you can't get the deer to stop eating the plants they like, consider replanting with plants that deer dislike.

These include such popular plants as:

  • begonias
  • cosmos
  • daffodils
  • foxgloves
  • irises
  • marigolds
  • peonies
  • snapdragons
  • zinnias
  • boxwood
  • holly
  • juniper
  • lilac
  • pine
  • spruce

Deter lawn-damaging raccoons

If you wake up in the morning to discover small round holes in your lawn or even large patches of turf mysteriously rolled up, it is probably the work of raccoons or skunks, who visit at night and dig in search of worms, grubs or other insects that live in your lawn.

  • They are especially likely to show up after a rain, when the water forces their prey close to the surface.
  • Some pest control experts would have you believe that the only viable solutions to this problem are expensive ones: installing a secure or electrified fence, setting out traps or undertaking an elaborate grub-elimination program with toxic insecticides.

But the solution is quite simple.

  • Just go to the store and buy a couple of boxes of moth crystals and sprinkle them over your lawn. This will help persuade the raccoons, who have very sensitive noses, to dine elsewhere.
  • Also, to avoid attracting them, make sure your garbage cans can't be knocked over and have lids that are securely closed, with a bungee cord if necessary.
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