Keep out: homemade garden pest fighters

Follow these simple instructions to learn how to use simple things around the house to keep pesky animals away from your garden.

Keep out: homemade garden pest fighters

Blood meal rabbit repellant

  • They may be cute, but when bunnies munch on your prized garden produce or gnaw the bark of young trees, they wear out their welcome.
  • Blood meal is an organic fertilizer that is high in nitrogen, the nutrient most needed by green plants.
  • But more important, rabbits associate the smell of blood meal with predators, and will avoid gardens treated with it.

What you need

Blood meal

What to do

1. Sprinkle over the soil around garden perimeters and in garden beds according to package directions.

2. Reapply after heavy rains.

Use fencing to keep rabbits out

  • Use fence wire or hardware cloth with holes small enough to discourage chewing and exclude the tiniest rabbit.
  • Wrap young tree trunks with hardware cloth to keep rabbits from gnawing the bark.
  • To protect a vegetable garden, staple chicken wire that has small holes along the inside of your garden fence.
  • For most effective control, bury the fencing a foot deep to keep rabbits from digging under it.

Repellent for furry pests

Whether it's raccoons treating your trash like an all-you-can-eat buffet or mice looking for a barbecue-grill condo, you can get four-footed pests to scram with a couple of inexpensive household products.

What you need

  • Ammonia
  • Water
  • Mothballs

What to do

1. In a spray bottle, mix a solution of half water and half ammonia. Liberally spray trash cans or other areas visited by animal pests. If trash cans sit outside, swab them out with full-strength ammonia after every emptying.

2. Place a handful of mothballs in a shallow dish or pan and set into an unused barbecue grill to repel mice, opossums and raccoons. Remove the mothballs when the grill is in use. Tuck a few mothballs into patio furniture cushions before storing them over the winter to repel nesting mice. Be sure to keep mothballs, which are toxic, out of the reach of children and pets.

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