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How to Keep Animal Pests Out of Your Yard and Garden

Garden fencePrevention is the key to ridding your yard and garden of common animal pests. By not letting your property become a haven where tasty morsels can be found, you’ll encourage foraging animals to go elsewhere to find dinner.


Raccoons are persistent creatures that can be quite resourceful in getting at the food they want. Try the following tactics to keep them hungry and searching elsewhere for a meal:

  • Use garbage cans with tight-fitting lids, wire them closed, or place a heavy block, such as a cinderblock, on top to prevent entry.
  • Never leave pet food or water outside overnight.
  • Block ground-level vents and install wooden latticework to keep raccoons and other small animals out of crawlspaces.
  • Pick fruits and vegetables when they ripen.
  • Keep tree branches trimmed back from the house.


While possums eat insects, they also dig up the plants in your garden. The following are several effective possum repellants:

  • Non-chemical commercial animal repellant (contains the scent of the possum’s natural enemies).
  • Mothballs
  • Ammonia-soaked rags
  • Used kitty litter
  • Newspaper soaked in dog urine
  • Ultra-sonic pest repeller

Rabbit in gardenRabbits

To discourage rabbits from exploring — and devouring — your garden or breeding on your property, try these tips:

  • Use wire fencing or electrified fencing as a barrier around your vegetable garden or plants.
  • Apply commercial rabbit repellant such as mothballs, blood meal, hot red pepper (capsaicin), or ammonium soap products to non-edible plants or plant parts. Reapply after rain or watering.
  • Keep yard clear of plant overgrowth and other debris.
  • Use tree guards to protect trees and shrubs.


Deer love tender, tasty plants like tulips and roses and fruits like strawberries and peaches. To keep them hungry, try the following tactics:

  • Plant strongly-scented plant varieties around your garden’s perimeter to mask the scent of the plants deer love. Some examples: lavender, mint, rosemary, chives and garlic. Tall, deer-repellant hedge varieties can also block the view and discourage deer from entering your yard.
  • Choose a combination of bitter-tasting, fuzzy-leafed, and strongly-scented plants for your main garden. Some plants deer dislike are daffodils, bluebeard, lily of the valley, and oleander.
  • Use deer fencing as a barrier around your garden. Deer are jumpers, so make sure the fencing is about eight feet high.
  • Keep special plants close to the house where you can keep an eye on them.
  • Spray your plants with a commercial or home-made deer-deterrent solution, and reapply frequently to maintain effectiveness.
  • Pick fruit as soon as it ripens.
  • Scare deer away with a dog, a scarecrow, movable garden ornaments, and wind chimes or bright lights.

Wind chimeOther Animal Pest Tips

Barrier fencing can also work for other small animals, such as the ones in the following list:

  • Skunks
  • Gophers
  • Moles
  • Squirrels

Repellants are available for most, such as castor oil granules for moles and gophers. Mole and gopher tunnels can also be flooded or fumigated, and trapping often works for smaller wildlife control.

Electronic pest repellers can also work well. Since squirrels climb trees, keep tree branches trimmed back away from the house. Motion-sensor water sprays work well to deter most animal pests, including deer.


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