Deer, squirrels and rabbits are common garden pests that may invade a newly planted flower bed or ravage vegetable crops. However, there are ways to defend your garden against these animal pests. Although chemical control methods are available, there are other defense alternatives that are better for the environment.
Although deer, squirrels and rabbits will eat most anything if they are starving, there are annuals that they do not enjoy. Planting these flowers around the garden can help to dissuade these pests from entering the garden and harming other plants. Common annuals that these pests do not like include ageratum, snapdragons, coleus, salvia, dianthus and marigolds. In addition, rabbits, deer and squirrels tend to stay away from strong-smelling plants such as onions and lavender.
Rabbits, deer and birds are generally dissuaded by the appearance of snakes. Place inflatable snakes, rubber snakes or even pieces of an old garden hose around your garden in prominent places where pests will spot them. Move the snakes periodically and keep them inflated.
Fencing is considered the most effective damage control method against deer, rabbits, dogs and cats. Try constructing a slated fence or using woven wire mesh to create a boundary between the garden and the rest of the landscape. According to the University of Vermont deer have poor eyesight and will try to jump a wire mesh fence unless it is flagged with bright colorful markers.
West Virginia University states that repellents discourage animal pests, specifically deer, by having offensive flavor or odors. There are a number of repellents available--such as human hair, soap, feathermeal, bonemeal, creosote, mothballs and chemical repellents. Repellents generally work best when used in rotation with one or more repellent option. In addition, it is important to begin using repellents before the pest has begun feeding in your garden. To do this, begin a repellent regiment before your flowers or vegetable crops have matured.