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How to Handle Springtime Visitors to your Yard and Garden

How to Handle Springtime Visitors to Your Yard and Garden

Warmer weather brings all sorts of visitors, wanted or not, to your yard. While some animals are fun to watch while you sip your morning coffee, others can be a nuisance and do more damage than good. Here are some common issues you might run into with animals in your yard and how to handle them.

Animals Acting Oddly

If you see an animal acting oddly, you need to take immediate action. For example, raccoons aren’t afraid of much. If you come out of your house to yell at them while they dig through your trash can, they might just cock their heads and look at you like you have anger management issues. But raccoons aren’t stupid; they’ll probably run once you start throwing things or moving threateningly towards them. If a raccoon starts to charge you, there’s a chance it’s rabid and needs to be taken care of by professionals. Stay away and do not try to catch it yourself!

Other odd behaviors for animals include staying out during the day and not acting afraid, wobbling or staggering as they walk, or biting themselves. If you have any concerns that an animal isn’t acting quite right, call animal control and get the animal removed from your property as soon as possible (especially if you have children or unvaccinated pets).

Damage to your Yard or Property

Holes in your yard or uneven soil that was once perfectly fine are both good signs that you have animals digging in and creating tunnels underneath your lawn. These animals can cause incredible damage in a short amount of time, so it’s best to deal with them as soon as you can. Usually, animals digging in your yard are looking for food. The most common food sources for these critters include worms, grubs, and the roots of your plants.

Getting an active outdoor cat or dog if you don’t have one already is a good way to control these creatures. If the food source is bugs, spreading an insecticide is another. You may also try traps, repellent sprays, or poisoned bait to get rid of digging creatures, but if you have pets or children, be careful with any type of poison.

If the critters are getting into a shed or under a deck, you can try getting them out with humane harassment, like putting a bright light or loud radio where they’re living to convince them to leave on their own. If you can’t get the animal to leave yourself, animal control is your best option. In some places, it’s even illegal for you to catch or harm certain creatures at certain times of the year (usually when mothers are caring for babies), so check with your state before you try to trap or kill the animal.

Critters Eating your Garden

One of the gardener’s most consistent battles is keeping the animals from eating everything that comes from their garden or fruit trees. Here are a couple of methods shown to work well to keep animals and bugs away:

Netting: This can be a bit annoying to put on and take off but covering your plants with garden fabric or mesh is a great way to keep deer, rabbits, and other large animals from getting too deep into your garden. If the holes in the fabric are small enough, they can also keep large bugs out. Be sure to keep the ends of the fabric securely fastened down so that nothing can crawl underneath.

Light and noise: Many animals are afraid of light and noise. Hanging metal junk (old cans, pie tins, CDs, etc.) around your garden fence is another popular way to deter deer. The reflection off the metal and the noise created when the wind blows may scare away animals looking for a free lunch.

While animals may be a bit of a nuisance, they’re part of a healthy ecosystem, so whenever possible, be humane in how you get rid of them. We hope these ideas help you as you deal with some of nature’s more unpleasant visitors to your yard. Care to share some other methods you use to keep unwanted creatures away?

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