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Wildlife To Avoid In Gardens

Jennifer Smith

Posted on March 04 2019

Gardeners are not the only ones excited for spring gardening. Deer and other wildlife have been waiting for growers to start a vegetable garden for months now; and finally, the time has arrived. Here are the top wildlife that home gardeners will see around gardens this spring with tips on how to avoid them at all costs. 

White-tailed deer: Deer are the #1 most complained about wild animal from growers. In spring, they will roam in herds and devour all types of flowers, herbs, vegetables and fruits. They are not picky eaters this season - after all, they ate leaves and twigs all winter season; and they have been waiting for the "good stuff" from home gardens. 

Homeowners will expect to see more deer in March and April as baby fawns are delivered by does. To prevent deer damage in gardens this spring, install a 7.5' to 8' foot high deer fence to keep them away from plants.

Coyotes: Coyote breeding season was in January; and coyote pups will make their debut in March and April. While coyotes generally do not attack humans, they will attack domestic animals including dogs, cats and even backyard chickens. 

To keep coyotes away from landscapes, homeowners should install a 6' foot high metal fence with PVC.

Bears: Bears have risen from winter hibernation; and they are ready to eat again. They will visit home gardens more frequently in the spring and summer months. Prepare to protect plants with electric fencing, as plastic and metal fencing will not be strong enough for bear deterrence.

Rabbits/Groundhogs: Pregnant rabbits will give birth in March since the gestation period is only 28-30 days. Baby bunnies will be hopping around lawns and gardens all spring looking to devour carrots (of course), tomatoes, celery and various herbs. 

Worse news for gardeners: groundhogs (woodchucks) have also woken up from winter hibernation (they've been there since October) and they are ready to dive into organic gardens.

Both, rabbits and groundhogs, use their strong burrowing abilities to reach gardens. Both types of garden critters can climb and jump; but they typically will choose to tunnel underneath fences to reach crops and avoid predatory animals. To protect gardens, gardeners will need to trench a 2-3' foot high metal fence into the ground at least 6 inches in order to block digging attempts.

Spring gardening is an exciting time for growers; but they will need to keep out wildlife to guarantee successful growing of plants and flowers.