How to keep pests out of the garden?
To prevent unwanted pests making themselves at home in our gardens we need to understand their habitat. We also kneed to take into consideration that some bugs and wildlife are beneficial to the garden. For example certain bugs pollinate our plants, frogs eat the slugs, warms and moles help aerate the soil.
Garden City Cymru have have created a 'No fluff' guide on how to keep pests out of the garden in a humane way.
Slugs & Snails - To keep slugs and snails out of the garden....
- Create a frog pound. Frogs eat slugs for breakfast
- Add a sharp fine mulch to the top of flower beds and pots. Slugs struggle to get over scratchy surfaces. Coir, fine gravel or sand usually works well.
- Lay bits of old wood on the ground. Slugs and snails tend to stick to the underneath of old wood. The wood can then be lifted and the slugs and snails can be removed and re-homed.
- Add sand to the soil when planting bulbs. This makes it difficult for slugs to make their way to your bulbs and plants.
- Sprinkle coffee ground on the soil around your plants.
- Wrap aluminium foil around the plant, tucking it in to the soil.
Moles - To Keep moles out of the garden...
- Before you set up your garden dig a two foot trench around the edge of the garden and fill with rocks then top with soil and plant plants above as usual. This creates a barrier below the ground to prevent moles from entering into your garden.
- Place empty wine bottles half way into the ground with the top of the bottle poking out of the surface of the soil. When the wind passes the bottle it creates a noise which frightens the moles away.
- Use paper pinwheels in the garden. As the wind passes through the pinwheel it creates a vibration sound in the ground which moles don't appreciate.
- Grow scented plants. Moles generally don't like the smell of scented plants and will avoid the area.
- As moles are most active from twilight to midnight that's when you want to have your garden parties. Moles feel threatened by humans and will keep their distance if they suspect there are predictors in the garden.
Badgers - To keep badgers out of the garden...
- Place a solid fence 3ft below the surface of the soil on the outskirts of your garden.
- Badgers do not appreciate the smell of a males urine. However your plants will appreciate it.
- Place a wire mesh over the lawn to prevent badgers digging for bugs
- Build a cage over veg patches as badgers will eat growing vegetables.
- If you keep a compost heap in your garden with food waste make sure there is a secure lid to prevent badgers digging it up.
Wasps - To get rid of wasps in the garden...
- Use peppermint, spearmint, basil, eucalyptus, cloves, geranium, thyme, citronella, bay leaves, and lemongrass. You can grow these plants near by. Wasps are also repelled by vinegar, cinnamon, coffee grounds, and sliced cucumber.
- Do not leave food out in the garden. This will attract wasps.
- Apply DW-40 near the nest. Wasps do not like the smell and will soon leave.
- Wrap a bag around the nest and break it away from where it is hanging. Then find somewhere suitable to re-home the nest. Be sure to wear protective clothing before carrying out this task to avoid being stung.
Caterpillars - To keep caterpillars out of your garden....
- Introduce natural predators into the garden such as birds, wasps and beetles, spiders, and frogs.
- Place a fine net over plants you wish to protect from caterpillars from March to April to prevent butterflies laying eggs.
- Keep an eye out for caterpillar eggs on your plants. If you do come across them. Brake of that part of the plant and re-home the eggs.
Herons - To keep herons out of your garden pond...
- If you can build your pond near the house or other garden walls/ fences. Herons will be less likely to come into a pond that is near a building.
- Alternatively grow shrubs, trees and other bushy plants such as large ornamental grasses and ferns near your pond. Herons will be less likely to spot a pond from above if it's partly covered and will be unable to hunt from the pond edge if the ground is covered with plants as they won't have anywhere to stand. Please note you should collect fallen leaves from a pond as they are bad for the water conditions and wildlife when they rot.
- If you haven't yet built your pond we advise making it 2 ft deeper or more. Herons will unlikely land in a pond they can not stand in.
- Create a hiding space for your fish in the pond.
- Place moving garden ornaments or pinwheels near your pond to deter herons. However you will need to move this around as herons will get used to them.
- Place floating plants in your pond. This will cover parts of the pond surface and make it more difficult for herons to spot fish in the pond. Pond plants will also improve the quality of the water.
- Place a large artificial heron near your pond. Herons are territorial creatures and will see the artificial heron as a threat. You should however move it to a different location regularly.
- Create air bubbles in the water near the pond edge. This will also make the fish less noticeable to herons.
- If you have a pet dog allow it into the garden. They will usually scare away herons.
- Build a fish castle at the bottom of the pond. This is a shelter that fish can hide under that they will be safe in.
- Place wind chimes near the pond. The sound and shiny reflection will deter herons.
Grass Snakes - To keep grass snakes out of your garden...
- Keep your grass short. Grass snakes usually live in long grass areas.
- If you do see a grass snake spray it gently with a water hose they will usually try to get away from the water but it wont hurt them.
- Keep compost heaps contained. Snakes will usually make a home for themselves in a compost heap as it keeps them warm especially in the winter.
- Make sure there are no gaps in your garden fence. This will make it more difficult for them to enter.
- Block off any areas that snakes can use as a shelter, for example a pile of rocks, burrow holes, under sheds or decking.
House mice - To keep house mice out of your garden...
- House mice thrive within the human home or near by. So it's really important to ensure no food is left outside and bins are sealed with a lid.
- House mice can also squeeze into tiny gaps and will often nest in sheltered areas. So it's important to make sure your fence does not have any gaps they can get through. Also make sure that there are no gaps in areas they could use to nest. Such as under the decking, or shed ect.
- Place brewed peppermint tea bags around the garden. Mice will not appreciate the scent of the teabags. Switch them up once a week.
- You can create a simple humane mouse trap using a bucket, plastic sheet, small ramp and food. Once the mice fall into the bucket you can take it away from the home and let them back out into the wild. check out this video to see how to get rid of house mice
Ants - To remove ants from the garden....
- Sprinkle cinnamon or used coffee ground near the effected area. Ants won't be able to tolerate the scent and will re-locate themselves.
- Another good repellent is citrus peals, citrus oils and white vinegar. Dilute vinegar with water and spray near the effected area.
- Pepper, chilli powder, cloves and peppermint oil are also good repellents
- Use a cedar mulch around your plants. Ants do not like the scent of cedar wood.
- Ensure no food is left outside as this will attract ants.
Rabbits - To keep rabbits out the garden..
- Keep home grown veg in raised flower beds and cover with a cage or net.
- Pet cats and dogs will scare rabbits away.
- Grow onions and garlic. Rabbits do not like the scent of these plants.
- You can purchase predator urine pallets that you can place around the garden. The scent will deter the rabbits.
- Leave censored lights on. occasionally. The light will frighten rabbits away throughout the nights. However if they come on every day they will get used to them.
- Rabbits are afraid of loud noises. As a temporary fix maybe play music in the garden. Also if you are having a home event maybe do it in the garden as rabbits are usually afraid of humans.
Foxes - To keep foxes out of your garden....
- Don't leave food out in your garden and make sure bins and compost heaps are sealed. Foxes are known to live close to human homes to find food.
- Grow veg in raised beds with a fence surrounding them.
- Make sure your garden is well fenced with the base of the fence being 2 ft under ground. This will prevent the foxes from digging their way underneath.
- If you keep chickens in your garden make sure their enclosure is secure and that foxes can't dig their way under the soil.
- Males urine mixed with spices left to ferment in a plastic bottle in the sun for a few days then poured around your garden will make the foxes believe their is a larger fox dominating the area as its own territory. This will deter foxes from entering your garden