Nine Remedies for Controlling Animals in the Garden

Help? I have animals in the garden.

So how do we keep animals out of the garden? There's a lot of stuff out there that is recommended.

Instant Fence

There are a lot of products out there that are supposed to work on rabbits and deer. These products smells like rotting eggs and I'm told it works fairly well if used according to directions and sprayed regularly.

Hanging Soap

Hanging bars of soap is often recommended and regularly pilloried as not working. It is an old recipe and recommendation.

Human Hair

Human hair is similarly recommended and disparaged. You're supposed to hang it in small bags in the trees around your property so animals in the garden smell it and avoid the area.

Fox or Coyote Urine

Fox or coyote urine in spray bottles is available – mind you, if you have foxes already this might not help. But I note that foxes are after the rabbits and mice so they are good guys. Foxes (of the animal kind) do't usually eat vegetables.

And no, I have no idea who "collects" this stuff. ;-)


"Dad-watted wabbit," said Elmer Fudd

Herb Concoctions

Some herbs and herb concoctions are reputed to repel all kinds of animals in the garden in some form of companion planting


Ammonia sprayed and left in dishes at the animals path into the garden will deter four legged critters (including cats) but it must be refreshed regularly.

Spraying XXXXX (insert your own recipe) from ammonia to rotten eggs to soap is recommended by all kinds of gardeners.

Electric and Standard Fencing

Electric fencing works if installed at the correct heights and maintained. Keeps out anything large as well but is ugly.

Fencing, built horse high and pig tight, is the single most effective solution for creatures.

Row Cloth

Row cloth used for frost protection will offer some protection from predators but you'll have to put it on and take it off every night once the weather heats up.


Electronic gizmo's of high- frequency sound and water spraying controlled by electric eyes are used by many gardeners and they claim these work well.

They work when the electronic eye senses movement and then activates another device. This device could be a water sprayer or electronic sound generator (ultra high frequencies painful to animal ears used on dogs, cats, raccoons, etc). These have good reviews except of course by the mailman that gets sprayed by cold water (or you when you forget about it and walk into the electronic beam).

Turning on the electronic sound maker and leaving it on is not as effective as using a control device. Animals are reported to becoming accustomed to the constant sound and the device loses effectiveness.

Bottom Line On Sprays

The bottom line on all these spray products (except fencing) is they might work for a short time until the animal becomes accustomed to the smell. If the animal does't sense a problem associated with that smell, then the smell stops working.

The products require regular renewal – rain and dew take away the smell.

They ALL work if there is't enough pressure from the animals in the garden (too many animals competing for food.) Once animals are really hungry, their need for food outweighs any unusual smell.

If they learn your garden simply smells funny but tastes good, well, your garden is a weird smelling cafeteria – thanks very much for the dinner.

Dogs and cats control suggestions are here

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Doug's Bottom Line

I know this frustrates gardeners no end. But the bottom line here is that the animals were here first and we're trying to survive along with them. Animals in the garden can be a challenge or a delight; I guess it depends on the animal.

Use physical methods of control (fencing) for best results against animals in the garden.

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