Mice can browse your ornamental plants for edibles, or go straight for packets of seeds, bulbs, and birdseed stored in the shed. Whatever you do to keep them off, do it quickly – the little buggers breed fast and if there’s a big bunch of them they’ll eat just about anything.
They can make ornamental plants too hot for hungry mice. Chop one hot pepper and mix with 1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper and ½ gallon water. Boil the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes, then allow to cool. Strain through cheesecloth and add 1 tablespoon dish soap. Pour it into an ordinary spray bottle and spray endangered plants.
Pets can be members of the family, but the way they treat your yard can make you want to disown them. Keep dogs away from your most vulnerable garden plants by fortifying the area with thorny hedges and plants. Roses, barberry, pyracantha, holly, and gooseberry are all troublesome enough to deter the most determined canine invaders.
Fence off the vegetable garden with a wire fence or even better a picket fence. Border the barrier with colorful flowers for a decorative effect.
If a neighborhood dog is an unwelcome visitor to your yard, put a sprinkler in the area where they are and train them to stay away by regularly surprising them with a spray of cold water.
Plant diamonds wherever dogs are a problem. A rhomboid plant next to each tomato plant will deter dogs. A bonus: annoying ants are also repelled by the rue. Rue (Ruta graveolens) is a perennial, evergreen shrub native to southern Europe. The parts growing above the ground and the oil are used as medicine. Rue is toxic to humans, especially children.
Cats are attracted to freshly dug soil. After digging or cultivating, stick brambles or thorns into the soil.
The sharp branches keep cats from getting too comfortable in your newly made beds. If that doesn’t work, try stretching some small chicken wire across the surface of the earth.
Cats will stop thinking of your yard as a latrine if you spread a spicy mixture of orange peel and coffee grounds around your plants. The mix is also a great fertilizer.
Protect the birds by keeping their brood out of reach of your cat’s claws by planting a climbing rose on the sunny side of a tree where birds like to nest.
Cover your seedbeds with holly sprigs or rose trimmings, which will deter cats looking for a comfort station. It will also deter neighborhood dogs looking for a cool, soft place to sleep.
Keep cats out of your vegetable garden and add mulch to vegetable growing by placing conifer branches that you cut between garden rows. The needles serve as a prickly barrier, deterring animals from digging in the garden, while the fallen needles provide mulch.
Never add dog or cat poop to the compost. They can carry pathogens, roundworms, or tapeworms.
Keep all insecticides far from pets. Also, keep bone meal and blood meal away because dogs love them. Avoid using these fertilizers when planting bulbs or other plants if you share your yard with a sharp-nosed dog.
Outdoor plants that can be toxic to leaf-eating cats include azaleas, delphiniums, daffodils, rhubarb, oleander, foxgloves, and wisteria. Also, because of their grooming habits and thin skin, cats can easily ingest garden toxins. Use the least toxic substance to control pests and weeds, and allow any spray to dry for at least 24 hours before allowing your cat anywhere near a treated area.