No one likes to see their garden investments suffer from disease or be eaten away by pesky insects, rodents or deer. I have always been an advocate of utilizing the most natural means toward pest control as possible and recently found myself in a conversation with other like-minded gardeners. We all shared stories about what seemed to work and what didn’t. The funny thing was, a few of the things that worked for some folks proved to be completely ineffective for others. I concluded that there were many factors that influenced our successes and failures in our less than scientific experiments. I also believe that the best pest control includes a number of strategies that work together for the best results.
I think that one of the best things a gardener can do is to include a wide assortment of plants in their gardens. By keeping the garden environment diverse, you can avoid a major infestation of any one type of insect pest. You also have a greater probability of providing habitat for predators which may include birds or other insects that feed on those that would feed on your prized garden plants. In my experience, insect pests have been the least of my worries.
Over the years, the greatest damage to my garden, and the gardens of my friends across the nation, is from mammals. In my area, the most destructive pest to my conifers are rabbits, while most of my friends in other parts of the country (and even just a few miles away) struggle with deer. We have all tried installing fences, large and small. We have tried predator repellent scents, we’ve tried soap-on-a-rope and nylon stockings filled with human hair. We’ve tried dogs and cats, but these two types of pests in particular not only tend to do the most damage in the shortest period of time, but they have been the most difficult to control – until now.
A good friend on the east coast has found an absolutely fool-proof method of natural pest control for both of these elusive pests. He tells me that he has never had a deer or rabbit problem in his garden, even though deer, in particular, ravage most gardens in his region.
“What’s your secret?” I asked, expecting a complicated mix of secret ingredients.
“It is a simple and effective natural control – it’s as old as the hills,” he said with a definite lilt to his voice – I could easily imagine the grin on his face and the twinkle in his eye. “I’ll email you a couple pictures that will explain everything.”
Moments later, the answer had arrived.
BEARS! Yes, my friend had bears that regularly wandered through his neighborhood. “Now, how are we going to market this?” I wondered.
Ps, If you are interested in learning more about preventing deer damage in your garden, check out the book, 50 Beautiful Deer Resistant Plants. Plus, stay tuned, I’ll be sharing some specific conifers that have proven to be very deer resistant.