Summer is the time for visits to the beach, family BBQs and maybe a little traveling. It can also be a devastating time for your yard due to the animals that are most active in the warm summer months. Many wild animals will come and go through your yard, and some are well-known for being destructive.
We might as well start with the biggest problem animal, at least in terms of size. Deer will eat grass, bedding plants, vegetables, flowers, shrubs and strip the bark off trees if that’s all they can reach. And given their size, they will eat quite a bit compared to other possible animal pests.
And that’s not all. Rummaging around in your yard can lead to knocked-over fences, toppled decorations and sizable piles of deer droppings if they decide to spend a lot of time.
Raccoons are quite a bit smaller than deer, but they can be a lot more trouble in some ways. Their intelligence and dexterous little hands make them very prone to mischief. Many animals do damage as they search for food or nesting materials, but raccoons will pull things apart and dig things up just out of pure curiosity as well. Of course, that doesn’t mean they won’t tear your trash bags apart or destroy your bird feed in search of a snack either.
Squirrels are a more typical animal pest, getting into things as they forage for nesting materials and for food. They are much smaller and more agile than raccoons, meaning they can get into much smaller spaces. Often, that can mean sheds, garages or even the house. Even if they stay outdoors, they can dig up flower gardens in search of bulbs, and eat tender seedlings.
Gophers and Groundhogs
To be clear, these are two separate animals that can cause havoc in your yard. But since they behave in such similar ways, they’re worth grouping together as a single garden problem. And that problem would be tunneling. The tunnels and digging is in itself very harmful to the turf of your yard, killing the grass as well as creating ruts and holes everywhere. That is only part of the problem though. Both gophers and groundhogs eat plant roots while underground, leading to more dead plants.
If you have enough of them, their tunnels can undermine the foundations beneath fence posts, decks and even buildings to create more damage.
Dealing with Destructive Animals
One thing all four of these pests have in common is that conventional fences are useless in keeping them out. They can hop over, climb or tunnel under any fence you are likely to build. Electric fences can help with climbing, but that’s it.
Sprinklers or lights on a motion sensor can be a great way to deter animals from trespassing through your garden, and you can also install good natural repellent for both deer as well as smaller animals to use scent to keep them away.