How to protect your garden from wildlife
If you are to visit homes in the outskirts of cities, especially in India, or homes that have large garden spaces, as in most Asian countries, you will find one thing common; either a wall or fence is built around the yard or there will most definitely be a row of cacti around the boundary.
People have always looked for ways to keep wildlife and animals out of garden spaces because of the amount of destruction that ensues. Unlike the U.S where deer, gophers, rabbits, moles, etc. are the main garden predators, animals like the cows, buffalos, bulls, goats and rodents are common garden enemies in India. Many animals look for fresh green leaves and fruits, and what better place to find them than in your garden which looks attractive, healthy and a natural magnet to wildlife.
Illustrated below, are steps that can be taken to ensure the safety of your garden.
Identify your predators
The first step in dealing with garden predators is identifying the type of animal / insect / bird, their feeding habits and timely appearances. Once this is understood the basics of dealing with garden pests is formed.
Build your defence
Most garden predators are land creatures and will enter your garden through any open space. The most ideal defence is to build a wall, fence or a row of cacti around the boundary of the garden. Make sure it is high enough to keep away the animals that prey on your vegetable bed or your budding green leaves.
Cacti have their uses. The investment into buying, planting and maintaining an area of cacti serves two functions. The may be used as a natural defence system and they also serve the purpose of beautifying the garden. Cacti can be beautiful ornamental plants and can highlight garden beauty by the way they are placed or presented.
Breed Pets at home
Animals like the dog and cat may not only be home pets but they can be a useful in chasing away many animals. Dogs are found to especially chase away cows that trespass upon private property in their search for juicy, succulent greenery.
Cats on the other hand can be good for rodents such as rats and marsupials like bandicoots. Rats are a common household and garden pest and can cause massive destruction to your home and garden. Therefore it is advisable that those who have large gardens should keep many cats.
Make or Use Natural / Organic Pesticides
Many pesticides may be made from plant and animal debris, or simply from the leaves of many kinds of plants. For example, Melia azdirachta, the Neem tree, has repellent properties that keep many kinds of insects away from the area. Garlic spray made from garlic is a similar repellent and is used to keep away both insects and animals.
Avoid the use of inorganic / artificial fertilizers as they affect the quality of the produce, has harmful effects on the surrounding and has a long term toxicity as an overall effect, building up in the food chain.
Building bird homes and providing ample bird housing can prove to be beneficial to your garden. Many birds feed on insects and owls can be helpful in keeping rabbits, gophers and rodents under control. Birds also aid in pollination of flowers and are hence useful in maintaining a healthy plant gene pool. However, care should be taken that only the right birds inhabit your garden as birds like parrots can be a menace to your fruit trees.
This is not an easy solution and at times can be very expensive. Keeping pets at home, like dogs can be useful. Dogs tend to mark their territories like urinating at frequent spots around your garden or at places they detect predator entry. It is a natural defence and warns off other animals from entering in. It is nature’s way of taking care of your garden.
There are commercially available products too which can be bought, although very expensive, such as fox urine. Urine powder too is available but the cost factor and the way it is to be used is hardly advisable. The effectiveness of urine or urine powder is dependent upon the strength of the smell it gives out, and water, whether by watering of plants or by rain can nullify this effect, thereby making applications of fox urine more frequent while eating away at your pocket.
Identify the animals destroying your plants and accordingly lay traps for them. Many kinds of traps are available at garden supply stores and are quite helpful. However, the main idea is not to hurt animals like deer, but to keep them away. So be prudent with the use of traps.