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Where is that hole in my garden coming from?
May 20, 2009 4:22 AM   Subscribe

Something is digging in my garden, what do I do?

I have a small 10 ft x 10 ft flower garden in my front yard. In the morning, and sometimes afternoon I am finding dug up dirt and little holes in my garden. They look like something is looking for something under the soil. I am guessing it is either squirrels, rabbits, or cats, as I live in a suburban area. Any suggestions on a non-lethal method of dealing with the digging beast? And if not non-lethal, any other suggestions ;)

I live in Northern VA, just in case you need some geographical information. I don't live near any forests, and am pretty sure they aren't deer. I am growing sun devils, salvia's, and petunias.
posted by fozzie33 to Home & Garden (14 answers total)
 
Well, it would of course help to know which of these little beasties is the culprit; my brother recently had a similar problem with cats in his garden in London. His solution? Buy some lion poo and tuck it under some bushes. Cats will go miles to avoid much bigger cats :P
posted by fearnothing at 4:38 AM on May 20, 2009


In my walk to work, I noticed such holes in the gardens along the way. One day, in the early morning, I happened to see a bird probing the dirt/mulch with its beak in a search for insects. The hole it left was exactly as you describe.
posted by elle.jeezy at 5:09 AM on May 20, 2009


This year we've decided to do lasagna gardening. We used a layer of newspaper, then grass clippings, more newspaper, compost, more newspaper, and then a sheet of burlap (available at any garden/hardware place) held down with some U-shaped pieces of wire.

Not only was it super easy to prepare, it looks nice and would be very difficult for creatures, especially birds, to dig into.

Since you've already planted, maybe you could just lay down some burlap around the plants and stake it down.
posted by odinsdream at 5:18 AM on May 20, 2009


Little holes? How big are these little holes?

If you have some spare wire fencing or can get some cheaply enough, you can lay it down on the ground over your garden. Stuff grows up through the fence easily enough but it helps to deter animals from digging down through the fence: if scraping paws keep hitting wire, the animal might give up and go elsewhere. Seeing as it's supposed to be a pretty flower garden, you'd probably want to cover it with a thin layer of soil or mulch. Of course, this might not be feasible if you've already got big plants growing. It works best when you're planting.
posted by pracowity at 5:44 AM on May 20, 2009


odinsdream said: This year we've decided to do lasagna gardening. We used a layer of newspaper, then grass clippings, more newspaper, compost, more newspaper, and then a sheet of burlap...

Check to make sure your newspaper is printed with soy ink before you do this. Most newspapers these days use it but it is better to be safe if you are using newspapers for compost in a vegetable garden.
posted by JJ86 at 6:04 AM on May 20, 2009


My advice in such siituations is to visit an Indian grocery store (of which there are many in NoVa) and get a big bag of their hottest chili powder. Sprinkle liberally on the ground, and re-apply after a rain. That usually stops the diggers, unless they're birds, in which case they're probably doing more good than harm.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:07 AM on May 20, 2009


Buy some organic deer repellent -- they sell it at nurseries and hardware stores; it's made from garlic and rotten eggs and god knows what. Try spraying it on the dirt -- it seems to be helping deter the squirrels that were digging up my container plants....
posted by kestrel251 at 7:07 AM on May 20, 2009


Beer + lawn chair + bb gun / time = problem solved.
posted by LakesideOrion at 7:31 AM on May 20, 2009


I have friends who had cats (and perhaps other creatures) digging in their raised beds. They now lay thorny stalks trimmed from their rose bushes across the surface. It seems to have done the trick. Of course, this only works if you have a nice big rose bush to provide you with materials.
posted by mumkin at 8:08 AM on May 20, 2009


Sure it's not gophers? We get them all over our yard. There's always a small hole with a small pile of dirt next to it. Eventually the hole gets filled in but the gopher usually works from the ground out. They love to eat at the roots of our plants. Solved with traps.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 8:23 AM on May 20, 2009


I wouldn't recommend confronting the animal unless you're sure what it is. Skunks are omnivores and will eat just about anything from grubs to plants and even smaller animals. They coexist in suburban environments just fine and angering one is hardly recommended. Repellents are a much safer choice regardless of the pest.
posted by tommasz at 8:45 AM on May 20, 2009


How about a motion-activated sprinkler? Soak the suckers. (Just be sure you or your spouse are not the suckers. Children, however, are natural suckers.)
posted by nosila at 10:01 AM on May 20, 2009


Skunks, looking for bugs/grubs/whatever. The give-away is finding their poo, which is often a loaf of insect exoskeletons: a little too H.R. Geiger for my yard, but what are you going to do?
posted by wenestvedt at 10:20 AM on May 20, 2009


Buy some lion poo

Thanks, but people think I'm weird enough as it is.
posted by Cobalt at 8:50 PM on May 20, 2009


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