Raccoons may be cute, but they can wreak havoc on your garden. They eat many of the same plants that we do, and they can easily pull them out of the ground with their claws. In fact, the word “raccoon” is an Algonquin Native American word that means “one who scratches with his hands.” In addition to stealing plants from your garden, raccoons can also carry a number of diseases- and those include rabies.
There are many different ways to get raccoons out of your garden. You may need to try a couple of different ways to see which works best for your garden and your raccoons.
Raccoons are smart enough that they may find a way around one method for keeping them out, so you may have to use different techniques from time to time. They can live just about anywhere and will eat just about anything. Don’t let your garden become their home or grocery store.
Fence In Your Garden
One of the most basic ways to combat raccoon encroachment is to build a fence that makes it harder to get into your garden. This can be a wire fence wood, bamboo, or virtually any other fencing material.
Solid fences may be a little more helpful, as they don’t allow the raccoon to see through the openings and spy the food growing there. However, one good method is to use a wire fence that has openings 2″ by 4″ or smaller and leaving the top 18″ unattached to the fence posts. If a raccoon tries to get over it, it will sway back and forth and frighten the raccoon. Having a fence that is at least 6′ tall is recommended.
However, there are also some shorter solutions that will work. Using electric netting that is 2′ tall or even a little shorter can keep raccoons out while allowing you to step over it to get into your garden. There is also electric fencing that delivers a small shock when raccoons try to climb it.
Use Smells to Keep Them Out
Raccoons are highly sensitive to smells, and there are some smells that they simply can’t stand to be around. You can use that to your advantage by using those smells around your vulnerable plants. Woods ashes and blood meal together have an offensive smell that raccoons don’t want to walk through, as it may irritate their paws. If you sprinkle this concoction around vulnerable plants in a ring about 6″ wide, raccoons will not be able to get to your plants without walking on the ring, and they will avoid doing so. This concoction will not hurt your plants. In fact, it can add nutrition to the soil.
There are other smells that can also keep them away. Chili powder together with garlic creates a powerful-smelling mixture that raccoons will avoid. It does take a lot of volume of it to keep raccoons at bay, however, so it is often used with the plants that are most at risk.
Declutter Your Yard
If there are a lot of places to hide around your yard and in your garden, raccoons will likely hide in them. It’s a good idea to keep your yard and garden area tidy so that there is nowhere to hide. If you have piles of hay, a woodpile, or areas of thick brush, these are perfect to hide in. You may not be able to get rid of them completely, but you can clean them up so that raccoons will not see them as the perfect place to hide. Don’t leave the grass high, either, and get rid of weeds right away. Many weeds grow incredibly quickly, and they can soon become a great place to hide in.
Don’t Leave Food in the Yard
If you feed your pets outdoors, the smell of the food can attract raccoons. If you keep bird food outside, make sure it is kept in a locked box, or keep it outside. If raccoons get too familiar with your yard, you might want to stop feeding the birds all together for a while. The smells from your trash can may also attract them. Use bear-proof straps to keep the trash cans closed outside. Tying them with a small strap may not work, as raccoons are able to use their nimble hands to untie knots and move straps. The straps should lock to keep raccoons out.
If you are in a rural area, you can place a radio close to the garden. Putting it on talk radio is especially helpful. Raccoons usually don’t like to run into humans, and this nice can keep them believing that there are people around. However, if you live in an urban area, raccoons will already be used to humans and their sounds, and they likely won’t care much about human voices. Don’t both with hanging up objects like pie pans so that the noise will keep them away. Raccoons are smart, and they will investigate the sound and see that it’s nothing that will hurt them. It may work once, but after that, it will be useless.
Keeping raccoons away from your garden can take some time to find the right methods that will work in your area and in your specific garden.