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How to Keep Raccoons out of Garden

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Authored by Donna Ryan in Gardening
Published on 01-22-2010

Raccoons are wily and smart animals so keeping them out of the garden patch can serve to be somewhat frustrating at times. However, it can be done if you’re persistent and know the right techniques. Just remember that raccoons love sweet corn so if you want to minimize their appearance, you may want to avoid planting this particular vegetable. Other than that, there are a couple of ways of diverting them from entering your garden and enjoying its many treats.

If you live in a rural area that doesn’t experience much automobile traffic, then flashing lights at night can often keep raccoons off your premises. Of course, if your garden tract is closer to the city, then these types of lights will probably have no effect. It’s also a well-known fact that raccoons are not overly fond of cayenne peppers. Therefore, grounding up and sprinkling this substance over the plants in your garden can help deter the efforts of raccoons as well as other wild animals such as woodchucks or squirrels.

Some people have tried installing fences around their gardens and affixing aluminum pie pans to them to scare the critters off; however, the tactic doesn’t work forever as raccoons catch on after some time that the pans won’t harm them and therefore come back to munch on a garden’s offerings. The blare of noise from a radio though can work at keeping raccoons from invading your patch. Set the dial on a portable radio to a station with plenty of music and conversation to detract raccoons. The noise often keeps not only raccoons away but other wild animals such as rabbits, squirrels and possums.

Another method in keeping raccoons out of your garden is by planting your crops so the animals have a harder time getting to them. For instance, plant crops such as pumpkins or pole beans between rows of the raccoon’s favorite vegetable corn. The excess foliage and vines make it much harder for raccoons to tread across the ground in order to eat the corn and also makes it more difficult for raccoons to see it too.

Probably the best way though in keeping raccoons out of your garden is to fence them out. Using a combination of chicken wire and two-wire electric fencing can form the type of barrier that will send the varmints running for more inviting garden spots. Just make sure that your electric fence doesn’t maintain a constant charge so it doesn’t harm birds who may alight on it. Border the entire area of the garden with the fence before seasonal planting.

If you install chicken wire, attach it to solid wood posts and make certain the wire is flexible enough so it can hold the weight of any raccoon trying to ascend it. Tight fences make it possible for raccoons to readily climb over them so make sure the chicken wire has enough “give” so the raccoon has a hard time scaling the fence. Also, you might want to add cloth or plastic around the garden and over the fencing to prevent raccoons from seeing what’s behind the fence. Use heavy plastic or canvas about 5 feet wide and fasten it with a rope to posts spaced about 8 feet apart. Make sure the bottom of the plastic or cloth drapes over the ground and hold it down with bricks or cement blocks.

Most of the above tips will help minimize visits from raccoons. Try one or a combination of the above methods to ensure raccoons find another spot in which to scavenger for food.

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