Herbs to Repel Wildlife
Answered by: Kerry Hacket
Question from: Gladys L. Morgan
Posted on: March 10, 2010

Do you have for the vegetable garden any plants or seeds to repel the following: raccoons, armadillos, cats, dogs, nematodes Any suggestions are appreciated.

In older cultures, plants that contained high amounts of essential oils were often used as borders around gardens in order to ward off wildlife. One can still see traditional gardens in Europe enclosed by hedges of Lavender and Rue; these were apparently quite successful in thwarting rabbits from vegetable patches.

However, there are also a number of other strategies you can employ to try to keep your garden free from midnight raids. Here’s some thoughts in no particular order:

1. Make sure your garden has a human presence by planting within a short distance of the house and if possible, be near or work in it several times a day.

2. If your garden is near by bush or forest, thin out the undergrowth so that there are fewer places for wildlife to hide.

3. Netting can work well to keep birds from fruit.

4. Fencing is indispensable for larger predators, particularly electric fencing. This would help with cats, dogs, armadillos and raccoons.

5. Companion planting can help with insect and disease control. Nematodes are repelled by French Marigolds (Tagetes patula), for example.

6. Traditionally, human hair and male urine around the perimeter of the garden were used to deter foxes, so perhaps helpful for dogs?

7. Plant those types of vegetables not attractive to the pests who normally frequent your area (ie: raccoons love corn!)

8. Live traps for wildlife.

9. I’ve also heard that raccoons will not attack corn if squash is grown amongst the corn plants. Perhaps this was part of the wisdom behind the "Three Sisters" traditional planting scheme (corn, squash, beans) employed by a number of Aboriginal groups. Then again, I don’t know if those groups had raccoons about.

10. Richters (www.richters.com) also sell a "Piss Off" plant (Plectranthus ‘Sumcol 01’), reputed to repel cats and dogs from the garden.

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