Dog digging a deep hole in a lawn

Nuisance Animal Control

One of the most frustrating aspects of being a homeowner is lawn care. Double that frustration if your once gorgeously manicured lawn is now plagued by unwelcome animal visitors. Whether deer are munching on your garden plants or moles and gophers are tearing up your grass, have no fear! There are a wide variety of humane ways you can prevent animals from destroying the fruits of your labor while keeping your pets and family safe.

Identify Nuisance Animals

Raccoons, Deer, Squirrels, Dogs, Gophers, Rabbits, and Cats can all be a nuisance

It’s important to know what type of animal is damaging your lawn so you can choose the most effective plan to repel and keep them out of your yard for good! Every animal that comes into your yard in search of food is looking for something different, so your approach needs to be catered to whichever pest is invading your yard.

  • Deer: If you’ve noticed damage to plants a few feet off of the ground and your flower buds and leaves have mysteriously disappeared, you may have deer in your yard. Deer feast on almost any vegetation within their reach. The more deer that invade your lawn, the more damage you will notice.
  • Moles: These small creatures don’t actually eat your plants but will tear your beautiful lawn to pieces with their runways. Moles predominantly feed on worms or grubs, so while your plants may be safe, your grass is not. Luckily, these pests are solitary except during mating season, but even one mole can cause widespread damage.
  • Voles: Often confused with moles, voles are notorious for damaging grass, bulbs, trees, and plant roots. They create runways through grass that creates an ugly aesthetic and will even gnaw bark off of trees. Voles will eat plant bulbs, and the damage won’t show above-ground before it’s too late.
  • Gophers: The damage from these medium-sized rodents is easy to spot. Their characteristic mounds cause a lot of surface damage to lawns and gardens, but that is not the only damage you will have to deal with. Chewed roots, trees, shrubs, and gnawed irrigation lines are all further indicators that a gopher has taken up residence.
  • Squirrels & Chipmunks: These cute but annoying creatures steal birdseed, and the spilled seed can attract mice. Squirrels also chew through materials such as wood to find shelter while chipmunks dig burrows which can damage building foundations.
  • Rabbits: The best way to identify rabbit damage is height. Rabbits can only reach about three feet off of the ground and will concentrate on eating their favorite foods on that level. They leave clean, angled, cuts located at the ends of stems and leaves. Vegetable gardens are a favorite meal spot for rabbits as well.
  • Raccoons: These bandits are scavengers. They will tip over trash cans and flower pots if it means an easy meal is waiting. If your fruit has suddenly gone missing from trees or pots, a raccoon might be the culprit. Other favorite foods include nuts/seeds, insects, and eggs.
  • Cats/Dogs: Whether they are your pets or strays, cats and dogs can stain grass with their urine causing unsightly brown spots on your otherwise perfect lawn. They are also notorious for trampling plants and flowers.

Determine Areas to Protect

Different areas require different methods of prevention and protection. Whether you want to protect a vegetable garden, a birdfeeder, flowerbeds, or keep your lawn intact, it is essential to choose a method that will get you the best results. Don’t worry; it is not as stressful as it sounds. Many repellents are effective for more than one animal.

Choose the Best Animal Repellent(s)

Once you’ve discovered which animal you need to repel from your yard and where you need to protect, it is time to choose the best animal repellent for you. Below are trusted and proven options that will help you regain control. Take note that different repellents serve different purposes. The more solutions you choose to use, the better the results may be.

Safer Brand Liquid Repellent

Liquid Repellents

Best Used For: Repelling raccoons, cats, dogs, squirrels, deer, etc. Safer® Brand liquid repellents repel by both taste and scent and are acceptable to use around kids and pets.

These products repel animals from more targeted areas such as:

  • Flowers
  • Shrubs
  • Vegetable gardens
  • Woodpiles
  • Trees
  • Bulbs
  • Mulch
  • Compost piles
  • Bird feeders
  • Trashcans

Pro Tips: Most liquid repellents are for outdoor use only and should be used when temperatures are above 40°F. Repellents work best when applied to dry surfaces; if you experience heavy rainfall, it is best to re-apply the repellent(s).

Safer Brand Granular Repellent

Granular Repellents

Best Used For: Repelling rabbits, moles, voles, gophers, cats, dogs, raccoons. The granules use natural ingredients that repel animals by both smell and taste with active ingredients including black pepper.

The granular repellents work to create a barrier to keep pests from specific areas including:

  • Gardens
  • Entryways
  • Burrows
  • Flowerbeds
  • Houses
  • Attics
  • Pathways
  • Trashcans
  • Garages and sheds

Pro Tips: To prevent animals from digging, spread the granules in the grass. This type of repellent can be used in any weather and last as long as you can see the pellets. They are very effective at driving nuisance animal away from any area where these are present.

Safer Brand Deer Repellent

Covered Repelling Stations

Best Used For: Repelling deer and rabbits. These repellents are effective at guarding plants and edible crops. The repellent is contained entirely in a durable casing, making it completely weatherproof.

Apply them in your yard in a variety of spaces including:

  • Vegetable gardens
  • Flower beds
  • Yard perimeter
  • Inside planters or flower pots
  • Hang from trees or fences

Pro Tip: This type of pest control repels animals by scent only and works best in warmer weather. Heat permeates through the station and carries the odor more effectively than during cold weather.

Use as Directed

The effectiveness of any repellent is contingent on how well you follow instructions. Each product comes with a label that explains the best way to use the product, which will help you achieve better results. To get the most out of each product, carefully read the instructions each time you use the repellent.

Keep in mind these helpful tips that will keep the process simple and effective:

  • Reapply liquid and granular repellents as directed and after severe weather. Animals have a keen sense of smell and will exploit any weaknesses in your lawn’s defenses.
  • Shake liquids well before use to ensure all ingredients are well mixed and ready to use.
  • Apply repellents in areas where they are needed the most. Ensure that the targeted area is completely covered and protected.

Prevention is the Key to Success

A crate full of freshly harvested potatoes, tomatoes, radishes, etc

Simply put, animals are attracted to areas with available food, water, and shelter/safety. By removing attractants from a yard or preventing access to them with repellents, you can limit the damage caused by these creatures and even prevent it from happening in the first place. Regularly maintain your yard to keep it less inviting for nuisance animals and to increase the effectiveness of your repellents.

Check out some of the actions you can take to make your home less appealing to unwanted critters:

  • Clean up any stray food or food debris such as birdseed, fallen berries, or nuts.
  • Harvest crops as early as possible. The larger the food source, the more likely it will get eaten before you can harvest it.
  • Secure all trashcans or trash bags. Use a lid that fits securely to prevent animals from raiding your trash.
  • Fill in abandoned animal burrows
  • Keep woodpiles several inches above the ground
  • Manicure your lawn. Make sure you keep your grass short, rake leaves, and pull any weeds.
  • Install protection, such as mesh for planters, to inhibit access to planters and gardens.
  • Trim overgrown plants and trees

Repellent Tips and Advice

  • Apply repellents at the very first signs of damage. It is easier to stop nuisance animals before they have established themselves in your yard.
  • When applying liquid repellents, thoroughly spray the area you want to protect. When it comes to delicious food, animals are persistent and determined. Any space left unprotected will be vulnerable to pests.
  • Try a concentrated repellent if you are planning on covering a large area. With concentrates, you can mix a small amount of the product with water to get more for your money.
  • Dip bulbs in a concentrated solution before planting to help prevent burrowing creatures from eating them.
  • Keep experimenting with repellent placement and type. Different animals respond to different stimuli. Try sprays and granular repellents together. Change the location of your repellents to prevent animals from getting used to them.
  • Adding noise makers such as wind chimes or shiny decor items can also bolster the effects of repellents by adding a visual aspect to nuisance animal prevention.
  • It takes time to repel animals from a yard, especially if they are particularly persistent. It is best to use several types of repellents to keep animals on their proverbial toes. Persistence and patience are essential when it comes to preventing damage.
  • Avoid homemade repellents. They are unregulated and inconsistent and may even cause harm to pets.

OMRI Certified for Organic Gardening Safer® Brand leads the alternative lawn and garden products industry, offering many solutions that are compliant with organic gardening standards. Safer® Brand recognizes this growing demand by consumers and offers a wide variety of products for lawns, gardens, landscapes, flowers, houseplants, insects and more!


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