Anyone who has a garden will almost inevitably have problems with unwanted pests and wild animals. The most humane and effective solution to this problem is creating a barrier to keep them out. While having dogs, repellents and other devices can help, nothing’s better for keeping animals out of your garden than a reliable, well-constructed garden fence.
DECIDING WHAT YOU NEED
Choosing the right garden fence for your needs means understanding just what kinds of animal pests you might be facing in your garden. The most common types of animal intruders in gardens are voles, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, gophers, groundhogs and deer. Note that moles and opossums are not included on this list because they don’t damage crops and can even consume harmful insects.
IDENTIFYING THE ENEMY
Before selecting your garden fence, you need to first identify the animal or animals causing your problems. In addition to the damage they cause, pests usually leave some kind of sign that can help you identify them, including tooth marks, footprints, scat or the holes they make as they dig for food. Your county extension office should also be able to tell you which types of animal pests are most frequently found in your area.
SPOTTING NIGHTTIME PROWLERS
Spotting damage being done by groundhogs, squirrels or birds during the day isn’t too difficult, but keeping track of what’s going on at night is another issue. To overcome this problem, you can buy a cheap motion sensor activated light for your garden. While this light will only scare the animals off a few times, it can help you catch them in the act. You just have to be ready to peek out your window whenever the motion sensor trips the light so you can identify your adversary.
TEMPORARY OR PERMANENT GARDEN GATES
Next, you have to decide whether you need a fence around your entire garden or only parts of it. For example, if you’re just trying to protect your strawberries from squirrels and birds, a simple secure cover can be created using chicken wire for a single bed or row. This is much easier – and less expensive – than erecting a fence for the whole garden. On the other hand, if raccoons are going after your corn, this can be addressed by carefully positioning a small electric fence around the corn, with one strand of the fence 1 foot high and the other strand 6 inches high.
INSTALLING A FULL FENCE
If you have domestic animals like chickens, pigs or sheep, you’re probably going to want to install a full perimeter fence around your garden. This is also true if you’re having problems with deer, gophers and groundhogs. Keep in mind that an inexpensive solution to foraging deer is plastic mesh fencing. But it’s also true that critters like rabbits will easily gnaw through this plastic, creating holes for others. In neighborhoods where keeping up appearances is important, you can build an appealing wooden fence and simply line the base with chicken wire to keep pests from burrowing their way inside.