how-to-keep-skunks-out-of-the-garden

How to Keep Skunks Out of the Garden

Skunks are troublesome animals you do not want in the garden. As a nocturnal species, they will steal your produce and dig holes in the yard while you are fast asleep. What’s worse is they will cause a terrible stink that lasts for days at a time if they get scared.

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When it comes to skunks, it is best that you keep your distance. The best thing you can do is take humane, preventative measures so you don’t get sprayed and your plants don’t suffer. The following lists what you can do to keep skunks away from your garden.

Eliminate Skunk Food Sources

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Skunks are omnivores that feed on grubs, earthworms, insects, berries, eggs, and more. They are attracted to yards with vegetable gardens, garbage cans, and plenty of insects to go around.

Use lidded bins for garbage and recycling and store them in the shed or garage until collection day. Wash them every few months to remove odors. If you have fruit trees, pick up their fruit as soon as they fall to the ground. You may also want to get rid of the bird feeder. Bird feeders are hotspots of skunk, raccoon, and rodent activity.

Skunks are poor climbers, so you may also want to consider building raised garden beds. Raised beds keep fruits and vegetables out of reach and can be protected even further with bed covers. Mesh bed covers will protect your plants from raccoons, rodents and other wildlife hoping to eat your hard-earned produce. Raised beds are also fantastic because they extend the length of the growing season and are less prone to weeds.

Hire A Wildlife Removal Company

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Professional wildlife removers can tell you where the skunks are coming from and what you can do to keep them at bay. They have a thorough understanding of skunk behavior. Professionals know where skunks like to hide and when they have their young.

If a skunk den is found on your property, the remover can remove the skunks quickly and humanely. He or she will likely install a one-way door to the entrance of the den while ensuring that no babies are harmed in the process. The animals will simply push their way through the door and find another place to live.

In addition to skunk removal, professionals provide effective exclusion services in which they block out all potential hiding spots. This will give you permanent results. While you could do it yourself, professionals use high quality steel mesh that will last a long time.

They will also go through the trouble of digging a trench around your deck and shed before attaching the mesh to the sides of the structure. Professional exclusion usually comes with a warranty, so if anything were to happen, they will come back and fix the problem.

Protect Your Deck and Shed

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Skunks are excellent diggers that like to burrow under sheds, decks, patios, extensions, and other structures for the winter. Females also do this in the spring so they can raise their kids in a safe location.

Excluding these areas is therefore an effective measure against skunks because it will keep them from living on your property. You can either do this yourself or hire a professional wildlife remover to do it for you. Just be sure that you have this done at the end of the summer so that you do not trap any animals.

Dig a trench along the sides of the structure you want to exclude, about a foot deep. Then, screw a half or quarter inch mesh into the sides of the structure. Having the mesh go past the structure and into the soil will prevent any skunks or other burrowing animals from getting underneath. Bury the mesh when you are done. If there are other gaps in your deck or shed, seal these shut with some extra mesh or wood.

Grow Plants That Skunks Don’t Like

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Believe it or not, there are some odors that skunks prefer to avoid. Some plants produce a smell that skunks dislike, and others have prickly leaves that scare them away. Try planting the following to keep skunks out of the garden.

1

Summer Squash

Summer squash leaves have tiny hairs on them that irritate skunks. There are eight varieties of summer squash, including zucchinis and pattypan squash. Pick your favorites and plant them in the spring, in well-draining soil where they can get full sun.

2

Stinging Nettle

Stinging nettle is a perennial herb with prickly hairs and jagged leaves that deter skunks. Breaking the hairs off the plant releases a liquid that burns the skin, so it is best that you keep this one away from children or pets. Plant some of these in fertile soil, along a fence or the edges of your garden to keep skunks away.

3

Crown Imperial

Crown Imperial is an unusual plant with tall stems and large, bell-shaped flowers that are bright orange. These flowers, of the lily family, produce a strong smell that skunks cannot stand. Plant your crown Imperial bulbs in the fall, in sandy, well-drained soil at the back of your flower beds. The plants will grow in the spring and last throughout the summer.

4

Daffodils

Daffodils are beautiful plants that bloom in early spring. Despite their sunny appearance, daffodil bulbs and flowers are toxic to skunks. Plant these in the fall in fertile, moist soil where they can get full sun. Water them regularly throughout the fall and spring.

5

Holly

Skunks steer clear of the holly bush’s spiky leaves. This is a hardy shrub that produces beautiful red berries in the fall. Plant these in the spring or fall near areas of skunk activity. Make sure they are placed where they can get full sun and water them often for the first few weeks.

Use Natural Skunk Deterrents

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Skunks like to den in quiet areas where they can sleep through the day. If you suspect that a skunk is living on your property, surround its den with irritating sights and smells.

Apple cider vinegar, for example, smells a lot like predator urine. Try soaking some rags in it and placing them in sandwich bags. Poke some holes in the bags, then place them around the garden or the entrance to the den. You can also try spraying your plants with a mixture of one part water and one part apple cider vinegar to deter skunks.

Given that skunks are nocturnal animals, you can pester them with bright lights and noise. Leave a flashlight pointing toward the den or leave a radio playing near the den during the daytime. This will encourage them to leave their den and find another place to live.

About the Author Laura Bennett

Hello, I’m Laura Bennett. I love nature especially when it comes to flowers and different kinds of plants. I started a very small garden behind my house and I named it Humid Garden. So, I created this blog to provide aspiring and inspiring thoughts about gardening for gardeners and anyone who has the intention of keeping a garden.

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