Thwarting Raccoons in the Garden

Get tips for limiting the damage these marauders can do.

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Hidden Raccoon

Q. Help! Raccoons are driving me crazy this year! The young keep digging up new plants; they uprooted one hosta and an echinacea about 10 times. I finally gave up and put the plants back into pots.

A.  It's not enough that a couple of raccoons can take down a big corn patch in one night or knock over bird and hummingbird feeders in order to get the goods. The young often pillage fresh plantings where access to the recently turned-over soil gives them easy access to grubs and other juicy underground morsels.

Here are some tips to control their ravaging:

  • Laying bricks or pavers around your recent plantings won't work: the raccoons easily brush them aside. Instead, surround the plant with wire mesh and secure it into the ground with tent stakes or similar pins.
  • Raccoons are good at climbing over  — or digging under — fences. You may need to consider installing an electric fence. If you decide to go that route, string one wire six inches above the ground and a second wire 12 inches above ground.
  • Add raccoon baffles to your birdfeeders (at least five feet above the ground) or bring the feeders inside for the night. Also, be sure not to leave pet food outside. When they stop thinking of your yard as the best restaurant in town, they'll be less likely to flock there.
  • Trapping raccoons requires a sturdy cage. You can use any combination of tasty fruit, peanut butter, etc. You may want to use the services of a wildlife control company in your area to remove the animal.
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