Calling cards: Ravaged vegetables, beheaded borders and flowers (especially tulips), and gnawed trees, such as red maple, honey locust, and evergreens.
Protection: Install 2-ft.-high fences that extend to the ground or below ($50 for 100 ft. of galvanized poultry fencing). Surround young tree trunks with plastic tree guard cylinders ($10).
Change habitat: Eliminate piles of brush, barricade cozy spots under sheds, and flatten back-lot debris piles where rabbits nest. Ivy, wisteria, and periwinkle will curb the munching, and fragrant herbs like thyme and lavender will turn them away.
Calling cards: Bumps in the night because they nest in your attic; power loss due to frayed wires; missing vegetables and flower bulbs; quickly emptied bird feeders.
Protection: Plug house entry places, such as gaps around utility pipes, broken windows, and uncapped chimneys. Cover wires with plastic pipe that will rotate, causing the squirrel to fall ($2.50 for a 2-ft. section). Sandwich bulbs underground between two layers of wire mesh ($175 for 100 ft. of 24-inch wire mesh).
Change habitat: Trim tree branches 6 to 8 ft. from buildings so squirrels can’t jump onto your roof. Switch to squirrel-proof tilting bird feeders ($25 and up) or domed feeders that close when weight limits are exceeded. Don’t plant oak trees–acorns are squirrel caviar.
Calling cards: Dirt mounds, lawns pocked with ankle-breaking holes, power loss due to damaged underground utilities; weakened trees due to gnawed roots; missing plants.
Protection: Install mesh fencing 18 inches deep with one-half inch or smaller openings (25 sq. ft. for $175). Trapping is the best way to eliminate gophers and moles. Scissor-jaw or choker-loop traps will snag star-nosed and hairy-tailed moles ($15 for two). Gopher traps look like a twisted mess, but they quickly snap and trap ($15 for a pair). Both can be cleaned and reused.
Change habitat: Since they like easy-to-tunnel, well-watered lawns, try compacting soil and cutting down on irrigation. But moles and gophers are so adaptable that habitat changes won’t keep them out, just slow them down.
Calling cards: Flowering plants nibbled to the nubs; leaves torn from plants from ground level to 6 ft.; 2-inch gouges on tree trunks; hoof prints that resemble a broken heart.
Protection: Fencing at least 8 ft. high; homemade and commercial repellents that taste and smell bad; barking dog.
Change habitat: Replace tasty fruit trees with spruce and pine. Swap lilies for ferns and rosemary. Add switch grass and ribbon grass–they’ll avoid these ornamentals. Bonus: Works for bunnies, too.
About the Author
Theresa Klisz lives in Northern Virginia and was a general-interest features editor and writer for a national wire service. She serves on her community association board of directors.
Source: Visit www.Houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.