How to identify and manage common wildlife damage in your landscaping

Wildlife can add a unique charm and vibrancy to your yard, but they can also pose significant challenges to maintaining a pristine landscape. Various animals, from small critters like rabbits and squirrels to larger ones like deer, can cause damage that ranges from minor nuisances to serious destruction. Identifying the type of wildlife causing the damage is the first step in managing it effectively. In this article, we’ll explore how to identify common wildlife damage and ways to mitigate their impact on your landscape.

Identifying Wildlife Damage:

The type of damage often indicates the culprit. Here are some common signs of wildlife damage:

Chewed plants or leaves: Rabbits, deer, and groundhogs are notorious for munching on garden plants. You can often identify deer damage by torn or jagged edges on leaves or stems, as they tend to pull on plants due to their lack of upper front teeth. In contrast, rabbits and groundhogs leave a clean-cut edge as they have sharp front teeth.

Holes in the lawn: Small, conical holes are usually a sign of birds or squirrels digging for insects or burying nuts, respectively. Larger, round holes could indicate burrowing creatures like groundhogs or voles.

Bark damage: If you notice the bark of your trees is stripped or chewed, especially near the base, this could be the work of rabbits, voles, or deer.

Mounds of soil: Mounds or tunnels indicate the presence of burrowing animals like moles, gophers, or voles.

Managing Wildlife Damage:

Once you’ve identified the likely culprits, you can take steps to protect your landscape.

Use wildlife-resistant plants: Some plants are naturally resistant to certain animals due to their taste, texture, or smell. For example, deer often avoid strongly aromatic plants like sage or lavender.

Install physical barriers: Fences can effectively keep out larger animals like deer, while netting can protect fruit trees from birds. For burrowing animals, consider underground fences that extend a foot or so below the surface.

Employ scare tactics: Scarecrows, shiny objects, or motion-activated sprinklers can deter various animals.

Provide alternative food sources: By providing a designated feeding area away from your garden, you can distract wildlife from your landscape plants.

Use repellents: There are numerous commercial repellents available that can be sprayed on plants to deter wildlife. These typically need to be reapplied after rain.

Encourage natural predators: Owls, hawks, and snakes are natural predators of many smaller animals. By making your yard hospitable to these creatures (through installing birdhouses, for example), you can control populations of smaller pests.

Seek professional help: In cases of persistent or severe wildlife damage, it may be necessary to hire a professional pest control or wildlife removal service. They can help identify and address your problem in a humane and effective way.

While wildlife can add to the beauty and diversity of your outdoor space, they can also cause substantial damage to your landscaping. By understanding how to identify and manage wildlife damage, you can maintain a balance that allows you to enjoy wildlife while also protecting your hard work in the garden. Remember, the goal should be to coexist with wildlife while minimizing potential harm to your landscape.

This post was written by a professional arborist at   Arbor Wise Professional Tree Care. Robert Miller is the owner of Arbor Wise Professional Tree Care, a locally owned and operated tree service company that offers superb lawn care by the most experienced Arborists. Arborwise Tree Services is a tree removal company that offers stump removal, tree pruning, stump grinding, fertilization, and tree restoration. We have an extraordinary lawn care industry notoriety covering the Pinellas county area. Click here for more information!

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