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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rodent Explosion!

Over the years I have battled Squirrels,Gophers, Rats, Moles and the occasional Rabbit but now a full fledged war is on!

The mild weather and late spring rains have created a huge population of rodents in our area. Add to that the depletion of natural predators and we have a big problem on our hands.

Rabbits aren't just in the wildlands anymore they are creeping into lots of urban areas and have been eating a perfectly trimmed skirt around shrubs, ruining lawns and decimating flower beds.
With Gophers eating the tops and Deer browsing too, some areas have become very frustrating garden spots.

If you have a Deer Fence then adding aviary wire along the base will help keep Rabbits out. Deer repellent also works for Rabbits, so that can help if they haven't taken over the garden.
Inside the fencing the Rabbits need to be trapped and moved out into the woods.

Gophers are also taking off and we now routinely use galvanized aviary baskets to plant in but make sure the wire extends up high enough so they don't dive over the edge into the root ball!

Gophers also can be trapped or there is a pretty good pellet drop tool for poisoning them. Not so great for wildlife and cats though!

Let me know if you need a referral on Rodent trapping or information on Deer tolerant plants.
There is no sure things with Deer or other pests but the damage can be kept down with some evasive measures.

One of the key things we have found with these pests is that herby, auromatic plants seem to be something that Rabbits and Deer dont like and even Gophers avoid.
At least these are plants that are good for humans and bees plus are low water requiring!

Squirrels and Rats are also an issue. They eat bark off trees, your fruit and the tips of branches just as they bud out. They are impossible to control and the best solution is a really good hunting cat (or a pack of them). Dogs help a bit but can't get up high enough to be a real threat.
They are way out of control in terms of population size so trying to dissuade them from living in your attic or nesting in dense foliage is a definitely called for. Covering trees with bird netting or mesh doesn't work for these guys at all. Best to plant fruit trees away from powerlines, fence lines and other adjacent trees. An Arborist friend pointed out that the powerlines are the Squirrel highways!

Good luck and I hope you are not a casualty of the rodent war!