Texas Living

Safe Ways to Protect Your Garden from Animals

By Peter Simek 9.2.22

One of the joys of living in more rural corners of Texas is that you occasionally have a front-row seat to watch some of the amazing creatures that call our state home. But sometimes those curious little guys wander a little too close to home for comfort.

It is wonderful to live close to nature, but it can also be downright frustrating to discover rabbits nibbling away in your garden and deer chewing the bark of a favorite tree. We sometimes need ways to keep wildlife away, but how can you repel them without hurting them?

Here’s a guide for protecting your garden from animals in a humane way.

Keep It Clean

One easy way to keep wildlife away from your home is to remove the things that attract them in the first place. Secure your trash bins and compost, clear up debris, and keep trees and branches trimmed away from your house.


Rabbits love clover, so it might sound counterintuitive to plant clover to keep rabbits away. But the clover will protect your garden’s veggies from nibbling rabbits. Plus, the clover will draw rabbits at night when owls and foxes will help cull them. By planting clover, you’re helping balance the natural ecosystem.

Ultrasonic Pest Repellents

The name sounds more futuristic than the technology, but there are several ultrasonic pest repellents on the market that use strobe lights and high-frequency sounds to scare away animals. The sounds are trigged by animal movements and condition animals to stay away from your garden.


Although many humans love the fresh smell of mint, deer and many insects can’t stand it. Sporadically planting mint around your garden can provide a great repellant — but be careful, because it can spread fast and quickly get out of control.

Castor Oil

If you are having problems with burrowing animals such as gophers and moles, as well as more common creatures such as skunks and squirrels, castor oil may be your solution. Mix 3 tablespoons of castor oil and 1 tablespoon of dish soap into 1 gallon of water and put it in a sprayer. Spraying this mixture on your lawn won’t harm it, but it will solve your gopher problem.


Gardeners who have used soap to keep mice, rabbits, deer, and chipmunks out of their garden swear by the brand Irish Spring. Apparently, that particular soap has a powerful smell that garden raiders hate. Put the soaps in drawstring bags and hang them from stakes around the periphery of your garden.

For more tips and tricks about coexisting with wildlife, learn when it’s safe to move a bird’s nest, how to watch for baby wildlife in spring, and the truth behind these wildlife myths.

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