Keep rodents and pests out of your garden containers

A few small additions in the beginning can go a long way.

potted plant

I potted up some lovely containers this summer filled with ornamental grasses, tomatoes, herbs and a variety of flowers. Theyre absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately, the squirrels in my neighborhood dig them tooliterally. What the heck are squirrels looking for in my pots? Nuts they buried last year? Or are they already burying nuts for next year? Whatever theyre doing, they uproot the plants, knock soil everywhere and generally make a nuisance of themselves.

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I solved the problem by placing 1/2-in. metal hardware cloth just under the surface of the soil. It lets water and air in, but the squirrels can’t dig through it. I used tin snips and cut several pieces to fit around the plants in the container. (If youre thinking ahead, you could cut it to the size of the container and cut holes for your plants before youve planted them.) I poked the sharp metal edges down into the soil and covered the hardware cloth with a little more soil and mulch.

Its worked like a charm. I havent had a single squirrel dig in any of them since. Just make sure to use galvanized metal hardware cloth so it wont rust immediately. Youll be able to reuse it year after year.

Elisa Bernick, Associate Editor

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