Squirrel Protection with Walter Reeves

>>Walter Reeves: It’s one
of those little gardening aggravations. You plant a pot full of annuals;
you take it out to your porch, you think “Gosh, this is going
to be pretty out there.” But the next day comes around
and what do you find? A squirrel has dug a hole in the
middle of it, scattering all your plants to the four
directions and you’ve got a messed up pot and you have to do
your work all over again. Or, you make a nice big planter;
you plant it very nicely, put it out on the patio, come back the
next day and find that the neighborhood cat has decided
this makes a perfect toilet for her use. What can you do to protect
pots and planters from cats and from squirrels? Well it turns out it’s
really easy to do it. All you need is a little
chicken wire. You can go to the hardware store
and easily get chicken wire. I like the 2-inch mesh in
particular because it makes easier to do what I’m about to
do which is plant my annuals through the chicken wire
into the potting soil. Of course you’ll use some wire
snips to carve a piece up that fits just inside the interior
of your planter or your pot. Lay it down just like that
and then go to planting. Because the openings are so big,
it’s a simple matter just to open up the soil, stick the
annual in there and put in as many as you care to to arrange
your design in your planter. We’re just using coleus here for
an example but of course in most planters you would try to make
it really artistic and have some plants that go up and some
plants that go down and maybe some plants that have some
pretty flowers in them as well. So you can see how easy it
is to plant through this 2-inch mesh chicken
wire right here. If you find the root balls of
your plants are a little bit too big, if you’re using 3-inch or
4-ich type plants, it’s okay also to take your nippers and
open this up a little bit to make a little bit larger hole. Just bend the wire back there. And then an even larger plant
can be put in that space. Now, of course, be careful;
watch where your fingers go so you don’t get stuck by the wire. But I think you can see pretty
easily how you can protect the soil itself from being dug up. And then we’ll disguise this a
little bit so that the next animal that comes around here
trying to use this planter is going to find that they can’t
dig very far and certainly won’t be able to uproot these plants
that you have outdoors. Now, what if you find that you
have a planter that they haven’t visited for a long time and the
plants are mature there but all of a sudden the squirrel takes a
liking to that particular pot. Well, let’s pretend right here
– we’ll take a couple of these begonias out and straighten up
the soil – and we’ll pretend that this is a mature plant that
you’ve had growing there for a long time. You probably figured out exactly
what we’re going to do. More chicken wire; but this
time we’ll cut it into strips that will fit around the plant. Again you can use nippers,
you can use wire cutters like I have here, tin snips,
whatever cuts the wire – the chicken wire. I’ll put it around here,
put it around here. I can tell that I need to take
a little bit off on the ends. There that goes and
a little bit here. I guess it would be just about
as easy to fold it down around the edges too. There, that fits inside
the pot very nicely. But, there’s a problem. If the squirrel comes along and
digs in it, those are pretty light pieces of wire and they
might be able to dig them up and toss them over the side. So you can anchor down that
wire using stiff wire. Now you can probably tell
how I made this. This is nothing more
than coat hanger wire. Again, I took the wire nippers
and cut the shoulders off the coat hanger wire and now I have
little hair pins I can stick down in the soil right here and
anchor this wire in place. And again, when the squirrel
comes around and decides he wants to see if there is an
acorn hidden in your potting soil, then you’ll be able to
thwart that squirrel’s attention to your potted plants outdoors. That is one of those little
gardening aggravations but as you can tell it’s pretty easy to
solve – a little bit of chicken wire, a little bit of time and
your plants will be safe from cats or squirrels that come
visiting in your landscape. (c) 2014 University of Georgia
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
UGA Extension

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