GardenZeus expert Darren Butler appreciates roses as much for their ability to discourage mammalian pests as for their blooms and fragrance. He considers cut rose canes the best solution to many small-area garden pest problems such as grazing by wild bunnies, cats using beds or pots as litter boxes, digging by raccoons, and similar mammalian pest issues.
Cut thorned rose canes and lay them in a protective barrier with thorns facing upward in beds and pots or around plants when protection is needed. Be sure to alert all people gardening or using the area, especially those harvesting or watering by hand, and avoid using rose canes in areas that are accessible to children. Do not use rose canes near a play area or an area where people walk. For many mammals, one or two paw pricks is all that is needed for them to abandon your plant or raised bed and move on to easier pickings. Refresh canes and adjust placement as needed.
GardenZeus does not like causing pain to any animal, but we prefer the sometimes magic solution of thorned rose canes to the poison and other kill methods that are often resorted to with mammalian pests.
Note that GardenZeus emphatically does not recommend rose canes for discouragement of dogs under any circumstances, because with their romping and rambunctious activity, dogs may less capable than cats and wild animals of recognizing areas that are unsafe for their paws. Cats get it immediately, as do wild animals. Viva la bunny!
To view customized information for growing plants in your area, go to GardenZeus and enter your zip code, then go to plants.
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