Protecting Your Garden From Raccoons

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How I was able to protect my garden from Raccoons. A few ideas that others may be able to use to protect their gardens also.
by Maple Tree · All Zones · Animals and Rodents · 3 Comments · October 07, 2011 · 16,067 views

Evil RaccoonThree years ago we moved into our new retirement home. Within the first week a raccoon entered our home through our new dog door, ate the dog food, and decided to rest after a great meal in the upstairs bathroom. After a half hour battle with Animal Control he was removed. The tearing up of the bathroom by this intruder was unbelievable. After this ordeal, I proceeded to learn all I could regarding raccoon deterrents. I believe I purchased every spray and granular form of animal scent known to man, except that of an elephant, that was manufactured to scare the raccoons away. None of these scents scared them away.

Raccoons are nocturnal and look for food mainly at night. I learned they are hesitant to enter areas of noise and light. I installed movement -sensing noise makers and hundred watt lamps outside the dog door along with removing any food in the kitchen they could see or smell. I was excited and relieved when the critters stopped showing up at the door every night. I had found the remedy to our problem, or thought I had, until the neighbors very nicely explained that my lighting up of the sky and making a beautiful chiming noise every hour was interrupting their peaceful slumber throughout the night. I decided to just block off the dog door and hope man's best friend could hold it through the night and go in the morning as I do. This worked out well for us residents, but didn't set well with our intruders . In the next few weeks the raccoons decided, next to people and dog food, the next best meal they could acquire at our home was in the garden. Our property has a huge amount of large earth worms in the soil. The soil is soft and worms are easily found and dug up by hand or in the raccoons’ case with paws. Their acute hearing not only allows them to hear loud noises, but they can hear quiet ones also allowing them to pinpoint the noise of earth worms, believe it or not.

The next few weeks looked as though a world war had been staged in all my Cyclamen and annual flower beds. The raccoons were digging up and throwing out any small plant in their way to dinning on my delectable worms. Off to the internet I went to find a solution to my problem. I found movement sensing sprinklers that supposedly would run off every animal from rabbits to elephants again. I purchased one of the sprinklers, “The Scarecrow Sprinkler”, hooked it up to my closest hose bib, and pointed it towards the entry to one of my gardens. I was genuinely surprised at the outcome. It worked as advertised in keeping the raccoons out of that garden. They really didn't like getting blasted in their mask for three seconds and then again and again with every movement they made. Raccoons are not afraid of water, but the element of surprise created by the blast of water and noise of the sprinkler, is what runs them off. There now was only one aggravating problem. My wife, dog, and visitors to my yard didn't like getting wet with every movement they made approaching the garden either. After a week or two it was becoming a real chore to turn the water to the sprinkler on every night and off every morning. Back to the internet I went again.

There are many sprinklers available with timers, but none I found that were movement sensing. Most of these sprinklers cannot be programmed to water for more than an hour or so. Because of this they would not stay activated through the hours the raccoons had reserved for their dinning in my gardens. I decided to use a separate hose end timer and found a few nice digital battery operated ones that were programmable up to twelve hours. I purchased one of the timers (DIG Model 7001), installed it in line with the sprinkler and it worked wonderfully. I could now program the sprinklers to blast the raccoons free from my garden, without hurting them, from anytime at night until any hour of the morning when they retreated to their own homes. It has now been two years and as of yet I haven't had one intrusion by a raccoon into my gardens.

This raccoon deterrent system comprised of a movement sensing sprinkler and hose end sprinkler timer can be installed easily using your garden hose. The sprinklers and timers come with instruction manuals and fittings that make them easy to connect to PVC pipe and fittings also. Because of this they can easily be installed permanently into most any gardens sprinkler system, if desired. The sprinklers also have a water inlet and outlet allowing multiple sprinklers easily installed on the same line. Time and money saved not having to run an electrical source to the system makes the installation even easier. Those that have an easy access to an already installed sprinkler system timer may want to use it to program an irrigation valve instead of using the battery operated timers. All the sprinklers and timers I purchased are battery operated and weather proof. For the last two years I have replaced the batteries approximately every six months. This has been a small price to pay compared to the money spent repairing the damage that was being caused. In areas with colder winters the system can be programmed off due to less activity by raccoons. Also in areas with cold winters the sprinklers and timer units should be protected from damage caused by freezing.

Now, looking back at our experiences with raccoons can be hilarious; although, this was not so in the beginning. Hopefully this article describing our encounter with raccoons can help others to easily construct a sprinkler deterent system that will protect their gardens from raccoons or other animals. It is important for all to know that our love for our gardens come only second to the love we have for animals. Remember, the damage some animals cause is only due to their natural God given instinct to live and survive in an environment that has been invaded by us.


Becky Crutchfield

Becky Crutchfield · Gardenality Sprout · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
While the smell is not altogether pleasant, I keep the raccoons, squirrels and rabbits away with moth balls.

8 years ago ·
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Maple Tree

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
Becky - Thank you. Many people have had good luck with mothballs, but I would have to be careful as mothballs are toxic to cats and other animals. This and other sites can be found listing household items toxic to animals. http://www.cvm.uiuc.edu/ope/enotes/showa

8 years ago ·
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Gardenality.com

Gardenality.com · Gardenality Genius · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Great article and a great solution for repelling raccoons. Here in mid-Georgia we've been invaded in recent years by armadilllos, which are also nocturnal and destroy garden beds the same way while digging for worms and bugs. I suppose this system would work for armadillos as well? The armadillo that was invading our garden was hit by a car recently :-(....but if another one comes around next year I'll use your system to repel the critter. Thanks again for such a great and helpful article!

8 years ago ·
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