For more information on protecting your garden with a critter-proof fence, see Install the Best Garden Fences.
Habits and Damage
Most active at night. Young plants are often pulled from the ground. Tracks may be evident. Loves beans and eats many other crops. Dogs can provide some deterrence.
|Two fences, 3 feet apart, create a confusing 3-D barrier. Poly fencing 8 feet tall can go inside a lower fence, or you can use 3 strands of electric fencing, with 2 for the inner fence and 1 for the outer fence.|
|Gopher||Active day or night, creating an extensive network of tunnels. Eats potatoes and other root crops, young seedlings and germinating seeds. Special traps are available.
||3/4-inch mesh wire poultry netting buried 2 feet deep, extending 12 inches above the ground. Gophers that manage to get inside the garden may be trapped.|
|Groundhog||Active during the day, solitary or in family groups. Often takes a few bites from beans, squash or tomatoes, leaving remains behind. Some gardeners choose to shoot them. Dogs can provide some deterrence.
||2-inch mesh wire fencing, with bottom edge angled outward and buried 10 inches deep; fence height 3 to 4 feet. Add 1 strand of electric fencing 4 inches from the ground on the outside of the fence.|
|Rabbit||Most active at dawn and dusk. Feeds close to the ground and clips foliage cleanly, often at a 45-degree angle. Pea-size scat is often present.
||3/4-inch to 1-inch mesh wire poultry netting or hardware cloth, with the bottom edge securely pinned or buried 6 inches deep and angled outward. Height can be 2.5 feet for cottontails, 4 feet for jackrabbits|
|Raccoon||Active at night, often in family groups. Favored foods include ripe melons, potatoes, peas and corn. Partially eaten food is often left on the ground.
||2-strand electric fence, on from dusk to dawn, with one strand 6 inches from the ground and the other 12 inches from the ground.|
|Skunk||Most active at dawn and dusk. Makes 3- to 4-inch-deep conical holes as it digs for grubs and worms, sometimes digging up young plants.
||3/4-inch to 1 inch mesh wire poultry netting, with the bottom edge buried 12 inches deep and angled outward, 3 feet high.|
|Squirrel||Active during the day. An agile jumper that may come into the garden on tree limbs. Often eats tomatoes, corn, beans and strawberries.
||Same as rabbit, with 2-strand electric fence on 24 hours. One strand should be 3 inches from the ground, the other at the top of the fence.|
|Vole||Active at night. Eats potatoes and many other vegetables, making gnaw marks 1/8-inch wide and 3/8-inch long. Cats can be effective predators or use snap traps plaxed in their runs.
||1/4-inch mesh wire hardware cloth buried 6 to 10 inches deep, extending 12 inches high, can protect individual plantings or entire gardens.|
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