By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.
Is your pooch pawing your petunias? Here’s how to keep your dog out of your garden and away from your precious plants. We want our dogs to eat well, but we don’t want them snacking on our heirloom vegetables and prized perennials. Nor do we want them digging up the daffodils. How can you keep dogs from wrecking your garden?
Spray nasty odors
Your vegetable garden is a salad bar for your dog. To keep him away, spray plants with pungent white vinegar or apple bitter. Or plant marigolds between vegetable rows, which repel dogs and other backyard pests, such as Mexican bean beetles, aphids, squash bugs, and whiteflies. However, don’t apply rabbit or deer repellents that contain coyote urine. Dogs love the smell of urine and will either roll in your sprayed plants or leave an odor of their own.
Sprinkle yucky tastes
Sprinkle powdered mustard or red pepper flakes around your plants. A few sniffs and licks of these unpleasant tastes will discourage your dog from returning to the area.
Fence dogs in or out
If you’ve got small dogs, a 16-inch fence border ($29 for 6 ft.) will mark the perimeter of your garden and discourage them from trampling your seedlings. For large, spunky dogs, encase your vegetables in a chicken wire cage with a top enclosure, which fence out deer and rabbits, too. Or, contain your dog in a fenced play area that’s roomy and filled with interesting toys and treats. However, if your dog likes burying things, don’t give him a bone; instead offer chews, such as rawhide or bully sticks, that’ll keep him occupied and his mind off burying.
Erect prickly barriers
Place pruned rose or holly branches around your garden or plants. The thorns and prickly leaves will discourage your dog from entering the restricted area.
Provide a pooch path
If your dog cruises through your garden but leaves the veggies alone, make him a path of his own. You can lay down mulch, or even place a spare piece of carpet along your pet’s favorite route. You may have to alter your garden design a bit, but that’s better than watching puppy crash through your flowers or zucchini.
Lisa Kaplan Gordon is an avid gardener, a member of the Fairfax County Master Gardeners Association, and a builder of luxury homes in McLean, Va. She’s been a Homes editor for Gannett News Service and has reviewed home improvement products for AOL. Follow Lisa on Google+.