Anyone who has had a flower garden knows they are not easy to keep up in the war against pests. Many people go the route of pesticides or traps to keep their flower gardens pest free. I have small children and a dog, so I prefer to not use pesticides or traps. I prefer to use alternative methods that are safer for my loved ones and easier on the environment.
A friend of mine has a major gopher problem in her yard. She has tried numerous ways to spare herself from these critters and maybe some of these tips will work for you too:
Buy plants that gophers do not like. A few of those are oleander, begonia, hydrangea, lavender and daffodil. These seem to be low on the favorite list of gophers. As my friend does, put your favorite flowers in a pot, then plant the pot in the ground. So far, this has worked. Be careful, though. There are flowers that gophers love and will bust through the bottom of the pot to get to the roots.
My friend has also used wire cages in her garden with success. It is a special wire, like chicken wire, that she lines the hole she is going to plant in. Another idea is putting fish in the gopher holes. She has tried it with sardines, and it has worked. She has found that after placing the sardines in the gopher hole, the gopher did not use that same hole again. (The problem that developed is it dug another hole, but still did not use the previous one again.)
One of the best ways to keep gophers out of your yard is to have your dog run around the backyard. Gophers do not like dogs, and this is an effective way to repel the sneaky little critter.
Another flower garden pest is snails. Snails are very hard to get rid of without using pesticides. Since I have a dog and small children, I prefer not to use them, and rely on the following tips:
If I find a snail on my flowers, I pull it off and toss it on the ground. Once the shell is cracked, the snail will not live. Find the Snail Fence sold at the Home Depot. It is a tiny fence that you put around your garden and when the snails try to climb it, they get a small shock. It says it is safe for children and animals.
It runs on one 9 volt battery. I have not tried it, but it looks interesting. Another way to repel snails in your flower garden is to put cracked egg shells or something similar in texture around the beds. Snails do not like it and will not cross the lines. Also try ground up walnut or pecan shells. Snails do not like copper. It gives them a slight shock when they touch it and prefer to stay away from it.
Snail Barrier, sold at Orchard Supply & Hardware, can be placed around the base of your flower pots or containers. You will need to clean the copper with vinegar on a regular basis because when it tarnishes, it will not longer be effective. Baiting and removing of the snails is a popular non toxic way of dealing with the pesky pests. I prefer to not do it because I don’t want to attract them to my garden, but it has worked for many of my friends. You put a dish of pet food in your garden, and after dark, or before bed; you go and retrieve the snails that are trapped in it.