By B. Ellen von Oostenburg
Deer, rabbits, birds, squirrels, chipmunks and woodchucks have one thing in common: They like to eat your strawberries. There is nothing worse than going out to your strawberry patch in the morning to find that unseen marauders have been enjoying your strawberries when nobody’s been looking. Its frustrating seeing the berries destined for fresh strawberry shortcake or strawberry jam being robbed after all your hard work. There are some practical remedies to keep these pesky critters away.
Install an electric fence. The mild shock given off by the fence wire when the deer touches it will frighten it away.
Spray commercially formulated deer repellent like Hinder on the strawberry plants to deter deer. It does wash off when it rains so it must be reapplied.
Get a dog to scare off the deer.
Get human hair clippings from salons. Put it in mesh bags and hang them from stakes in the strawberry patch. The human smell of it will scare away deer. Put out fresh-cut hair every couple of weeks.
Drill holes in bars of hand soap and hang them from stakes in the strawberry patch. Deer don’t like the smell of soap.
Purchase commercially made Scary Eye balloons. Inflate them and tie them to stakes or fences with cord.
Purchase a hard plastic or inflatable owl to scare away birds. Owls are natural predators of many birds. Move the owl to a new location every couple of days so the birds don’t get used to it being in just one location and grow to no longer fear it.
Purchase metallic bird tape. Its usually silver and red striped. Cut strips of it and hang it so it flies in the wind. Also setting mirrors around the strawberry patch will have the same effect. The reflected light scares birds.
Purchase a live trap. A live trap is a cage trap that doesn’t harm the animal so it can be set free miles away from the strawberry patch.
Put greens like lettuce in the trap to lure rabbits and woodchucks. Put in nuts or sunflower seeds for squirrels and chipmunks.
Set the live trap by pushing the trap door of the cage open, place the food at the far end of the cage opposite the trap door. Set the trap in the strawberry patch or on the edge of it. Carefully hook the trap door open. When an animal enters the cage far enough the trap door will be triggered to slam shut catching the animal inside.
Keeping cats should keep the mice and vole population down.
Purchase small live traps to move the mice and voles to a forested area. Put in peanut butter or dab some vanilla inside the trap to lure the mice and voles.
Place human hair right on the ground under the strawberry plants. The scent will scare them off. Put fresh-cut hair down every two weeks.
When putting food in a live trap don’t put in strawberries as bait. The animals won’t go into a live trap for strawberries because they already have the entire patch to feast on. Offer them special food that they like but aren’t getting in the strawberry patch.