Carousing Critters

With the cooler season also comes a great deal of activitiy with many critters in the yard. The rabbits seem more abundant in the gardens, the skunks continue to dig their holes in the lawns looking for grubs, and the beavers are out and about gathering food. It’s all a natural process in their lives, but for gardeners and homeowners, their activity in the yard is not always so welcome. The most destructive of the bunch would be the beavers. They are rarely seen in the yard as they are nocturnal and are dark in color. If you live by a river, pond, or lake these guys will be more common. In the early morning hours, before the sun comes up, I can often hear the loud slap of their tail in the water, but still I rarely see them. However, their work is very obvious when the sun comes up. They usually gather young trees to drag to their dens and use as a food source in the winter months, leaving behind a pointed stump where the tree once stood.┬áThe fall season is when they collect most of this food. Since it is a natural process, I hate to get rid of them, so choose to protect my trees and shrubs instead. I have found the best source of protection is to wrap chicken wire around the trunks of the trees and around susceptible shrubs. The wire hits their teeth and makes them back off in the same way a person backs off from biting foil. It is a cheap deterant and a product that can be used from year to year. Beavers will also try to remove quite large trees too, so makes sure all are protected to ensure less disappointment later. One never likes to tell themselves that they SHOULD have protected a 20 year maple AFTER it has been taken down. Best not to have to deal with that type of disappointment if it can be avoided with a simple practice.┬áBeavers are just another part of our environment, so enjoy them for what they are and allow them to be a part of your garden in the best way possible.