You work hard to grow a lovely garden at your home, and you certainly don't want it destroyed by nuisance animals, yet you want to humanely deal with them. One very easy way to deter these pests from your prized fruits is to use reflective surfaces. Those old CDs taking up space in your attic can be very useful when strategically hung on your favorite plants.
Why it Works
Many people have heard that birds and other pests are drawn to shiny objects. While a single object can be an attractive item to an animal, many shiny objects together appear threatening. CDs and other shiny objects, like flashing tape or aluminum foil, blow in the wind and reflect the sun. Under the right conditions, it could look like a massive amount of activity is occurring at the location. The instinct to fly from potential trouble will often kick in, and they will attempt to find a less threatening food source.
How to Hang
Tie a long piece of yarn or twine through the center hole of the CD. Leave enough extra yarn to make a 6-inch or longer hanger so that there is plenty of room for it to swing and blow in the wind. You can also string several CDs together to make a longer, twirling detractor. Instead of tying the twine directly to the plant, you can use holiday ornament hooks to attach them to small branches, which are much easier to remove or move around as needed.
Where to Hang
Anecdotal evidence claims that squirrels and other ground pests can be deterred by shiny objects, but the only animals that experts agree it works with, even if only for a short period or time, are birds. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs recommends using flashing-type objects close to harvest when bird activity is highest to maximize their effectiveness. Birds need to see the flashes from above while they are flying overhead, so hang CDs in a circular pattern toward the crown of the tree or plants as well as on branches right next to fruit. How many CDs to use depends greatly on the size of your plants or trees. For garden plants, you can also hang the CDs from garden hooks near your fruits and vegetables. After hanging all of your CDs, observe the garden for a few days. If you notice pests attacking the same areas of the plants over and again, move the CDs to those locations or add additional ones.
CDs will only last as long as the animals believe they are harmful. If they learn that they are innocuous, the flashes of light will no longer keep pests away. All it takes is one brave bird to prove that the area is safe for all of its friends to follow. Using additional humane deterrents can help to keep them at bay. There are several ways you can deter unwanted pests, including closing your garbage can tightly and raking away nuts and other attractive items that fall from trees near your garden area. Noelle Johnson of "Birds and Blooms" suggests providing alternative food sources away from your garden area. A well-stocked bird or animal feeder may provide what your furry and feathered guests are seeking and keep away from your precious crops.
Josie Myers has been a freelance writer and tutor since 2008. A mother of three, she was a pre-kindergarten teacher for seven years, is a Pennsylvania-certified tree tender and served as director of parks in her local municipality. Myers holds a Bachelor of Arts in music and business from Mansfield University and a Master of Arts in English from West Chester University.