The Beaver Did What?

Pond at Sensible Gardening and Living

The Canadian beaver is a very famous character and generally highly thought of. Who would have thought though that he or she could become a nasty nuisance to us gardeners in a big way.  Anyone living near creeks or lakes has the potential for the beaver blues.

Beavers are a lot of fun to watch during the summer and fall but starting around the beginning of October they can become serious garden pests. This is the time of year that beavers start to cut down trees to provide for winter storage, as in beaver dams. Beavers love ornamental trees and will cut down just about any variety.

Sensible Gardening and Living
Sensible Gardening and Living

I have a terrible problem with deer eating my garden but the thought of a beaver cutting down my trees gives me shivers. The game department suggests that at the first sign of trouble you should contact them and they will try to trap and transport the beaver into higher areas where they will cause less damage. To be successful however this must be done early in the season.

To protect your trees from the beavers paint the trunks with creosote as high as 90 cm. up the trunk. Beavers have an amazing reach. Another option is to wrap the tree trunk with poly, hold it down with wire and paint with creosote.  This at least keeps the creosote from direct contact with the tree. Simply wrapping the tree trunk with chicken wire will not effectively keep beavers off your trees. In late November when beaver danger is over, remove the wire from your tree so as not to damage the trunk as it grows. I truly hope I never have a beaver problem as working with creosote goes against my grain.

Ducks and geese can also become bothersome if you live near water sources. They have an affinity for manicured lawns and it is more what they leave behind that is the problem. If you have a large population visiting try just scaring them off before they start to nest and definitely never feed them. It may take awhile for them to get the hint but eventually will. I would think a few ducks and geese would be an attraction in your garden, but like anything else in large numbers can become troublesome.

Generally I like to invite the wildlife into my garden, and overall find coexisting with it easier and more enjoyable than discouraging it. Realistically though, there are times when you might have to take some form of kindly action.

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