En EspaÑol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Monday - March 02, 2009

From: Royse City, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Keeping dogs and cats out of flower gardens
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Do you have any suggestions to keep the cats and dogs out of my flower garden? They either just walk through it, and trample everything, or sleep on the soft blooms and squish everything. I am desperate. We live in the country and the animals are a necessity.

ANSWER:

Well, as far as Mr. Smarty Plants knows, there aren't any plants that are guaranteed to repel dogs and cats, short of planting everything in long-spined cactus.  Over the years I've read many suggestions on keeping pets out of flower beds and you can see a very good list from the Gardenweb.com forum of methods and products geared toward keeping cats away.  These include both natural and manufactured chemicals (e.g., citrus peels, coffee grounds, moth balls, etc.) and sharp and/or prickly objects (e.g., thorny branches and sweetgum balls on the soil surface or bamboo skewers sticking up in the flower bed).  The chemicals have the disadvantage of dissipating or washing away in the rain, which means that they would have to constantly be replaced.  Additionally, some chemicals, such as moth balls or cayenne pepper, have the potential to harm the animals.  The sharp and spiny objects could also injure the animals (or you) and would need to be monitored constantly to be sure that they were in place.  

The one on the list that sounds the most humane and effective to me is the motion sensor sprinkler.  There are several brands, e.g., Scarecrow and Havahart Spray Away, that function with a 9-volt battery and can detect the animal 35 feet away.  Once detected the animal is hit with a short burst of water at hose pressure.  The noise and the water effectively keeps the animal away from the area.  The sprinkler can cover an area of 1000 feet and uses very little water (Cat Wars! page about one man's experience with Scarecrow, the motion sensor sprinkler, and another electronic device called CatStop that uses ultrasonic sound to keep cats away.

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Is Sabal minor juglone tolerant?
October 13, 2014 - Is Sabal minor or any other small and shade tolerant palm juglone tolerant? I’d like to plant one in an area near a pecan tree but I am not sure if they will play well together.
view the full question and answer

Prickly pear doing poorly on Long Island NY
December 27, 2012 - First, thanks for your reply on 11-3-12, re.Can a prickly pear cutting from Harker Heights, TX find happiness in Long Island, NY. The plants were set before a southern window in the attic, temp. ra...
view the full question and answer

Young Maple Dropping Leaves in Late Summer
September 05, 2013 - I have a 6-year-old maple tree. I'm not sure what type it is as the builder planted it. It is as tall as our two-story house and very healthy. It's the biggest tree in our neighborhood because we fe...
view the full question and answer

Green worms on salvias
October 12, 2008 - I recently bought a "salvia blue chiquita." Some leaves were yellowing, but full of flowers and still attractive. Have had it on my deck for less than a week and have found 2 tiny greenish "worms...
view the full question and answer

Leaf problems on Cherry Laurel in Boulder City, NV
January 29, 2011 - I live in Boulder City, Nevada and have 4 cherry laurel trees. I'm having a hard time with brown leaves and loss of leaves. How much water should I give them each season? Temps run from 28 degrees to...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center