En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Eliminating muskrats from a cottage garden in Ontario

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
4 ratings

Sunday - August 22, 2010

From: Eugenia, ON
Region: Canada
Topic: Pests
Title: Eliminating muskrats from a cottage garden in Ontario
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

We have perennial gardens at our cottage and for the first time this year the muskrats have come and leveled everything..shasta daisies, coneflowers, day lilies, phlox, etc. Any suggestions as to how to keep them out of the garden?

ANSWER:

Wow!  We have heard about problems with deer and rabbits all over North America,  groundhogs and beavers in the north and armadillos in the south, but yours is the first query about muskrats.

The bad news is that you are fighting a losing battle.  Building some kind of enclosure to exclude them is out of the question at a cottage.  The good news is that they are not an official "species at risk" so you could trap and relocate the offender(s).

What we really recommend is that you rethink the idea of perennial gardens at your cottage.  Take a close look at what they don't eat (if there is anything) and plant more of that.  You may not end up with a perennial garden filled with the ornamentals you were thinking of, but you can create an attractive, low maintenance garden made up of plants that are native to the area.  Wandering through the woods with an eye for plants that could be used in a "garden" might be quite revealing.  We also recommend you visit the Evergreen.ca plant database for suggestions.Once you have an idea of what types of shrubs and herbaceous flowering plants thrive in your area (and are ignored by the muskrats) you should be able to purchase varieties of those plants at your local nursery.

I am wondering whether you are really dealing with a groundhog and not a muskrat because of the total devastation and the fact that muskrats feed primarily on aquatic vegetation, but it's a moot point when all your coneflowers are gone!  Good luck.

 

More Pests Questions

Leaves wrinkling on Tecoma stans from San Antonio TX
August 16, 2013 - My two year old esperanza (planted in the ground) froze back last winter, came back from the roots & has been doing well all summer. Recently one branch has leaves that are nice & green but very wrin...
view the full question and answer

Problems with blueberries from Kernersville NC
April 29, 2012 - My blueberry plants have no leaves or scrawny ones. I have 13 plants, 5 of them are like this.
view the full question and answer

Viburnum insect damage
October 08, 2009 - I have a highbush cranberry that gets covered in 1/4in black bugs every spring. It makes lots of holes in the leaves. What are they and how can I get rid of this insect.I have tried neem oil but it do...
view the full question and answer

When should cochineal bugs be on prickly pear cactus?
January 05, 2012 - I am a fibers artist that would like to harvest the cochineal bugs from the prickly pear cactus. I would like to know what time of year should I expect to find the cochineal bugs around the Austin ar...
view the full question and answer

Growing Giant Pumpkins in Georgia
April 15, 2013 - I have tried to grow giant pumpkins in the Atlanta, GA area. Each year I lose several strong plants to vine borers. I have tried tin foil wrapped around the stems, and I even painted the stems with Se...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center