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Planning Retirement Online

Paul's Badgers


Mary Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?         

With silver bells and cockle shells,                    

And pretty maids all in a row....                     


If only gardening were as simple as that little nursery rhyme. But it isn`t, so we are putting some of the solutions here to problems you have written to us about, so everyone can have the benefit.


Please e-mail me with your garden problems, comments, or ideas for this section of  laterlife.  Click here for previous editions of Gardener`s Diary.


How paul got rid of some unwelcome visitors   

Paul Tinkler, a laterlife reader, wrote to me recently with a garden problem that turned into a bit of a saga, so I have made space for it here..

Paul writes: 

This time last year, and now even worse this year, something is digging holes all over my lawn. It's always at night (I've never seen it being done), and they are circular, 5-6 cms across, and the same dimensions deep, although some are bigger. I've been told it's foxes after leatherjackets, and I've tried ultrasonic scaring devices, and chemical sprays, both of which have made no difference.
The garden is quite open, and we are adjacent to some woodland over the road
Short of sitting up all night with a shotgun, or concreting over the lawn, have you any solutions ?

My reply:

Squirrels can be a problem this time of year as they like to bury nuts for the winter months, but they usually choose a more secluded spot. I wonder if it could be badgers looking for leatherjackets. Is there any possibility of
setting up a video camera to try and catch them in action?
You could also contact the lawn specialists who will come and see first hand
what the holes are like and hopefully suggest a treatment..

If none of the above measures identify the culprit, you could try sitting up
all night with a shotgun, or concreting over the lawn !!!
Sorry I couldn`t resist that..  


Update from Paul

Having looked out of my window at 03.00 last night I can now say it's
definitely a badger doing this!
Shining a torch on it and banging the window made no difference at all - it
only trundled off when I opened the window with a loud noise.
Any ideas now we know the culprit ?


My reply: 

I`m not sure that it is `Better the devil you know` in this case.. Badgers
can be pretty difficult to deter.
You could try feeding the badgers their own food, or a chemical deterrent which kills the food they are foraging for, bearing in mind it will also kill the earthworms which are beneficial to lawns..

Finally from Paul:

I think I have good news !
I have borrowed from my brother a clever gizmo which consists of an infra
red motion sensor (battery powered) combined with a sprayer similar to
that used for crops, which is connected to a hosepipe.
When set up, this activates and shoots water out when movement (ie badgers)
are detected.

Since I've been using this, I've had no more excavations, but my neighbours
now have holes all over their lawns, which implies to me that it does work!
Since this costs 70 to purchase, I think I'll leave it a week or two before
investing in one for myself however - it's certainly better than electrified
fences or Chain link buried fences as detailed in the web site you sent me !
I've also been informed that due the prolonged dry spell we have recently
had, Badgers are having to dig more and deeper holes than usual to get at
the insects which are in shorter supply, and further underground.

Another ploy from someone else with this problem long term, which was also
one of your suggestions, is apparently to feed them with large quantities of
'household scraps and/or bird food, particularly peanuts', which does stop
them digging up the lawn.

I think I'd be reluctant to do this, as I can see that you would attract not
just badgers, but rats and all sorts for the free feed, and of course once
you started something like this, you would have to keep going forever!

I'll let you know in a week or two as to whether I see any badgers in


* In Paul`s final update he informs me that there are  "No more holes since I started using the 'Scarecrow' water scarer - which I have since seen on sale in a garden centre near Bristol - but whether it's due to this or the fact that this a seasonal event (as last year) I'm not quite sure - I think it may be worthwhile investing in a 'scarecrow' "


* On a recent trip away, I saw first-hand the mess that badgers had caused to another person`s lawn and they weren`t aware of what was causing the damage. Thanks to Paul, I was quite confident in telling them that they `had badgers`!

Previous editions of your gardening queries:


Edition 1

Edition 2

Edition 3

Edition 4

Edition 5

Edition 6

Please e-mail me with your garden problems, comments, or ideas for this section of  laterlife.



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