Outsmarting Wildlife Pests in Your Yard


A mole peaks out from his burrow. He has the answer to the title question.

By Elizabeth Cornell Fake, Fairfax Master Gardener
What happened to my tulip bulbs? Who ate the hostas to nubs? Where did my vegetables go? Fairfax County residents are continually asking questions like these at local plant clinics staffed by master gardeners. At a recent training session for Fairfax County master gardeners, a wildlife expert provided some ideas on how to minimize yard and garden destruction caused by wildlife. What follows is a summary of what Tony Bulmer, a naturalist/historian senior interpreter at the Ellanor C. Lawrence Park in Centreville, had to say.

Bulmer began with a description of the environmental conditions that allow backyard wildlife to thrive: food, water and shelter. If you have all three, you will have wildlife visitors. A bird feeder is a certain attractor for a wildlife nuisance — birdseed is irresistible to many animals. Those who insist on feeding their pets outside can expect to have wildlife visitors as well. If you have fruit or nut trees and leave fallen fruit on the ground, say hello to all manner of hungry varmints. Next, water in the form of sprinklers, birdbaths, fountains and ponds provides sustenance for many kinds of furry friends and insects. Excessive groundcovers provide sheltered space for wildlife and a protected place to dig dens and burrows. Any kind of covered space from fallen trees to rotting sheds allows ani