Outdoor Growing and Rodents

The biggest benefit of growing outdoors is simplicity. Mother nature takes care of pretty much everything and that of course includes light in the form of the sunshine, along with free automatic timing and of course ventilation. So really all you need to do is add the water and fertilizer then stand back and watch your plants grow, and they do grow big outdoors.

So if you’re growing outdoors you want to shoot for about a pound of bud per plant but you can get more than that. This is because if you know what you’re doing or are willing to follow the instructions of someone who knows what they’re doing you can get up to 3 pounds of clean bud off of a single plant grown in your backyard or up on a back deck or patio.

Do be aware however, that of all the green things that will be growing outdoors at your place it’s your plants that will be the preferred treat of any passing rodents. It’s not the entire plant that they like to chomp on either. Rather their all time favorite part of the plant turns out to be the outer layer of the stock. They just love it.

It’s called ‘girdling’ when a mouse, rat, gopher or squirrel stands at the base of a plant and chews a nice neat ring around the stalk to effectively cut off water flow to the rest of the plant. It doesn’t take long either and when they’re done your plant is also ‘done’ because nothing more will come of it from that point on.

So dealing with rodents in a backyard setting is just as important as knowing how to grow the plants themselves. It’s easy to be diluted into thinking that you’re okay during the growing season too because it’s at the end of the summer season when all their natural food sources are depleted that they’ll really go crazy on your plants.
The Truth About Natural Animal Scent
You may have already heard or read about some type of natural animals scent that can be sprinkled around your plants. Some type of urine that’s gathered from some type of nasty vicious carnivore that’s supposed to send the little animals running for their lives if they catch just one whiff of it. It’s expensive too which in and of itself is enough to convince some people that it actually works.

The truth about natural scent products is that they will work to a certain degree, as long as the animals have something else to go to. Some other food source, and if they aren’t too hungry to begin with. At the end of the summer and fall though, they just don’t work on ‘starving’ rodents. They’re willing to take their chances rather than die of starvation, so don’t even waste your money on any of these types of natural products.
Barriers are One Solution
Barriers in the form of screens are one solution that works as long as they’re constructed well. Keep in mind though, that you can just forget about any type of camouflage effect if you circle your plants with some kind of barrier because it’s going to stick out like a sore thumb. So a barrier may work to block out the animals but don’t forget about the neighborhood teenagers who can be just as devastating come harvest time. Now if you’re growing in the ground instead of a container you’re going to want to wrap the perimeter of the hole that you dig to do your grow bed in with fine mesh chicken wire. It’s to keep moles and gophers out and make sure that your wrap extends up above the ground six or 7 inches too because gophers and moles go above ground at night to travel around and look for food.

Don’t kid yourself though, because if you do use chicken wire or plastic Ross netting to protect your plants from small crawling rodents you need to enclose them in completely from top to bottom. Rats and squirrels in particular have no problem climbing up, over, around or under chicken wire enclosures that aren’t fully sealed at the top and anchored down securely at the bottom and completely closed on all edges.
Traps are Affordable and Effectively

The common rat trap is affordable and effective and they’ve been getting put to use for generations around farms and ranches to eradicate rodents. Peanut butter is the preferred bait for rat traps in outdoor gardens because it sticks like glue, rodents like it and it’s easy and convenient to keep a small jar of it tucked away in your growing area. Even so, rat traps do have a few problems.

First of all if you have pets you certainly don’t want them getting snapped in one because a good ‘whack’ from a rat trap can break a cat’s foot. Then you only get one shot out of a trap, so after it’s tripped if the rat didn’t get caught you’re left unprotected. Then another problem with rat traps is that if the rodent approaches from the wrong side where the trap isn’t in place you could be out of luck.
Rodent Poison Works Great

So all things considered, it’s little wonder that most all professional growers rely heavily on rodent poisons to keep them off their plants. They don’t need to be set like a trap, one small pile can kill multiple pests and some of the better products available today work with just one bite. Then another nice thing about rodent poisons is that parents will often take them back to their nest to feed the whole family.

Even so in a backyard setting or out on your upper deck you have to be careful with rodent poison. Particularly if you have small children for instance, you just can’t leave something like this out, so you need to be very careful how you use them. Then today’s new super effective rodent poisons will kill your cat or dog if they end up with a mouse or rat in their mouth that’s eaten some of it.

So in the end you have to come to your own decision with regards to how you’re going to deal with rodent’s. Some folks, and you may well be one of them will have a problem with killing a bunch of fuzzy little animals. Then again they may not be as prevalent and as big an issue as they might be for someone else. Ignoring the problem though, and just hoping that it just goes away in most all cases just turns out to be a very expensive lesson.
The Bottom Line:

For some people rodent eradication can be an uncomfortable prospect to consider because nobody wants to kill fuzzy little creatures. The fact is though, that growing pot outdoors is agriculture, so just like with any other type of agriculture, it’s something that you will have to deal with.

It’s best to poison rodents early in the season before they develop a taste for your crop. Also the further you go into the summer the more hungry and desperate they become, and the more you will have invested your project to lose.

Rodents migrate and are quick to exploit a newly discovered opportunity. So even if you eradicate all the rodents in your backyard early in the season you can expect other rodents from around the area to migrate in to take their place.

Poisons that you buy at your local hardware or ranch supply store really are the easiest and most efficient solution. Grain-based poisons decay quickly if they get wet from rain though, and pose a risk to pets and small children.

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I have three outdoor cats that hunt and am wondering if they are enough to keep my plants safe. I’ve been using wire baskets for years and want to stop. Preparing the soil and planting is much easier without the wire baskets. Yet, I don’t want to lose my crop.

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Cats and dogs works for me. I don’t think we have moles in my area, but that netting should work for them @colingodwin34

Thanks! I’m going to try just using my cats - They sometimes bring me parts of their “catch” right now so I know they are active. - Colin

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I have one cat, I only feed him when he asks for food , there is days that he won’t even come inside. I now he’s hunting. Plus there is feral cats also in the allies.

I also feed one cat. My neighbor feeds the rest. I feed her outside when she comes and asks for it.

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He’s the only one allowed in the yard, not because of us,our dogs don’t let them near,he has a relationship with them. He was here first, then we got our dogs, so he feels like they invaded his territory. Trust me he sets them straight if they get out line.