It’s pumpkin season!
Whether growing them for Halloween or having some delicious pies in the fall, pumpkins are a fun crop.
But as they ripen on the vine, you might notice some animals interested in your pumpkins. Thus, the question arises of how to protect growing pumpkins from animals.
Animals can be a big problem for gardeners, especially those growing delicate fruits and vegetables. Pumpkins are no exception; if animals get to them before they’re ripe, they can ruin the entire crop.
Luckily, you can do a few things to protect your pumpkins from becoming a snack for four-legged friends.
Today, in this article, you’ll learn how to protect growing pumpkins from animals with 11 different methods!
- What Animals Eat Pumpkins?
- How to Protect Growing Pumpkins from Animals? | The Methods!
What Animals Eat Pumpkins?
You’ve finally done it—you’ve managed to plant pumpkins!
Now all you have to do is sit back and wait for the pumpkins to start growing, right?
Not so fast!
If you don’t take steps to protect your plant from animals, they can cause severe damage to your produce.
Pumpkins are not just for Halloween decoration or pies; many animals enjoy eating pumpkins as well. Pumpkins provide these animals with a source of food high in fiber and low in fat. So, if you see a pumpkin that has been nibbled on, now you know who did it.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common offenders and what harm they can do to your pumpkin plant.
You might think that only humans enjoy pumpkins, but that’s not the case!
Squirrels love this autumnal food maybe more than humans. They are especially fond of the seeds and will often bury them to save for later. If you have a pumpkin starting to go bad, don’t throw it out. Please bring it to your local park and watch the squirrels enjoy their treat.
Your outdoor pumpkins might be a tasty snack for this naughty little creature if you don’t take early measures to protect your pumpkins. You will find in this article below the much-needed precautions to spare your pumpkins from suffering such a fate.
Pumpkins are a popular food source for deer, as they are packed with nutrients that the animals need to stay healthy.
As good as it is for deer, the pumpkins nibbled by deer are useless for you. Deer can be a disaster for pumpkin plants as it eats the leaves and stems along with the pumpkins.
To prevent deer from eating your pumpkins, use deer repellent, fence around the garden with a netting material, or plant cucumbers in your garden instead of pumpkin.
Birds are one of the many animals that enjoy eating pumpkins. Pumpkins are a popular food for many birds, including ducks, geese, and turkeys.
Meanwhile, birds are a menace to pumpkin plants. They will peck at it and eat the seeds you have painstakingly grown.
When birds land on your pumpkin plant, they will nibble at its leaves, flowers, and fruits. The birds also leave droppings on your plant, which can contain harmful bacteria or fungi that can make your pumpkin plant sick.
So, make sure to keep them away!
Groundhogs are rodents found in North America.
They can dig and climb. They can be seen near gardens, fields, and shrubs. Groundhogs are not harmful to humans, but they do cause harm to plants.
As the weather gets colder, these animals start looking for food to help them survive the winter. One food that many animals enjoy is pumpkins. However, it causes significant damage to your pumpkin plant due to its burrowing.
The groundhog’s burrowing can cause the roots of your pumpkin plant to rot and die, leading to your plant’s death.
Rabbits are one of the many animals that enjoy eating pumpkins. Rabbits often eat a pumpkin’s stem, leaves, and flesh in the wild. However, pet rabbits may only be able to eat the flesh of a pumpkin due to their small teeth.
Rabbits can threaten your pumpkin plants—they will eat them and make them die.
While chickens and other barn animals can be a nuisance to your pumpkin plant, they help control pests in their pumpkin fields. However, you should keep a few things in mind if you have chickens or other animals near your pumpkins.
First, ensure that the animals can’t reach the pumpkin vines or leaves, as they may try to eat them. Also, keep an eye out for any signs of damage to the pumpkins, as the animals may accidentally knock them off the vine or step on them.
One of the most common pests that can cause harm to your pumpkin plant is the chipmunks.
These tiny rodents are attracted to the seeds and fruits of the plant and can quickly decimate a crop if left unchecked. In addition to eating the pumpkin fruits, chipmunks strip the bark from the stems and leaves, which can seriously damage or even kill the plant.
If you suspect that chipmunks are causing damage to your pumpkin plant, take action to trap or remove them as soon as possible.
Mice and Voles
Mice and voles can cause severe damage to your pumpkin plant, eating the pumpkin and decimating it throughout its life cycle.
These rodents may also burrow into the ground killing the roots of your favorite pumpkin field.
Other pests that prey on pumpkins include:
- Snails and slugs
- Squash bugs
- Vine borers
Let’s now see how to protect growing pumpkins from animals with our tried and tested methods.
How to Protect Growing Pumpkins from Animals? | The Methods!
It is pretty common to see pumpkins being destroyed by animals.
Whether it is a raccoon, a squirrel, or a dog, these animals are always on the hunt for food.
Pumpkins are a healthy treat for your furry friends, but as we discussed the harm caused to your pumpkin field by these backyard critters, you must want to know how to protect pumpkins from animals.
Protected pumpkin plants will have a better chance of producing healthy fruits. You can keep animals from damaging your pumpkin crop by taking simple precautions.
Here are some ways to protect your pumpkins from these pests:
1. Get a Fence
A fence is one of the most effective ways to protect your pumpkins from animals.
If you have the space, build a tall fence around your pumpkin patch. Please ensure the fence is at least six feet tall so that animals can’t jump over it.
You can also use chicken wire to create a smaller fence that keeps animals out while allowing sunlight and water to reach your pumpkins.
2. Noise Makers
You can also try using noisemakers to keep animals away from your pumpkins. Animals are often afraid of things that move or make noise, so placing these around your pumpkin patch may help to keep them away.
3. Wire Mesh
One of the ways is to use wire mesh between your pumpkins and the ground.
It will make it difficult for animals to reach them and destroy them. You can also use chicken wire as protection against predators such as deer and rabbits, who might be attracted by pumpkins’ bright colors in the fall season.
You can also use netting to protect your pumpkins.
Netting will keep birds and other animals from getting to your pumpkins. Make sure the netting is tightly secured so that nothing can get through.
4. Use Motion Sensor Sprinkler
Use a motion sensor sprinkler to keep animals away from your pumpkins.
Motion sensor sprinklers are a great way to deter animals from entering your garden. The sprinkler will turn on and startle the animal when they sense movement. It will discourage them from coming back.
A rural homestead or country garden would be a better fit for this.
Alternatively, place a statue of an owl or a fox near the pumpkin in town; they make natural silhouettes that squirrels avoid.
5. Use a Scarecrow
A scarecrow is a great way to protect your pumpkins from animals.
You can make your scarecrow or buy one at a store. If you make your own, you can use old clothes and stuff them with hay.
You can also put a carved pumpkin on the scarecrow’s head, making it look even more realistic. 😁
6. Use of Repellants
Finally, you can also try using repellents to keep animals away from your pumpkins.
Many repellents are available, so research to find one safe to use around plants. You can also make your repellent using ingredients like garlic, pepper, and soap.
You can spray the repellent around the perimeter of your pumpkin patch or directly on the plants.
Make a Homemade Animal Repellent
If you have animals in your neighborhood that like to eat pumpkins, you can make a homemade animal repellent to keep them away.
You will need the following:
- 1 gallon of Water
- 1 cup of Vinegar
- 1 cup of Epsom salt
- 1 tablespoon of Cayenne pepper
Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and spray it on your pumpkins.
Spray the pumpkin with animal repellent. The scent will repel animals and keep them from eating your pumpkins.
Use Commercial Repellent
If you find that your DIY repellent doesn’t work, you can try using a store-bought repellent. Sprays available at your local garden center deter rabbits and deer from eating your pumpkins. These sprays use a scent and taste to repel these animals from your pumpkins.
7. Make Use of Your Pet’s Fur
How to protect growing pumpkins from animals? One perfect way is by using your pet’s fur.
You can spread your pet’s fur around the base of the pumpkin plant. The scent of your pet will deter animals from approaching the pumpkin plant.
It’s natural for rabbits, mice, and squirrels to avoid dogs and cats since they detect them as predators.
8. Coat with Petroleum Jelly
Coat the pumpkin with a thick layer of petroleum jelly. It makes the surface sticky and thus less appealing to animals. Unlike hairspray, you need to apply it occasionally.
9. Blood Meal
Don’t be scared by the name!
It’s just a garden fertilizer that’s made of animal blood. It is a nitrogen-rich fertilizer that helps plants to grow lusher and greener. Beyond its ability to make your plants and soil healthy, this fertilizer keeps vermin away from your gardens or fields.
Squirrels, rabbits, deer, and chipmunks don’t like it as they are herbivores. Sprinkle 4 ounces of blood meal per square yard in your pumpkin field to keep them away.
The overuse may negatively affect your garden, so be careful with the usage and follow the directions on the fertilizer package.
10. Remove the Effective Pumpkin
If you notice any damage in your pumpkin field, remove the affected pumpkin from the plant so it doesn’t rot and affect the rest of the crop.
Whatever method you choose, keep an eye on your pumpkins so that you can catch any critters that may be trying to get to them.
11. Keep the Field Clean
Keep your pumpkin patch well-weeded and free of debris, which attracts vermin.
All of these methods are great ways to protect your pumpkins from animals. Try out a few of them and see which ones work best.
That would be all!
Here’s a video showing how to keep squirrels away from pumpkins, but most methods also work for other animals.
Let’s head toward the conclusion.
Squirrels, deer, birds, chipmunks, groundhogs, rabbits, mice, and voles eat pumpkins.
Even chickens and other barn animals will peck at a pumpkin. In conclusion, there are many ways to protect your pumpkins from animals.
You can use physical barriers like fences or netting. You can also try using scarecrows, motion-activated sprinklers, or ultrasonic devices.
We hope our guide on how to protect growing pumpkins from animals helped you.
Drop your views in the comment section and enjoy your harvest!