Asked on May 01, 2017

How can I keep raccoons from digging up freshly planted flowers???

by Banne
We live in the country and raccoons are becoming pests. Even flowers in pots on the porch are dug up at night. I've seen them in action! They never eat the plants...they just dig them out and leave a mess. Advice please!
  19 answers
  • Karen Powell Karen Powell on May 01, 2017

    Chicken wire! I use it for everything...plant protectors and plant support. Look at the size you want to protect...if your plants are still seedlings, you just lay it over them. If bigger than that, just cut a circle out of it to snug your plant. For peonies, for instance, I cut out a place just large enough to protect dirt around it...then as they grow I gently lift the whole piece up to act as plant supports. Cheap, quick, effective and almost impossible for raccoons to dig through/around

  • Carol Carol on May 03, 2017

    Hot Pepper Juice

  • Shirley Heikkinen Shirley Heikkinen on May 03, 2017

    Carol is right. The raccoons are likely after the bugs living on the soil and in the soil.

  • Claude Claude on May 03, 2017

    If you use milkyspore spring and fall this year it will multiplying the soil and get rid of the grubs they are digging to snack food,,,no raccoons.

  • Jud7313517 Jud7313517 on May 05, 2017

    I had the same problem, I scattered a jar of hot peppers through the garden and had no more problems with raccoons or squirrels.

  • Good luck ♥ We've had raccoon visitors during the night in my back yard several times over the years. They would catch the koi in my pond. Now it would be different if they would eat them, but they would just play with them and leave them all over the yard. I've tried animal control in our area, they said they wouldn't help us, but to get a Havahart trap, then release them at least 100 miles away because they travel that and more. An exterminator was way too expensive. Had a trap, tried, could never catch them...tried sardines, marshmallows, tuna, canned cat food and more. I devoured the web for info on how to get them to go. Tried criss crossing fishing line throughout the back yard, raccoon's didn't mind it, the dogs hated it. Lit the backyard up like a runway – didn't phase them, Human hair, human urine, could have cared less about either, Tried "The Scarecrow" motion detector that hooks to the hose and sprays when it senses motion. Raccoon's loved it,Dogs were scared of it and refused to go out during the day even when it was off. Tried coyote urine, didn't phase the coons one bit. Tried little red flashing lights around the perimeter of the yard, raccoon's didn't notice them. Summer came and they stopped coming. We had no birdseed out for the wild birds, no dog food out, nothing. They came back the following winter and brought friends. Tried everything again to no avail. Got up one morning and they were still here! They were usually gone by then. One of my dogs slipped....pushed by me as I was trying to shoo them away. She was a Great Dane....they took her down. Now I love all animals, but don't come to my place and mess with mine. My sons stayed up the following night, shot 2 of them. They haven't been back since. It was horrid, the screams my poor dog let out as they were biting her. Please be careful. I wouldn't attempt to even catch it, You have to pick up that wire cage after all!. They are fierce and will bite. Be careful please.

    • See 1 previous
    • Rhodophyllis Rhodophyllis on Sep 23, 2020

      Sad, but generally animals try to protect themselves when attacked. I saw a dog rip out the side of a racoon and her baby licked it clean for several weeks before she died. I suspect she was just protecting her babies. Best to keep dogs (particularly attack dogs) and raccoons separate.

  • Paula Curran Paula Curran on Jul 23, 2018

    Debbie - my heart goes out to you. Years ago, my ex and I bought a house from a couple who had caged a raccoon in the back yard. It was gone by the time we took possession. Eventually, squirrels moved into the attic and while we were trying to find a solution, the raccoon family moved in and kicked out the squirrels. They tore up garbage around the neighbourhood. We finally live trapped a mother and three young ones. We used hammer prongs to pick up the cage....never put our fingers through. When we finally evicted them and replaced all the fascia they had destroyed, we had to replace all the insulation in the attic as it was soaked with urine and feces. People think raccoons have such cute little faces. I'm with you. I love animals and respect their right to live but when they encroach on and damage your property, well....they deserve what they get. So sorry your poor dog was injured trying to defend you and your property. Happy you got rid of them finally.

  • Sue Mobley Zambo Sue Mobley Zambo on Jul 11, 2019

    I wish I knew!! They are worse this year than ever before. We’ve relocated eleven of them so far. They get on my deck and dig up al my beautiful potted flowers. Omg. It makes me so mad. Why do they dig up my potted flowers??? Every day I wake up to more destruction. I’m furious.

    • Denise Fox Denise Fox on Jun 18, 2020

      They are looking for grubs and bugs in the dirt. And yes they are persistent

  • We've tried everything and last night they had a party on my deck, even moved the furniture!

  • Rusty Rusty on May 16, 2020

    I use what they call a dog proof trap, then shoot them with a shotgun. Seems cruel, but it works. Better than seeing my wife cry because her freshly planted flowers were dug up the night after she planted them.

    • We had the same idea! BUT. Be sure there aren't any cats around. Cats can get their paws inside that trap also. We have a 3 legged cat for proof!

  • Kristy Kristy on Jun 18, 2020

    I love the internet! I can always find a solution to a problem. Better yet I can find ppl with similar experiences. I’m having issues with coons too. Apparently they really like basil and cilantro. They’ve destroyed my plants and flowers for two nights in a row. We live in the sticks too. Never had any issues with critters. Thank you to everyone who posted. I have some hope now that I can get rid of them.

  • Be careful with that trap. It says only raccoons can get their paws inside for the bait. We had the same idea you do. One of our cats accidentally got out and stuck her paw inside for the bait. She writhed so badly she broke her front leg. Ended up having to amputate it.

    Unfortunately we lost our Great Dane to that coon fight.

    They stayed away for several years. But then returned, even bolder. They came around even during the daytime - every afternoon at 2 pm they'd stroll through the yard. Over the years since Cyndar (great Dane) we adopted an American Staffordshire Terrier. During one of the coons strolls one day Tora (Amstaf) got one pinned against our neighbors fence. Our neighbors Shepherd's were on the other side barking and going crazy. The coon got away from Tora, climbed the fence over into the shepherd's. Our neighbor shot at it but missed. It jumped over the front of the fence and nonchalantly walked away. Again they stayed away for several years.

    Last night the guys were coming home from the store and thought 6 dogs were crossing the road. Turned out to be raccoons! They couldn't believe the size of them. They were a few streets away, hoping they stay over there.

    Wishing all good luck. I know what kind of nuisance they can be and how dangerous they are. BE SAFE!!

  • I sprinkle cayenne pepper on dirt and that seemed to solve the problem.

  • Annie Annie on Jun 16, 2021

    Uggg, raccoons, horrid what they will do. And where there is one, there are always more. Worse if they have a family. I used to have a terrible time with them. Had to get rid of them. If you know what I mean.

    Awful things, fighting all night long, carrying on creating such a racket. Sorry you are going through this

  • Set traps and relocate them.

  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on Jun 16, 2021

    A nasty odor or taste can repel and raccoons. Some commercial repellents contain a bittering agent or pepper. When such repellents are applied on or around your flowerbeds' plants and unwanted animal visitors smell or taste them, the animals may leave your flowerbeds alone. Blood meal and mothballs also are used as repellents. Just like other repellents, however, they're not guaranteed to work. An inexpensive alternative is to place rags in several bowls, douse them with ammonia and set the bowls near your flowerbeds. The ammonia's scent may deter the critters.

  • Maura White Maura White on Jun 17, 2021

    I have the same problem. I tried for 2 years to plant Lily of the Valley and they got dug up each time. So this year I got a large circle of wire fence to protect them.

  • Gary Gary on Apr 07, 2022

    After trying all of the methods listed in this discussion I caged my vegetable beds with chicken wire and hinged lids. That kept them out of the vegetable beds. As for the flower beds, I use heavy rocks around all the plants, weighing down chicken wire.

  • MaryAnn MaryAnn on May 23, 2022

    We live in the country surrounded by woods and the racoons share our property. One year I repotted my plants 3 times and was then told to try putting dryer sheets (I use Bounce) and small twigs on top of the sheets and they have not dug anything up for several years....knock on wood!