How to stop dogs and cats from digging up your seedlings

Wendy S. Delmater
By Wendy S. Delmater on Mon, May 19, 2014 - 11:27am

We had a problem with neighborhood cats digging in newly tilled and planted soil. Last year we tried a light coating of pine straw mulch over the seeds, with partial success; it cut down on but did not eliminate the problem.

A light coating of pine straw

This year we found something that really works.

Chicken wire.

After seeding your bed, you roll out the chicken wire over the planted seeds and soil. Once the seedlings are about 3" to 4" high,  gently pull the chicken wire up off the seedlings, and mulch in between them. This method has the added advantage of giving you a chance to transplant double seedlings into bare spots where nothing came up before you add your mulch.

Here is a bed with mulched bush beans we started through chicken wire on the right and green peppers coming up on the left. We lost the bell, banana and hot pepper a a frost, so we replanted them. You can see them poking up through the wire. Notice the piece of brick weighting down the unrolled wire.

What's lovely and sustainable about this is that you can re-use a small roll of chicken wire on bed after bed, for years.

2 Comments

LeanneBaker's picture
LeanneBaker
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 5 2013
Posts: 29
Chickens, Too!

Thanks, Wendy.  Our chickens free range during the days, and they love the new seedlings.  I've had some success with the bird netting, but it is unwieldy to keep moving around.  I'll try the chicken wire for my newly planted beds.

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1988
not so sure

Leanne, I should think the chickens would eat the young plants, too, unless you formed the wire into cages, with air space above the plants the chickens cannot reach through

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