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Dear Daisy Dog

Last year, the gardens around my house were vandalized by the neighborhood dogs, cats and wild rabbits. How can I keep them out of the garden this year?

Can you recommend an animal repellant that is unpleasant but safe? Please don’t suggest a fence, because that’s not an option.

Daisy Responds

We have the same problem with bunnies that eat the flowers. I could shoo them away if I were outside more, but between writing this column and catching up on my beauty sleep, I don’t have the time.

If you’d like to make your own repellant, boil several hot peppers in water and spray the pepper water on your plants. This and other animal-safe repellants are fairly effective for short periods of time, but most need to be reapplied frequently.

A better idea is a motion-activated sprinkler like the ScareCrow, which has an infrared motion detector that works day and night. When an animal comes into range, the sprinkler blasts water for three seconds.

One sprinkler covers up to 1000 square feet and can fire 5000 times on a 9-volt battery. Only two to three cups of water are used per activation.

If your garden vandals are like my golden retriever brother, Sam, who loves to play in jets of water from the garden hose, the sprinkler might not be effective.

An alternative is the Garden Ghost, a motion-activated cannister that sprays compressed air up to three feet away.

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