Raccoons look like tiny bandits with their black masks. If you have ever tried to grow sweet corn, then you already know they live up to their stereotype as bandits ready to raid your garden at night. These creatures seem to have a sixth sense for when the corn is ripe and flock to the garden to devour your fresh corn. Although they sometimes alert you to their presence when they make a trial run to test the corn, they often swoop in under the cover of night and destroy the corn patch before you even know they are there. The trick to protecting your corn from raccoons is to create a barrier to the corn patch long before the corn is ripe.
Ordinary fences are not enough to keep raccoons out of the garden. Raccoons are skillful climbers and diggers and will soon find their way over or under your garden fence. But you can take measures to make that more difficult and prevent these critters from reaching your corn. There are two basic options for using fencing to keep raccoons out of the garden.
You will need fence posts, six-foot wire or steel fencing with 2 to 3 inch mesh, a hammer or maul and a shovel or spade.
- Make a trench around the perimeter of your garden to a width of 12 inches and a depth of six inches
- Drive fence posts into the trench along the perimeter of the garden, spaced four feet to six feet apart.
- Bend the bottom 12 inches of your fencing outward on a 90 degree angle to form an L.
- Position the fence along the fence posts so that the 12 inch sections lie flush on the ground and the L faces outward, away from the garden. Once it is covered with soil, this prevents the raccoon from burrowing under the bottom of your fence.
- Attach the fencing to the fence posts, leaving the top 12 inches free.
- Bend the top 12 inches of the fence on a 90 degree angle so that it faces away from the garden area. This makes climbing over the fence difficult as the loose fencing flops down under the weight of the raccoon, sending him on his way to find an easier source of food.
- Check that the fencing is attached securely to the posts.
- Shovel soil over the bottom bend of the fence to fill in the trench. Pack it down with you feet or the back of the hoe.
You will need two lines of electrical fencing, the fence charger, insulated fence posts and a maul or hammer. This fence eliminates the need to lay the fence under the soil and deters the raccoon with a mild shock.
- Install the insulated stakes around the perimeter of the garden, approximately 8 to 12 inches from the garden plot.
- Run one line of electrified wire around the garden plot at a height of 6 inches.
- Repeat with second wire at a height of 12 inches.
Electrified fences emit a low-level electrical shock to anything that touches them. If you choose to use electrical fencing, post a notice and use caution around small children and pets. While the fence can be effective in deterring nuisance animals, such as raccoons, it doesn't discriminate. On the plus side, raccoons are nocturnal animals that typically visit by night. The fence only needs to be activated at night, which means it poses no risks during the day.
A buried fence requires more labor, but effectively keeps out raccoons and other nuisance critters like groundhogs and deer. It is also risk free, which means you don't need to worry about inquisitive children and pets around the garden. While some find electrified fences offensive, as long as you follow manufacturers instructions and set the voltage to a safe level, the electrical shock to raccoons is harmless and simply deters them from entering your garden.
If you need help with your fencing, don't hesitate to contact a local fence supplier or installation company.