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Published August 19, 2009, 08:57 AM

Protect Your Garden From Birds

As any gardening enthusiast can attest, one of the more appealing aspects of gardening is the sense of relaxation it can instill.

By: Metro Creative Connection, The Republican Eagle

)Protect Your Garden From Birds

As any gardening enthusiast can attest, one of the more appealing aspects of gardening is the sense of relaxation it can instill. About as far from the hustle and bustle of the office as a person can get, a garden can be the perfect place to escape the trials and tribulations of everyday life and enjoy some quality time with Mother Nature.

Though lovely to look at, birds have the unfortunate tendency to dine on your delicate blooms. While lawn critters present an entirely different group of problems, birds can be just as problematic, robbing a garden of its beauty by eating the tops of plants while frustrating gardeners to no end. To make sure your garden is a place you can enjoy -- and view birds from afar -- consider the following tips.

* Enlist the help of a phony friend. While they may now be more commonly associated with Halloween or farm country, scarecrows can actually be an effective, and easily maintainable, bird deterrent. If you can't find a scarecrow, a mannequin or even a plastic predatory bird can suffice as well. To maximize the effects of these phony watchdogs, move them from time to time, and consider changing the appearance of scarecrows or mannequins. Appearance and location should be changed to keep potentially harmful birds on their heels.

* Let the birds banish themselves. Aluminum foil or ornaments covered in mirrors can be effective at frightening birds and playing their own fears against them. Such items will spin and reflect light as the wind blows, likely scaring birds off in the process. These items are also a very inexpensive option, as they can be made for a couple of dollars.

* Save the seeds. Birds can not only damage fully grown plants by eating their tops, but they can also eat newly planted seeds. To protect against such stealing of seeds, lay a strip of chicken wire over each row of seeds and secure the wire with small rocks or sticks. This will make it difficult for the birds to get at the seeds, and that extra effort is something most birds aren't willing to commit to.

* Fend the flyers off with fences. Most home and garden stores stock netting or fencing that's meant to protect fully grown plants from falling victim to hungry birds. While each netting or fencing product is different, in general the barrier approach entails surrounding grown plants with the product to keep pesky birds from pecking away. GT094050

CAPTION: Though most homeowners don't need to protect a pumpkin patch, a scarecrow can be an effective means of protecting a home garden from birds.

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