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Question DetailsAsked on 5/8/2013

Does anyone know how to stop someone from picking my roses and doing damage to my garden?

The garden area is adjacent to an apartment complex with a lot of foot traffic. Unfortunately, some people feel that they can cut our roses. There is also damage done to some of the newly planted flowers. We're still investigating to determine if it is critters. The critters cannot get into our taller pots; so we think it may be a person(s). Any thoughts and suggestions to curb this sort if behavior is much appreciated.

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2 Answers


Find someone with a game camera (or maybe you could rent one from a store that sells hunting stuff). They're not all that expensive if you wanted to buy one. Make sure it's secured. You could post a sign: "Please do not disturb--we're filming what critters are eating the roses so we can take appropriate action." Even with tall pots, it could be critters--my mom's neighborhood has deer that eat out of bird feeders.

Answered 7 years ago by sooty


You should be able to tell if it is critters - foot or paw prints, teeth marks on stems, etc. I would say highly unlikely to be critters - not many (other than insects) like roses anyway, although I guess deer or antelope or moose (depending on your neck of the woods) are a possibility, as they will eat almost anything. If large animals, then deer netting works, as do some repellants like wolf urine and extremely strong smelling bar soap like Fels Naptha tied around the area.

Video camera or security camera is only way to go. In addition to buying, some security stores will rent them - although you have to be careful to place it where IT will not be stolen - well up out of reach and secured. For a start you might put inside a window to see if it is animals or people, then if people you could move to a very high location to catch a good view of their faces.

Also, can you spread some garden lime, sand or topsoil (potting soil would probably not hold a print) in front of the beds, then look for animal prints or for people prints pointed perpendicular to the beds (as they reach in to pick flowers). You could make it so it looks like accidental spillage along the front of the bed. Might give a clue to what type of critter you are looking at, because if the roses are close to the sidewalk either a person or a large animal might not have to step in the bed itself to get the flowers.

Even if you figure out who it is, unless it is just 1 person, then what ? Unlikely the police will take action in such a case unless you raise an unholy ruckus. If predominately one person, then maybe a petty larceny or vandalism charge could be filed. However, if it is a neighbor, that means you now have a mad neighbor to deal with who could be vindictive, so you would have to permanently mount a camera to catch them if they decide to destroy the whole garden. Also, your house, car, etc would be at risk at location out of sight of the camera. Hate to be a discouraging willy, but it could get a lot worse if you DO catch the thief and are not on friendly terms with them (which would surely end after you confront them even if you are friendly now).

You could put up a nice sign asking people not to pick the flowers so everyone can enjoy viewing them - this is probably yor first and easiest choice, but it assumes people are considerate and polite - clearly not universally the case if they pick your flowers in the first place.

If you have human footprints, are they adult or child size - may be children who have not been taught their boundaries, and if so and you find out who they belong to, you could talk to a parent - maybe not knowing in advance, however, what type of person the parent might be ?

Another possibility, which we had happen, was a very elderly old lady who was picking our flowers. She was possibly on her way to senility - anyway, she wanted them to take home and put ina vase, and gave zero thought to other's property rights. Elderly people commonly become extremely self-centered, and if that is the case be prepared to think what you will do then.

There are repulsive smells and things like wolf urine you can spray on plants to make them unattractive to animals - strong smelling ones on the stems or flower base could make them undesireable to people too. Of course, ruins them for you cutting flowers to bring inside, and unpleasant to work in your garden.

Could put up a wood or tubular aluminum frame and cover it all around with deer netting tied to the frame, but makes it a nuisance having to untie the netting to lay it open it up to work on the garden. To keep people out you would probably have to use disposable cable ties to tie it down, otherwise a person could just untie it, although they could still cut or snip it very easily.

If I were you and had an alternative location, over time I would migrate the flower beds to a private, fenced area away from the walk.

Answered 7 years ago by LCD

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