Ticks, Keeping them off of your property

Yesterday, we talked about making your own tick repellent to keep ticks off of your dogs. Today let’s talk about how to keep them off of your property in the first place.  The best defense, after all, is a good offense.

We live in the woods.  It’s great, quiet, private and lots of room for the dogs to run.  In the woods.  Most of 5 acres we have fenced in is shaded woods, and trails.  Only about 2 acres are mow-able lawn.  So we have a lot of high undergrowth, that the dogs like to run through.  They dislike staying on the nice wide trails we humans prefer to use.

Guess where ticks like to hide in wait for their prey?  If you guessed the high grasses and small bushes of undergrowth that are found in the nicely shaded woods, you’re right.  Yep, our property is a tick’s version of heaven, lots of animals to feed on and the perfect place to hang out, unfortunately.  So we’re working on making it less inviting to ticks.  How are we doing that?

Ticks love shade, and moisture.  Places such as leaf and mulch piles, high grass, small bushes, the undergrowth of the forests.  So anywhere this stuff is found, even along fences in small city lots, ticks will be found.

Making your yard less tick friendly

Keeping the lawn mowed is the first step to making your yard less tick friendly.

Get rid of the undergrowth.  You obviously don’t want to get rid of your trees, but clearing out the undergrowth will greatly reduce the number of ticks that will be residing in the shade.  They like to hang out on things that animals, or humans are likely to brush against.

If you have paths, make them wide (and good luck keeping your dogs on them), and line them with wood chips or gravel.  Ticks don’t like to walk on these things, and will avoid them.

Have a tree line around the edge of the lawn?  Make a buffer zone.  Cut back the undergrowth to the edge, then lay in a couple feet of wood chips or gravel.

Keep your firewood in a sunny location.  Wood piles in the shade will draw in ticks.  The sun is also good for getting your firewood to dry quicker too.  So it’s a win, win.

Discourage tick carriers

Discourage the animals that bring ticks onto your property.  Such as deer and mice.   By not having their favorite foods on your property. There are lots of deer resistant plants. And having dogs helps keep a lot of animals out of your yard.  Our dogs have chased off most of the small animals from our property.   We rarely see chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, etc. They chase off the deer when they see them too.  But just having their smell around the property helps to deter the other animals.

Employ tick eaters

Get chickens, ducks or guinea fowl.  They love to eat ticks, and will greatly reduce your tick population.

Attract tick eating birds by planting plants that the insects love.  Such as dill, dutch white clover, New England aster.  The birds will eat the bugs that hang around those plants.  They’ll also stick around and eat the ticks.

Plant tick repelling plants

Just like with the DIY tick repellent, there are scents that ticks don’t like, and will avoid.

Tick repellent plants

  • Lavendar
  • Peppermint – also repels fleas, spiders and mice.
  • Catnip
  • Lemongrass
  • Garlic
  • Pyrethrum
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Feverfew
  • Marigolds
  • American Beautyberry
  • “Fleabane” Pennyroyal – toxic to pets
  • Geranium – toxic to pets
  • Eucalyptus – toxic to pets
  • Citronella Grass – toxic to pets

Keep the tick repelling plants that are toxic to pets, out of the areas where the pets hang out.

Enjoy your reduced tick population!

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