Snakes love gardens because of the unlimited supply of food. The thick foliage is a camouflage that allows the snake to sneak up on the pests in the garden. However, a rock garden may not solve your snake problem.
Rock gardens attract snakes to your yard if you use large rocks because their prey is most likely hiding underneath the rocks. Snakes also prefer places with great hiding spots, so they prefer gardens with large stones. Gardens with small rocks don’t attract snakes because you can easily spot them.
Rocks add character to your landscape and also act as a barrier against deers that keep eating your flowers. However, the rocks attract snakes. This article will discuss why snakes love your garden and what you can do to keep them away from it.
Why Snakes Are Attracted to Rock Gardens
Rock gardens are awesome. They are low maintenance, add diversity to the landscape, and the garden looks good all year long. Unfortunately, snakes love rock gardens. You may not see them, but the snakes are not far behind if their prey is close.
Snakes are attracted to rock gardens because:
- Large rocks have great hiding spots.
- Snakes love basking on rocks because they heat up easily and retain heat, even when the sun is down.
- Prey, like rodents, hide under rocks.
- Snakes camouflage themselves by going for rocks that match their coloring.
- Rock gardens rarely have weeds, so there is limited human movement in rock gardens.
Having a rock garden may not be a good idea if your area has snakes, especially if you fear them. Snakes help to control the pests in your garden. However, if they are venomous, you have a bigger problem.
How to Keep Snakes From Your Garden
Snakes can be a menace in gardens if you don’t want them there. Many people fear snakes, even the non-venomous species. So, you probably want snakes out of your garden, whether they are poisonous or not.
Here are tips on how to keep snakes from your garden:
Use Small, Tightly Packed Rocks
Snakes prefer gardens with spaces where they can hide. Although snakes love rock gardens, they avoid those with small, tightly packed rocks. The small rocks will also keep pests away since they will have nowhere to hide.
The advantage of small rocks is you still get to have a rock garden but without the snakes. So, you can easily incorporate small rocks into your landscape without worrying about harboring snakes.
Mow Your Lawn
Snakes will have nowhere to hide when your lawn is clean and tidy. Even if you have a rock garden with small stones, an untidy, unkempt lawn will still serve as a hiding place for snakes. Keep everything neat, especially around your rock garden, and the snakes will leave.
Maintain Hedges and Bushes
Prey, such as frogs and mice, tend to hide in bushes and hedges. These areas are shaded, and the pests are not easy to spot. Snakes seek these pests for food, so they will soon show up if you have them in your garden.
Remove debris and prune the hedges to keep them neat and pest-free.
Check the Structures in Your Home for Gaps and Cracks
Snakes don’t just go for the rocks in your garden. They can easily turn gaps within the walls of your home and other structures into their home.
Occasionally check walls for cracks and gaps. Fix them to keep snakes away and eliminate rodents and other pests that may use these gaps to gain entry into your home.
Collect Eggs if You Have Poultry
Snakes love hanging around chicken coops because they love eggs. If you leave chicken eggs for a long time, snakes will start coming because they have easy access to food.
You can choose to move the chicken coop or start collecting the eggs regularly. When they keep missing the eggs, the snakes will move on.
The same snakes will go to your garden, so it is best to deal with them at the source of the problem.
If you cannot gather eggs often enough to discourage the snakes from coming into the chicken coop, you can plant a rose bush under the chicken coop. Direct the rose stems to grow along the posts until they get to the base of the chicken coop.
Snakes will avoid going up the pole because they cannot stand the thorns in rose bushes. When they have nothing to eat, snakes will go to places where they can get food.
Mulch Your Garden With Sharp Items
Sharp items like thorns, broken glass, eggshells, pine cones, and sharp rocks can come in handy when you want to discourage snakes from venturing into your garden. Snakes don’t move easily over sharp items, so they don’t even attempt it.
Some of the sharp items may make your visits to your garden uncomfortable, but they work at keeping snakes away.
Apply a Non-Toxic Snake Repellent
When choosing the snake repellent to use, you need to ensure it is not harmful to plants and pets. Non-toxic snake repellents will keep your garden safe from snakes. At the same time, you need not worry about the impact of the repellent on you and your loved ones.
Victor Snake Repelling Granules (available on Amazon.com) repel venomous and non-venomous snakes. The granules last for two to three months and temporarily disrupt the snake’s sensory reception, so instead of going into your garden, it will move away from the protected area.
This video gives tips on how to keep snakes from your home:
Ensure Your Garden Has Snake-Repelling Plants
If you want a rock garden and wish to use other methods to keep snakes away, you can have snake-repelling plants in strategic locations. Snakes avoid plants with strong scents and those with sharp thorns and leaves.
Some of the plants that repel snakes include:
Onions and Garlic
Snakes detest the smell of onions and garlic. The oily residue in garlic has the same impact that sliced onions have on people with sensitive eyes. The discomfort alone is enough to force snakes to avoid gardens with garlic.
Lemongrass has a strong citrus smell that snakes dislike. It is also drought-resistant, and the thick foliage will enhance your garden’s appeal.
Marigolds are also great snake-repelling plants. These flowers have deep roots, which are aggressive when spreading across your garden. They also repel moles and gophers.
Snake plants also frighten snakes away from the garden. The sharp leaves and striking appearance drive snakes away from gardens.
You can also use essential oils like clove, cinnamon, and cedarwood. Snakes avoid essential oils because of the strong scent. Some people even believe that the snakes think the oils, just like garlic, will cause their scales to melt.
Here is a video guide on snake-repellent plants you should have in your yard:
Fence Your Garden
Another solution, possibly a permanent one, is to fence your garden. If there is no way into your garden, you will not have a snake problem. Ensure you bury the fence a few inches (5+ cm) into the ground.
Put up a ¼-inch (6.35-mm) rigid mesh or solid sheets around your garden. Avoid plastic nettings because they degrade over time, so you will only be keeping the snakes away for a short while.
Eliminate All Hiding Places
If there is a place to hide, snakes will find it. It may be between wood piles or crevices in the ground or walls. So, even as you work on making your garden a snake-free zone, you need to ensure you cover all the other potential hiding places.
For example, you can build a structure and keep wood piles elevated. Without a hiding place, snakes will move to a more snake-friendly yard.
Although the effectiveness of mothballs on snakes is yet to be verified, they are considered effective at chasing snakes from your yard.
Mothballs contain naphthalene, a chemical that irritates snakes. However, they are toxic, so you need to handle them carefully if you choose to use this method to get rid of snakes in your garden.
Get Rid of the Pests in Your Garden
If getting rid of snakes proves to be a tall order, you can start by getting rid of pests. You can use pest repellents to drive the pests from your garden. When you starve the snake of the meal that brought it to your garden, then it will go where it will receive the nourishment it seeks.
Snakes are difficult to control, especially if many have discovered the presence of pests and eggs on your property. A rock garden doesn’t help matters because you have now provided the snakes a place to shelter and hide when hunting their prey.
Fortunately, you can reverse the presence of snakes in your home by making the place inhabitable for the snakes. If you cannot get rid of the rock garden, you can use snake repellents and have plants that snakes avoid.