Use Irish Spring to Keep Out Garden Pests

By: Diy maven May 11, 2007

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Perennials are springing up everywhere. And the herbivores are loving it. The hostas pictured above are always the first course. Around here, the biggest culprit of garden dining are deer. Don’t believe me? I took the following picture of our back yard two years ago. Apparently, we are living in the Grand Central Station for the Bambi crowd.

Garden stores sell various deer and rabbit deterrents, but most are topical treatments that have to be applied after each rain or even heavy dew and, generally, they’re expensive. Since many are based on smells (a popular one is coyote urine), it’s not surprising a non-appetizing, odoriferous, rainproof thing such as Irish Spring keeps the critters at bay.

Just cut a bar into cubes, wrap the cubes in scraps of cloth, and staple them onto stakes.

Drive the stakes in among the tantalizing vegetation. I also cut smaller bits to scatter along the ground.

Yes, the yard smells ‘refreshing’ and no, the soap doesn’t suds up during a rain. Last year, I did the stake trick at the beginning of the year, but replenished my scattered pieces once a month or so. Together, they seemed to do the trick; the deer left my plants alone.

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Moles drop hot peppers down hole
Snake away is expensive, it's nothing more than ground up mothballs. Mothballs are cheap and last longer. Pump mint oil once a week in enclosed area and the rats/mice will stay away, also plant mint, lemon balm, etc... don't use mint oil around cats, they metabolize differently and it's toxic.. also birds
I have been using Irish spring soap for years. Last year I put pieces in little green organza bags from michaels and hung from garden stakes. I still spread it on the ground also. My problem is the big black birds pick up pieces and drop them all over the neighborhood!
Pat - Snakes don't like the smell of garlic. Place cloves around your property n it may help. Will this work for bunnies? I have a bunny issue in my garden big time.

Do you know if this would work for skunks?

I use bugright. It is all natural and works on bed bugs to scorpions, and even snakes. I found it in Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri and Kansas. It took care of all crawling insects and safe around the children and pets.

In most areas people have built and built and pushed the deer out of their homes. I know they do a lot of damage. I have pesky chipmunks and I fill a five gallon bucket half full of water. They get in and can't get out...not pretty but they are soon gone! Rabbits are awful!

Jennifer, Irish Spring might work for cats. Another thing to consider is cats don't like the scent of oranges. You might want to scatter orange peels around the perimeter of your yard. Of course, that's a lot of oranges. A third alternative might be Liquid Fence, which is basically faux coyote urine. It's a wicked blend of garlic and rotten egg smell. Yeah, it stinks BAD, but only when it's wet. As it dries the scent goes away. The only downfall with this is that you'd have to re-apply it after every rain or heavy dew-fall. The up side is, the strays SHOULD learn to avoid your yard after awhile, even if you miss the Liquid Fence. Otherwise, I like Pat's idea...a puppy!!!

Pat, you might want to consider burying empty plastic soda bottles near their holes. Check out this article to see how and why it works. 

i have ground squirrels, will it work on them,I try anything

I have always had cats and not much trouble with strays. Mine are inside cats. Went the route with them being outside before. The best thing I know is to get a dog. I am not trying to be funny, that is the best I know. I also would like to know how to get rid of ground moles. They have a whole field and insist on using my yard. My Brother says I have good grubbs. I Don't want good grubbs. I want a desent yard.

What can I do to repel cats? I have a ton of strays in my neighborhood that for some reason like using my yard for their litter box.
I used the soap method and some years it worked and other years no so much. I think know you have to put the soap out at a certain time. Either way, we just installed an 8th deer fence around my veggie garden coz I was going crazy with the deer.

Got a question. Allthese sound like good ideas, but I don't have a garden like my neighbors. My problem is: I have a field next to me and I get mice and snakes in my house at times. Had 5 snakes in the last couple years. I have put traps in the garage with peanut butter and have not seen a mouse since. Worked for last year. Now, about the snakes--------I have Snake Away that I put around the house every month or two when really nice weather hits. That does the trick. But like the one guy, sometimes I forget. Will Irish Spring work for them, too? It sure would be cheaper than the snake away I use.

These deer are not Bambi ! They are pests and disgusting.. besides urinating and defecating all over the yard, they have diseases !  Keep them away from yard and gardens as best as possible!  These creatures just destroyed 32 Indian Hawthornes in my front yard ! I will try the Irish Spring method... I've tried the pepper method and obviously didn't hurt them too bad as they came back for more ! So no feeling sorry for them

I tied a couple of balloons on about a foot of string on my young mimosa trees that the deer kept munching on. It worked. Blowing in the wind freaked them out. It may work elsewhere.
I tried this and unfortunately it did NOT work. The only natural deer deterrent I have found is human hair.

@Anon...only animals, I'm afraid. But you might want to check out my "Low Tech Insecticide" article if you're having bug problems. 

Does this only work for animals? What about bugs?

@MN retiree...fabulous to hear from a fellow Minnesotan who tried the Irish Spring trick! I do love my bunnies and deer, but, yes, they are a scourge on gardens everywhere here. :)

The deer, bunnies and I have had a battle over my tulips for years. Liquid Fence worked to some degree but it smells awful and I would forget to reapply it after a rain. One day I took a cheese grater and a bar of Irish Spring outside and left soap flakes on the mulch around the plants. That was the first spring I came out the winner. Deer/bunnies - 0, me - 30 beautiful red tulips!
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