When you wake in the morning and pour your first cup of coffee and stroll out to the porch to admire your garden only to see a varmint has been digging up your plants while you sleep, it can get your day off to a bad start. Many nocturnal animals could be responsible, ranging from rodents to raccoons. But you don't have to put up with this nuisance. There are a few ways in which you can put a stop to the nighttime habits of these creatures that are so insistent on destroying your plants.
Traps are one way to get rid of pests who invade your garden overnight. For rodents like mice or rats, simple snap traps or sticky traps may be the best bet. Just make sure if you have any pets that might go sniffing around that you don't put them in a place where they might tread. Larger animals require the use of live traps. If you trap the critter responsible, the best solution may be to relocate the animal far away. But check with your local animal control to find out if animal relocation is permitted in your area.
If you are dealing with an animal that digs up the bulbs of your flowers and uses them as a snack, then you need to replant your bulbs in a bulb cage. This simply amounts to wrapping your plant bulbs in chicken wire. This will not stop the digging immediately, but animals are somewhat intelligent and will realise it, potentially abandoning plans to eat your plants and going elsewhere to easier targets.
Poison is an option if you wish to kill the pests that are digging in your garden overnight. This is a common approach for mice or voles. But this approach comes with a risk. Your pets could potentially get into the poison and it may kill them. Neighbour pets are also at risk. Make sure you place any poisons in places where cats or dogs will not get to them if possible. If it is not, then it may be better to go another route.
Hardware cloth is a type of mesh material that is buried shallow under the soil around your plants. You typically have to cut the mesh to allow for plant stems, but it forms a barrier just below the soil that animals will be unable to penetrate. Weight the hardware cloth down with stones to hold it in place and the animals will choose easier targets without such protection.
Putting up a fence may be the best way to keep larger pests out of your garden at night. This will work well for skunks, possums, raccoons, rabbits and other larger animals. Use a mesh fence with holes no larger than an inch and bury the fence a few inches in the ground to keep animals from digging under it.