In Utah, gardening tips typically involve which outdoor plants to use in our growth zone, or how to minimize weeds or insect damage.
At Millcreek Gardens, we often hear from customers who are plagued by garden damage as a result of neighborhood cats. Sometimes, the culprits are the gardener’s own furry feline friends.
You might be surprised to know that cats can provide a variety of benefits in your garden. By creating a cat-friendly space your yard, you can help mitigate garden and landscape damage while taking advantage of cats’ natural tendencies as a part of a natural pest-management strategy.
Gardening Tips from Your Cat
Yes, your cat may be prone to digging up your newly planted outdoor plants, vegetables and annual flowers. But for every little cat mound you find, it’s likely that Fluffy is taking care of some other problems on your behalf.
Cats are the natural enemy of mice, rats, voles and other rodents. Birds can also wreak havoc in your yard, feasting on your peaches, cherries and grass seed. With a cat on the job, however, these pesky pests will think twice before venturing into your yard.
Cat urine, as obnoxious as it can be, can also provide a source of nitrogen that facilitates the breakdown of your compost pile.
To reap the benefits – and minimize the damage – of cats in your garden, simply direct their energy where it will provide the greatest benefit.
Create an Irresistible Cat-Friendly Zone
You can leverage the benefits of having a cat around the yard while preserving your own precious plantings by creating a cat-friendly space in your garden.
Our first cat-friendly gardening tip is to set aside a small planting bed just for your feline friends. Choose a semi-shady spot, where cats can bask in the sun or seek shade on particularly warm days. Set out a fresh bowl of water each day, so Fluffy can stay hydrated through the warm summer months, and throw down an old outdoor chair cushion or bench to create a perfect napping spot.
Our next gardening tip involves cat-friendly outdoor plants.
Of course, catnip and catmint are the most popular options for keeping your favorite feline engaged. But cats also enjoy a variety of cat grasses as well as valerian. Be sure to also include some taller decorative grass species, because Fluffy will enjoy playing hide-and-seek – or simply rolling around in – the lush, cool grasses.
If you have indoor-only cats, cut some of these attractive outdoor plants to entertain your house-bound felines, and to prevent them from damaging your houseplants.
Gardening Tips for Discouraging Cat Damage
Now that you’ve established your own backyard cat haven, let’s look at some gardening tips for keeping Fluffy away from your precious bulbs and outdoor plants. Use these techniques also to keep cats away from those plants that are poisonous which include lantana, lilies, marigold, ivy and hydrangea.
Cats will avoid gravel ground cover or any type of mulch that might hurt Fluffy’s sensitive feet. Swirl some orange rinds and water in your blender and pour the mixture around the plants for a natural repellent that also discourages insects in your garden.
Finally, you can intermix sensitive plants with geranium, lemongrass or citronella to keep your feline friends away. Cats strongly dislike – and will avoid – the strong smell of these plants.
In Salt Lake City, Millcreek Gardens is your go-to expert for gardening tips as well as indoor and outdoor plants. Our expert staff is always on-hand to answer any questions and to help you select the flowers, plants, trees and shrubs that are designed to thrive in the Northern Utah climate.
Visit us today for even more professional Utah gardening tips.