10 ways to protect your corn from rats. We tried traps, spray, cats, cages, water bottles, socks and so much more! Save your garden and defeat the rats!
Being located in NYC, we know a few things about rats. Last year the rats struck our corn hard. One day the corn had their tassels blowing beautifully in the sun, the next it was like the apocalypse.
There were curse words (mine), there were tears (mine), but there was also hope to never let this happen again. High fives are due because this year we grew so much corn (post coming soon), take that rats!
We have researched hard on this subject and tried numerous methods. There’s traps, fencing, cages, water bottles, socks, spray – and so much more! Below are 10 ways that might help you. I wanted to share all the methods because every garden is different in size, location and what you personally are ok with. Hopefully one of these will work!
We also made a video to walk you through 10 ways. I hope that it brings you a giggle through this stressful situation.
10 ways to protect corn from rats
Socks. Put a sock on them. Start collecting socks from your neighbors and family because you’re going to need lots of them. Your family might think you have a foot fetish but they’ll understand when they see your garden. Simply pull down a sock on each ear of corn when they get close to their full size. People have reported that this slows down the rats process and they get tired of having to nibble through the cotton.
Plastic Bottles. Save water bottles and put a water bottle on each ear of corn. Cut off the top of the bottle so you’re left with about 3/4 of the bottle. Simply slide the bottle over each ear. Make sure the bottle is snug or the rat will just knock it off.
Cage. This is a great method but it’s both timely and more on the expensive side. If you have a large scale garden this probably won’t work due to those problems (unless you want to go crazy) but if you have just a couple stalks of corn it can. Get a roll of galvanized wire fencing, and wrap it up carefully (use gloves or you will cut yourself) over each ear of corn. You want to completely cage in the corn, sides, top and bottom.
Spray. Get rodent repellent spray and spray it on the ground surrounding the corn. We use Tomcat repellent spray which comes with a handy sprayer. The spray is made with a essential oil blend that rats don’t like the smell or taste. It’s also safe around kids and pets.
Fence. Just lock the corn up. This is a pretty severe method, but if you don’t have a large garden you can build a fence on the sides and top. Just make sure the holes in the fencing are small enough so rats don’t slip through and move in with the corn.
(This picture below isn’t a actual rat fence, it needs a top and the holes are too big – but you get the idea of the severity. Btw, what is that red tape? That’s how we stop birds from eating our tomatoes).
Traps. Whatever your feeling about rats, traps work. Set traps up near the corn and you will be surprised with the results every morning. The negative, seeing the dead rats every morning, needing quite a number of traps and absolutely not safe if you have kids or pets running around near the corn.
Cat. Probably one of our favorite ways to keep rats out, befriend a neighborhood cat (or even better – cats). Cats have helped keep our garden safe of rodents for years. Spoil them with a can of food, give them some chin rubs when you’re in the garden and they will forever be the bodyguard of the corn.
Owl. Owls are a natural predator of rats, so often rats will be scared. If have some real owl feathers you can even add those to the owl statue because the smell will deter the rats. This works for some people but we found that NYC rats were too smart for this and knew the owl wasn’t going to do a thing.
Ultrasonic / Noise. Sounds will scare the rats because they’ll think it’s predators – either people or animals. You can use solar ultrasonic stakes, or you can find something noisy to add to the garden – like creaky noisy windchimes or plastic windmills that will blow.
Hope for the best. When all is said and done, it’s you vs the rats. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Cross your fingers and hope for the best!
Hope you liked this post and good luck with the corn! And if you’re curious about the rat in the pictures, our 3 year old daughter loved him so much she sleeps with him every night now. His name is Reuben.
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