Keeping your garden tidy involves clearing leaves and garden debris from open spaces. For many people, that means regular leaf blowing, raking or sweeping.
For the yards that have large hedges or scrub, sweeping garden debris underneath may be a quick and effective solution. It could even act as a kind of mulch under your hedge.
And this is exactly where the problem arises! Sweeping leaves, twigs and other natural materials under your hedge is the perfect spot for a rat nest to form.
As many rat catchers and rodent specialists will tell you, rats love overgrown, covered areas to live in, and filling the space under your hedges with leftover garden material does just that!
While it may seem like a win-win situation – cleaning the yard and filling your under-hedge space at the same time, it is counterintuitive to all the rat deterrent recommendations.
How to deter rats from under your hedges
Deterring rats from under your hedges is quite an easy fix – simply don’t brush your leaves under there!
However it is always recommended to have some form of mulch in your garden beds, even underneath hedges. Landscaper Zach Barnett from Boronia Landscapes explains that a thin layer of mulch, while still somewhat moist, is perfect for keeping your hedge garden beds healthy and happy while still preventing rats from living in them.
So, if you are putting leaves or garden debris under your hedges for mulching purposes, it is better to go with a properly made mulch. This is because you have to use significantly more leaves to have the same effect that pre-made mulch does, which creates the perfect rat habitat.
Zach Barnett recommends using Forest fines mulch as the best option for under-hedge garden beds.
“Apply a layer of mulch that isn’t too thin that it is spotty, but not too thick that when you brush it away there’s still another layer underneath. This ensures you have a nice ground cover without attracting unwanted pests like rats.”
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