How do I deter local kids?

Discussion in 'Garden Pest Management and Identification' started by Luke Harding, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. Luke Harding

    Luke Harding Active Member

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    I have a problem. Behind my property is a Field Maple hedge and beyond that, a public footpath. The garden is a rather odd shape and the local kids have discovered that a quick trek through my garden is a handy shortcut home. The hedgerow is pretty easy to squeeze through and although I have put up a 6ft high screen, it was no match for determined teenagers. It was simply smashed down at the point they wanted to get through. Sadly it has also resulted in several plants being trampled beyond recognition, including a Choisya and a Viburnum. I now want to plant something fairly quick growing and something not particularly child friendly in their place. The ground is quite dry and clay and the area only gets decent sun between sunrise and about 11am. I cannot plant anything too large as it is only about 10ft from my lounge window and there is a patio between. Any ideas would be gratefully received!
    Luke
     
  2. Laconic

    Laconic Member

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    Anything with Thorns!
     
  3. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Perhaps some small piles of extra-smelly compost/manure strategically placed where the cut throughs enter your property. Chances are they won't see it as they emerge from the hedge and will step right in it. Just an idea.
     
  4. Paulina

    Paulina Active Member

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    I love the manure idea!! How about a sprinkler system with a sensor on it!! Oh, and be sure to set up a video cam and post the results on here!

    Personally, I'd put something with sharp thorns on it, maybe some nice rose bushes... but the plants would have to be a good size for them not to be trampled... hmmm, will do some more thinking.

    If you have a hedge there, how about twining rope from tree to tree, or even fishing line, it won't be as noticeable... you'll need lots, but it would be so worth it!
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Another plant will likely get trampled as well, unless you buy a huge barberry or rose. But they pushed down the wire screen, so even a plant that ferocious might not be adequate. Serious relief will probably not come until you put up something like a chain link fence.
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Nettles, or better, if you can get it, poison-ivy
     
  7. oscar

    oscar Active Member

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    I got to say i love the manure idea, heck, do the whole bed, put it on really thick. (be sure and get the very slippery wet stuff) lmao
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    If you make a war out of it expect retaliation, it's already been shown that disregard for your plants and property are part of the picture. What else will be damaged if you start laying traps? Then there is the counterproductiveness of making the site unpleasant to all users, including yourself. How are stinking heaps or toxic plants an improvement on the existing situation?

    A thorny shrub inserted into the hedge is at least a little less of a nasty surprise, being more conventional and obvious although as I said earlier a fence is really what is needed.
     
  9. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Yes I considered retaliation (could be bad, depends on neighbourhood.) The idea was that the unpleasant experience might break the habit. The piles would be added to the soil after a short period. I suppose meeting the kids and maybe showing them around the garden - perhaps even offering small jobs - might be a more civil option. Thorns could actually hurt people. Gates and fencing are very effective, but may be cost prohibitive or visually unpleasant (especially if not cost prohibitive.)
     
  10. westcoastgarden

    westcoastgarden Active Member

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    We back onto a high school. A chain link fence covered with cultivated blackberries behind a tall hedge of mixed evergreens has been an effective deterrent. The blackberries require a lot of pruning to keep them from growing into the trees but our privacy is worth it. I have two teenagers who attend the high school and even they go all the way around the block rather than try and get through the brambles.
     
  11. Carol Ja

    Carol Ja Active Member 10 Years

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    Being a teacher, I would like to think that the kids who are doing this can be approach to talk to. Showing them respect, will encourage them to show respect back. Treat someone as you would like to be treated. If all else fail, the manure sounds pretty entertaining.
    Carol JA
     
  12. Linda P

    Linda P Member

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    I like the idea of blackberry bushes. Also, how about a hawthorne tree ot two interspersed throughout the hedge? A couple weeks ago we got the kids kite stuck in one and I have the scratches to prove I got it down.
     
  13. westcoastgarden

    westcoastgarden Active Member

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    Rosemary Barberry is also pretty much impenetrable.
     
  14. Luke Harding

    Luke Harding Active Member

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    He He...manure! Fantastic idea, I can dig it into the beds after too. I bought a Berberis about 5ft high just yesterday and a couple of Pyracantha. I'm liking the thorn idea. Sadly I did try the 'talking to the kids' option but they just looked at me as if I had just landed from another planet. A serious lack of discipline on the parents behalf has resulted in some very disrespectful teenagers around here. I even tried telling them that the Choisya was a very rare and special plant to see if they took that on but one just laughed and commented it was now even rarer. Lovely Children! Bring on the thorns and Manure !!!
    I'll see if I can get some pictures :)
     
  15. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Yeah, I have to admit I wouldn't talk to most of the kids that walk past my place, and that's not because I'm not a nice person. I held most of their hands on Kindergarten field trips. Good for you for even trying.

    The main problem is the child-raising deficit, and to me that's a news story, but the parents and schools are buffered by self-esteem from feeling responsible for what they've produced and even if you got your plight covered it wouldn't actually change anything. If you know who the parents are you could send them a bill to cover the damage, or if they are en route from school, send the school an invoice.

    I'm a big fan of fences.
     
  16. Laurie

    Laurie Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I love the idea of manure, but consider putting signs on the back of the maple hedge Caution: Manure in an attempt to foil retaliation, otherwise they sound like the type who may smear it in unwanted places. Frankly, I would try to alter the project from one of keeping kids out to one of bringing birds, bees, and butterflies in: create a wildlife sanctuary out of your choice of plants for the hedge. Add the prickly plants to the maples with a sense of excitement rather than resentment. Personally, my resentment of the neighborhood cats using my memorial garden as a depository is growing worse by the season so I have to try not to think about it so that I can enjoy being out there. Check out defensive planting as key words on google, where the plants mentioned above are included in the recommendations: Rosa rugosa, Pyracantha, Mahonia, Crataegus, Ilex, and Berberis. The choice of plants will also offer more fall color to the maple hedge, including rose hips from the hybrid rugosas, as well as diversity to the spring color scheme. Hybrid rugosas are somewhat shade tolerant and definitely tolerant of poor soils; they do not, however, tolerate chemical sprays.
     
  17. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Mulch with cobbles where the cats are going.
     
  18. pinenut

    pinenut Active Member 10 Years

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    Nobody comes near our place in part because of our super friendly Bull Terrier. (Also a good source of manure) When we lived in town, our last BT also performed the same function. Once the culprits figure out that he's friendly though, the problem may be doubled.
    Another natural remedy could be wasps or bees. How far is the source of irritation from your main source of enjoyment?
    As an experiment: try making a temporary path for the kids. Nah. If they don't listen to reason, they won't respect good-heartedness.
    Good luck!
     
  19. Stannous

    Stannous Member

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    Barring an electric shock device (kidding) I like the idea of signs. Something like, "CAUTION: Poison Oak" would likely be seen as a positive message rather than a threat and therefore be less likely to induce retaliation.
     
  20. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Wouldn't work - even if they can read, they wouldn't know what it was. It doesn't occur in Britain outside of one or two botanical gardens, so isn't something people here know or worry about.
     
  21. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    This has turned into an interesting thread. I guess I am a little concerned in a sense that we are talking about kids in the Pest Management forum, but some times people can be unwanted visitors in our gardens. It can be, not only kids, but careless adults and those people who steal blossoms or fruit that we have worked so hard far, or neighbours whose garden care drifts or creeps into our gardens. These situations do require a different approach - we can't spray 'em. Some of the suggestions in the thread are somewhat tongue in cheek. We could find our selves in court, if we actually tried them.

    I don't want to go into a thread about the social ills of society, but I wonder what positive ways could be thought of to promote botanical/ecological education and experience for young people that will help promote and create communities with citizens who understand the importance plants, gardens and agriculture.
     
  22. Margaret

    Margaret Active Member 10 Years

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    Yes Eric!
    I used to teach kids with special needs and found that the most important thing to start with is why they did anti-social things. Then you had to "hook" them into becoming interested in other things. Will not go no too long as this is a gardening site not a social ills site so just a few thoughts. Many young people are used to fast paced, immediate gratification activities such as computer games so they may initially need quick results when gardening. Most enjoy eating so grown fruit and veggies. Many really like to be appreciated and to be asked for help so how about growing things for others. Many relate well to animals so what about growing food for them. Many need to understand the relationship between cause and effect and lack a sense of responsibility and what better way than having to take care of plants. Many are very creative and garden design would give an outlet for this. Finding teachers, social and community workers might be happy to help with programmes for kids with problems.
    This all probably sounds very simplistic but they are just thoughts thrown out there.
    Unfortunately gardening is sometimes viewed as unexciting to our fast paced kids but I personally think that to slow down and literally smell the roses would be very beneficial to all concerned.
    Back to the garden!
    Margaret
     
  23. Weeble247

    Weeble247 Member

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    Hi
    I don't do a lot of gardening but I do, do a lot of hiking some of the solutions have pointed to thorny bushes. Raspberry bushes do a fantastic job of shutting down a hiking path in the wild. You never really get upset when you find wild raspberries. I do know some of the farmer's around here have used them to shutdown access to some of their fields.
    Does anyone know if Raspberries will grow in the UK?
     
  24. Carol Ja

    Carol Ja Active Member 10 Years

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    Weeble, rasberries grow well in the UK.
    I'm slightly disturbed reading some of peoples ideas about dealing with kids! (except Margret and Eric's comments) I don't want people walking across my garden anymore than the next person, but come on, I work with kids everyday, including the cheeky ones. It isn't that hard to get them to respect you, or get them interested in what your doing. I realise that you have already talked to them, but try doing it again, while your working, get them interested in what your doing, and keep mentioning the plants progress when you see them going by. Ask them questions about if they know anything about plants or if they might like it if you grew raspberries so they could pick them. Chances are they might call you a loser behind your back, but they'll probably show you the respect you want to your face.
    Respect is something a person usually has to earn, especially with teenagers. We need to help kids turn into healthy, and mindful adults, it is a job we all share in a community.
    Good Luck
     
  25. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    If you were to tackle the problem head on and do something that is patently directed against them - like planting manure directly in their chosen paths, using motion activated sprinklers - yes, I agree - expect retaliation. Not from the majority of the kids who use that path, but from a few who may not feel so charitable. And worse of all, you might be inviting the parents to be involved.

    I suggest a less obvious passive, aggressive mode of defence. There are some suggestions of living barbed wires - rugosas, pyracantha's, etc. But have you heard of alfalfa tea................?
     

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