Creating a Tick-Free Zone around your Home
While ticks are most abundant in wooded areas, they are also commonly found in our lawns and shrubs. There are a number of measures residents can take to reduce the possibility of being bitten by a tick on their property.
Ticks (and their primary hosts – mice, chipmunks and other small mammals) need moisture, a place away from direct sunlight, and a place to hide. The cleaner you keep the area around the house from shrubs, leaf debris, and clutter, the less likely your chances of being bitten by a tick.
Although it may not be possible to create a totally tick-free zone, taking the following precautions will greatly reduce the tick population in your yard.
- Keep grass mowed
- Remove leaf litter, brush and weeds at the edge of the lawn.
- Restrict the use of groundcover, such as pachysandra in areas frequented by family and roaming pets.
- Remove brush and leaves around stonewalls and wood piles.
- Discourage rodent activity. Clean up and seal stonewalls and small openings around the home.
- Move firewood piles and bird feeders away from the house. Stacked firewood is an excel-lent rodent harborage
- Manage pet activity; keep dogs and cats out of the woods to reduce ticks brought into the home.
- Use plantings that do not attract deer (contact your local Cooperative Extension or your local garden center for suggestions) or exclude deer through various types of fencing.
- Move children’s swing sets and sand boxes away ( 3 feet or more) from the woodland edge and place them on a wood chip or mulch type foundation.
- Trim tree branches and shrubs around the lawn edge to let in more sunlight.
- Adopt hardscape (dryer or less water demanding) land-scaping techniques with gravel pathways and mulches.
- Create a 3-foot or wider wood chip, mulch, or gravel border between lawn and woods or stonewalls.
- Consider areas with decking, tile, gravel and border or container plantings in areas by the house or frequently traveled.
- Widen woodland trails to avoid contact with brush
- Consider a pesticide application as a targeted treatment