The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance reports that, of all Lyme disease cases, more than three-quarters are caused by ticks picked up in the course of common backyard activities—playing, barbecuing, gardening, etc. Keep the little bloodsuckers away with simple landscaping tips that will help you foster a safer, tick-resistant outdoor environment.
Spring Clean All Year ‘Round
Remove leaves, branches, and debris from your property before they can become hiding places, not only for ticks, but also for the rodents and furry creatures (squirrels, rabbits, raccoons) that host ticks. Make sure garbage cans have tightly fastened lids to avoid attracting these host animals.
Position woodpiles, bird feeders, and compost heaps well away from the house and frequently used outdoor areas. These "usual suspects" of the backyard tend to attract small animals, and ticks will indiscriminately hitch a ride on everything from robins and finches to mice and shrews.
Mow the Lawn
Get the Edge
Clear a Path
The same is true for walkways. Create gravel, stone, or wood-chip pathways to connect the house with heavily used outside areas, and encourage kids and adults to stick to the paths. Adding an edge or border will keep ticks far away from people's feet, with the added benefit of containing loose landscaping material like mulch.
Let the Kids Play
Less Water, Fewer Ticks
Incorporate xeriscaping techniques into your landscaping. Xeriscaping involves plants that thrive in the drier environments that repel ticks. Some popular plants with low water requirements include aloe vera, stonecrop sedum, purple fountain grass, yellow pampas grass, Mexican feather grass and blue oat grass.
Make Garden Beds Uncomfortable
Create Lawn-Free Areas
Stick It to the Ticks
You can make a difference in the tick population in your yard when you put these tips to practice.
Whether you're a lawn care novice or a master gardener, everyone can use a little help around the yard. Subscribe to The Dirt newsletter for tips, recommendations, and problem-solving tools that can help you tame your great outdoors.