Change Your Landscaping to Help Reduce Tick Problems
By Chris Williams on April 19, 2016.
You can help manage the ticks in your yard just by the way you landscape your property. You don’t have to address your entire yard, just the areas most often used. Isolate high-use areas such as lawns, play areas, storage sheds, or gardens from tick habitat or tick hot spots such as woods, lawn-wood edge, groundcovers, and stonewalls. Making the yard areas that your family and pets use less hospitable to ticks and their animal hosts will reduce the number of attached ticks that could be carrying disease. The point of the suggested changes below is to reduce the interaction between people and ticks on your property.
Make High-Use Areas Less Tick-Friendly
- Open up spaces in your yard by removing trees and shrubs, or by selectively pruning. The areas that are most used by family members should be bright and sunny. Ticks like dense vegetation with higher humidity so fewer ticks are found in sunny, drier, open areas.
- Reduce groundcovers and heavy vegetation around the perimeter of your home in areas that are frequently used. Instead, install hardscape surfaces (bricks, paving, decking, gravel) and xeriscape landscaping such as container plantings or low water requirement plants.
- Consider reducing large areas of lawn by creating small specialty gardens such as butterfly gardens, vegetable gardens, formal herb gardens, or wildflower meadows.
- Yards with woodlots are more likely to have tick populations and the yard area with the highest number of ticks is the woods/lawn edge. Open this area up and install a mulched or bare border that separates your lawn from brushy vegetation or high weeds at the woods’ edge. Widen any woodland paths to keep people and pets well away from bushes or other vegetation. Keep children’s play areas away from the lawn/wood edge.
- Neatness counts where ticks are concerned. Fewer ticks are found in well-maintained lawns. Nymphal ticks hide in high grasses or weeds and in leaf litter. Keep grass mowed, and remove brush and leaves. These same cleanup measures will discourage mice and other rodents that serve as hosts for ticks.
For more on how to manage your yard to manage ticks, see these Colonial blogs: