Ferns are varied, decorative and easy to grow. They make great additions inside or outside your home due to their tolerance for shade. Unfortunately, they are also a favorite for dogs due to their softness and fun-to-dig-up root systems. Whether your ferns are planted outside or live indoors in containers, it's essential to keep your dog's paws and mouth off your plants. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to ensure your ferns and your furry friend co-exist happily.
Give your dog his own digging space. Find a shady spot in your yard that is not being used, mark the area with a low border and fill it with sand or loose dirt. When you catch your dog digging in your ferns, redirect him to the appropriate digging area. This will satisfy his natural urge to dig while keeping him away from your plants.
Enclose ferns with a small border fence. Of course, most dogs will have no problem jumping over this, but a good number won't bother trying. Border fencing is affordable and can add some interest to your yard, so it won't hurt to try.
Cover the dirt in potted ferns with aluminum foil, gravel, cardboard, river rocks or anything else non-toxic and durable that you can find. If your dog cannot gain easy access to the soil, he's much less likely to dig up your plants.
Mulch around outdoor ferns, or place a layer of rocks around the base of each plant. If this does not deter your dog, lay some chicken wire under the mulch or rocks.
Place potted ferns on high shelves indoors, or hang then from your ceiling. Outdoor ferns can hang from trees instead of finding homes in the ground.
Deter your dog from chewing and digging by sprinkling citrus peels, coffee grounds or pepper around your ferns. If your dog dislikes the smell of your plants, he's likely to stay away.
Try a commercial repellent if natural deterrents are not effective. Choose a nontoxic product from your local store and use it according to the package directions. Sprays may require more frequent retreatment than powders or pellets.
Provide your pooch with something else to chew on to keep him away from your ferns. Offer him new chew toys or rawhides and see if he leaves your plants alone.
Install motion-activated sprinklers to send even determined diggers running. These devices are designed to spray your dog every time he enters a restricted zone. It usually only takes one or two sprays to deter most dogs from returning.