I’ll do anything to discourage the critters visiting the yard, since I see their footprints, and their body hair shedding. I’m sure a racoon dragged a bag of stale bread under the back stairs, as a hideaway, from a neighbour’s unattended trash bin.
With a short-term warming trend, which should melt the snow capped back garden in west Toronto where I’d like to amend the patch where peonies, roses and phlox are overwintering, can I add some manure, as a last ditch touch to the garden? Maybe the smell of the product will temporarily discourage visits?
Spring is only about 70 days ago with a lot of other challenges!
Thank you for your question. Critters in our yards in Toronto can certainly be a challenge. If your garden smells great, tastes great, looks great, or feels great critters will come, however if just one of these senses are out of place your garden may be safe.
You have not indicated the type of manure you are considering using. Fresh manure should not be used on plants as it may burn their roots and may also contain weed seeds. However, you may be considering top-dressing your perennials with well-rotted manure.
Bags of composted manure available at garden centres, nurseries and building centres are treated to destroy any harmful organisms.
Ideally, the best time to put well-rotted manure or other organic material such as compost or shredded leaves on the garden is in the fall before the ground freezes so that it can be worked into the soil and nutrients can penetrate the ground.
As our current weather has been fluctuating a lot, a layer of compost or manure added now may still be a challenge to work into the ground.
You may want to consider reading our Toronto Master Gardener Gardening Guide on Improving your soil organically, which can be found at our website: