Design a Tick-Free Environment to Keep Ticks Out of Your Yard

Updated on June 20, 2019
MarleneB profile image

Marlene enjoys being outside. But, outdoor pests can ruin the most enjoyable moments. Marlene shares common tips to help get rid of pests.

Enjoy the outdoors in a tick-free environment.
Enjoy the outdoors in a tick-free environment.

I live in a mountainous region of the Sierra Nevada Foothills. In the wintertime, I use a wood-burning stove to heat up the house. But the wood that I keep outside could easily be the very place ticks are likely to make their home.

I also see a lot of deer and rodents that ticks like to leach onto. So I must take precautions to keep my environment free from ticks and the animals that are likely to transport ticks to my yard.

This article will provide some advice and tips for keeping your home and yard free from ticks.

Create an Environment to Keep Ticks Away

Ticks are more than a mere nuisance. Their bites can cause diseases in humans and pets. The most prevalent-known diseases are Rocky Mountain Fever and Lyme disease.

The best way to get rid of ticks in your yard is to get rid of the areas they like to live. Ticks thrive in dark, moist areas. So you want to make sure you don’t provide a place for them to live.

Tightly stacked firewood.
Tightly stacked firewood.

Keep Stacked Wood Dry

Ticks love moist, cozy areas. So stack your firewood tightly and keep your stacked wood dry. When the wood gets wet, it creates an environment that is moist. Ticks gravitate to moist areas.

As best as you can, place your stacked wood bins in a dry place or keep it covered, so that rain cannot soak in and create that moist, shady environment where ticks will thrive.

Racking leaves to keep ticks from settling under the dark moist areas provided by leaves.
Racking leaves to keep ticks from settling under the dark moist areas provided by leaves.

Keep Your Yard Clean and Well-Maintained

  • Ticks also love dark areas. So keep your yard clean and clear of heavy brush and dead leaves on the ground. Piles of leaves make an attractive home for ticks. If the area is also moist, it will be especially attractive to ticks.
  • Keep your lawn well mowed. Rake up the grass clippings, or use a mower that collects them. These grass clippings leave a dense area under which ticks can make their home. As with raking up the grass clippings, be sure to rake up any fallen leaves.
  • Also, keep your lawn and garden area well drained. Remember, ticks like moist areas, and letting water sit on top of the lawn or garden soil will be a big attraction for them.

Deer and other animals can track ticks into your yard.
Deer and other animals can track ticks into your yard.

Ticks Attach Themselves to Deer, Rodents, and Other Animals

Ticks travel on animals such as deer, mice, and other rodents. They will also latch themselves onto humans. So, keep your yard free of these animals and critters.

Ticks are parasites. Parasites feed on other animals. They latch onto the skin of humans and animals and then suck out their blood.

Ticks live out their lives in three stages:

Stage 1: Larva—Larva are the eggs laid by an adult female tick in the spring and summer. These eggs hatch into larvae in the late summer. They stay on the ground until an animal or bird brushes up against them. They then latch onto the host, and begin feeding over a period of a few days as they swell up with blood.

Stage 2: Nymph—After feeding, larvae drop off of their host and go through a process in the fall called molting. During this time of year, larvae transform into nymphs. During the winter to early spring months, nymphs are inactive. It is not until May that they become active. They latch onto a host and feed for about four to five days until they become engorged. This is the stage when—if in the larva stage the larva was infected with a disease (such as Lyme)—they will transfer it to the host. Nymphs may also contract the disease if the host itself has the disease and the Nymphs bite into the host to draw blood.

Stage 3: Adult—After feeding on the host, nymphs drop off the host and into leaf piles, where they molt into an adult. During the late October to early November months, adult ticks seek their hosts by waiting above the ground, on top of tall grass or leaf tips until a host rubs up against them. They latch onto the host, bite into them, and then the feeding begins.

Plants strategically placed can help repel ticks and the animals that carry them.
Plants strategically placed can help repel ticks and the animals that carry them.

Landscape Your Yard to Keep Deer and Rodents Out of Your Yard

The easiest way to provide a deterrent is to landscape your yard with vegetation that the deer, rodents, and ticks do not like. Both ticks, deer, and rodents do not like strong-scented plants. So your best success will come from surrounding your yard with the plants that they have a tendency to stay away from.

Herbs, Vegetables, Hedges, Shrubs, and Trees to Keep Ticks Out of Your Yard

Herbs/Vegetables
Hedges/Shrubs
Trees
Basil
American Elderberry
Alaska Yellow Cedar Trees
Catnip
Barberry
Bald Cypress
Chives
Bayberry
Beech
Dill
Beautyberry
Birch
Fennel
Bottlebrush Buckeye
Black Locust
Feverfew
Boxwood
Black Tupelo
Garlic
Dwarf Sweet Box
Chesnut
Hyssop
Forsythia
Dawn Redwood
Lemon Balm
Foxglove
Douglas Fir
Lemon thyme
Lilac
False Cypress
Lemongrass
Oregon Grapeholly
Fringe Tree
Mint
Red Osier Dogwood
Ironwood
Oregano
Spirea
Japanese Cedar
Parsely
White forsythia
Lemon Eucalyptus
Rhubarb
 
Pawpaw
Rosemary
 
Scotch Pine
Rue
 
Spruce
Sage
 
Sycamore
Tomato Plant
 
Tulip Tree
Wormwood
 
 
These herbs, vegetables, hedges, shrubs, and trees can be planted to keep ticks and host animals such as deer, mice, and other rodents out of your yard.

There are a variety of plants that are not well-liked by ticks and tick-harboring animals. Choose from a wide selection of herbs, flowers, trees, and ground covers to help create a beautiful yard that is less prone to harboring ticks.

Plants, Flowers, and Ground Cover to Keep Ticks Out of Your Yard

Plants/Flowers
Ground Cover
Allegheny Spurge
Barrenwort
Basket-of-Gold
Bugleweed
Berginia
Creeping Juniper
Black-eyed Susan
Deadnettle
Bleeding Heart
Ferns
Bluebeard
Japanese Spurge
Citronella
Lady's Mantle
Daffodil
Lily Turf
Dwarf Aster
Lily-of-the-Valley
Eucalyptus
Lungwort
Fleabane Daisy
Mosses
Foxglove
Periwinkle
Geranium
Potentilla
Hyacinth
Snow-in-Summer
Ironwood
Sweet Woodruff
Japanese Plum Yew
Vinca
Lamb's Ears
Violet
Larkspur
Wild Ginger
Lavender
 
Marigold
 
Moonflower
 
Oriental Poppy
 
Pennyroyal
 
Petunia
 
Poppy
 
Snapdragon
 
Squill
 
Sunflower
 
Tansy
 
Wood Fern
 
Yarrow
 
These plants, flowers, and ground cover can be planted to keep ticks and host animals such as deer, mice, and other rodents out of your yard.

Natural, Citrus-Based Spray Repellent to Ward Off Ticks in Your Yard

While chemical-laden products exist on the market and are very good at keeping ticks at bay, I encourage you to try a natural approach to keeping ticks out of your yard.

Ticks do not like the scent of citrus and tend to stay away from places where this scent exists. Try the following citrus-based spray that is easy to make and can be sprayed around your yard and on yourself.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 lemons, chopped (can substitute limes, oranges, or grapefruit)
  • 16 oz spray bottle

Directions:

  1. Boil water.
  2. Add citrus of your choice.
  3. Bring back to a boil for one minute.
  4. Simmer for one hour.
  5. Strain out the fruit.
  6. Let the liquid cool.
  7. Pour into the sprayer.
  8. Spray where you want to repel ticks. You can safely spray on you, your family, your pets, your garden, and your lawn.

Be Mindful of Where Ticks Like to Nest

Remember, ticks like to nest in dark, moist environments. Ticks attach themselves to deer and rodents. Keeping your yard and your garden free of ticks mean keeping your yard and garden clean, well-maintained, and well-drained.

Resources

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Marlene Bertrand

    Comments

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      • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

        Marlene Bertrand 

        4 days ago from USA

        Hello H C Palting. Yes, ticks are causing quite a problem. So, I do hope these tips are a start to solving the problem with annoying ticks.

      • Express10 profile image

        H C Palting 

        5 days ago from East Coast

        Very informative and useful post. Tick-borne disease is on the rise and can alter one's life for the worse. You have shared good information to help stay safe at home.

      • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

        Marlene Bertrand 

        5 weeks ago from USA

        RTalloni, thank you very much for your feedback on this subject. Each year, I hear a number of stories of how people picked up Lyme disease and their lives have suffered tremendously for it.

        Ticks are out there and they don't play around. I absolutely love where I live and when I first moved here about a year ago, the deer were prevalent. They were so cute and adorable, but when I looked closely at them I could see they had lesions and the locals warned me that the deer also carry lots of ticks. People around here talk plenty about what to plant to keep the deer away. It's working. Last year the deer would walk through our yard every morning and evening. Now, after planting several plants around the yard, I have not seen a single deer in at least three months.

      • RTalloni profile image

        RTalloni 

        5 weeks ago from the short journey

        Such important and useful info. Using it as a springboard to research what works best in their own region is a real opportunity for people. Anyone who has had or knows anyone who's had Rocky Mountain Spotted fever or Lyme's knows the horror story of either one and how important it is to keep squirrels and other rodents away, as well as larger animals. Nature has it beauties, but its dangers are real and becoming more prevalent. I've wondered if it will take a real plague to wake people up on the issues.

      • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

        Marlene Bertrand 

        5 weeks ago from USA

        Hello JanMaklak. I also have some of these plants and I don't have nearly the tick infestation that many people in this area experience. Having someone like you mention your experience with plants and how helpful they have been for you, provides a valuable statement of validation. Thank you very much.

      • JanMaklak profile image

        JanMaklak 

        5 weeks ago from Canada

        Hi Marie: What a great article. I have a good size yard and have several plants you mention. It does seem to work.

        As more municipalities and other governments implement pesticide bans the problems with ticks and other disease-spreading insects will increase.

        What you have published here will help with many homeowners

      • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

        Marlene Bertrand 

        5 weeks ago from USA

        Hello Readmikenow. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. I am very glad you enjoyed the article and I hope it helps you and your loved ones stay tick-free. Have a beautiful weekend.

      • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

        Marlene Bertrand 

        5 weeks ago from USA

        Good morning Bill. I imagine your region of the world is loaded with ticks. All the rain you get provides the dense environment they love. I'm glad you were able to find and remove the ticks from Maggie and that they did not infect her with their bites. Have a wonderful tick-free weekend.

      • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

        Marlene Bertrand 

        5 weeks ago from USA

        Hello Eric! Well, let me just say you are so fortunate to live in a place where ticks are not a problem. We definitely see our fair share of them in our region. Have a wonderful tick-free weekend.

      • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

        Marlene Bertrand 

        5 weeks ago from USA

        Hello Miebakagh Fiberesima. Thank you for your feedback and I would be interested in reading more about your stronger solution for repelling mosquitoes. I have some solutions that I currently use, but I am always searching for alternatives that might work better.

      • Readmikenow profile image

        Readmikenow 

        5 weeks ago

        Excellent article. It has a lot of good information. I enjoyed reading it.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        They are nasty for sure...great information...Olympia has had an infestation of them this year and last. Maggie picked up a couple, and they were buggers to remove, pun intended. :)

        Have a great weekend, dear friend.

      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 

        5 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        Very well done and I think important for all of us. We just do not seem to have them here.

      • Miebakagh57 profile image

        Miebakagh Fiberesima 

        5 weeks ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

        Hello, MarleneB, this is a very informative and educational article. Very helpful indeed. As for the lemon spray, I think I can make a stronger spray as a mosquito repellant along with the citrus zest Thanks for sharing.

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