Simple Methods to Keep Squirrels Out of a Garden

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Implement humane deterrents to keep squirrels out of your garden so that flowers, vegetables, fruits, and other vegetation can grow healthy and strong without squirrel interference.


What Draws Squirrels to Gardens?

Squirrels are voracious eaters and will eat almost anything in a garden. Squirrels are well-known for their fondness for acorns, but the little critters will also eat vegetables from your vegetable garden, flowers, flower bulbs, and any birdseed you may have scattered around your lawn, yard, or garden. Even household trash can attract squirrels to your property.


4 Ways to Spot Squirrel Damage

Many gardeners prioritize keeping squirrels out of their gardens. Before you decide to take action, learn when squirrels are in your garden and how to identify squirrel damage. Here are some signs that you have squirrels in your garden.

1. Missing crops: If your plants are consistently missing crops, chances are a squirrel got to them before you had time to harvest them. This is common with tomatoes, cucumbers, berries, lettuce, and other vegetables. There is still time to use repellents if you notice nibbling on any leaves or crops themselves.

2. Bulb damage: Squirrels get their food from nature, and they can't tell the difference between food that falls from trees and food that homeowners grow in their gardens. Squirrels will dig up planted bulbs in the spring and fall, not only for the food, but also to create hiding places for other foods they've gathered.

3. Bird food gone missing: Squirrels are rodent scavengers. They look into any potential food source, including bird feeder seeds. Sunflower seeds, which are common in bird feed, are a favorite of squirrels. Squirrels will not only eat what falls to the ground, but they will also climb up something to reach the bird feeder and eat from it.

4. Disruption of soil or mulch: Squirrels love to dig up the soil and mulch in garden beds and pots, so if you notice this in your garden, it could be a sign of a squirrel infestation. Protect the roots and use one of the many natural squirrel repellents.


10 Humane Ways to Keep Squirrels Away from Gardens

Squirrels can be removed in a variety of humane and natural ways. Here are some non-toxic and effective methods for dealing with squirrels without physically harming them:

1. Stir in the hot peppers. Squirrels despise the smell and taste of capsaicin, which is found in hot peppers. Sprinkle some cayenne pepper, hot sauce, or chili pepper flakes on top of the soil to use as a natural squirrel repellent. Grow hot chili peppers instead—the squirrels won't touch the plant.

2. Protect the gardens. Install row covers, bird netting, or chicken wire to squirrel-proof gardens, or line the bottom soil with hardware cloth. All of these options will keep squirrels away from the plants while still allowing for sunlight and easy watering.

3. Make squirrel-resistant bird feeders. By changing out the feed, you can squirrel-proof bird feeders. Squirrels prefer sunflower seeds to safflower seeds, so the switch will be beneficial. Install a squirrel baffle (a special cone) to keep squirrels away from the bird feeder. A baffle creates a barrier that the squirrel cannot cross.

4. Buy a decoy. Plastic or resin owls or rubber snakes in the garden deter squirrels and keep them away from the gardens. Move them every day, and if possible, add some type of noisemaker to the decoys.

5. Install sprinklers with motion sensors. Squirrels are notoriously fearful. Install a few motion-activated sprinklers near your garden to startle a squirrel if it comes too close. Once this occurs a few times, the squirrel will most likely avoid the area entirely.

6. Plant flowers that repel squirrels. Plant allium flowers, such as daffodils, snowdrops, and hyacinths, as well as marigolds, to deter squirrels, which dislike allium plants. Avoid planting tulips, crocuses, and geraniums because they attract squirrels.

7. Take out the trash. Create disinterest in your property by keeping trash cans tightly closed and not leaving food or other waste exposed. The smell of food and trash attracts squirrels and encourages them to look for other food sources nearby.

8. Purchase peppermint oil. Peppermint oil is not harmful to plants or squirrels, but it deters squirrels from eating your plants. Sprinkle some essential oil on the plant's leaves and soil. To keep squirrels away, combine peppermint oil and petroleum jelly and rub the mixture on plant stalks.

9. Make use of a commercial repellent. Repellent spray containing the urine of squirrel predators such as hawks, weasels, raccoons, snakes, owls, foxes, and others is available at home improvement and gardening stores. To keep squirrels at bay, spray the garden area with repellent on a regular basis.

10. Make use of apple cider vinegar. You can make your own repellent using apple cider vinegar. Fill a spray bottle halfway with peppermint oil or cayenne pepper and spray it near your plants or wherever you want squirrels to detect the foul odor. The more scent deterrents there are in the mixture, the better.

While some people use mothballs to repel pests, this is not a good way to keep squirrels out of your garden. When used outside, the product is harmful to plants, animals, and the environment.


Squirrel Deterrents That Are Harmful

Squirrel deterrents are not all humane or non-toxic to squirrels. Peanut butter may appear to be a good idea, but it is toxic to squirrels in large quantities. Squirrel traps are also dangerous, and there are numerous disadvantages to using them, particularly live traps. Squirrels are easily agitated, and if trapped with no way out, they can cause even more property damage. While trap-and-release traps are available, they frequently pose a high risk of harm.

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