Squirrels might be fascinating to watch run around your garden, but they can quickly become a nuisance if you notice your vegetables vanishing and your outdoor space becoming a mess. So, what should a gardener do? Simply choose to live beside these furry friends?
Fortunately, no! There are several methods for keeping these creatures out of your garden. Read on to discover everything there is to know about squirrels, including 9 ways to keep squirrels out of your garden.
Squirrels like a variety of garden plants, including flowers, vegetables, and fresh fruits. They have been known to be so tenacious that they will pick apples from trees, tomatoes from vines, and even geraniums from window boxes.
Although squirrels can be a problem in gardens all year, their peak season is in late summer and early fall. Gardeners may grow especially impatient with these critters during this time. What begins as sporadic stealing rapidly transforms into foraging as squirrels attempt to save up for the upcoming winter.
Squirrels sleep during the winter but do not completely hibernate. As a result, the food supplies in their underground pantries become critical to their winter survival.
Gray squirrels, in particular, have been observed to have hoarding behaviors in order to live. They ransack their surroundings and conceal it across their territory for safekeeping and later retrieval.
These squirrels collect a variety of common garden items, such as insects, mushrooms, berries, fruit, bark, nuts, pinecones, acorns, and sunflower seeds. It wouldn’t surprise me if these squirrels stole some flower bulbs or bird eggs as well.
Moreover, squirrels do not simply dig up your garden for the purpose of survival. These pests will sometimes destroy your flowerbeds for their own pleasure.
Not only do you have to worry about the plants in your yard, but if you have squirrels in the vicinity, you must also be aware of their need for shelter during the colder months. When squirrels prepare to rest for the winter, they may seek out warmer environments in the autumn. If you have squirrels in your yard, it’s natural to think they’ll want to get into your house to survive the winter.
You may discourage squirrels from looking for food in your home by keeping any branches that fall near your roof trimmed at all times. You should also install a mesh barrier across your chimney to prevent any sneaky rodents from entering your home through that exterior entry point. Seal up any other entry points around your home, just like you would with rodents.
If a squirrel gets down your chimney or into your attic, you’ll want to make sure it can get out. For obvious reasons, you do not want the squirrel to perish inside your home. If you believe the squirrel is trapped, you should give it with an escape path, which could include hanging a rope down your chimney.
If everything else fails, you may always contact your local animal control for assistance with your squirrel problem. If you have a squirrel in your home for a few weeks, you’ll quickly realize that you don’t just have an issue with one squirrel, but with its entire family. Coping with a larger squirrel infestation can be tough and expensive.
You may have just observed some new activity in your garden that you are unsure of. These are some signs that you might have squirrels visiting you during the day.
Squirrels aren’t simply after seeds, fruits, and vegetables in your garden. They also like flowers and other vegetation. Daisy blooms are a popular choice among the squirrel population, but it’s not uncommon to discover other flowers partially chewed throughout your garden if you have a squirrel problem. A squirrel is most likely to blame if you notice blossoms with half of the petals and much of the center missing.
If you notice that your flower, herb, or vegetable containers are constantly being dug into, you most certainly have a squirrel problem. Squirrels will bury items across your yard space in an attempt to hide their merchandise. They will sometimes totally uproot young vegetable pots in order to find a safe area for their food store.
Squirrels love flattened and ripened seed heads. Squirrels will frequently nibble from the outside in. This is particularly true of sunflowers.
It’s not uncommon to come upon the remains of small seedlings strewn across your soil. Squirrels may even steal your newly planted bulbs or tree buds in some cases. The same is true for the leaves of your prized perennials.
Missing fruits and vegetables are a telltale sign that a squirrel is reaping the benefits of your hard work in the garden, but they won’t always take the entire thing. Sometimes you’ll find a single bite mark in fruits or vegetables that have been left behind in your garden beds. Tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, squash, and beans are popular garden treats for squirrels.
If you notice golf-ball-sized or smaller holes in your planting beds, squirrels are most likely digging in your garden. Squirrels are drawn to newly planted seedbeds even more since they enjoy digging out the seeds for food. If you notice anything other than your own planting hole, it’s most certainly the work of a squirrel.
If you’ve seen the signs in your yard, you’ll probably start looking more closely to see what critters are to blame. You’ll want to be sure you know how to tell a squirrel apart from other small rodents.
The common gray squirrel is the most common squirrel found in yards around the country. Despite its name, squirrels come in a variety of colors, including gray, light brown, tan, dark brown, and even black. The underside of the squirrel is usually a lighter hue.
The body of a common gray squirrel is 8 to 11 inches long, with a long puffy tail extending an extra 8 to 10 inches. These animals can weigh between 16 and 24 ounces.
Now that you know how to recognize these pesky critters, it’s time to work on keeping squirrels out of your garden.
One of the first steps toward keeping squirrels out of your garden is to get rid of the things that attract them in the first place. Squirrels will be drawn to your garden by a combination of sight and smell, such as seeds, dropped nuts and fruit, and bulb debris. Clear up these items as soon as possible, and keep your birdfeeders as tidy as possible.
Additional items, such as trash cans that will hold all of the materials you are cleaning up in your yard, should always have lids that fit snugly. You don’t want to have to chase squirrels out of your trash cans.
There are a few tactics and homemade recipes you may use to keep squirrels out of your garden. Numerous recipes call for hot peppers (such as cayenne pepper or chili peppers), apple cider vinegar, peppermint oil, coffee grounds, or a mix of these components.
If you use this strategy to keep squirrels out of your yard, make sure you always reapply after rain. Additionally, avoid spraying any plants that you want to eat. Cayenne pepper or apple cider vinegar can give you a nasty surprise.
Another strategy for keeping squirrels out of your garden is to set up decoy food stations. Put up a variety of things that squirrels eat on a daily basis in isolated regions away from any of your planting beds. Feed corn, safflower seeds, peanuts, and basic bird seed are all popular treats.
Some gardeners will even go so far as to plant a small vegetable garden with extra tomatoes near this place especially to provide food for the squirrels. In any case, you should include a water supply in this area as well, so they don’t have to go across your garden to find one of their own. Be aware that this may attract other critters, so carefully consider your options.
Owning a pet not only provides entertainment for you, but it can also stop squirrels from creating a home in your yard. If you don’t have a dog, you should think about getting one. The curiosity of most dogs and cats for the little critters will likely be enough to scare them away and prevent any squirrel damage.
If you don’t have a pet, you can buy predator urine (such as tiger or wolf urine) to spread in your garden soil. While purchasing predator pee may appear unusual, it can considerably help with your squirrel problem. Smaller animals, such as deer, rabbits, squirrels, and other rodents, are scared off by the stench of larger natural predators.
Some scare techniques for protecting your plant bulbs include installing motion-activated sprinklers, hanging old CDs, and placing pinwheels to discourage digging.
You can always try installing a cage or cover to keep squirrels out of specific plant beds. Summer weight row coverings, chicken wire, plastic netting, and hardware cloth are all choices for exclusion.
You can even make cages out of chicken wire (or other wire mesh) and cover them with plastic bird netting to protect specific plants.
Individually wrapping fruits and vegetables can also assist to protect your crop. Garden items, particularly eggplants and tomatoes, can be safeguarded by placing small pieces of bird netting around the mature fruits. You don’t have to worry about the green, unripe fruits and vegetables because squirrels tend to ignore them.
If you want to keep squirrels from digging in your seedbeds, cover your soil with mulch. This strategy also works well with newly planted seedlings and bulbs, giving them a better chance of survival.
Additional deterrents include learning about the many natural predators in your area and what you can do to lure them to your yard. Many gardeners use aluminum foil to lure larger birds to their yards, such as owls or hawks. Possessing predators will naturally deter squirrels from making themselves at home in your garden.
Oh, and one more thing. We never encourage catching squirrels or putting them in danger.
Squirrels’ favorite food also happens to be what birds enjoy eating. As a result, keeping squirrels away from your bird feeders might be tough. You’d be shocked at the various acrobatic maneuvers these little animals can perform in order to get in to your bird feeder.
In conclusion, there are several ways to keep squirrels out of your garden without harming them. By installing a physical barrier, using repellents, planting squirrel-resistant plants, providing an alternative food source, and using motion-activated sprinklers, you can protect your garden and enjoy watching these furry critters from a safe distance.