How to Keep Squirrels Out of Your Garden – Maybe
By Chris Williams on September 19, 2014.
I’m always reading about folks who have problems with squirrels in their attics. Well, we have problems with squirrels raiding our garden. They pick off the vegetables and then just leave them. Short of shooting the squirrels, what can we do? H.P., Greenland, NH
Ah yes, the squirrel-tomato dilemma! Anyone who has squirrels in their yard and has tried to grow tomatoes knows what I’m talking about. Squirrels are notorious for picking off that one last, perfect tomato just when you had plans for a super BLT sandwich. And they frequently will take just one bite out of the tomato, or the apple, or the flower bulb they dug up…and then leave it laying on the ground.
Here are some suggestions to keep squirrels out of your garden, but if you know squirrels you know that they are pretty good at finding a work-around to anything you throw at them:
Either fence in your garden or build chicken wire cages over individual plants. Bury the wire to keep squirrels from digging under it and make sure fences are tall enough that they can’t jump over.
Tweak Your Bird feeders
You probably have squirrels in the first place because you have birdfeeders that attract them. You can either try to keep squirrels away from your feeders, or purposely attract them to a decoy feeder. For the first, install a squirrel guard on the feeder pole, make sure the feeder is well away from trees and your garden, and keep the area under the feeder clean. Or you can take the other route and install a squirrel-friendly feeder as an alternative feeding station to draw squirrels as far away as possible from your garden.
Install a Motion-Activated Sprinkler
Place a motion-activated sprinkler in your garden that will turn on when a squirrel approaches your crop. At the very least, you will have some fun while watering your garden at the same time!
Try a Repellent
There are various store-bought or homemade repellents that are supposed to deter squirrels. They use ingredients that are smell or taste irritants like hot peppers, garlic, orange peels, human hair, blood meal, or animal urine. For gardens, you usually spray or scatter the repellent on the border of the garden and leaves of the plants (not on the produce itself!). Frankly, I wouldn’t want to use any of these on or near food that I intend to eat (they don’t work all that well anyway).
Get a Pet
If you don’t have a pet, consider a dog or cat that will chase squirrels. If you already have a pet, give it a stern talking-to about earning its keep.
Clean up Produce on the Ground
Squirrels might be first drawn to your garden because of over-ripe or damaged fruit and vegetables on the ground. Remove some of the temptation by keeping your garden area clean.
Give Colonial Pest a Call
If you’re having problems with squirrels anywhere on your property, give us a call. We have licensed nuisance wildlife specialists on staff who would like nothing better than another squirrel challenge!
Photo credit: jasonsamson88 / Foter / CC BY-ND