How to get squirrels out of your garden or stop entering

Funny Squirrel

How to get squirrels out of your garden or stop entering

Squirrels are adorable from a distance, but their enthusiasm for unearthing seeds and feasting on vegetables can be frustrating for gardeners. Luckily, there are several humane and effective ways to deter these furry bandits without harming them or the environment.

Building Barriers:

  • Fencing: Exclusion is key. A physical barrier like a fence made of sturdy wire mesh (hardware cloth) with openings less than ¼ inch will prevent squirrels from entering your garden. Bury the fence at least a foot deep to deter digging and ensure it extends at least six feet high to discourage climbing.
  • Row Covers and Netting: For raised beds or individual plants, lightweight row covers or bird netting can be used. Choose a breathable material that allows for sunlight and watering. Secure the netting with stakes or stones to prevent squirrels from gaining access underneath.

Utilizing Scents Squirrels Dislike:

  • Commercial Repellents: Look for natural, EPA-registered repellents containing predator urine, capsaicin (hot peppers), or putrefied eggs. Follow application instructions carefully, reapplying as needed after rain or heavy watering.
  • Homemade Sprays: For a more DIY approach, create a repellent spray with water, hot pepper flakes, or garlic cloves. While effective, these sprays may need more frequent reapplication compared to commercial products.
  • Scatter Scents: Squirrels dislike the strong smells of certain plants and household items. Try planting daffodils, marigolds, mint, or fritillaria (crown imperial) around the garden perimeter. Alternatively, scatter coffee grounds, Irish Spring soap shavings, or used dryer sheets around your plants. Be mindful that these methods may need refreshing after rain or wind.

Keeping Squirrels Out of Your Garden

Discouraging Access and Creating Distractions:

  • Remove Food Sources: Bird feeders can be a magnet for squirrels. Consider removing feeders from near your garden or using squirrel-proof designs. Clean up any fallen fruits or nuts that might attract them.
  • Provide Alternative Food Sources: If you don’t mind sharing your bounty, plant a sacrificial patch of sunflowers, millet, or nuts away from your prized vegetables. This will distract squirrels and provide them with a natural food source.
  • Utilizing Decoys and Scarecrows: Placing a realistic owl decoy or scarecrow in your garden may deter squirrels initially. However, their effectiveness can diminish over time as squirrels become accustomed to them.

Related: How to Build a Fence Step by Step: A Practical Guide

Additional Tips:

  • Timing is Key: Squirrels are most active in the early morning and dusk. Focus deterrents on these times for maximum impact.
  • Rotate Methods: To prevent squirrels from adapting to a single tactic, use a combination of strategies and rotate them periodically.
  • Be Patient: It may take some time to find what works best in your garden. Consistency is key!

By following these tips, you can effectively deter squirrels from your garden and enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor. Remember, the goal is to discourage, not harm, these resourceful creatures. With a little planning and perseverance, you can create a beautiful garden that thrives season after season.