With a fondness for fresh flowers, fruits, and vegetables, the common squirrel is a genuine enemy of home gardeners. All over the world, these wily critters pluck tomatoes from their vines, yank beautiful blooms from window boxes, and rob apple trees, like a professional thief. They steal food all year round, but a squirrel’s raid in fall can drive gardeners crazy.
Squirrels are especially active in the fall, to save food for winter. They are less active in cold months, but they do not hibernate completely. They have a major instinct for hoarding food, which helps them to survive. Eastern gray squirrels store food by burying it in a scattered fashion around their living area.
The average squirrel eats pinecones, acorns, bark, nuts, fruit, berries, insects and fungi, but is not above stealing bird eggs and plant bulbs. Sometimes they will even destroy your flowers just for the sake of having fun!
How to Identify Squirrel Infestations?
To determine the presence of squirrels in the yard, one must observe if
- There are small, shallow holes dug in the garden beds
- There are half-eaten fruits and vegetables
- Newly planted bulbs are dug up
- There are symptoms of raided bird feeders
- The bark of the trees is peeled off
If you observe the above-mentioned symptoms in your yard, there is a strong chance that it’s an act of a squirrel. Here are some methods which can help stop the squirrel’s infestation in your garden.
Squirrels don’t like it when their lips are burned due to spices. That’s why spraying cayenne pepper around the plants can help prevent squirrels from coming near your fruits and veggies. Capsaicin, vinegar, peppermint oil, and other unpleasant ingredients can also be sprayed around the plants. Don’t apply these sprays directly on the plants. Also, the spray must be repeated after every rain.
Plant Flowers That Are Disliked by Squirrels
Squirrels don’t like the taste of many flowers. These include daffodils, alliums, snowdrops, and hyacinth. Planting these flowering plants can help you to keep squirrels out of your garden.
Remove What Attracts Them
Rake the lawn regularly and remove any of the falling fruits, seeds, and nuts from the ground. Also, remove these things from under bird feeders and trees, dispose of them in tightly covered garbage cans to keep the squirrels away from your trash.
A clean lawn does not attract squirrels as compared to a lawn where fallen fruits and nuts are always dispersed.
A spray of any predator’s pee around the perimeter of your garden is helpful. It creates an illusion that a predator is nearby, which scares them off, as long as they can smell it. The spray must be reapplied after rain.
It’s a temporary yet effective way of controlling squirrels’ population in your yard. Trap these animals, catch them, and then release them far away from your yard. Remember, in some places, these species are protected by law, so before trapping them, you must check with your state’s department of fish and wildlife laws and regulations.
The motion-activated sprinkler system helps in keeping these creatures out of your lawn. A sudden surprise of a water shower scares them away. Place these sprinklers on the boundaries of your lawn and keep changing their position every two to three days to get some good results.
Get a Pet
Most dogs love chasing squirrels. Being a descendant of wolves, dogs are also hunters. They will chase squirrels all day long and never get tired of it. Let your dog walk in the lawn, so it scares these animals away. But remember, if you have trees in your garden, then this strategy might not be useful for you because most dogs just chase the squirrels which are on the ground, and they merely notice a squirrel that is moving in a tree.
Use commercially available repellents to spray the areas around plants. Unpleasant odors offend the squirrels and keep them away from your garden. Many natural repellents are available on the market, which is made up of the urine of squirrels’ predators. Spray these repellents around your garden to get good results. Using a thin layer of coffee grounds or placing a small number of dog’s hairs under and around the plants can also be useful to keep these intruders away.
Cover your boundary bushes with a bird net. Shield your ground crops with row covers, and create an enclosure with chicken wire. If you are using a fence, make sure to bury it a foot deep into the ground. This prevents squirrels from digging.
Fake snakes, owls, and other predator decoys can help you to deter squirrels from your lawn. Try to place the decoy models, which also show some movement. Frequently changing their position will make them more useful.
Carefully manage the squirrel’s nest present in the trees of your lawn. If there are babies in there, leave the nest alone until the babies move out. Once the babies have moved, you may now remove the nest from the tree.
Light and Sound Tactics
Leave a light on or turn on a radio station. This will scare the squirrels and stop them from coming nearby.
Use heavy mulch to cover the areas around your plants. Squirrels don’t like to step on mulches; whether it’s even plastic mulch or gravel, squirrels avoid walking on them. Another benefit of mulching is that it makes it difficult for squirrels to dig in the soil and reach the roots or seeds of the plants.
Though it’s a disputed method because it can attract more squirrels to your garden, providing them with food separately and away from your planting beds can stop them from coming near to your newly planted bulbs and flowers. You can also grow some vegetables separately to keep them busy—far away from your actual vegetable area.
You may enjoy seeing the acrobats of these little creatures, but you don’t want them to snack in your backyard. Squirrels can be a disaster for property owners and cause severe damage by nibbling through wires and tearing into insulation and plasterboard. Try these tricks to get rid of squirrels. Although they may be beautiful creatures, controlling them is necessary for your beautiful landscape garden.