If you have ever planted a garden, you have probably had to deal with squirrels. The critters can eat fruits, vegetables, and flowers; dig up seeds; and be hard to keep away.
There are several ways to know if squirrels have invaded your garden. You might see shallow digging (holes the size of golf balls or smaller) in freshly planted seedbeds. You might see bite marks on tomatoes or find that your beans, squash, cucumbers, or eggplants have been completely eaten. You could find seedlings or leaves of perennials lying on the ground or completely gone. Squirrels could nibble on seed heads, chewing from the outside in. They sometimes dig into containers to hide nuts and often eat flowers, especially daisies.
There are several techniques to use to deter squirrels. Some of these strategies might work for some squirrels but not others, so it is best to combine several approaches.
Remove fallen fruit, nuts, and seeds that attract squirrels from beneath trees and bird feeders. Be sure that your trash can lids fit securely.
Some gardeners recommend spraying strong-smelling products, such as capsaicin (the compound that makes hot peppers hot), peppermint oil, vinegar, and repellent sprays and granules. Don’t spray parts of the plants that you plan to eat. Reapply the spray after it rains.
You can set up decoy food stations with seeds and feed corn for squirrels. Position them far away from your garden and include water. There is a chance that you might attract other wildlife if you do this.
A dog or cat can scare squirrels and keep them out of your garden. You can also spray urine from predators around the garden to deter squirrels, rabbits, and deer. Sprinklers are sometimes effective. You can insert pinwheels or hang CDs or aluminum pie tins from stakes to create noise and motion.
Cover your seeds and crops with hardware cloth, plastic bird netting, chicken wire, or summer weight row covers. To protect a single plant, create a cage with hardware cloth or chicken wire with plastic bird netting on top and hold it in place with clothespins.
You can protect individual tomatoes, eggplants, or other vegetables by wrapping them in small pieces of bird netting. Squirrels are usually only interested in ripe tomatoes, so you can wrap them and ignore the green ones.
Add mulch to soil in seedbeds to discourage squirrels from digging.
If these methods fail and you continue to have problems with squirrels in your garden, it may be time to relocate them. Contact Anderson Wildlife Control and have us trap the squirrels in your garden and move them to another area where they won’t cause you any more problems.