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Squirrels

Squirrels can cause many problems in your garden. Here are tips how to identify and control squirrels.

These furry creatures tend to snack on young seedlings, berries, fruits, and vegetables. Sometimes they will even ruin your flowers just for the fun of it! Keep an eye out for these pesky visitors and try some of our tips below for getting rid of them.

How to Identify Squirrels in your Garden

Squirrels will not only attack your gardens, but your bird feeders as well. If you notice your bird food disappearing rather quickly, you may have a squirrel problem.

How to Get Rid of Squirrels

  • Place birdfeeders at least 8 feet off the ground and away from trees or structures. Add baffles below new birdfeeders. (If squirrels have already used a birdfeeder, they'll find a way around the baffle.)
  • Try saving orange and lemon rinds and storing them in the freezer during the winter. When you start your garden in the spring, bury the rinds just under the surface of the soil. The rinds will discourage squirrels from digging.
  • Plant one or two cloves of garlic near your spring bulbs. You can also try sprinkling garlic powder or cayenne pepper on the soil when plants are ready to bloom. The smells should keep the squirrels away.
  • You can also scatter dog or human hair around your garden. One readers shares, "I used to have a problem with squirrels digging up my bulbs. Now, once in the spring and once in the fall, I ask my hairdresser to save a big bag of hair for me. I lightly dig this into the soil. Squirrels can not stand the smell of humans, so they leave the gardens alone."
  • You can sprinkle blood meal around your garden as well.
  • Don’t trap and relocate squirrels. This is a losing battle since the population of squirrels is extremely high. Also, if the animal is a female there is a high likelihood that you will remove her from babies that depend on her for survival.

Reader Suggestions

Here are a couple of suggeestions that readers sent in:

  • A newly developed motion-activated sprinkler, primarily designed to keep cats and rabbits out of gardens, may help scare away squirrels, especially in small yards or at corners of front yards where damage is most likely to occur. However, the presence of numerous squirrels, stray animals, or children may result in overwatering and high water bills if they continually trigger this device.
  • Get some mousetraps. Anchor them solidly to the ground in the area where the squirrels have been digging. Cover them with newspaper, and sprinkle a little dirt on top. When a squirrel comes to dig, it will set off the traps. As the mechanism snaps, it will scare and throw dirt at the squirrel. Once it's scared enough times, it will find another digging area. Be sure to anchor the traps just in case the wind blows the newspaper off of them. If the trap is anchored, the squirrel will not get hurt.

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Comments

I have been using Hot Pepper

By Cynthia LaRochelle on October 15

I have been using Hot Pepper Suet blocks for yrs. birds will eat them, squirrels will not. Can be found in Home Depot or Walmart. NO MORE SQUIRRELS. Doesn't kill them but they won't be hanging around.

I have dogs and cats. In the

By Peggy57Marter on October 15

I have dogs and cats. In the garden I bury pet poop in mole tunnels, sprinkle used coffee grounds and crushed egg shells around young plants, and feed the squirrels up by my kitchen window, so I can enjoy their presence

Interesting!

By potsonna2 on October 14

Interesting!

I have read all the books and

By Donna C. Matthews on October 14

I have read all the books and magazines and there are two standard squirrel deterrents. use a metal post and a tin barrier that prevents squirrels from getting into bird feeders. This is good but consider this.
Squirrels are God's creatures also. I even had one for a pet when I was a tiny little girl, so small that I don't remember but have a video of the squirrel. Bird's need food and so do squirrels. So don't just deter the squirrels but put up a feeder for the squirrels as far away from the bird feeders as possible. That may not be possible in a very small yard but large backyards; parks that will give you permission, and wooded areas will work wonderfully for this mission of mercy.
The only thing was a regular wooded area where other animal roam, is that the racoons, opossums and deer may also find the food and eat it. If a person has enough money they might set out bales of hay, corn stalks, and other deer food, pieces of fruit and peanut mixed with nuts and fruit, bird seed, and carrots; all chopped up and mixed into the peanut butter. If the birds and squirrels can not get to the food because of the other animals,plant berry shrubs, nut and seed trees, and wildflowers which help birds a great deal also. Elm trees have seeds, maple trees have seeds, hack-berry trees have little berries which I have seen Robins devour in the winter when migrating, and berry trees are also good. When you plant trees in a wooded area you need to surround the trunk with a flexible wire cage to protect the bark which deer will eat. Than expand the cage periodically so that the tree has room to grow. A wooded area like this along with extra help from human friends can be bird and animal friendly. I wish everyone who has money would consider doing this, for there is not a lot of land available for animals to survive on anymore.

I don't have a garden. I'm

By Thomas Olson

I don't have a garden. I'm just contemplating the difficulties of starting a garden near a forest. My thoughts on this are to make several nut cashes. When the snow comes I'll take it away. At that point I'll set up traps to catch them as they will be desperate for food. After that you can insert whatever politically correct action that makes your day better.

As for the cashe, I'm thinking of using pallets. I'll have it nice and air tight with multiple entrances. I'll find go to the dump and find some used pipes, longer the better. It will have full sun exposure along a southern edge of a forest. It will have a black chimney that will heat the air and move the air out, keeping the inside nice and dry.

Err, northern edge of the

By Thomas Olson

Err, northern edge of the forest.

We own a Wildlife Trapping &

By Southern Wildlife Management

We own a Wildlife Trapping & Control company here in Georgia. You want to be careful about what measures you take to rid your yard of squirrels. First if you are trapping there are laws in each state about trapping what you can do and cannot do. Plus to release them in our state it is illegal without written permission where you are releasing them at. In Wisc there was a study and squirrels returned 11 miles to their home. Make sure you take them far enough or you are just exercising them. Again, every State is different.

Been trapping, 48 last year,

By Old don

Been trapping, 48 last year, 17 so far this year. Take them to a large wooded area with lake. I guess it has slowed down. When I first started it was one every day some times two. New Year's day this year I had two. Is there any birth control for them? :-) Will caster oil keeps them away, sprayed on fence.

I have a problem every Spring

By Michelle F.

I have a problem every Spring with squirrels digging up my Lilies in search of their previously buried nuts. I have used cayenne pepper and black pepper sprinkled on top of the mulch near the flowers and this has discourage them. However, I will give the hair suggestion a try as well. Thanks for the advice.

I have a terrible problem

By Ken Marshall

I have a terrible problem with squirrels eating my bell peppers. How can I stop them!

Buy a pellet gun. Squirrels

By Stephen Carlsbad

Buy a pellet gun. Squirrels are numerous and often over run areas with gardens destroying your goodies. I have a rabbit problem, well, not anymore. I clean the rabbit, freeze it for 3 days and my wolfdog gets the most nutritious meal he could ever ask for.

Squirrels can be captured in

By Almanac Staff

Squirrels can be captured in live traps and released in another location. Or, see our tips on this page.

I have a fisher eating my

By Farmerboy

I have a fisher eating my lettuce off of my deck. Would these tips help for it?

It may work; however, fishers

By Almanac Staff

It may work; however, fishers have very, very long claws that can slice through just about anything.

It's surprising that a fisher would enjoy eating lettuce. In many instances, they would rather eat something warm-blooded.

Thank you for your interest in the Old Farmer's Almanac and our Web site.

After planting vegtables in

By ebfrost

After planting vegtables in my present home here in Connecticut for over 10 years I now seem to have a problem with squirrels grabing my cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries and squash and who knows what else and leaving a few bites and then droping them on the ground. I have never had this problem ever before but it started last year and we actualy caught them red handed a number of times, this year so far they are into my strawberries, ( to early for the veggies ) HELP What can I do.

Growing a small vegetable

By greg andrews

Growing a small vegetable garden for the first time and squirrels are stealing my tomatoes as fast as they ripen. Here's what I've tried and the results:
- Used cat litter sprinkled about. works for about an hour til they figure it out. - wind chimes. No effect. - Inflatable predators. No effect, but to be fair I used an alligator and a killer whale from the pool, not really things the critters beware here in Ky. The squirrels laughed at me. -Animal-B-Gone pellets from Ortho. Worked for four days thru two waterings and one heavy rain. Expensive fix. I press one with various hot peppers and vinegar, rotten eggs, ect. I don't mind sharing my veggies, but the greedy little @#$%&@ want it all.

I recommend a .177 pellet

By Stephen Carlsbad

I recommend a .177 pellet rifle. The new pellet rifles have whisper technology which cuts the loudness by about 50% if your neighbors have delicate ears. Bait the squirrels in a spot with apples and sit behind a comfortable cover and wait for you targets to show.

I recommend a .22 short, if

By Bob60506

I recommend a .22 short, if you have a rifle that will shoot it. Cheap, effective on small game/pests. Bonus: I hear squirrel tastes like chicken, maybe better. :-)

.22 short cb thats a

By daniel lambert

.22 short cb thats a sub-sonic round if you have nosy neighbors.

We feel for you. You may want

By Almanac Staff

We feel for you. You may want to invest in some netting and put that over your plants. A dog or cat is a great squirrel chaser if that's an option. There are many repellents on the market, including natural ones with garlic. If you're really going crazy, explore the idea of a raptor perch and owl nest box for natural predators who will eat them in no time.

Now that all the snow has

By Woodmaster

Now that all the snow has melted I have trails in my yard I am told it is the work of voles what can I do to get the grass to grow back and what do I do about the voles?

I had(past tense) these

By JAMES09

I had(past tense) these critters so bad in my yard a few years ago that I went to the extreme of building a sheet metal box 3 feet deep by 18 inches square & buried it in the yard. after one summer, the population of voles in my yard DROPPED by two thirds!! By the end of the second summer, I had not 1 vole left! Voles can dig through just about anything EXCEPT FOR sheet metal.

Now I'm not saying this is the best way to handle them, but it worked for me.

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