Do you love squirrels, but fear the damage they can do to your garden?
Have you tried everything to keep them out with no luck?
TheGardeningDad.com is here to save the day!
After working with experts in the field, and listening to other gardeners and homesteaders’ best techniques, I have created How to Keep Squirrels out of Garden (15 Easy Tips).
The list below contains EASY and CHEAP DIY Tips that ACTUALLY WORK!
How to Identify Damage Caused to Your Garden by Squirrels
There are numerous types of animals, insects, and pests that can destroy your garden.
So how do you know when it is a squirrel?
Since squirrels generally eat at day and night this can be a difficult question to answer.
You will know a squirrel has caused damage to your plants when the following has happened:
1. Type of Plant Damage
Depending on the season, the type of plant damage caused by squirrels will be slightly different.
In the spring, squirrels will eat the tender growth of newly emerging plants or will dig up seeds that you have planted.
In the summer, squirrels will eat broad-leaf weeds, clover, grasses, leaves, shoots, roots, and berries.
And in the winter, squirrels will typically eat nuts, shrubs, and cones.
If the leaves are partly torn or have large holes in them then the damage was most likely caused by squirrels
You also know plant damage is caused by squirrels if the cut is at an angle and no more than 20 inches from the ground. Squirrels typically cannot reach plants higher than 20 inches.
If a plant looks uprooted or if the plant itself is missing then it typically means a deer damaged it.
2. Squirrel Droppings
One of the easiest ways to determine whether a squirrel has been visiting your garden or yard is squirrel droppings.
If the droppings your yard match the picture below then you know you have a squirrel problem.
3. Other signs of Squirrels
You will also know if a squirrel has been in your garden or yard based on several other factors.
One major way to determine if a squirrel has been in your garden is by its tracks.
Please note that this is only effective in the winter.
Typically, in the spring or summer, the ground will be too hard for tracks to imprint into the ground.
Another way to determine if squirrels have been in your yard or garden is if there are cracked or open nuts. This is typically best seen in the fall.
If you want to be one hundred percent certain if a squirrel is destroying your garden then I highly recommend setting up a Campark Trail Game Camera.
Game cameras do an excellent job of taking high-quality images and videos during the day and night of all different types of animals.
The best part about game cameras is that they can survive any type of weather and are reasonably priced!
15 Ways to Keep Squirrels Out of Your Garden
1. Choose Your Plants Wisely
The easiest and cheapest way to keep squirrels out of your garden is to not plant vegetation they like to eat.
In general, Squirrels will tend to eat these plants first:
- Any young plant (1 year or less)
- Any soft or tender plant (think smooth leaves that are easy to tear)
- Squash, Broccoli, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Corn
- Any Type of Flower
- Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Apples, Avocadoes, Oranges
These types of plants are high in nutrition and are easy to eat. In early spring and late summer, this is the exact type of food squirrels need to grow and prepare for winter.
The more of these plants you have in your yard unprotected the more squirrels you will likely attract.
If you want to plant some vegetable or herb, fruit, or vegetable then I recommend:
- Onion, Peppers, Garlic, Oregano, Basil
- Older and taller plants
- Daffodils, Hyacinth, Geraniums, Alliums
2. Keep Your Yard Clean
This tip is as cheap as you can get and also relatively easy.
If you want to deter squirrels from getting into your garden then prevent them from creating a home in your yard.
Simply stated, this means mow your grass, remove any dead shrubs or grass piles, and reduce highly dense areas. Squirrels love covered areas, so this will help them find shelter and food elsewhere.
3. Buy a Dog
If you want to consistently keep squirrels out of your yard and get bonus points with your gardening family then buy a dog.
By letting your dog play in your yard it helps deter squirrels in several ways.
First, dogs mark their territory which deters squirrels from staying very long. Next, they will bark and chase after deer. It typically only takes one or two times for a dog to chase a squirrel for it to never come back.
4. Apply Individual Plant Nets
Sometimes your best option to prevent your plants from being eaten is to apply individual plant nets.
Squirrels won’t typically eat plants with netting on. They fear getting caught in it and it is harder to eat such plants.
Applying the plant net is easy. Just place the net entirely over your plants and secure it on the ground with something substantial.
If you are looking for the best squirrel netting our there, then I recommend: De-Bird Garden Netting.
5. Apply Squirrel Spray
If you have a squirrel problem every year then I recommend using a squirrel repellent spray to help deter squirrels from coming back to your garden.
I use and recommend to everyone I talk to Bonide Animal Repellent
My favorite part about this product is that it is easy and non-toxic. Best of all is that it has a money-back guarantee!
Based on scientific studies, using squirrel spray helps prevent squirrel by up to 75% more than other methods.
When using this type of spray I recommend applying it all year round.
Just spray the repellent either on or around your plants (depending on if you will eat them). Do this every 30 days and make sure that there will be no rain for at least 24 hours after application.
6. Catch and Release
Sometimes no matter what you do to deter squirrels it just doesn’t work.
If that is the case for you then I recommend to catch and release squirrels.
I have personally used on occasion and recommend the OxGord Live Animal Trap.
Because I don’t like trapping animals, I use this as a last resort.
What I love about this product is that it is easy to set up (takes 1 minute) and is effective.
After setup, all you need to do is place one of the plants that squirrels like in it and you are all set.
Once you catch your squirrel I recommend releasing it 5 miles away from your property.
The reason for this is because squirrels and other animals have been known to travel great distances to get back to their shelter.
7. Add Predators to Your Yard
A unique way to deter or remove squirrels from your garden is to add predators to your yard.
So what exactly does that mean?
It means adding plants, food, and shelter to attract foxes, owls, hawks, and snakes. All of these creatures are natural predators of squirrels.
Not only will these creatures help minimize squirrels impact, but they can also provide other benefits to your garden.
Beware though, these creatures can also bring unwanted or unexpected consequences to your garden.
8. Add Decor to Deter Squirrels
Squirrels are a lot like birds in the fact that they do not scare easily and can quickly adjust to their environment.
If you want to scare squirrels from your yard then I personally recommend adding decor to it.
Specifically, I would use the following items to scare squirrels:
I would recommend placing one or two of each the owl and snake decoy in your garden. This will help deter squirrels from trying to enter it from different spots.
In addition, squirrels do not like fast, shiny objects. Placing a shiny ribbon around your plants or fencing will also help deter squirrels.
9. Build a Raised Garden Bed
Tip #9 is something that everyone can do no matter where you live.
Squirrels like flat, easy areas to access. They like this because it allows them to leave the area as quickly as possible if a predator comes by.
Because of this squirrels tend to visit Raised Garden Beds much less.
My recommendation to deter squirrels from visiting your garden is to build a raised garden bed.
10. Use Squirrel Repellent Stations
Tip #10 is more expensive, but also more effective.
Squirrel Repellent Stations sends harmless shocks through Squirrels who come close to your garden. By doing this, it created a mental barrier that quickly prevents squirrels from visiting again.
If you want the best product and one well worth your money then I recommend purchasing Ultrasonic Squirrel Repellent
11. Plant Your Garden in Pots
I have to admit that this tip requires work and can quickly add up.
But this tip is also failproof.
If all else fails and squirrels keep getting your garden then I recommend planting everything in pots and keeping them out of squirrels reach.
The reason I recommend pots is that it is harder for squirrels to climb into them and get out. This does not mean that squirrels will not try.
If you totally want to prevent squirrels from eating your plants then place your pots on your deck, patio, or even inside.
12. Install a Fence
Installing a fence may sound like a costly and time-intensive project.
But it doesn’t have to be.
One of the most effective ways to keep squirrels out of your garden is to fence it in. You can also even fence individual plants too.
If you want to kill two birds with one stone then I recommend purchasing a fence that is between 4 and 8 feet high.
Also, I would make your life as easy as possible and purchase a fence like YardGard Fence.
YardGard is one of the best companies for fence. They produce durable and long-lasting fence at a reasonable price.
13. Install an Electric Fence
This tip is usually extreme for deterring squirrels from your garden but is an effective way to help keep all animals out.
If you have consistent problems with squirrels and animals destroying your garden then I recommend installing an electric fence.
Eletric fences work like squirrel repellent stations, but are more effective.
They send an electric shock through the animal and is nonharmful for both small and large animals.
14. Buy a Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder
One of the main reasons squirrels are attracted to your yard and garden is because of birdseed that has fallen on the ground.
If you have a bird feeder in your yard you may want to move it away from your garden or not have one altogether.
If you are like me and want to attract birds then I recommend either using hummingbird feeders or use a squirrel-proof bird feeder.
15. Hunt Them!
This may not be the most expensive, but it is my least favorite.
With that being said I know everyone has their own opinions and I respect everyone’s opinion.
If you live in an area where hunting is allowed then I recommend removing squirrels this way!
Squirrels are beautiful animals that are fun to watch, but they also can be a nuisance to your garden.
While it is hard to keep them out consistently, it is not impossible
If you want to keep squirrels out of your garden consistently then I recommend using a mix of the following:
- Choose your plants wisely
- Keep your yard clean
- Buy a dog
- Apply individual plant nets
- Use squirrel-proof bird feeders
- Apply squirrel spray
- Use a trap
- Add predators to your yard
- Add decor to deter squirrels
- Build a raised garden bed
- Use squirrel repellent stations
- Plant your garden in pots
- Install a fence
- Install an electric fence
- Hunt Them
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