Gardening is a labor of love that takes time and effort, so finding that your plants are being eaten by squirrels is very discouraging. Who wants to have their months of hard work ruined by a squirrel? If you know the feeling, check out the following list. Here are some easy gardening tips to keep squirrels from eating your plants.
Cover Your Plants with Mesh
What is perhaps the most straightforward way to keep squirrels out of the garden is to cover your plants with fabric or mesh. Check out your local garden center and look for hoops and row covers or cages. Set some hoops up over your plants, then install an ultrafine mesh that will let the sunlight in while keeping squirrels outs. If you have a raised garden bed, you can add a lid to it that you can open and close for convenience.
Lay Chicken Wire Under the Soil
Lay some chicken wire or hardware cloth just under the surface of your soil to keep squirrels from digging up your plants. Bury your bulbs, lay the wire on top, then bury the wire so there is about an inch of soil on top of it. Squirrels hoping to steal your bulbs will be unable to dig through.
Use Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is effective at keeping many animals away because it smells like predator urine. Soak some rags in apple cider vinegar and put them in plastic bags. Poke some holes in the bags, then place them around the garden.
Spray Peppermint Oil
Squirrels don’t like the smell of peppermint, so you can plant some in the garden or spray a peppermint oil solution to ward off squirrels. In a spray bottle, mix 10-15 drops of peppermint oil with a cup of water and a drop of dish soap. Shake well, then spray the mixture around the edges of your flower beds, deck, and soffits. Reapply the spray every few weeks or after it rains.
Sprinkle Hot Spices or Use a Spicy Homemade Spray
Squirrels are sensitive to spicy pepper and spices, so try sprinkling some in the garden to keep the critters out. Cayenne pepper and crushed red peppers both work well. Reapply the spices when it rains. You can also spray your plants with a homemade spray. Mix a teaspoon of hot sauce with a drop of dish soap and a cup of water and spray it liberally on your plants.
Use Electronic Deterrents
Visit your local hardware store or garden center and check out their motion-activated deterrents. Some spray water, some make high pitched sounds, and others spray water. Get one that is designed for squirrels and set it up in the garden where you don’t want squirrels.
Add Blood Meal to the Soil
Squirrels dislike the smell of blood meal and bone meal, so try mixing some into your soil. It won’t last forever, but it will dissuade them from eating your plants. Blood and bone meal are great fertilizers. Reapply the meals every few weeks or after a hard rain to maintain the smell.
Get Rid of the Bird Feeder
Squirrels love bird feeders just as much as the birds do. If you can live without it, get rid of it entirely or switch to one that is squirrel-proof. Get a hanging feeder and put it where squirrels can’t reach. Feed the birds sparingly so you limit the number of seeds that fall to the ground. The less food there is in the yard, the less likely that squirrels will come eating your plants.