How To Keep Squirrels Out Of The Garden
How To Keep Squirrels Out Of The Garden

Understanding the Behavior of Squirrels

Squirrels, those adorable critters that dart around our gardens and trees, can sometimes become a nuisance when they start wreaking havoc on our beloved plants and vegetables. Understanding the behavior of these creatures is essential in finding effective methods to keep them out of our gardens. By learning a few key insights about squirrels, we can devise strategies to peacefully coexist with them without sacrificing the beauty and productivity of our gardens.

Squirrel Habits and Characteristics

Squirrel Habits and Characteristics

Squirrels are attracted to gardens due to their innate curiosity and persistent nature. They have a keen sense of smell and are always on the lookout for potential food sources. Their dexterity and acrobatic skills allow them to easily access garden beds and flower pots.

Squirrels have a hoarding instinct and prefer certain types of food, such as nuts, seeds, and tree buds. They collect and store food for later consumption, especially during the fall and winter months when food becomes scarce.

Damage Caused by Squirrels

Squirrels can wreak havoc on garden plants, flower bulbs, and bird feeders if left unchecked. These pesky creatures have a keen sense of smell and a love for certain types of food, making your garden an easy target.

Garden plants, especially vegetables and beautiful flowers, become vulnerable to squirrel damage. Squirrels are known to dig up freshly planted seeds, nibble on leaves, and even take bites out of tomatoes and other fruits. Flower beds are not spared either, with squirrels often uprooting bulbs or digging holes in search of buried food sources.

Bird feeders also fall victim to squirrels' persistent appetites. They will go to great lengths to access the bird feeder, often depleting the food meant for our feathered friends. This can disrupt the ecosystem balance and discourage birds from visiting your garden.

Effective Strategies to Deter Squirrels

Whether they're digging up your freshly planted seeds or raiding your bird feeder, these pesky critters can wreak havoc on your plants and disrupt the balance of your outdoor space. Luckily, there are several effective strategies you can implement to deter squirrels and protect your garden.

Physical Barriers and Fencing

Physical barriers and fencing can be highly effective in keeping squirrels out of your garden. Here are some tips on using these barriers to protect your plants:

Choose the right materials: Opt for sturdy wire mesh or chicken wire with small openings that squirrels cannot squeeze through. Hardware cloth with a mesh size of ¼ to ½ inch or bird netting are also good options.

Install proper fencing

Install proper fencing: Surround your garden beds or individual plants with the chosen barrier material. Dig a trench around the perimeter of the garden and bury the bottom portion of the fencing to prevent squirrels from burrowing underneath.

Secure the fencing: Use garden stakes or wooden posts to firmly anchor the fencing in place. Ensure that there are no gaps or loose areas where squirrels can gain access.

Consider additional protection: If you have fruit trees or flower bulbs, wrap the trunk or place a cylinder of wire mesh around them to prevent squirrels from climbing up or digging them up.

Maintain and monitor: Regularly inspect the barriers for any damage or potential entry points. Repair or replace any damaged sections promptly. Also, remove fallen branches or debris near the fencing that squirrels could use as a bridge.

Natural Repellents and Deterrents

In addition to physical barriers, there are several natural methods you can incorporate to discourage squirrels from entering your garden. These methods rely on the squirrels' senses and create an environment that they find unappealing. Here are some effective techniques:

Spicy substances: Squirrels have a keen sense of smell, and they dislike strong odors. Sprinkle cayenne pepper or hot sauce around your garden plants or in specific areas where squirrels are active. The strong smell will deter them from approaching.

Predator scents: Use natural predators' scents, such as fox or coyote urine, which can be found in garden centers. Apply these scents around the perimeter of your garden or near potential entry points. Squirrels will associate the scent with danger and avoid the area.

Repellent plants: Certain plants have natural properties that squirrels dislike. Planting marigolds, daffodils, or hyacinths around your garden can deter squirrels due to their strong odor. Squirrels also tend to avoid plants with fuzzy or prickly leaves, such as lamb's ear or holly.

Homemade repellent recipes and commercial products: You can create your own natural squirrel repellent by mixing apple cider vinegar with water and spraying it around your garden. Alternatively, there are commercially available squirrel-repellent sprays or granules that work effectively.

Garden Design and Plant Selection

When it comes to keeping squirrels out of your garden, the design and plant selection can play a crucial role. Here are some tips to make your garden less attractive to these pesky critters:

Raised garden beds: Consider creating raised garden beds to make it more difficult for squirrels to access your plants. This can be done by using materials such as bricks or wooden frames to elevate the soil.

Chicken wire or hardware cloth: Install chicken wire or hardware cloth at the bottom of your garden beds. This will act as a physical barrier, preventing squirrels from digging and burrowing into the soil.

Squirrel-proof bird feeders: If you have bird feeders in your garden, opt for squirrel-proof ones. These feeders are designed to keep squirrels from raiding the birdseed, preventing them from getting attracted to your garden.

Plant selection: Choose plants that are less appealing to squirrels. Some options include daffodils, marigolds, and hyacinths, as mentioned earlier. Additionally, plants with strong scents, such as lavender or sage, can deter squirrels as well.

Mulching: Use mulch made from materials like stone or gravel, instead of organic materials like wood chips or straw. Squirrels are less likely to dig through these harder surfaces.



In conclusion, keeping squirrels out of the garden requires a combination of strategies. Physical barriers such as raised garden beds, chicken wire, or hardware cloth can effectively prevent squirrels from accessing your plants. Squirrel-proof bird feeders and selecting squirrel-resistant plants can also help deter these pesky critters.

It's important to take a holistic approach to squirrel deterrence by combining different methods and being mindful of the environment. While natural repellents like cayenne pepper or predator urine may work for some, they should be used sparingly and with caution.

Remember to choose methods that are safe and humane. Motion-activated sprinklers or decoy food stations can help divert squirrels away from your garden without causing harm. Additionally, creating a welcoming environment for natural predators like owls or hawks can help keep squirrel populations under control.

By implementing these effective methods and being proactive in safeguarding your garden, you can enjoy beautiful flowers, bountiful harvests, and a squirrel-free space. Happy gardening!

Frequently Asked Questions 1

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are there any plants that naturally repel squirrels?

Yes, there are several plants that squirrels tend to dislike, and this may help deter them from your garden. Some examples include daffodils, hyacinths, alliums, and Galanthus. These plants have strong scents or bitter tastes that squirrels find unpleasant. However, keep in mind that while these plants may help to some extent, they are not foolproof in repelling squirrels completely.

How high should a fence be to keep squirrels out?

To effectively keep squirrels out of your garden, a fence should be at least 6 feet high. Squirrels are agile climbers and jumpers, so a low or short fence will not provide enough of a barrier. Additionally, it's important to ensure that the mesh or openings in the fence are small enough to prevent squirrels from squeezing through.

Can ultrasonic devices effectively deter squirrels?

Ultrasonic devices are a popular method for repelling various pests, but their effectiveness in deterring squirrels is debated. While some people claim success with ultrasonic devices, others report that squirrels quickly become habituated to the sound. It is recommended to use ultrasonic devices in conjunction with other squirrel deterrent methods for better results.

Are there any specific spices or scents that squirrels dislike?

Squirrels have a keen sense of smell and there are certain scents that they may find unpleasant. Some common spices or scents that squirrels dislike include cayenne pepper, hot sauce, and apple cider vinegar. Sprinkling these substances, or creating a spray by mixing them with water, around your garden can help deter squirrels. However, keep in mind that you should use these repellents sparingly and with caution to avoid harming other animals or plants.

What are the signs of squirrel damage in the garden?

Squirrel damage in the garden can be easily recognized by a few telltale signs. Look out for chewed or gnawed plants, bite marks on fruits or vegetables, damaged flower bulbs, or dug-up flower beds. Squirrels may also leave evidence of their presence through small holes in the garden soil, especially around newly planted areas. If you notice any of these signs, it's important to take action to prevent further damage.