How to Keep Squirrels out of garden
How to Keep Squirrels out of garden?
It is funny watching squirrels dart around in an acrobatic fashion. However, this fun scene can quickly turn into frustration and a biting desire to get rid of these pesky creatures when they eat shoots of new garden plant and dig up the bulbs of plants.
They mostly feed on nuts and birdseed, but occasionally feed on leaves of garden plants, fruits, bulbs and berries. Their dentition is characterized by an ever growing incisor teeth which they file by regularly chewing nuts and hard materials.
Signs of squirrel infestation
Generally, all species of squirrels, except the flying squirrel which mostly lives in the Northwest part of the Pacific and the East coast, are active during the day and sleep through the nights. Whenever they visit a garden, they would leave certain tell-a-tale signs that are characteristic of them. Below are some of them
- Holes dug at shallow depth. Typically, these holes are not deeper that a golf hole and may even be smaller. Also, they enjoy snacking on seedbeds, and will dig up these seeds with careless abandon.
- They often leave marks on the bark of trees and fruits. Also, they are in the habit of partially or completely eating up a tomato. Aside tomato, they enjoy eggplants, cucumbers, beans and squash.
- Chewed plants: If you visit your garden someday only to find seeds lying everywhere, chances are squirrels have been coming around.
- Seeds nibbled at the head: Sunflower seed is squirrel’s favorite delicacy. They barely eat the seed whole, preferring to chew the head part of the seed leaving the rest.
- Holes holding buried seeds. Squirrels like to store up food for the future. The problem, however, is that they often times forget where they stored their nuts. So, if you find container holes lying around in your garden, chances are squirrels are responsible, although chipmunks share this trait with squirrels.
- Nibbled flower leaves. Squirrels have love daisy blooms so much they won’t mind eating it all day, although they eat blooms of other plants, too. One good tell-a-tale sign of squirrel infestation is littered daisies eaten unevenly and petals of flowers eaten at the center.
The surest way to know if squirrels are responsible for the damage you see in your garden is catching them red handed. Now you have known the signs of squirrel infestation, how then can you keep them away?
Steps to squirrel-proofing your garden
Squirrels are just everywhere, except, of course Antarctica. So, if you are going to deter them from visiting your garden, you need to put on your thinking cap. Below are some of the commonly used techniques for squirrel proofing a garden which you can try. Do bear in mind that none of them is a one-fit-size-all tactic, meaning you will have to combine them to get satisfactory result.
Eliminate anything that serves as an attractant
Fruits, acorns and nuts attracts squirrels. So, clearing these items will be a good start. If you will be storing these cleared items in a waste bin, ensure the bin’s lid is tightly sealed because squirrels can smell food items buried deep into the ground let alone one stored in a container.
There are lots of effective squirrel repellents which can be easily purchased online. While some are made using flavors of hot pepper, others have vinegar or peppermint as their major ingredient. The drawback with these repellents, however, is that they need to be frequently reapplied because they easily get washed away by the rains. You can either prepare these repellents at home or buy them in commercial form – Squirrel MACE, a powerful commercial repellent, will be your best bet here.
Use a decoy
Distract these critters off your garden by planting some of their favorite delicacies at a far distance. Only ensure that the site you set up the decoy is accessible to squirrels. Also, you may have to provide them with water alongside food. But before setting up a snacking bar for this critters, bear in mind that you might end up attracting other pests in so doing, so give some thoughts before taking the plunge.
Use scare tactics
Squirrels scamper for safety at the sight of a dog or cat, so policing your garden with a well-trained dog or cat is an effective deterring strategy. But if owning pets is beyond your reach, purchase the urine of wild animals like tiger or wolf. The defense system of pesky foragers instantly kicks in once their nose picks up the scent of the urine of wild animals. If this doesn’t work, try motion actuated sprinklers, although they are severely limited. Better still, hand dangling unused empty disk at the perimeter of your garden. This tactic is particularly effective when the plants in your garden are still tender.
Use cages and netting
Keep squirrels away by protecting your garden plants with chicken wire, plastic netting, and cages. The easiest way to go about this is by using hardware cloth to create a cage and then covering its top with plastic netting.
Keep your harvest safe
After harvesting eggplants and tomatoes, wrap and store using netting. Squirrels have a thing for ripe tomatoes and will do whatever possible to get to them, so it makes sense to protect the tomatoes as they ripe.
Send inviting signals to predators
Certain types of predators prey on squirrels – hawks and owls are typical examples. Take your time and do some research to find out which predator is predominant in your locality
One effective strategy to keeping away squirrels is covering bare soil via mulching.