Tips on keeping squirrels out of your garden

Squirrels can be an adorable addition to your garden, and they’re entertaining to watch. Although there are some benefits to having squirrels around, they can also be a major nuisance. And many homeowners look for ways to keep them out of the garden. If you want to prevent these rodents from getting into your yard, there are several ways to repel them. You can try natural, mechanical and decoy-based repellents.

Ways to identify squirrel damage in your garden

If you’re not sure if you have a pest problem, here are some ways to tell.

  • The bulbs are damaged or missing. Squirrels, groundhogs and chipmunks frequently dig up new bulbs. They either eat them or take them back to their nests to store for later.
  • There are small holes in the garden. Squirrels tend to leave behind small holes in the soil, usually about two inches in diameter. If you see new holes in the dirt, chances are you have a squirrel problem.
  • Items around the house or garden have been chewed on. Squirrels need to chew on things to keep their teeth from growing too sharp or long. This includes wood, vinyl siding, plastic and mortar.
  • Your plants are missing or damaged. Rodents eat all sorts of things in the garden, including tomatoes, melons, cucumbers and squash. Sometimes, they take the fruit or vegetables with them. Usually, they chew on parts of the plants or produce and leave the rest.
  • They’re hanging around the bird feeders. Similar to birds, squirrels enjoy bird food. If your bird feeder is running out of feed quickly, it could be due to squirrels.

How to keep squirrels out of the garden

Install garden covers

One way to protect your crops is to set up a barrier with garden covers such as nets, crop cages, tents or hardware cloth. These can protect plants from rodents and birds. Some need to be reinforced to prevent them from blowing away or keep persistent animals out.

Plant specific crops

Squirrels and other garden pests eat many types of plants, but they stay away from certain ones, including:

  • Jalapeno peppers
  • Chili peppers
  • Cayenne peppers
  • Hyacinths
  • Marigolds
  • Daffodils
  • Geraniums
  • Mint
  • Onions
  • Garlic

If squirrels go after your garden, you can plant flowers and herbs around them that deter squirrels. The smell and flavor of these plants may keep the rodents away. If you primarily grow flowers, switch to ones squirrels dislike instead. As an added benefit, you can use most of these flowers to decorate the garden.

You can also mix water and hot sauce in a spray bottle and apply the solution to growing crops. This natural repellent isn’t harmful to plants, but it can keep squirrels away due to its strong smell.

Use a liquid squirrel repellent

Squirrels and other rodents have a strong sense of smell. Many liquid repellents use strong scents like peppermint or rosemary oil to deter them from your plants. Since these are natural solutions, they are also safe around children and household pets. They’re best for smaller gardens since they require you to spray each plant individually.

Use a solid or granular squirrel repellent

Suavec Squirrel Repellent

There are granular and solid repellents that also prevent squirrels from digging and eating in the garden. These work similarly to sprays but cover a larger surface area. Most also last several weeks or even months once applied.

Set up mechanical repellents

Another thing that deters squirrels and similar garden pests is loud sounds and sudden movement. Motion-detecting machines can scare off many rodents before they damage your plants. Some machines are freestanding, while you can install others on nearby trees or posts.

Set up the machines around the perimeter of your garden or any areas you don’t want squirrels invading. When a squirrel passes by, the machine will either flash lights or play ultrasonic sounds to keep them away.

Place decoys around the garden

Gardeneer 18.5-Inch High SOL-R Action Owl

If you want to add some flair to your garden, consider getting a couple of decoys. Strategically placed decoys can scare off rodents before they get near your plants. Common options include owls and snakes.

Some decoys, such as the Gardeneer 18.5-Inch High SOL-R Action Owl, can even rotate. This is especially useful if the squirrels are starting to get used to non-moving statues. If you go with a non-moving decoy, reposition it every few days or so in the yard to keep pests away.

Protect bird feeders

Wild Delight Sizzle N' Heat Bird Food

Squirrels often enjoy eating the seeds commonly found in bird feeders. Since many bird feeders are open, these rodents can easily get into the bird food.

One way to prevent this problem is to get a squirrel-proof bird feeder. Another option is to get birdfeed that squirrels don’t like, such as the Wild Delight Sizzle N’ Heat Bird Food. If that doesn’t work, use petroleum jelly along the feeder pole to keep squirrels from climbing it.

What you need to buy to keep squirrels out of your garden

AlpineReach Garden Netting Kit

AlpineReach Garden Netting Kit

This heavy-duty woven mesh netting kit goes on and around plants and fruit trees. It keeps out birds, deer and squirrels. It’s secured with zip ties, so it stays in place even when it’s windy.

Sold by Amazon

Growneer Crop Cage

Growneer Crop Cage

Measuring 4 feet by 8 feet, this crop cage goes over small to medium-sized plants to protect them from rodents. It comes with everything you need to set it up, including ground staples, steel tubes and connectors. It also doesn’t keep sunlight or water from getting in.

Sold by Amazon

Home Grown 15 Herb Seeds

Home Grown 15 Herb Seeds

If you want to keep squirrels away from other crops, this 15-pack of herb seeds can help. It includes mint, rosemary, chives and more.

Sold by Amazon

Mighty Mint Peppermint Oil Rodent Repellent Spray

Mighty Mint Peppermint Oil Rodent Repellent Spray

This non-toxic liquid rodent repellent comes in a 16-ounce bottle. It contains highly concentrated peppermint essential oil that smells pleasant to humans but keeps away rodents without harming plants.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Defendy Ultrasonic Animal Repeller

Defendy Ultrasonic Animal Repeller

This solar-powered machine can repel rodents, cats and dogs. It uses motion sensors to protect plants within 31 feet. It works by emitting an ultrasonic sound, LED flashing lights and an alarm to scare off unwanted pests.

Sold by Amazon

Rexgo Bird Feeder

Rexgo Bird Feeder

This hanging bird feeder is designed to keep squirrels out. It also has a gazebo-style design and 360-degree panorama feeding for those who enjoy watching the birds.

Sold by Amazon

 

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.