Squirrels are a common garden nuisance no matter where you live, but there are ways to lessen their impact.
There are several schools of thought about the right way to get rid of squirrels in the garden and with good reason – none of them work 100% of the time! Here are a few of the ideas I’ve heard over the years, along with notes from my personal experience where appropriate:
- Cayenne Pepper: Sprinkle the spice liberally on the soil all around the garden. I’ve done this and it works, but not always. In addition, it is a powder that will have to be replaced every time it rains, so bear that in mind. There are several commercial sprays available that have capsaicin as the active ingredient. Capsaicin comes from cayenne pepper, so you’ll know what you’re dealing with.
- Fencing: Self-explanatory, really. Wire mesh fencing (a.k.a. chicken wire) is an effective deterrent. For best results, drive the fencing a few inches below the soil as well.
- Sacrificial Gardens: By planting extra plants away from those you want to keep, the squirrels in the garden might eat them instead. If you’re going to go this route, jut plant extras of everything instead of planting separately. If they want it and they’re hungry enough, they’re going to eat it.
- No-Kill Traps: These traps are designed to trap the animal without harm so that they might be relocated. I DO NOT recommend this under any circumstances to a home gardener. Squirrels and other wild creatures carry diseases and can be quite dangerous especially when they feel threatened. If you want to consider the trap and relocate option, contact a local pest removal specialist. Again – do not risk being bitten or scratched by a wild squirrel. Talk to the pros if this is the option to want to explore.
In addition, you should remove temptations whenever possible. Make sure that your bird feeders are designed to deter squirrels, and remove any standing water. Leaking garden hoses are an open invitation. If you feed pets outdoors, don’t leave food out unless you want to feed the squirrels as well.