What To Do About Squirrels in the Garden

by on February 22, 2013


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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

marcy horner February 23, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Just saw an idea to keep birds from eating berries; paint rocks to look like the berry, birds learn after a few pecks to leave the rest alone. Wonder if this idea would work with squirrels, or if their sense of smell would give away the game? Anyone try it?


Harriette Jensen February 23, 2013 at 1:26 PM

I have more squirrels than you can shake a stick at! My neighbors have some trash trees that they (and I) can’t afford to cut down at $1000 per. I have tried most of the suggestions here and they are still digging up plants in my garden. They don’t seem to eat any of them, but that’s probably going to happen as soon as my fruit trees start bearing. I am considering using Tanglefoot on my fences as a deterrent. Tanglefoot is a non-toxic sticky substance used for deterring ants on fruit trees. Have you had any experience with it?


Rosman Thomas May 4, 2013 at 6:13 AM

I use to have a bad squirrel problem and tried most every thing to no avail until I purchased a low powered pellet gun, works wonders on squirrels and any other varments in the garden.


Casie June 6, 2013 at 9:16 AM

Plastic snakes from the toy dept seem to be working so far


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: