How do you keep squirrels out of your yard and from doing damage?
For as cute, funny and frisky as squirrels seem to be, they are such pesky critters. On my morning drive here to the nursery this time of year, they are out and about in full force. There are the kamikaze ones darting across the road right in front of me while I’m shouting…”DON’T DO IT!!!!” like they can hear me. But…That’s only one of the annoying things they do.
Squirrels lie in wait in trees for all to be right and…then they attack - quickly– anything and everything. They are not as easily dealt with as rabbits and deer, but there are measures that can be taken.
What damage do squirrels do?
Glad you asked! They run across the road in front of you back and forth...back and forth as though they can’t make up their minds on which side of the road they need to be. It’s really nuts.
Squirrels also make their way into attics causing damage in your home, but only after they’ve cased your outdoor areas for food and protection. Then, they sniff out seeds, nuts and berries. If you have a bird feeder make sure it is ‘squirrel-proof’ because they will find a way to get to the feeder and make off with the whole stash of seeds.
Probably the easiest damage they do is looking for food in your yard. While they may help with picking up the nuts from your oak trees, they will sniff out any bulbs that you’ve planted for spring flowers. They really enjoy tulip bulbs, but seem to ignore daffodils and crocus. That’s not to say that they won’t dig them up…just that they don’t generally eat them.
During the spring and summer, they become quite friendly with bedding plants and annuals. Strong scented perennials like lavender, mints, thyme and rosemary they tend to leave alone.
How do you prevent squirrel damage?
For bird feeders, you can switch to a bird seed blend that has been treated with cayenne pepper or choose a less palatable blend of safflower seeds.
Keep your outdoor areas clean and picked up. Store pet food in air tight containers. Rake up any nuts or fruits that drop onto the ground. It's time to pull and toss any remaining vegetable plants in the garden to limit anything that may have any new or old veggies. During the growing season, if you find squirrels eating tomatoes or other vegetables, bag the fruit with old pantyhose or cheesecloth.
Check your house attic access and for any open areas. Put screening up on any open areas to limit squirrel entrances.
Dogs and cats can sometimes help deter squirrels, however this is not a given as pets often wander away and sleep. Squirrels then attack!
How to Keep Squirrels from Damaging Your Plants and Bulbs
Just as you would use several different deterrents to keep deer or rabbits away, so do you with squirrels. Predator urine goes a long way in keeping them at bay. Coyote urine is easy to find. We buy it on Amazon to keep rabbits away from the container yard.
Motion sensor sprinklers and noise makers may work at first, but squirrels catch on and before long they’re not effective.
To protect your spring flowering bulbs and to prevent the digging up of young plants, lay chicken wire on the ground after planting the bulbs and cover with mulch. Chicken wire can also be used to plant young plants through the openings. Squirrels can’t dig through the wire. Plus, this method helps to keep deer, rabbits, mice and voles from eating your young bulbs.
Wire cages and wrapping trees with aluminum flashing can help to keep squirrels from climbing those trees.
These are the most common ways to keep squirrels from doing damage to your yard and home. If you have squirrels watching your every move, you may need to pull several of these methods to fight back.