How to Keep Squirrels Out of Vegetable Garden

Are squirrels causing chaos in your vegetable garden? Are they digging up your plants and eating your crops? You're not alone. Many gardeners battle these pests. But, fear not, there are ways to keep them away. You can learn about effective deterrents, natural repellents, and techniques to keep your plants safe.

Understanding Squirrel Behavior in the Garden

Squirrels, similar to rats and mice, are part of the rodent family. They are known to damage gardens. This is because their teeth keep growing, so they chew on things like plastic and garden decorations. Their habits can cause a lot of harm if not stopped.

They love to eat specific plants, such as roses and tulips. This makes these plants vulnerable. Besides eating fruits and vegetables, they also make small holes in the ground. Squirrels might even dig up freshly planted bulbs. They disrupt bird feeders too, taking food meant for birds and frightening them off.

To keep squirrels from ruining your garden, knowing about them is key. They are active very early in the morning and late in the day. So, watching out during these hours is very important.

Using a mix of strategies is best against squirrels. They get used to one method quickly. You could try things like lights that turn on when they sense motion, plastic owl figures, toy snakes, or putting dog hair around. These tricks can make the squirrels feel unsafe.

Squirrel Behavior
Preventive Measures
Squirrels dig shallow holes in garden beds.
Squirrels are fond of roses, tulips, rhododendrons, and hibiscus.
Squirrels can be deterred by certain scents.

For fruit trees, protect them by wrapping a wide band of smooth metal around the trunk. It should be at least six feet high. This makes it hard for squirrels to climb. Also, setting up a squirrel feeder away from your garden helps. It offers them food without them having to invade your garden.

Since squirrels are drawn to gardens because of food, shelter, and material for nests, using various control methods is important. With scare tactics, barriers, and planting smartly, you can keep squirrel issues at bay.

Hide or Relocate Their Food

Squirrels are a big deal in gardens, damaging plants and scaring away birds. Look for small holes in garden beds or partly eaten fruits if you suspect squirrels. You can keep squirrels at bay by hiding or moving their food sources.

In fall and spring, squirrels are very active looking for food. To deter them, tidy up any nuts, acorns, and berries that fall. A nut gatherer can make this job easier for you.

After cleaning up, consider moving the nuts and berries to a spot away from your garden. This area can be anywhere in your yard. It's like giving them their own place to eat.

Keep your trash cans sealed tight to avoid squirrel scavenging. They'll look for food wherever they can. So, making sure they can't open your trash keeps them out.

Strategies to Hide or Relocate Squirrel Food Sources
Clean up fallen nuts, acorns, and berries regularly
Use a nut gatherer to make the process easier
Relocate the food sources to a designated area away from the garden beds
Keep trash can lids securely closed to prevent squirrels from raiding them
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Following these steps will make your garden less appealing to squirrels. By removing their easy food sources, you protect your plants. Plus, you direct the squirrels to areas where they won't wreak havoc.

Get a Dog

Dogs are great at keeping squirrels out of your garden. They love to chase around small animals like squirrels. This makes them a perfect guard. Squirrels will sense the dog's presence and avoid your garden, saving your plants.

If a squirrel sees or smells a dog, it will run away. A dog that guards your garden will make sure it's free of squirrels. Their natural drive to chase squirrels is a big help.

Most dogs really enjoy chasing after squirrels. They are full of life and quick, making them perfect to keep gardens safe. This not only works but also makes you worry less about your plants.

But, keep in mind that not all dogs will be good at this. Right breeds, like terriers and spaniels, are the best for chasing. Others may not be up to it. That's just the way dogs are different.

You need to teach your dog a few key tricks for this to work well. Commands like "leave it" or "stay" can keep everything safe. This includes the squirrels and your garden. Safety is always first, for your pet and for any visiting squirrels.

A dog is not just a squirrel guard. They also bring so much joy and company to your life. They show you love all day, every day. This makes getting a dog even better.

So, choosing a dog is a smart and kind way to protect your garden. With the right training, your dog can be a great help. It keeps your garden safe without harming squirrels. And it brings happiness into your home, too.

Repellent Options

Keeping squirrels out of your garden can be done with natural repellents. These methods discourage squirrels from causing harm. Some effective options are:

  • Plantskydd Deer Repellent: Designed to fend off deer, this product also works against squirrels. Its natural ingredients, like hot pepper, create scents squirrels don't like. Using this in your garden can help repel squirrels.
  • Coffee Grounds: Squirrels are not fans of the smell of coffee grounds. Spread some around your garden to keep them away. Coffee grounds don't just keep squirrels off, they also benefit your plants as a fertilizer.
  • Dog Hair: Squirrels don't like areas that smell of dogs. By placing dog hair in your garden, it might make squirrels think a dog is near. Collect your dog's hair from grooming and spread it around your plants.
  • Scents That Repel Squirrels: Some scents, like those from garlic, onion, and peppermint, are off-putting to squirrels. Grow plants like mint, marigolds, nasturtiums, and mustard in your garden. These give off strong smells that squirrels avoid.

These natural methods are kind and work well for keeping squirrels away from your garden. Use them to protect your plants without harming the squirrels.

Startling and Scaring Squirrels

Squirrels can be annoying in gardens, damaging plants and crops. Luckily, there are scare tactics that work. Motion-activated sprinklers and air cans are two popular choices.

Motion-activated sprinklers surprise squirrels by spraying water when they get close. The sudden water burst makes squirrels run away. This helps keep them out of your garden.

Motion-activated air cans also work well. They blast air at squirrels when the devices sense motion. This loud noise and air burst scare squirrels from your garden.

See also
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These tactics are safe for squirrels and your plants. They just startle and stop squirrels without causing harm. This encourages squirrels to find food in other places.

Benefits of Startling and Scaring Squirrels

  • Effective deterrent: Motion-activated sprinklers and air cans keep squirrels away by startling them.
  • Humane approach: These methods don't hurt squirrels, ensuring they stay safe while protecting your garden.
  • Long-lasting solution: After negative experiences, squirrels will likely avoid your garden, offering a lasting solution.
  • Easy to install and use: Setting up and using these devices is straightforward and requires little upkeep for gardeners.

Motion-activated sprinklers and air cans are great for keeping squirrels out. They offer a safe way to protect your garden. Enjoy a richer, healthier garden with these tools.

Natural Predators

To keep squirrels away from your garden, you can invite their natural enemies, hawks, and owls. These birds help protect your plants by scaring off squirrels.

Adding structures where hawks and owls can perch attracts them to your area. Raptor perches act like natural spots for these birds. They offer a good view for hunting squirrels.

Another tip is to make nests for owls. Owl nests are cozy places that draw these night hunters. As a result, your garden becomes a desirable settlement for them.

Having hawks and owls around is good for controlling squirrels. But, make sure they don't harm other friendly animals. It's essential to keep the ecosystem balanced.

By using perches and nests, you increase the chance of a squirrel-free space. Your plants can then grow well without the squirrel threat.

Creating a Barrier

To guard your garden against squirrels, making a barrier is smart. Use row covers or chicken wire. A greenhouse is even better, protecting your garden all around.

Row covers are light fabrics you put over your plants. They let sunlight in but block squirrels. This way, your plants grow well without squirrel problems.

For a stronger defense, use chicken wire around plants. It stops squirrels but lets in light and air. Your plants stay safe and healthy.

A greenhouse is also great for squirrel protection. It keeps them away and makes a perfect space for plants. Greenhouses are a good investment for any garden lover.

Make sure your fencing is squirrel-proof. Squirrels are good at climbing. Even better, bury the fencing a bit to stop them from digging under.

Pros and Cons of Different Barrier Options

Barrier Option
Row Covers
- Lightweight and easy to install
- Allows sunlight, air, and water to reach plants
- Protects plants from squirrels and other pests
- Needs to be removed for pollination if not self-pollinating plants
- Requires maintenance to prevent damage from weather conditions
- May need to be replaced after a few seasons of use
Chicken Wire Enclosures
- Provides sturdy and reliable protection
- Keeps squirrels and larger pests out
- Allows airflow and sunlight for plant growth
- Can be more time-consuming to install
- Requires additional materials and tools for construction
- May obstruct access to plants for maintenance and harvesting
- Offers comprehensive protection from squirrels and other pests
- Creates an optimal growing environment for plants
- Extends the growing season
- Requires a larger upfront investment
- Requires regular maintenance and monitoring
- Limited space and may not accommodate all garden plants

Use these barriers to keep your plants safe from squirrels. Choose row covers, chicken wire, or a greenhouse. These methods help your garden thrive.

Using Companion Plants

To keep squirrels out of your garden, plant things they don't like. These include plants that smell bad to squirrels. With these scents around, squirrels are less likely to come close to your plants.

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Mint, marigolds, nasturtiums, and mustard are great examples. They not only make your garden look nice, but they help keep squirrels away. By placing these plants near what you want to protect, you can see good results.

The Crown Imperial bulb is another such plant. It gives off a smell similar to a skunk, which squirrels dislike. However, because it smells so strong, it's best to plant it away from where people are often.

By planting these friends of your crops, you set up a natural squirrel barrier. This way, your garden can stay safe from those pesky nibblers.

Covering the Ground

To keep squirrels out, you can use ground coverings they don't like. Mulch and gravel work well. They make it harder for squirrels to get to your plants.

Mulch is great for gardens. It keeps the soil moist, stops weeds, and makes things look better. Yet, squirrels don't like walking on it. Especially when it's gravel mulch. Put mulch on your garden beds. It can stop squirrels from ruining your plants. They find it uncomfortable to walk over, so they usually leave the area alone.

Gravel is another good choice. Its roughness keeps squirrels from digging and walking around your plants. The sound of them walking on gravel can scare them off, too. Use big pieces of gravel for the best effect.

There's also aluminum foil. It can block the smell that attracts squirrels to newly planted bulbs. By covering the soil with foil, you mask that scent. Then, the squirrels might not bother your bulbs. They could look for food in other parts of your garden instead.

Using these methods can help keep squirrels from your plants. Making your garden less squirrel-friendly lets your plants grow undisturbed. You can enjoy a beautiful garden without squirrels causing damage.

Giving Them Their Own Food and Drink

Keeping squirrels out of your garden is easy if you give them their meals and water. Doing this will stop them from looking for food in your plants.

Squirrel feeders work well for this. You can put sunflower seeds, peanuts, and feed corn in them. These are foods that squirrels love. Position the feeders far from your garden. This area will become the squirrel's own dining space.

Squirrels also need water to drink. Adding a water spot for them will keep them from your fruits and veggies. Try using a dish or a birdbath with fresh water. Make sure it's under some shade.

By providing squirrels with their own meals and water, you make them less likely to bother your garden produce.


Protecting your vegetable gardens from squirrels needs planning. You must mix control methods with things that stop them from coming in. By knowing squirrel habits and using smart techniques, your garden can stay safe.

Using things that smell and taste bad to squirrels is a good idea. You can also plant things they don't like. Make sure to put up barriers like wire fences to keep them out.

Another method is to distract squirrels. Give them their own food area. Take away what they like to eat from your garden. It's also key to keep your garden clean and pick the food as soon as it's ready.

If nothing works, there are professionals who can help remove the squirrels. These steps will protect your garden. Then, you can enjoy all the veggies you grow.

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