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The Home Depot

How to Keep Squirrels Out of the Garden

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Landscaping > How to Keep Squirrels Out of the Garden
How to Keep Squirrels Out of the Garden

If you have a garden, you probably have a squirrel story. Most of them involve one of these critters getting into the veggie patch and massacring the soon-to-be-harvested crops. There are a couple of tried-and-true methods to keep squirrels out of your garden. There are also many unusual ways that some folks have discovered to rid their property of the destruction. Mind you, we said “rid their property of the destruction.” We didn’t say kill the squirrel.


One of the solutions simply requires you to treat the critters nicely. Give them options.


For instance, on the other end of the yard, far away from your prized plants, put-in a feeder and fill it with sunflower seeds. If they’re getting something better than a green bean or blueberry, let them feast on what they actually like.


Below, you'll learn about different ways to help keep squirrels away from your garden.

  1. 1. Natural Squirrel Repellents

    A natural squirrel repellent is hot and spicy things. Substances like cayenne pepper sprinkled in the garden deters the squirrel from sampling the vegetables once they got to experience the miracle of the Scoville scale.

    Similar to mice, squirrels hate the smell of peppermint. They will avoid it because it gives off such a strong aroma.

    Another clever way to weaponize your plants is to make a spray using diced-up jalapeño peppers, vinegar and water. Let the solution sit for a day, then spritz the area that attracts the squirrels.


    Garlic is a great way to repel squirrels, too. You’re going to want to use the same solution as you did with the jalapeño peppers, only this time substitute the heat with the garlic. The only downside to both of these methods is that you’ll have to reapply the concoction after it rains.


    Similar to mice, squirrels hate the smell of peppermint. They will avoid it because it gives off such a strong aroma. Go to a local health food store and pick up a bottle. Put a few drops of peppermint oil on a bunch of cotton balls, then disperse the cotton balls in various areas of the garden. You might also want to think about surrounding your garden with live peppermint plants.


    We once heard that by taking an old pair of nylons and loading them with a few mothballs, it keeps squirrels away from hanging around the garden. Just tie the stockings to a 2-foot high tomato stake, but make sure you don’t rest the thing on a plant. You don’t want your vegetables to taste like naphtha.


    2. Other Squirrel Repellents

    Dogs and cats love squirrels, in a bad way. They’ll chase down any critter that likes to run away from them. As a matter of fact, there’s a breed of dog that was brought into being for the specific purpose of hunting down small creatures. It’s called the Rat Terrier.


    Maybe you can’t handle getting a pet, consider erecting a few barn owl houses. A family of these critters can eat quite a few squirrels a week. Talk to your local pet store expert on the best food to use to lure a few barn owls. Once they nest in the box you built, stop feeding them.


Whatever you choose, be kind to these pocket monsters. Squirrels carry an important ingredient to the health of the environment. A living organism known as microriza develops and grows in the digestive tract of the squirrel and only the squirrel. As they relieve themselves, they spread microriza and this operates like nematodes in other plants helping plant growth.


In other words, you don’t want to destroy something that actually has a place in the environment. You just want to bug them enough so that they’ll stay out of the veggie patch.

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