There are quite a few things you can do to restrict the entry of squirrels into your garden, and this is the only way to protect your garden and backyard from getting destroyed by them. All you need is to spot the places where they live or pass through frequently and work on some ways to repel the rodent.
How to Keep Squirrels out of your Garden and Yard
Placing of Fences
For Vegetable Garden and Flower Beds
Installing an electric fence around your yard prevents them from entering by giving them a harmless yet uncomfortable shock when they attempt to cross it. A two-way fence system that comes with a barrier fence inside an electrified one is more effective in case their fur may keeps them insulated from the shock of the outer fence.
Maintain a gap of two to four inches between plants and the fence to avoid burns and damage. Also, regularly check accumulation of debris on the wires to prevent a short circuit.
For Large Trees (Including Fruit Trees)
Protect your fruit and nut trees like pecan, cherry, and peach with a plastic cylinder buried about two to three inches below the ground to prevent squirrels from climbing by digging under the barrier. You can also encircle the trunks with metal sheets or flashing up to six feet high to keep squirrels out.
If you live in a colder place, make sure the tree guard is above the maximum snow depth. Also, these protective cylinders need to be replaced every two to three years to allow the natural growth of trees. To shield individual tree trunks, place metal sheeting or baffles about two feet from the trunk. This way, you can also protect any bird feeder hanging from the tree.
Using Humane Squirrel Traps
A single-door live cage trap baited with peanut butter spread on a piece of bread or cracker is a humane way of catching both ground and tree squirrels, including the red, grey, and black ones. Fix the trap at areas where you suspect their maximum activity, including places outside your house from where they may enter. Once trapped, release them far away from your house to prevent their re-entry. Since in some countries trapping wildlife is not legal, make sure you contact your local authority before taking any step.
Landscape Changes and Keeping the Garden Clean
As squirrels are attracted to crops, corns, and vegetables like tomatoes, cauliflower, and cabbage, you can keep them from getting into your garden by making the latter less attractive, following some simple steps:
- Keep the ground clean by regularly removing fruits, berries, ground nuts, acorns, or any seeds that are eaten by squirrels.
- Grow ornamental plants and bushes at a considerable distance from your home.
- Keep your trash cans always tightly closed.
- Clean gutters often and cover them with toppers/guards.
- Cover your plants, fruits, flower pots, and vegetables with plastic netting.
- Install motion-activated sprinklers in your garden to scare squirrels.
Using Natural Squirrel Repellents
If setting traps or fences give no result, the best way is to use homemade repellents that will keep squirrels away from your yard with their pungent smell. Apply these to the plants, flower bulbs, pots, trees, and also vegetables growing across your lawn such as pumpkins, carrots, and melons. These are also effective when used near your patio, porch, balcony, shed, or deck where you more often keep outdoor cushion furniture. Here are a few simple methods and recipes:
- A mixture of jalapeno peppers, vinegar, and water
- A paste of peanut butter and powdered aspirin
- A powdered mixture of cinnamon and nutmeg
- A mixture of one gallon of water, one small bottle of hot sauce, one teaspoon of liquid soap, and few drops of cooking oil (apply using a spray bottle)
- Cotton balls dipped in peppermint oil (place them near the squirrel-inhabited areas)
You can also apply some castor oil, apple cider vinegar, cayenne/chili pepper, coffee grounds, or some bitter tasting gel around their nests, or the areas they frequent. Sprinkling handfuls of safflower seeds or some shredded citrus peels may also work, while placing a small cloth bag or an old sock filled with fresh garlic cloves can deter them too.
These can also be used inside and underneath your car to expel squirrels from destroying engine parts
Commercial Repellents: Should They be Used
Apart from synthetic repellent granules, pellets, paint additives, and organic fertilizers like blood meal available at stores, use of ammonia, moth balls, bleach can deter the squirrels from your yard owing to the strong odor. However, accidental consumption of the chemicals may risk their lives due to their poisonous ingredients, and should, therefore, be avoided.
Although ultrasonic repellent devices, emitting high-frequency sound waves are believed to frighten and keep squirrels away from your property, they do not promise a long-term effectiveness.
Repelling Squirrels from Garden with Natural Predators
Spraying fox/coyote urine and cat litter in areas where squirrels are more likely to be present can be a good way to drive them out without killing them. Placing dog or human hair is also believed to be effective.
As it is not viable to get real predators like owls and hawks in your yard, you can use owl decoys to scare the rodents away.
How to Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic and Walls of your House
Squirrels often enter the loft, garage, basement, or spaces between attic floors and ceilings of room from your roof through uncovered chimneys, or from underneath eaves, vents or pipes. Apart from making your house dirty, they also increase the risk of a fire hazard by chewing off the insulation covering of house wires. To curb their entry, here are some preventive measures you can follow:
- Use a mesh screen to cover the chimneys and vents.
- Trim overhanging branches of trees growing closer to your house that will prevent their direct entry.
- Place a one-way exclusion door or a live trap at points from where they are entering the walls to catch and release them, followed by sealing any cracks or crevices. However, make sure there are no baby squirrels inside the walls as they won’t be able to come out.
- Avoid keeping any food near your window sills and clean the windows regularly with an odor remover.
- Install strobe lights in your attic, crawl space, or any other place where you think they dwell for irritating them enough to leave.
NOTE: Using repellents indoors might not give the expected results as squirrels are less likely to escape outside due to the unpleasant odor, and may search for other places inside the house for shelter.