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Past Articles Library | Organic Pest Control | Keep Squirrels Out

You're cute, but get out of my planter beds!


Tree squirrels are really cute, in fact some of their antics can be downright adorable.

That said however, these pesky critters can rip bark off trees, dig up plants and bulbs, and ransack outdoor bird feeders.

The thing about squirrels is that they're terribly curious, and always on the lookout for food - they think your newly planted beds and pots might well contain something they like to eat (like seeds, and bulbs), and that's what they're checking out.

Now there are many things you can do, but there are only a few that consistently work. Let's go over the best ways to keep squirrels out of your planter beds, pots, bird feeders and to stop them from shredding your tree bark.

Keep Squirrels Away From Tree Bark

  1. Wrap The Bark - Wrap 24-inch (60 cm) wide aluminum flashing around the base of tree trunks to prevent squirrels from shredding the bark.

    Use aluminum or stainless steel nails or screws to attach the metal to the trunk.

    Don't worry about using a nail, because something the size of a nail hammered into a tree won't hurt it. The nail would most likely be inserted about 1 inch (2.5 cm) into the bark. The tree should compartmentalize and heal the wound around it just fine.

3 Best Tricks to Keep Squirrels Out Of Garden Beds and Pots

  1. Wire Mesh - This is the best method. Use strong, tightly woven wire mesh weighted down with bricks, till the new planting has settled down - especially if you've planted bulbs.

    Remove it when the seeds or bulbs start to grow. Squirrels only seem to be interested in newly planted things - once they've been there a while and settled, they lose interest.

  2. Give Squirrels Water - This works really well too. Keep in mind that squirrels eat things in the garden many times because they're thirsty. Keep a couple of bird baths full of water for them.

  3. Make A Decoy - You can also set up a feeder away from the area you want left alone and fill it with nuts and seeds. They will eat that, and stay away from your planter beds, pots and trees.

6 Tricks That Don't Work As Well

  1. Chicken wire doesn't work as well because if they really want to get at the pots and beds, they'll move it or gnaw through it.

  2. Mothballs don't seem to make much difference. They may work for a day or two, but then they need to be replenished. They smell, and it's a pain to keep having to put them down.

  3. Plastic mesh - squirrels have been known to chew through this.

  4. Motion detection sprinklers give off a sudden burst of water and will frighten them, but only temporarily, plus, some areas you don't want constantly wet because the sprinkler is going off all the time.

  5. Ground chili peppers, black or cayenne pepper - some squirrels can get used to this and will eat through it. So it is a temporary measure.

  6. Fake snakes / hoses, marigolds, hair, predator urine, cats, pin wheels, coffee grounds, and soap are all things that usually do not work or work only on a very temporary basis.

Keep Squirrels Out Of Your Bird Feeder

  1. Use a squirrel-proof bird feeder - These feeders have cone shaped covers so squirrels can't slide down the wire to reach the seed. There are also many feeders that spin and throw the squirrels off.

  2. Use A Lubricant - If your birdfeeder is on a pole, use WD-40 or Vaseline on the pole, the squirrels can't climb up it.


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