How to Control Squirrels From Digging in Vegetable Gardens

Overview

For gardeners who grow vegetables, tree squirrels are a pesky nuisance. A determined squirrel will go over the tops of fences and can make acrobatic leaps that span great distances. There are three primary tree squirrels in North America: gray, red and flying squirrels. In fall and early winter, squirrels feed on fruits and nuts. In summer, they feast on vegetables and fruits. Gardeners can employ a variety of methods to keep squirrels from digging up their gardens, including fences and traps.

Step 1

Erect a fence around your garden to keep squirrels out. Select a fence made of 1-inch mesh wire. Bury the fence 6 inches below ground, and extend it 30 inches above the ground. Bend the fence at a 90-degree angle outward at the top. The bend should extend another 6 inches.

Step 2

Erect two strands of electrical fencing 3 inches outside of the wire fence. Erect the first strand at ground level, and the second at the top of the fence.

Step 3

Apply a chemical repellent containing thiram around your garden. Thiram is a fungicide that also prevents squirrels and rabbits from nibbling on crops.

Step 4

Cover the ground with a layer of chicken wire. Plant garden seeds below this wire layer. Squirrels will be unable to get into the soil through the wire.

Step 5

Set out live traps designed to trap squirrels. Bait the traps with nut meats such as sunflower seeds. Transport captured squirrels to a point more than 5 miles away to release them. If you do not move squirrels at least 5 miles away, they may return to your garden.

Things You'll Need

  • 1-inch mesh fence
  • Fence posts
  • Post hole diggers
  • Hammer
  • Fencing nails
  • Shovel
  • Electical fencing wire
  • Nails
  • Electrical fencing anchors
  • Fencing electricity box
  • Triram chemical repellant
  • Chicken wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Live trap
  • Sunflower seeds

References

  • Texas A&M University: May Q&A's
  • University of Delaware: Animals in the Garden
  • University of Missouri Extension: Tree Squirrels: Managing Habitat and Controlling Damage

Who Can Help

  • EPA: Thiram
Keywords: garden pests, squirrel prevention, keeping squirrels out

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."