How to Stop Squirrels From Digging in Flower Pots


Hungry squirrels are wily and smart, and seldom content with merely savaging your lawn. Now the little marauders are digging in your flower pots, apparently regarding them as a convenient salad bar. Trapping and relocating squirrels works well, but relief is only short-lived. Replacements move in quickly to fill the removed animal's vacancy, so the method is typically little more than an exercise in futility. Applications of repellent products have proven to be only marginally effective, at best. Your sensible alternative is to exclude or outsmart the clever little beasties.

Step 1

Block squirrels from digging in your flower pot with large stones. Cover the soil in the pot with the stones if the plant won't be damaged by the weight on its roots. The stones should be at least as big as a baseball to prevent the squirrels from moving them.

Step 2

Roll a piece of carpenter's cloth into a cylinder to create a cage for encircling the flower pot. Make the height about 24 to 36 inches taller than the top of the container. The diameter should be large enough to allow about 4 inches between the cage and the pot. Use quarter- or half-inch material, which is strong enough to withstand assaults from a squirrel's powerful teeth. Secure the ends with wire and sink the cylinder at least 2 to 3 inches into the ground to prevent squirrels from digging under the cage.

Step 3

Cut pieces of carpenter's cloth to fit inside the top of the flower pot. Cover the soil surface completely. Cut 8-inch lengths of metal coat hanger wire and bend them in half like bobby pins. Poke the pins through the carpenter's cloth into the soil to secure the material in place.

Step 4

Provide squirrels with an easily accessible pan of water. Place it near troubled flower pots. These animals often victimize bulbs and fruiting plants to quench thirst rather than satiate hunger.

Step 5

Feed the squirrels. Offer them something more appealing and easier to acquire than items in your flower pots. Place a container of cheap, tempting sunflower seeds, corn and peanuts nearby and keep it well stocked.

Things You'll Need

  • Large stones
  • Carpenter's cloth, 1/4 or 1/2 inch
  • Metal coat hanger
  • Cheap sunflower seeds, corn and peanuts


  • University of Minnesota: Squirrels
  • To Build a Garden: 6 Tips for Keeping Squirrels Out of Your Garden
  • University of Kentucky: Managing Tree Squirrel Problems
  • Pro Gardening Info: Ways to Keep Squirrels Out of Your Potted Plants

Who Can Help

  • Thrifty Fun: Squirrels Digging in My Plants
Keywords: squirrels, keep squirrels out, exclude squirrels, digging squirrels

About this Author

Axl J. Amistaadt began as a part-time amateur freelance writer in 1985, turned professional in 2005, and became a full-time writer in 2007. Amistaadt’s major focus is publishing material for GardenGuides. Areas of expertise include home gardening, horticulture, alternative and home remedies, pets, wildlife, handcrafts, cooking, and juvenile science experiments.