How to Keep Squirrels Out of a Vegetable Garden & Plants

Overview

Squirrels can be a nuisance to plants and vegetable gardens. They are smart, curious and persistent--three things that are fun to watch when they do not involve ruining your hard work. Try to keep them out of your garden with fencing, unpleasant odors and distractions. Use the "if you can't beat them, join them" approach by putting out food and drink to dissuade them from digging up your garden. If all else fails, trap them humanely and release them far away from home.

Squirrel Deterrents

Step 1

Provide food and drink for the squirrels in your neighborhood, but far away from your garden. Set out corn on the cob, unshelled peanuts and a bowl of water.

Step 2

Plant sunflower seeds around the perimeter of your garden and tend them along with your other plants. Attract squirrels to the sunflowers; they will eat and play with those and leave your real plants alone.

Step 3

Crush garlic and smear the oil on every available surface in your garden. Leave big cloves of garlic everywhere, making sure to smash them to release their oil.

Step 4

Hang mesh bags (like those used for potpourri) filled with human hair around your garden. You can also sprinkle used cat litter around your garden to deter squirrels with the scents of their predators.

Step 5

Obtain a humane squirrel trap from your local animal control department for particularly stubborn, destructive squirrels. Use peanut butter to lure the squirrels into the trap. Consult animal control for places to release the squirrels, and choose one that is at least two miles away.

Fence installation

Step 1

Install a 5-foot or taller mesh fence with 1-inch mesh around the garden. Dig a trench with a shovel that goes at least 6 inches underground.

Step 2

Pound fence posts into place at the corners of the trench with a mallet. Slide mesh fencing into the trench.

Step 3

Bend mesh fencing outward at the bottom so that it is parallel to the ground. Leave 6 inches below ground and fold above that point. Bend so that it extends about 6 inches out to the side to dissuade squirrels from burrowing.

Step 4

Secure the fence around the posts with zip ties.

Step 5

Trim any tree branches that overhang your garden area or are within 5 to 6 feet; this will prevent easy jumping access from above. Use a pole saw and a ladder and ask a friend to help you with large or unwieldy branches.

Things You'll Need

  • Corn
  • Unshelled peanuts
  • Bowl
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Garlic
  • Human hair
  • Mesh bags
  • String
  • Used cat litter
  • Humane squirrel trap
  • Peanut butter
  • 1-inch mesh fencing and posts
  • Mallet
  • Shovel
  • Zip ties
  • Pole saw
  • Ladder

References

  • Colorado State University Cooperative Extension: Animal Pests in the Garden
  • Seattle PI: Garden Moochers: Tips for Keeping Unwanted Critters Out
  • To Build a Garden: How to Keep Squirrels Out of the Garden
Keywords: squirrel garden deterrent, keep squirrels out, scare squirrels away

About this Author

Amrita Chuasiriporn is a professional cook, baker, and writer. In addition to cooking and baking for a living, Chuasiriporn has written for several online publications. These include Chef's Blade, CraftyCrafty, and others. Additionally, Chuasiriporn is a regular contributor to online automotive enthusiast publication CarEnvy.ca. Chuasiriporn holds an A.A.S. in culinary arts, as well as a B.A. in Spanish language and literature.