How to Stop Squirrels From Eating Potted Plants

Overview

While tree squirrels can look cute and cuddly while they play and scamper about, they lose their appeal when they munch on your favorite potted plants. Thankfully, you can take some relatively easy steps to ward off the advances of the overly eager squirrel.

Step 1

Clean up the yard. Oftentimes the best way to deal with squirrels eating your potted plants is to keep them from coming around in the first place. Squirrels are drawn by the scent of food, and they are especially attracted to the seeds typically used in bird feeders. Rake up the area underneath bird feeders .

Step 2

Fit potted plants with a loose-fitting mesh covering. Secure this mesh covering to the ground with bricks or other heavy objects.

Step 3

Spritz the plants with a little squirrel repellent. Mix a teaspoon or two of dish soap and a tablespoon of hot pepper sauce into your normal watering canister. Neither the soap nor the pepper sauce will adversely effect the plant, but it will act as a natural repellent for the tree squirrels.

Step 4

Seed the soil of the potted plant with dry, ground up chili peppers. Use hottest chili peppers you can find. Once they are dry, grind them up into a fine power. Sprinkle the powder around the base of the plant on top of the potting soil. The oils from the peppers will make it unpleasant for the squirrels to walk on, but won't harm your plants.

Step 5

Set up a motion activated sprinkler system. When the squirrels move, it will set off the sprinklers and send the squirrels skittering away. This is a fairly expensive option compared to the others, and it is generally best to try them first before resorting to this method.

Step 6

Place live animal traps in the vicinity of the potted plants as an option of last resort. If all of the other methods fail, then it may be necessary to purchase live animal traps and set them out to capture the squirrels. Be sure to check local lregulations about where you can release captured live animals legally.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic mesh
  • Bricks
  • Motion detection sprinklers
  • Rake
  • Oil based soap
  • Hot pepper sauce
  • Hot chili peppers
  • Live animal trap

References

  • squirrels in gardens
Keywords: potted plants, squirrels, animal deterrents

About this Author

Lucinda Gunnin began writing in 1988 for the “Milford Times." Her work has appeared in “Illinois Issues” and dozens more newspapers, magazines and online outlets. Gunnin holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from Adams State College and a Master of Arts in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield.