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How to Keep Ground Squirrels From Digging in Your Garden

By Edriaan Koening ; Updated July 21, 2017
Ground squirrels ruin gardens with their burrowing and feeding habits.
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Ground squirrels are rodents that feed on both plant and animal materials. They can destroy the garden by digging burrows and eating grasses, seeds and bulbs. They are active during the day and are usually solitary. Ground squirrels are not territorial, so many squirrels may live in one area, especially if it has plenty of food. Prevent ground squirrels from digging in your garden so you -- and not a furry-tailed rodent -- can enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Grow tall plants, especially around the borders of the garden. Ground squirrels prefer low vegetation levels and may avoid your garden if it has tall plants.

Remove weeds that bear seeds because they provide food for ground squirrels.

Grow cold-tolerant plant varieties before ground squirrels become active in early spring. This prevents digging in seedling gardens, and the plants will be too mature for ground squirrel consumption by the time the squirrels emerge.

Erect a fence from 1/4- to 1/2-inch mesh hardware cloth around the garden. The fence should be at least 18 inches high and 6 inches deep underground to prevent ground squirrels from entering the area.

Apply a repellent that contains 75 percent thiram to seeds to prevent ground squirrel damage. The repellent makes the seeds taste unpleasant, discouraging squirrel consumption.

Set live squirrel traps in the garden with seeds as bait to catch ground squirrels and release them five to 10 miles away. You may also be able to use snap traps to kill ground squirrels, but check with a wildlife authority to ensure this is allowed in your area.


About the Author


Edriaan Koening began writing professionally in 2005, while studying toward her Bachelor of Arts in media and communications at the University of Melbourne. She has since written for several magazines and websites. Koening also holds a Master of Commerce in funds management and accounting from the University of New South Wales.