How to Keep Squirrels Out of The Garden


I must admit I have a weak spot for squirrels. When I was growing up in what was then known as Alderwood, after the alders trees that once grew in the area, squirrels were regular visitors to our backyard. There were three large maple trees at the yard’s far end. I used to sit out back during late spring and summer and watch the squirrels flow through the trees.

My mother was an avid gardener and she never once commented o the squirrels being a problem. The presence of three cats and a big dog may have been a factor. We rarely saw the squirrels on the ground, but they loved to sit on a high branch and heckle the cats. At least that is what it seemed like.

This year, I am balcony gardening and as we are on the third floor the balcony is quite high up and there is a small grove of maple trees very nearby. I have only seen one squirrel late last summer but when I begin to put out a spread, who know what will come for dinner.

Humane trapping is often offered as the most effective way to keep squirrels out of the garden. Once the squirrel is trapped you then relocate them to a park or green space, at least five miles away. Before buying or renting traps or contracting someone to do the work, check your municipality’s ordinances or bylaws and find out what rules, if any, govern your decision o trap and release.

One problem I have with trapping is you can be separating a mother from her children and this is not an action I can condone. We need to learn to co-habit with the other beings that have just as much right to occupy the space as we do in fact, some of these species may have been living there long before you did.

So rather than getting rid of the squirrels consider how you can co-exist with them and still have your garden.

The Canadian Federation of Human Societies makes the following recommendation:

To save flowering bulbs from being devoured, place one and a half cm (or smaller) wire mesh over the bulb bed. Extend the mesh at least 15 cm beyond the planted area and secure it. This will keep away raccoons and also chipmunks and mice if the mesh is small enough. Remove the mesh when the ground begins to thaw to prevent shoots from becoming deformed as they try to grow through it; most animals will be seeking new shoots, insects and worms at that time so will leave the bulbs alone.

Their web site is well worth a visit if you are determined to remove squirrels or at least reduce the damage they do.

If your garden is attractive to squirrels and you remove them, more will move in as the attraction is still there and the buffet open sign is still out. Do not make the opportunity more inviting, pick fruit as it ripens, clean BBQs regularly, keep your garbage cans secure and do not feed the squirrels even if you, like me, enjoy watching them.

If you have a bird feeder, squirrel proof it or buy one that squirrels cannot readily access. There are a number of feeders available that are designed to keep the squirrels away.

If the squirrels have invaded your house well that is a different situation altogether but this hub is focused on the garden so give some thought to peaceful co-existence when contemplating the squirrels and your garden. We can get along if we accept the wild ones have a right to exist just as we do.

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Comments 13 comments

FranYo profile image

FranYo 5 years ago from Springfield, Missouri

Thank YOU, Bob, for your article and these two videos! Just exactly the info I needed. Now I have two viable options for keeping squirrels away from bulbs and other areas where they are not wanted: dried blood & spices

I really appreciate your communication!

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick Author

I am glad you found what you needed, happy growing.

KwameG profile image

KwameG 5 years ago from MS

What ya got for snakes?

rpalulis profile image

rpalulis 5 years ago from NY

I like the idea of co-existing rather than removing, excelling points and great tips, thanks.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick Author

for snakes, chickens, rp co-existence is our best hope, thanks for dropping by.

Peter Owen profile image

Peter Owen 5 years ago from West Hempstead, NY

Yes I think squirrels are cute, but realistically they are just yard rats and can spread disease.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick Author

People also spread disease, thanks for dropping by.

Esmeowl12 5 years ago

I love squirrels - from a distance. At our old home, they were a terrible nuisance at my bird feeders. Here, they are not a problem. Thanks for the helpful information.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Squirrels do compete with birds for food, but there are ways to reduce the competition.

bbqsmokersite profile image

bbqsmokersite 5 years ago from Winter Haven, Florida

Very cool stuff. I've heard that in California, they have to use Coyote urine to keep rodents and such out of their yards.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick Author

I have read about coyote urine as a deterrent, glad I don't need it here. Thanks for dropping by.

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

I got two grey squirrels and I hate them because no matter what I do they eat my birds' food. I even wouldn't that but they are so greedy, The peanuts they burry them by the dozen and, of course, they rot. Ever since the squirrels are here I hardly have any birds. Before it was like a birdcage out there, so many. Oh I hate them.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Squirrels like what birds like and seem to have the edge when it come to getting it.

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