Squirrels are the acrobats of the backyard. They can bend and stretch in every possible direction in order to reach a birdfeeder and their high-velocity chase scenes rival The Avengers. If you aren’t charmed by these antics, you’re not alone. Most gardeners are tired of them digging up their plants and eating more than their fair share of birdseed.
Don’t give up, here are a few ideas to deter them.
Remove Food Sources
Squirrels have voracious, gigantic appetites. The best way to deter them is to remove all food sources. If trees are dropping fruit or nuts, rake them up as often as you can. If the vegetable garden is a target, try netting or fencing. Make sure garbage cans are sealed tightly. If you compost without an enclosed composter, you may need to cover it with netting or chicken wire.
This is where these devils really shine. It’s nearly impossible to prevent them from stealing bird food. There are “squirrel proof” feeders and that’s a good place to start. Though sometimes they‘ll jump on them to shake a few seeds loose. They can jump 10 feet, so try hanging the feeder on a hook, far away from trees. Hanging your bird feeder with fishing line can be successful because they can’t climb on that. Wrap around squirrel baffles help too.
Try Scaring Them Away
Put your pets to use. Cats and dogs, particularly the squirrel chasing kind, can help chase pesky squirrels away. Decoys of owls placed on high posts can help, as well as hawk decoys hung from trees. In areas where water is plentiful, motion activated sprinklers are an option.
Squirrels don’t like hot spices like pepper and cayenne. Capsaicin is the compound that makes hot peppers hot and it is widely used in many repellents. The next level of protection comes in the form of predator urine, generally from wolves. The scent scares off squirrels, deer and rabbits, too. Repellents need to be reapplied after the rain.
Plant What They Won’t Eat
Here’s a secret: squirrels hate the smell of mint. Planting mint around the edges of your borders can help to keep squirrels out. Mint can be a very vigorous grower however. There are also a number of flowering bulbs that they don’t care for such as; snowdrops, daffodils, allium, and hyacinth. Try planting tulip bulbs, a delicacy for squirrels, among daffodils for protection.
Use Bone Meal
Espoma’s bone meal is a natural source of nitrogen and phosphorus that is also a repellent to squirrels. It helps plants to grow sturdy root systems and large flowers. It’s the perfect, all-natural fertilizer to use at planting time. It’s recommended for use on bulbs, perennials, roses, shrubs, and trees.
Read more about flowering bulbs and plant nutrition here.