16 Ways to Get Rid of Squirrels

Get those pesky squirrels out of your garden once and for all with these tricks.

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©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Photo by Julie A. Martens

Photo By: Image courtesy of Gardeners.com

Photo By: Photo by Jamie Rector

Photo By: Image courtesy of charleysgreenhouse.com

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Get a Dog

Fido occasionally comes with his own set of problems in the garden, but pets that spend a lot of time outside may be able to scare squirrels off.

Sprinkle Cayenne Pepper

Some gardeners swear by sprinkling a concoction of cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, paprika or other combinations of spicy seasonings around the base of the plants. Trick squirrels into thinking your produce isn't a tasty treat after all by dusting a few of the fruits in the hot mixture, too.

Don't Feed Them

Cute as they may be, feeding squirrels creates an open invitation for them to come into your yard. 

Set Up a Buffet

Alternatively, some have had success leaving treats for squirrels in a remote area away from the garden. If you have room, you could also try setting up a "sacrifice garden"—a separate garden where critters are free to munch as they please without damaging your main crops.

Mulch It

If you've noticed squirrels digging in your pots or stealing your bulbs, mulch can help—make sure to use a heavyweight mulch like stones or decorative rocks or grass.

Use Netting or Fencing

If squirrels are coming between you and your crops, it may be time to build a fence. Protecting your edible plants with netting will help curb squirrels' (and birds') snacking. 

Netting in Action

Protect ripening fruit by swaddling it with plastic bird netting. This treatment keeps nibbling rodents (squirrels, chipmunks, mice) at bay, along with birds and wood turtles, who love to snack on low-hanging fruit. Cut small pieces of netting and wrap it around coloring fruits. Store netting pieces in the garden clipped to tomato supports.

Be Dedicated

Remember: squirrels are master acrobats, so short fencing around the base of the plants won't do. Take it from Joe Ventimiglia, who used old tent poles and chicken wire to create a hinged cage over his raised bed to protect his precious veggies.

Spray Them!

Motion-activated sprinkler systems are available and can detect everything from squirrels to deer, eliminating the need for chemical intervention or adding physical barriers like fences.

Don't Plant Trees

If you are really, really tired of squirrels, don't plant any trees. Squirrels can jump several feet from branch to branch, and are also capable of leaping down from even the tallest trees without as much as a scratch. 

Build a Greenhouse

If you've got the money, installing a greenhouse might be a worthwhile endeavor. Grow edible plants like strawberries locked away in the greenhouse where squirrels can't get to them.

Rake the Yard

Keeping your lawn tidy not only helps it look nice, but picking up fallen nuts, berries and other garden debris squirrels may find snack-worthy means you won't be laying out an all-you-can-eat welcome mat. It may cut down on garden thievery too. 

Plant Mint

That mint taking over your yard may be useful after all: Squirrels tend to avoid the strong smell of peppermint plants. Try planting mint pots at the edges of your vegetable garden to keep the thieves away.

Seal Trash Cans

In addition to removing any nuts and berries that may fall to the ground and provide a snack for squirrels, also make sure trash cans have tight lids and are covered at night.

Bulbs Squirrels Hate

Squirrels eating your bulbs? Try planting daffodils, snowdrops, allium and hyacinth. Daffodils contain a toxin that makes them inedible, and squirrels appear not to like the taste of these other spring bulbs. If digging seems to be the greater issue, try laying down a protective barrier of chicken wire or hardware cloth after planting. You could also try laying down jagged gravel or rock over the bulbs, which squirrels won't find pleasant to dig into.

Get a Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder

If you love the sights and sounds of spring birds, make sure to invest in a bird feeder with a baffle—a hood that prevents squirrels from accessing the food. The baffle of this DIY bird feeder, a mixing bowl hung upside down, stops squirrels from getting into the food basin.