How to Keep Squirrels Away From Your Garden

Tips for keeping these interlopers out.

The first time I grew a backyard veggie garden, I kept discovering nibbled, half-rotten and abandoned tomatoes in our yard.

It never occurred to me to blame the squirrels that played all day on our back fence. Between those short little arms and their small stature (the tomatoes were about twice the size of their heads!) they didn't seem very likely culprits.

That's what I thought until the day I walked out onto my deck and caught one of our furry little neighbors red-handed, playing with the fat, juicy tomato I'd planned to pick for my salad that evening. Mr. Squirrel saw me, froze for a moment, then dropped the tomato and bolted for a nearby tree.

Since we lived in a city flat with a shared yard, shooting the squirrels wasn't an option even if I'd had the stomach for it. With little kids and pets I worried about poison, and I could never have gone for gruesome kill traps.

So I knew we'd have to find a natural, non-poisonous way to keep the squirrels at bay with humane and neighbor-friendly methods.

After considerable research, here's what I learned about keeping squirrels and other rodents away from your prized produce:

  • Pester them back. You may be able to annoy the pests away with sprinkler systems, sensitive motion lights, high-frequency sound emitters or a variety of scent-based repellants, like garlic, hot peppers, or animal urine. Stake out your garden for a while to see what kind of animals are doing the damage, and search the Internet for tips on repelling your specific unwelcome visitor.
  • Bring in a predator. Dogs and cats can make great rodent deterrents, and some dogs, like the Rat Terrier, are bred for the purpose of hunting small animals. If getting a pet isn't an option, consider putting up barn owl houses.
  • Fence them out. Wire fencing can be an effective way to block pests. Be sure to bury the wire to keep out those persistent diggers, and consider electric fencing as extra deterrent. Using raised garden beds can make it easier to block critters with fencing under and above the bed.
  • Play nice. You may be able to entice your small thieves to another area of the yard by providing them with a better option. Turns out squirrels don't really like tomatoes, which is why they kept taking a nibble and then ditching them in our yard. We put up a feeder with sunflower seeds on the opposite side of the yard, and it seemed to do the trick.

Next Up

How to Keep Yellow Jackets Away

How to avoid this wasp in bee’s clothing.

Controlling Whiteflies and Aphids

Find tips here for keeping these common pests at bay.

How to Get Rid of Moles and Voles

Find out the difference between moles and voles and learn how to get rid of moles and voles so these burrowing varmints don't turn your lawn or garden into their playpen.

5 Ways to Keep Snakes Out of Your Garden

Follow these easy tips to send serpents slithering in the other direction.

Slugs and Snails

A slug or snail problem in a developing garden may go unnoticed because of their nocturnal feeding habits of eating small leaves whole, or nibbling the edges or underside of larger leaves.

How to Keep Chipmunks Out of the Garden

Learn how to get rid of chipmunks in your garden and stop these critters from wrecking your yard.

Yellow Jackets

Get tips for finding — and eliminating — yellow jackets before they find you.

Q&A: Cucumber Beetles

Here's a tip on how to get rid of cucumber beetles.

Voracious Japanese Beetles

These little critters are a gardener’s worst nightmare, devouring more than 300 varieties of plants.

Tell Spider Mites to Bug Off

Spider mites flourish in warm, dry conditions so water plants regularly to safeguard against infestation.

Go Shopping

Spruce up your outdoor space with products handpicked by HGTV editors.


Flip or Flop

7:30am | 6:30c

Flip or Flop

8:30am | 7:30c

Flip or Flop

9:30am | 8:30c

Flip or Flop

10am | 9c

Flip or Flop

10:30am | 9:30c

Flip or Flop

11am | 10c

Flip or Flop

11:30am | 10:30c

Flip or Flop

12pm | 11c

Flip or Flop

12:30pm | 11:30c

Home Town

1pm | 12c

Home Town

2pm | 1c

Home Town

3pm | 2c

Home Town

4pm | 3c

Home Town

5pm | 4c

Home Town

6pm | 5c

Home Town

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Renovation, Inc.

8pm | 7c

Hawaii Life

9pm | 8c

Hawaii Life

9:31pm | 8:31c

Lakefront Bargain Hunt

10:31pm | 9:31c

Beach Hunters

11pm | 10c

Island Hunters

11:31pm | 10:31c

Hawaii Life

12am | 11c

Hawaii Life

12:30am | 11:30c

Lakefront Bargain Hunt

1:30am | 12:30c

Island Hunters

2:30am | 1:30c

Renovation, Inc.

2:59am | 1:59c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.

Related Pages