Squirrels. These creatures with their furry appearance look quite harmless and if you have taken some time to observe them, they do have funny antics that one can enjoy. But if you are a gardener, it won’t be long before you start wondering how to keep them away from your garden.
One thing you must know is that squirrels are a smart creature, innocent appearance or not. They are resourceful and it takes a grim determination to protect your crops from them.
Squirrels target fruiting plants like strawberries and tomatoes and often they also fancy corn seeds. They dig up the seeds and make away with them, preventing germination and causing lots of frustrations.
So how do you keep them away?
The following are some organic methods to teach squirrels to stay away from your garden beds…
Construct a wire mesh around beds.
When you are seeding your garden beds or when it is time for plants to bear fruit, put up a wire mesh around the garden beds to protect your crops. Squirrels cannot nibble through wire and tightly woven wire mesh netting is effective at keeping them away from flower beds.
Do not use plastic or chicken wire fencing as squirrels can just nibble through the netting.
Dig the fencing into the ground at least 2 inches deep to keep squirrels from burrowing through the netting.
Diversion feeding is the technique of providing easy-to-get food which is an effective method tried and tested by many gardeners. This keeps the squirrels away from your crops as they can get to alternative food easier.
You can put up or hang a birdfeeder and fill it with peanuts or sunflower seeds. Placing a tray of water near the trees to quench their thirst also helps minimize the onslaught.
Squirrels make their way to your garden bed and nibble on fruits and seeds when they are hungry or thirsty. Giving them food and water could encourage them stop targeting your crops.
Use a natural repellant.
You can make your own natural squirrel repellant using garlic and pepper. Squirrels hate the smell of spices and sensing them near your plants is enough to deter them.
Ground and mash garlic and mix it with vinegar. Spray the mixture around your plants.
Mix cayenne pepper with water and spray the solution around and on plants. There are commercial squirrel repellants you can buy containing cayenne pepper but you can mix your own solution which will be just as effective.
Garlic and cayenne pepper can damage squirrels’ eyes, nose and throat so be careful and do not spray at them directly.
Wooden or plastic owl.
Owls are squirrels’ natural enemies. You can place a wooden or plastic owl pole near your garden to discourage squirrels. Some gardeners have used this method and it worked.
Trap and release.
If the squirrel problem doesn’t stop even after trying the above methods, you will need to resort to cruder means – set up trap.
Trap the squirrel and drive it to a faraway place (at least 10 miles from your home) and leave it there.
When trying to keep squirrels away from your garden plants, it is always best (and right) to go the humane way and the organic way as much as possible. Squirrels may be pesky but they are still an important link in our eco-system and going natural and organic helps preserve the environment.
If you have an effective and natural way of deterring squirrels, please share them below in the comments. 🙂
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