How To Keep Squirrels Out Of Garden

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Have you noticed small, shallow holes around your garden or partially eaten fruits, nuts, or vegetables scattered around, often with gnaw marks? You are likely dealing with squirrels.

These agile, clever creatures love acorns but aren’t picky eaters. They will feast on nearly anything you grow in your garden, from fresh fruits and vegetables to flowers.

Besides eating your plants and leaving your garden looking unsightly, squirrels are notorious for stripping bark from trees and shrubs. So, with the garden you worked so hard to establish at stake, how can you keep squirrels away?

This guide covers the best ways on how to keep squirrels out of garden.

How to Keep Squirrels Out of Your Garden

How to Keep Squirrels Out of Your Garden

1. Pick The Right Plants

When choosing the plants to grow in your garden, consider the risk squirrels pose. Planting vegetation that these rodents are less inclined to eat offers a cheap and easy way to protect your garden. Generally, squirrels will first gravitate towards the following plants:

  • Young plants (a year old or less)
  • Flowers
  • Tender or soft plants with smooth, easy-to-tear leaves
  • Apples, strawberries, oranges, avocadoes, raspberries, and blackberries
  • Lettuce, corn, squash, mushrooms, and broccoli

These plants have plenty of nutrients and are easy for squirrels to eat. These plants are precisely what squirrels need in late summer and early spring as they get ready for winter.

Incorporate plants squirrels find less attractive into your garden to act as a natural deterrent. These include daffodils, alliums, marigolds, fritillaries, hyacinths, and lamb’s ear. Consider incorporating plants that repel squirrels among your more vulnerable crops. For instance, you can plant garlic and onions around your garden’s edges or interspersed with other plants; garlic and onions’ strong smell will help keep squirrels away.

Besides companion planting, try sacrificial planting. Sacrificial plants or trap crops refer to plants that are more attractive to pests and are used to lure them away from your main garden. Plant sunflowers, corn, nuts, and berries a good distance from your main garden to attract squirrels away from other plants.

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2. Fence Your Garden

How to keep squirrels out of garden naturally

You can often rely on a fence to keep unwanted animals, including squirrels, away. A well-designed garden fence can significantly deter squirrels from entering your garden space. A squirrel-proof fence is made of materials these rodents won’t easily chew or climb over.

Recommended materials include hardware cloth, chicken wire, electric fencing, and metal fencing. Hardware cloth is an excellent choice because it is durable, resistant to chewing, and difficult for squirrels to penetrate because of the small mesh.

If you choose a metal fence, opt for a smaller mesh size to prevent squirrels from squeezing through. An electric fence comes in handy in extreme cases. If squirrels and other animals consistently destroy your garden, I recommend erecting a low-voltage electric fence.

3. Keep Your Garden Clean

A clean, tidy garden with fewer squirrel attractants isn’t a place these rodents would enjoy visiting or creating their habitat. If you keep your garden clean, squirrels will be forced to look for food and shelter elsewhere.

Adopt the following into your regular garden maintenance.

  • Pick up any fallen fruits, nuts, and seeds from your garden, especially during the harvest season when these items are plentiful.
  • Rake up leaves, twigs, and other garden debris often and dispose of it properly.
  • Regularly prune branches, especially those close to your garden or those that can provide a direct path to it to make it harder for squirrels to navigate and hide.
  • Clean the area around your bird feeders to remove spilled seeds.

4. Cover Individual Plants With Nets

natural ways to keep squirrels out of your garden

Covering plants with nets keeps squirrels from accessing and damaging them. Cut a large netting to cover the entire plant while leaving extra material to secure it at the base. If you are covering larger plants or clusters of plants, create a support structure to hold the netting in place.

Drape the netting over the plant or support structure. After that, anchor it firmly on the ground or to the support structure with landscape staples, rocks, or soil.

5. Get A Dog

Fencing to keep squirrels out of garden

A dog will keep squirrels away from your garden. Their scent, sounds, and movements will help keep these rodents at bay. Suitable dogs for the job are breeds with natural hunting instincts and high energy levels.

These include:

  • Herding dogs like German shepherds and border collies
  • Terriers
  • Hounds
  • Sporting breeds like labradors and golden retrievers

6. Attract Predators

Several animals naturally prey on squirrels, so create an environment that welcomes these predators. They will help keep squirrel numbers in check and protect your garden. But how do you attract squirrel predators to your garden?

  • Install owl boxes and hawk platforms to provide safe nesting sites.
  • Create rock piles and leave fallen logs to provide basking and hiding spots for snakes.
  • Preserve any tall trees in your garden to shelter birds of prey. Also, install tall poles or dead tree branches for them to hunt and perch.
  • Provide hiding spots for foxes and coyotes by preserving dense shrubbery, brush piles, and wooded areas.

7. Deter Squirrels With Décor

how to keep squirrels out of garden naturally

Squirrels don’t scare easily and can swiftly adjust to their environment. However, with the right décor, you can make your garden less inviting to squirrels without compromising your garden’s beauty.

For instance, reflective objects like mirrors, CDs, DVDs, and reflective tape can startle and confuse squirrels. Fake predators, pinwheels, and scarecrows also deter squirrels.

Also, you can deter squirrels with sound by incorporating noisemakers like windchimes, tin cans, and bells into your garden decor. Ultrasonic repellents also work, so consider buying and placing them around your garden to create an uncomfortable environment for squirrels.

8. Use Squirrel Spray

Squirrel repellent sprays, whether commercial or homemade, deter squirrels through unpleasant scents and tastes. These sprays are typically made from natural ingredients that squirrels find unpleasant, thereby discouraging them from foraging or nesting in treated areas.

Squirrel sprays come in various formulations. Common types include:

  • Capsaicin-Based Sprays

Capsaicin causes a burning sensation in squirrels’ mouths and noses, deterring them from chewing or eating treated plants. Use this element to your advantage by spraying capsaicin on plants and around garden borders.

To make capsaicin spray, mix one tablespoon of cayenne pepper, one tablespoon of hot sauce, a quart of water, and a couple of drops of dish soap in a spray bottle and shake well.

  • Garlic and Peppermint Oil Sprays

Squirrels dislike the strong smell of garlic and peppermint. Crush a head of garlic and mix it with water in a spray bottle, then add peppermint oil, shake well, and strain it after letting it sit overnight.

Generously spray your plants and garden areas with the spray.

  • Predator Urine Sprays

These sprays mimic the scent of predators like foxes or coyotes. Spraying your garden with predator urine will make squirrels think a predator is nearby, deterring them.

  • Commercial Repellents

There are various commercial squirrel repellents available that combine different ingredients to maximize effectiveness.

9. Get Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeders

Fallen bird seeds are prime reasons for squirrels visiting your garden. You could fix this problem by relocating your bird feeders to a different location away from your garden or removing them altogether. However, before doing so, try using squirrel-proof bird feeders.

Types of squirrel-proof bird feeders include:

  • Weight-Activated Feeders: These feeders have perches or feeding ports that close under the weight of a squirrel.
  • Caged Feeders: A metal cage surrounds the bird feeder, allowing small birds to pass while keeping squirrels (and larger birds) out.
  • Baffled Feeders: These feeders include a baffle— a dome or tube— that prevents squirrels from reaching the feeder. You can install baffles above or below the feeder.

10. Install motion-activated sprinklers

Blasting squirrels with cold water will startle and chase them away. This approach is effective, easy, and works on other animals you wish to keep out of your garden. Since you cannot always be there to pour water on squirrels, consider getting a motion-activated sprinkler.

Choose a sprinkler with a wide detection range to cover as much of your garden as possible. For the best outcome, place the sprinkler where it can cover the most vulnerable areas of your garden.

11. Seal Access Points

Squirrels can exploit even the tiniest to find access to your garden. Therefore, to effectively keep them out, thoroughly seal all potential entry points. Inspect and repair any holes and gaps in your garden fence, trellises, exterior walls, and underneath sheds and decks.

12. Capture and Release

If deterring and exclusion methods fail and squirrels find their way into your garden anyway, consider capturing and releasing them. Get a sturdy, weather-resistant live trap specifically designed for small mammals and place fruits, peanut butter, seeds, nuts, or any other suitable bait inside the trap.

After that, place the trap where you’ve observed squirrel activity. Once you capture a squirrel, release it at least 5 miles from your home.


From afar, squirrels are fun to watch, even cute, but you won’t feel the same way when they invade your garden. Fortunately, while difficult, you can keep them out. Make sure you assess the extent of the squirrel invasion in your garden to determine the most appropriate approach to keep them at bay. You may need to combine multiple solutions, such as physical barriers, repellents, and strategic planting, to defeat these persistent creatures.

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