How to Stop Squirrels from Eating Plants

Squirrels are rodents, but most people don’t find them quite as repulsive as other rodents like, say, rats and mice. Squirrels look cute and appear timid. However, they can still cause destruction in your garden — eating your plants etc. Here are some effective ways to stop squirrels from eating plants, enabling your garden to thrive.

Squirrels don’t only eat your plants they…

  • Eat bulbs and crops. When you think about the squirrel diet, the first things that come into your mind are acorns, pinecones, and nuts. But their diet is more diverse than that. These furry critters also like to dig out and eat bulbs, especially during autumn. They also like to eat fruits and vegetables, including cucumbers, tomatoes, and squash.
  • Dig holes in your garden. Squirrels dig not just to get bulbs, but also to store the food they have gathered in their forays. They also sometimes dig just for fun — to the detriment of your plants. If you see your garden soil in complete disarray, watch out. Squirrels may be eyeing your garden for foraging.
  • Target your bird feeders too. Squirrels like seeds too. Sunflower seeds, which are unfortunately very commonly found in bird feeders, are some of their favorites. Fortunately, there are bird feeders with anti-squirrel mechanisms. But if your bird feeders don’t have these features, expect these foragers to raid your seeds.
There are many ways to stop squirrels from eating your plants.

How to stop squirrels from eating plants

1. Cover your bulbs

Stop squirrels from eating your plants by covering your bulbs. There are many ways to go about this. Here are some of the most effective ones:

  • Line planting holes with a wire mesh. The plants can grow through the wires, but squirrels won’t be able to access them.
  • Place chicken wires below and above bulbs. This is particularly effective if you are planting many bulbs at the same time.
  • Cover garden beds with plastic netting. This adds even more protection, especially if you already have meshes and wires in place.

2. Sprinkling cayenne pepper will stop squirrels from eating your plants

You can also stop squirrels from eating plants by sprinkling cayenne pepper all over your greeneries. Once they get a taste of the stuff, squirrels get repulsed and there is a chance that they won’t try to take a bite again. This is particularly effective for plants that are just about to bloom. Sprinkle them with cayenne pepper to save them from getting eaten.

The great thing about cayenne pepper is that it’s super accessible. You can also buy it in bulk. In the off chance that you can’t access cayenne pepper, you can try chili pepper or garlic pepper.

3. Be mindful of what you plant in your garden

Protecting bulbs, fruits, and vegetables from squirrels can be a daunting task for you. Here’s an easier solution — just don’t plant stuff that attracts squirrels in the first place. Crocus and tulips, for instance, are super attractive for squirrels. But you can’t say the same for daffodils and grape hyacinths. These flowers just don’t taste good for squirrels. They are also too fragrant for the furry critters.

Cucumbers and tomatoes are also particularly attractive, especially during hot and dry seasons. This is because they are juicy, and they can provide hydration for the squirrels.

4. Move or isolate squirrel attractors

Sometimes, you just can’t choose what you have outside your home. You may have trees with acorns, berries, and other squirrel attractors. And then these attractors may drop near your garden where squirrels can cause even more destruction.

In these cases, it’s important to collect all these squirrel attractors and put them in an area far away from your garden. If ever they do attract squirrels, at least they will be away from your plants. This doesn’t really solve your squirrel problem, but it can help stop squirrels from eating your plants.

5. Startle squirrels with sprinklers and traps

You can always get rid of squirrels in a humane way. You don’t have to kill them. One way to do this is to simply startle them. Squirrels are timid creatures. Abrupt movements and sounds can scare them off. If you can scare them off consistently, they may finally get it and stop bothering your property for good.

Motion-activated sprinklers are great. When they detect movement in your garden, they can sprinkle water. The sudden burst of water and noise will startle squirrels and can make them run away to safety — away from your garden.

6. Create a barrier around your garden

Cover your entire garden if you don’t want squirrels in it. Sure, fences, row covers, and wires can work to an extent. But squirrels are small and nimble creatures. If your barriers are too low or if there are gaps in them, the squirrels may still get through.

Consider building an entire greenhouse. If you don’t like this idea, you can settle for some kind of enclosure, like cages or wooden structures.

A dog can stop squirrels from eating your plants.

How to avoid squirrels in your home’s exterior

  • Cover your garden. Dealing with squirrels can be a hassle. But you can save yourself the time and effort by using barriers and enclosures to prevent them from going in and out of your garden.
  • Make your garden unattractive to squirrels. Have plants that squirrels don’t like. Use mechanisms like sprinklers to startle squirrels. And if the squirrels still persist, they will only find themselves unable to access bulbs and crops because of chicken wires and meshes. Make your garden as obnoxious and unattractive to squirrels as you can.
  • Let your dog out. Dogs are actually great squirrel deterrents. They like to chase and scare squirrels away. Squirrels are also more active during the day, especially during the morning and late afternoon. You can just put your dog on squirrel duty during these times.

Stop squirrels from eating your plants

Squirrels don’t just eat nuts as you see in cartoons. They can also snack on the bulbs and crops you have in your garden. This won’t just reduce your yield. It can also straight-up kill your plants as well.

You can stop squirrels from eating your plants by covering bulbs and sprinkling crops with cayenne pepper. Cover your entire garden. And even if they get through the barriers, make sure you have startling mechanisms like sprinklers to scare them off.

2 thoughts on “How to Stop Squirrels from Eating Plants”

  1. I’ve been catching squirrels attacking the new sprouting leaves of my banana plants, I think they’re thirsty and they’re drinking the sap, but they’re destroying the banana plants. I’ve been spraying the new leaves of the banana plants with peppermint spray to Limited affect; I’ll try the pepper.

    Thanks for the information.

    • Hi Robert,

      Thanks for the comment. I am sorry to hear that the squirrels are feasting on the new leaves of your banana plants. Squirrels do love a banana plant and new leaves will be especially fresh and enticing. Yes, sprinkling cayenne pepper all over your banana plants’ leaves should do the trick. And there are some other tips in that article that are definitely worth trying.

      Good luck with everything!

      Best wishes,
      Deal With Pests


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