Dealing with Squirrels in your Yard
Over the past number of weeks, I’ve noticed a number of questions concerning squirrels and their less than ideal garden behaviours. They can, indeed, be destructive and quite a nuisance in the garden, especially when it comes to bulbs in the ground or in pots. Here are a few helpful tips for keeping them away.
Squirrels Digging Bulbs
Whether your bulbs are in containers or in your garden, if you have squirrels, they will find them. Try using a ground spicy pepper (like cayenne or chili pepper flakes) around the plants. I have heard mixed results from this method – I guess some squirrels are more persistent. Or maybe like us, some can handle the heat.
If you have containers, try placing long stakes into the soil, reaching to the bottom of the pot. I know some people who use kabob skewers to keep cats out of their house plants and it has proven effective. Be sure the stake is pointed and sticking up at least five inches or so.
Bobbex is another alternative that will keep away most nuisance wildlife. Their website gives some good advice as well particularly geared towards squirrels. Look for it at Home Hardware.
Squirrels Eating Plants
If your bulbs and plants survived the winter but now are being preyed upon by these furry creatures, Bobbex may be your solution again.
Squirrels chew because their teeth are constantly growing and without chewing, they will become long and uncomfortable. You may want to consider giving them something they like better AND that will file down their teeth: corn kernels, hard coated nuts, or a squirrel log. Again, I’ve heard mixed results with this method – some find that the squirrels leave less desirable plants alone and chew only on the better food and others find it attracts more. Use at your own discretion!
Squirrels in your Feeders
Bird feeders are a feast for squirrel kings and queens. You fill them with the best snacks, a few birds come, but two days later, the feeders are empty – squirrels.
The type of feeder you have will determine what measure you can take to help ward off the four-legged critters. The location may also be a problem – located next to trees where the squirrels can easily jump from branches to the feeder will make short work of your bird seed.
Squirrel baffles and squirrel-proof feeders can be effective if properly placed, keeping in mind the location of the feeder. Use safflower and nyjer seed (squirrels are less fond of these types).
Finally, consider a trap if the squirrels are becoming a problem. Discuss the trapping possibilities with your local wildlife authority.