Throughout history, squirrels have been associated with gardens of various kinds. They are frequently found scavenging for food in vegetable gardens and sometimes even making their own homes among the plants. Squirrels have become integral parts of our natural environment; they eat acorns, nuts, and other fruits while they often inadvertently disperse them, helping to maintain plant health and dually benefit humans. Vegetable gardeners need to be aware that their efforts will likely be visited by a few determined squirrels looking for a meal!
Signs of a Visiting Squirrel
Beyond basic signs of a visiting squirrel, such as chewing or scratching on garden plants and compost piles, burrows are another sign of their presence. Look for signs that they have dug in the ground to create a den—an irregular-shaped mound or tunnel with two or more entrances—and also may have created pathways around the garden by waving away dirt to create shallow depressions.
Squirrels can cause considerable damage to vegetables and fruits, eating plants whole or taking small bites from them. Tender young plants may be pulled from their roots and scattered in all directions. Fruits such as tomatoes, melons, and apples may have puncture marks visible in the skin where a squirrel has chewed holes into it for a snack. Squash such as zucchini often have large chunks taken out of them because squirrels like to eat half and then move onto something else. If not removed before winter sets in, these squashes often rot away before harvest time. Flower gardens can suffer from gnawed buds, leaves, stems and other parts – trampled flower beds will also show signs of their digging habits too.
Habitat Removal: Removing nearby trees and shrubs can help keep squirrels away from a vegetable garden. The lack of foliage in the area cuts down on the number of places they can hide, making them less likely to venture that far into a backyard.
Fencing Around Garden Beds: Installing fencing around each garden bed is an effective way to keep squirrels out. A durable chicken wire fence with wide enough holes will allow light and water in and can be properly secured near to the ground. This barrier will also stop them from digging at and eating plants as well as keeping leafy branches from accessing the vegetables.
Motion Sensor Lights And Devices: Motion sensor lights with sound alerts attached are a great way to deter squirrels from visiting your garden at night or early in the morning when they are most active. Certain motion sensors specifically designed for animals emitting unpleasant sounds or startling flashes, when triggered by movement, may help keep afternoons quieter as well.
Ultrasonic Devices: Ultrasonic devices emit high frequency sound waves that humans don’t notice but most animals do. Being constantly bombarded by these loud and irritating noises causes certain animals like squirrels, who rely mostly on their hearing, to fear entering an area where such devices are placed, making them stay away from your vegetable garden permanently.
Exclusion methods for squirrels in vegetable gardens can involve erecting an exclusion barrier to keep them away from the harvest. This can involve using a metal mesh fence around the perimeter of the garden that is at least four feet tall and supported with strong posts sunk into the ground. The fence should extend several inches below ground level so that no gaps will exist between the fencing and soil along the edge of the garden. Properly constructed fencing works best when it encompasses all sides of the garden, forming a complete enclosure. To deter any potential tunneling attempts, bury hardware cloth beneath the fence line on each side of your vegetable plot. To ensure an effective barrier against longer attempts to climb or jump over a fence, use angled sections of wire mesh or other barriers that extend beyond the top of standard height fences.
DIY Rat Traps
DIY Rat Traps
Can’t seem to get rid of those pesky squirrels in your vegetable garden? Consider constructing homemade rat traps as a cost effective way to keep your veggies safe. Here are three different styles of easy-to-make DIY traps.
1) Box Trap:
Use an old cardboard box, about 18” square and 10” high, to create a basic box trap. Cut two square holes in the sides for an entry/exit, about 4-5” across. Place bait like peanuts or sunflower seeds inside, then lower the flap on top of the box and secure with a rubber band. Once the rodent gets inside, it will not be able to escape because you can use sticks or other materials to fasten down the flap.
2) Bucket Trap:
Fill a large bucket up halfway with water. Bait one end of the bucket with some small food items like raisins or nuts. Leave the other end of the bucket empty so that when the rodent walks over, they slip off into the water and drown! Make sure to check often if you have set any traps and dispose of any caught rodents quickly and safely.
3) Tin Can Trap:
For a cheap but effective rat trap, use an old tin can such as a coffee can or Pringles can. Fill 1/4 of the can with bait such as peanut butter and pieces of fruit then fill it up with water until all edges are covered (this is important as rodents can swim otherwise!). Secure 1/4″ dowels around each side of tin so rats cannot escape once trapped inside. Cover top with heavy paper or plastic sheeting and secure with tape so no light gets in – this helps to make animals feel safer when entering!
Identifying a reputable wildlife control company can be done by doing your research to find one that is licensed, certified, insured, and experienced. Make sure they are certified by the National Wildlife Control Operators Association (NWCOA) or similar authority in your area. You should also look to see if they specialize in dealing with squirrels specifically as this will show their experience. Resources such as HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, or the Better Business Bureau are often helpful in finding reliable companies.
When hiring a company you should make sure the individual who performs the job uses netting or other physical barriers rather than poisons or chemicals to capture or remove the animals. You should also ask exactly what measures they are taking to ensure that no harm comes to the animal. Some tips for getting effective service include requesting references from past customers so that you can get first-hand feedback about their work and also seeing if any guarantees come with their services. It is important that you do your research during this process as it will best serve you ensuring safe and humane services for your particular situation.
In conclusion, it’s clear that squirrels can be a real nuisance for vegetable gardeners. Fortunately, there are a number of steps that can be taken to protect the plants from these furry little critters. Consider erecting an enclosed net or fence around the garden, using scare tactics such as motion-activated sprinklers and special repellents, or in extreme cases, trapping and relocating the animals. For further information about how to keep squirrels out of your vegetable garden, you may want to refer to publications from local gardening centers or contact your local wildlife management agency for more specific advice. With the correct precautions in place, gardeners should be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor while keeping pesky squirrels away!
If you’re looking to get into vegetable gardening, or are just looking for some tips on how to make your current garden better, then you’ve come to the right place! My name is Ethel and I have been gardening for years. In this blog, I’m going to share with you some of my best tips on how to create a successful vegetable garden.