Dear Garden Guru,
We recently updated our landscape and added new plants (boxwood) to a brick planter. We added some black mulch and it looks really good. However, I have to go out several times a day to get the squirrels out of the landscaping. They are constantly digging, hiding, stockpiling, etc. and ruin everything. I tried repellent, cayenne pepper with soapy water, red pepper and several other supposed deterrents. Nothing works! No suggestions?
sick of squirrels
Hey sick of squirrels,
In fact, I often get this question. Being a fully organic garden and wildlife habitat, we always choose to work with nature rather than against it. This makes things a lot easier for us!
So when it comes to squirrels, birds, or any other garden pest, I always ask what the purpose of their behavior is. Squirrels, although they have a habit of storing, are generally foraging for food. I always recommend that you first set up squirrel feeders in a remote area of your yard to distract them from all your hard work and keep them busy elsewhere.
So yes, instead of fighting with the squirrels, we feed them! I even let most of my mammoth sunflowers go to squirrels. It’s great fun to get outside and see them hanging from the big flowers and getting as many seeds as they can while swinging. This concept has worked for us for years.
That’s not to say I don’t find the occasional pecan buried somewhere in my garden, but they don’t interfere with what I plant or dig up anything if we use these practices.
When I start a garden, I use chicken wire and fencing to cover my raised beds until the plants mature and have a well-established root system. As avid companion planters, we plant things such as hot peppers and marigolds to deter squirrels and other pests from certain areas of the garden.
I use peppermint oil in the garden for bugs and it’s also helpful for squirrels. If you do, use it as a foliar spray to cover plant leaves as well as the soil. This can also be done with the cayenne pepper you tried earlier.
If you still find squirrels disturbing your beds, you can try an ultrasonic system you can install in your garden, automatic sprinklers, decoys like plastic owls and snakes (moved regularly), or because they are prey, squirrels are cautious. the scent of any predator. So, as crude as it may be, using predator urine in the garden can also be helpful.
See you soon in the garden!
Do you have questions for the Garden Guru? Email Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit underhillurbanfarmco.com and follow them on Facebook and Instagram @UnderhillUrbanFarmCo.
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