Sure they’re cute, with their bushy tails, puffy cheeks and twitchy noses. They’ll stop you in your tracks with their adorable antics when you see them in the wild. The way squirrels defy gravity is pretty remarkable, running up and down tree trunks with lightning speed, and leaping from limb to limb with ninja-like reflexes.
As rodents go, I actually like having squirrels around, and I think they’re fun to watch- in the same way a beehive is fun to watch; from a distance. Funny how it quickly becomes an altogether different story when those dirty little nut-packin’, four-legged varments are pilfering your jumbo strawberries and digging up your prized Purple Dragon carrots. As you reach for your shovel (because your pellet gun is in the house), the squirrel gives you a “gotcha-sucker” glance as he jaws the berries and scampers up your back fence and disappears out of sight.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We humans are smarter than those cheeky chimpmunk wanna-be’s. I’ve compiled a few ways we can outsmart the persistent critters, sending them on their way to someone else’s garden.
Tree squirrels may be indiscriminate feeders, but they do have a favorite time to pillage. At dawn and dusk they’re particularly aggressive and come down from the highest branches to fatten up on your peas and beans. Set up motion-sensor sprinklers to give them a shower they weren’t expecting, once they enter your space. They’ll move on, a little too wet for their liking, but not at all harmed. Motion-sensitive spot lights can have the same effect.
Scoville scale warfare
Invest a few dollars in a couple pounds of jalapeno peppers (or hotter). Don some gloves, and gently pulverize (just break the surface) of the peppers. Dig a shallow trench where the squirrels are likely to forage and bury the bruised peppers just beneath the surface of the soil. If you have any pepper stems or old foliage you can include that in the shallow trench. You’ll outsmart the wiley rodents because they’ll smell what they think is a feast, but you know better! What it actually does, is burn their feet and mouth when they dig and store the peppers. The squirrels will hot-foot it out of there and it won’t harm your soil in the least.
Mesh or netting
Once you have planted seeds, squirrels always seem to find them. Look for a lightweight, tightly woven mesh, screen or netting that you can lay on the surface of the soil until the plants germinate. Just be sure it’s a breathable fabric that sunlight and moisture can cycle through. This will frustrate the tree squirrels because digging just becomes too much work. This also works as a deterrent for pesky birds that are more than happy to make a meal of your seeds.
These are just a few kind and gentle ways to desquirrelify your garden. No squirrels were harmed in the making (or testing) of this blog post.
How do you get rid of squirrels and chipmunks in your garden?
This article is the twentieth in a series of 26 consecutive articles, as part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the whole month of April. Tomorrow, I’ll post an article with a title that begins with the letter “U”… So goes the rest of the alphabet, through the end of the month.