Squirrels belong to the Sciuridae family, made of mainly burrowing rodents of different sizes. Squirrels are of different types and species. There are flying trees and ground squirrels. Multiple breeds with slightly different features and adaptation styles abound within each squirrel species. Prairie dogs and chipmunks are variations of ground squirrels with varying characteristics. Flying and tree squirrels also have different variations of their species.
Squirrels are mostly found in Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Belarus, China, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, and other parts of the Eurasia region. They are also found in Africa and the Americas.
Squirrels cannot survive in deserts. Although they are not selective in habitats, they are mostly found in heavily forested areas of the tropics and some semi-arid deserts. They are omnivorous animals feeding on both plants and animals. Nuts, seeds, and some insects are common squirrels’ food.
Squirrels and Plants
Squirrels are both carnivorous and herbivorous animals. They are great actors in the ecosystem and create a tremendous shift in biodiversity. They feed on plants and can cause severe damage in the process. Squirrels are typical plant pests with damaging effects on your fruits, seeds, vegetables, and ornamentals.
- They eat flower buds, seeds, vegetables, and nuts, slowing yield and killing the plant.
- Unlike other animals which attack plants, squirrels are more aggressive. They can gnaw at meshes and other coverings to damage them.
- Squirrels strip trees’ bark, damaging and killing them in the process. Attacks on barks of trees by squirrels always occur in winter periods with scarce food sources.
- Like other rodents, Squirrels can dig up plant seedlings, corm, and bulbs to eat and destroy them.
- Your lawn of well-tendered grasses can be a casualty as squirrels burrow through the soil to find a home and store food.
Signs of Squirrel Presence in Your Garden
Keeping a 24-hour watch over your garden and plants is a near impossibility. Your plants can be exposed to squirrel attacks at any time. It is not difficult to spot a plant or garden that squirrels have overrun. Below are indications that you are not doing enough to scare off and protect your plants and garden from squirrel
Depleted Crop Yield
What is the size of your garden and the expected crop yield? If it falls below the expected quantity after harvest, squirrels or other plant pests must have attack the farm and plant. Although many factors can cause low crop yield, one way to identify a typical squirrel attack is when the crops are missing and nibbled.
Squirrels dig up holes to create homes and save food. If you spot signs of burrowing, which results in mulching, your garden may be under squirrel attack.
Missing Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are a good feeding source for birds. Birds are attracted to the seeds and use them as food. It is also squirrels’ favorite. They can pick it up when it falls and also climb to eat it from the plants.
How To Protect Your Plants From Squirrels
Squirrels feed on plants. They eat plants as their primary source of food. Hence, you must protect your plants, fruits, seeds, vegetables, flowers, and bark from squirrels. You can make your garden and plants squirrel-proof. Below are various proven methods that enable you to keep your plants off squirrel-induced damages.
1. Grow Squirrel Repellents
Repellents are one of the most effective ways to eliminate destructive animals and rodents in your garden. Some plants can attract squirrels, while some can repel them. Some squirrel repellent plants are allium, daffodils, hyacinths, and others. Acquire these plants and grow them in your garden to scare off squirrels.
2. Use Scarecrows
As squirrels prey vigorously on plant crops, vegetables, and fruits, they are also targets of predators such as snakes and owls. Finding scarecrows of these predators and placing them strategically on the farm can be equally effective. Making rubber snakes move around on the farm can scare off squirrels, including resins of owls.
3. Use Repellent Solutions
There are customized squirrel repellent solutions that can protect your plant against damage by squirrels. A typical repellent solution is always made up of predators’ urine. Spraying on plants in your garden scares away squirrels and helps protect the plants.
4. Use Mesh And Nets To Cover Your Plants
You can cover your plants with a net and mesh to protect them from squirrels. A properly constructed mesh and nets protect the garden and the plants while they can still access water and sunlight. Chicken wires and other covers should be properly erected to protect your plants against squirrel attacks. Ensure they are inches into the ground so the squirrel will not dig them out.
5. Use Dogs
Dogs chase squirrels. You can use them to police your garden against squirrels by always setting them on patrol. They will run after them when they spot squirrels to chase them away. This method is superficial as the dog may equally damage some plants if the process is not handled correctly.
Covering the soil of your garden with mulch is another effective squirrel-chasing strategy. Generally, squirrels don’t like stepping on wet mulch gardens. They will find it difficult to navigate your garden to pull down crops and eat food. However, when applying mulch, ensure that the soil is effectively covered.
7. Companion Planting
It may be difficult to grow repellents separately, as you may want your garden to be filled with varieties of crops. In this case, companion planting is recommended.
However, you have to space the plants properly to prevent them from competing for essential plant nutrients. Use repellents such as mints, bulbs, and marigolds as companion plants, but keep them off inhabited areas due to their irritating smell.
8. Sprinkle Crushed Peppermint
Peppermint is one of the most widely used and simple methods to scare away squirrels from your garden. Crush the pepper and spray on the ground, stems, leaves, fences, fallen crops, and fruits on the farm. Cayenne pepper mix with petroleum can be your perfect additive for Squirrel control. Mix them, add a small amount of water, and spray them on the farm.
9. Use Repellents To Protect Your Potted Plants
If not handled with care, your potted plants can be torn by rampaging squirrels. Use squirrel repelling plants on your pots. You also add a mixture of squirrel repelling solutions to the soil to scare them away.
Threatening objects such as bamboo skewers can be effective. Stick them to the pot of the plant. It scares away squirrels as it points upwards. Pepper sprays and bone meals ooze squirrel scaring odors. You can use them in your pot.
How To Revive A Squirrel-damaged Plant
If squirrels attack your plants, it is possible to revive the plant with basic plant care measures. However, reviving a plant attacked by squirrels depends on the extent of the damage inflicted. Prune off damaged and wilting leaves.
Remove nibbled fruits. Water and fertilize the plants. With the proper measures, you can hope to have your plant back to life and blossoming.
Why Are Repellents Highly Effective For Squirrels?
A strong sense of smell distinguishes squirrels from other rodents and plant pests. Squirrels’ strong sense of smell is an adaptive feature that enables them to locate their food and perceive lurking predators. This makes scenting repellents very effective.
Are Natural Squirrel Repellents Effective?
Natural squirrel repellents perform as much as industrial chemical repellents for squirrels. They can effectively scare squirrels from your garden, farms, and pots. Cinnamon, Rosemary, predator urine, coffee grounds, capsaicin, and white vinegar are common natural squirrel repellents.
What Is The Best Natural Repellent For Squirrels?
If you want to get rid of squirrels in your garden naturally, you can use coffee, peppermint oil, predator urine, and mothballs are the best natural repellents for squirrels. Squirrels can easily sense their smells miles away, and you can use them as companion plants in your garden.