‘Frighten them off’: How to protect your plants from squirrels ruining them – ‘nuisance’

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Squirrels particularly like tulip bulbs, sweetcorn, strawberries, apples, pears, nuts and sunflower seeds. Damage to lawn and signs of digging in flowerbeds is usually down to a squirrel, who look for extra food in the colder months.

One expert has shared his top tips on how to try and control garden damage.

Liam Lapping of Flowercard said: “For some gardeners the antics of squirrels can be relatively amusing, from their acrobatic abilities to using their mouths as temporary storage for nuts.

“However, for other gardeners squirrels and other rodents can be seen as a nuisance, especially during the colder months when preparation for winter is in full swing.

“A squirrel’s winter preparation typically involves rummaging through planted bulbs and terrorising bird feeders.”

Bird feeders on top of metal poles can be greased to prevent squirrels ascending them.

It is advised to keep bird feeders away from fences or other high points as squirrels can jump long distances.

The gardening expert added: “To protect your winter garden from squirrels and other rodents, there are a few steps you can take.”

The expert explained that one step is to try and prevent squirrels access to new bulbs and seeds.

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“It can be a good idea to sow new plants by growing them in a greenhouse, propagator or cloche, preventing squirrels from being able to dig.”

What’s more, some plants could even be brought inside during the winter months.

The expert added: “You could also consider covering your pots with a layer of metal or chicken wire until shoots begin to appear.”

Fruit and vegetables can also be protected with the help of a fruit cage, although this is usually for larger areas.

It is recommended to use metal mesh to form the cage, because squirrels can nibble through plastic meshes.

Non-metal meshes can act as nets that birds and other wildlife get tangled in.

Another tip is to plant flowers and crops that squirrels don’t like.

Although this may not always be possible, it can help keep the animals away.

Liam explained: “There are thought to be a series of plants that squirrels will avoid based on their taste and smell, including mint, hyacinths and geraniums, to name a few.”

Another way to help prevent squirrels from damaging crops is to frighten them off.

The expert said: “You can use a series of visual deterrents to scare off squirrels.

“An owl decoy is a popular choice for this, because owls normally prey on squirrels.”

Falcons are also sometimes used as a decoy to frighten off squirrels. 

After a while, they will eventually become used to the presence of a decoy figure, which means it may have to be placed in different areas of the garden every so often.

Squirrels are also known to knock over containers and it is therefore important to plant in suitable containers.

It is advised to only use heavy, unshakeable containers on the ground just in case a squirrel or other animal tries to push it over.

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