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September 4, 2012

Do squirrels have the run of your garden?

- by Debra Anchors

Although squirrels are a constant challenge for gardeners, they are fun to watch as they leap along their treetop sky-ways. Squirrels are sometimes able to glide their way 20 feet from a tree branch to a target, which unfortunately is often a “squirrel-proof” bird feeder.


Female squirrels scout for safe resting areas and will take advantage of an opportunity (a rotten board, open vent, or hole) to enter an attic. Once inside, they may gnaw through insulation, wall boards, and wiring. If squirrels are present in your yard, check your attic for entry points and cover holes with metal or mesh before a squirrel uses it as an entrance.

Protect your tiny bulbs by tucking them inside wire baskets made of screening or chicken wire. Surround them with crushed gravel to deter squirrels from digging.

Place bird feeders on a pole in a clearing and use a baffle to stop squirrel raids (you may need to use a baffle below and above the feeder).

To protect fruit trees, the Humane Society of the United States recommends that you trim any branches less than six feet from the ground and wrap a two-foot-wide band of sheet metal around the trunk about six feet above the ground. Dwarf trees can be covered with netting. Remember that if there are nearby trees, roofs, or other access points, squirrels can and will make the leap.

If you would like to attract squirrels, purchase a special squirrel feeder. Fill the feeder with a treat, such as peanuts in the shell, and locate it far from other feeders in your garden.  A “lift-top” type of feeder box requires the squirrel to figure out how to operate it and is great entertainment.  Squirrels utilize nesting boxes for shelter and raising their families. Purchase one with a three-inch entry hole located on the side of the box to provide easy access.

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  1. These are great tips! I don't have too many problems, but there are those times when they come on the patio or deck.

  2. Hi there, we dont have alot of squirrel problems here...maybe cause we have six dogs! Good info though and I also checked out your magazines.

  3. Yes, squirrels are cute and sometimes even fun to watch moving around the backyard. They definitely look harmless from afar. The only trouble comes when they start chewing on things they shouldn’t be chewing. It’s hard to totally shoo them away, so try to ward them off the areas you want to protect. Some effective ways are using organic repellants and a perimeter net fence.


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