9 Humane Solutions to Protect Your Garden from Squirrels

Squirrels are cautious, pretty creatures, and they want to be alive just like you and me. Likewise, they can feel pain and suffer. I’m going to show you the nine humane solutions to protect your garden from squirrels.

We are always watchful against anything that can inflict pain or injury to us. Fortunately, we’re also well-informed that animals are no different from us; they’re emotional and suffer in agony.

Therefore, even if you find squirrels extremely offensive, showing them some mercy is humane and costless. That’s why I need you to be informed about how you can humanely keep off squirrels from your lovely garden. Keep reading!

Cute Reptiles as Pets
Cute Reptiles as Pets

What Do Squirrels Eat in Your Garden?

If squirrels have invaded your fruit garden before, then you know how these rodents can be destructive. Hearing that a person hates squirrels wouldn’t be surprising; their negative perception of squirrels results from something. 

Perhaps they are a victim of the intrusive effects from squirrels. You would also not like visiting your garden in the morning and learning that while you were enjoying your slumber, squirrels were having fun in your garden.

The destruction caused is not just striking but beyond repair. Let me not strike fear into you, but it’s good to know that squirrels are not animals to welcome in our gardens.

Eating is something of a priority to squirrels. Their appetite is exceedingly high, and they are not fussy eaters. If a squirrel assails your garden, there are a couple of foods to eat there, including vegetables, fruits, root crops, nuts, grains, flower bulbs, roots, etc.

These critters tend to eat anything available, as long as it’s edible. No food, no squirrel!

protect your garden from squirrels
A squirrel eating flower bulbs in a garden

Signs You Have Squirrels in Your Garden

Are you suspecting that squirrels are visiting your garden in your absence? How would you know it’s squirrels and not another animal? Let’s find out!

Squirrels are clever opportunists. They need to survive, and this forces them to hunt for food and shelter constantly. And this explains why it’s possible to have squirrels in the gardens; they have easy food.

Squirrels are our best friends who like touring our homesteads, and we have nothing against them. However, if these rodents enter your garden, it will be a whole different story. Below are the signs that you have squirrels in your garden.

Sign#1: Squirrel Nesting

Most squirrels, except the ground squirrels, build their nest on trees. If there are trees in your garden or the neighboring areas, the chances are that squirrels are residing on them.

The most significant thing for you to do is investigate if there are nests on these trees. You can liaise with the neighbors because it’s a high probability they’re facing the same problem as you are.

If you spot nests in trees, there is a good chance that squirrels could be invading your garden. Also, remember that squirrels can live in hollow openings, especially the ground species.

A tree squirrel nest
If there are trees in your garden or the neighboring areas, the chances are that squirrels are residing on them.
Investigate to find out.

Sign#2: Increased Squirrel Population in Your Area

Be keen to check the population of squirrels in the area. You will see them moving around on trees, fences, and power lines. Do you notice any change with their number?

If you see more squirrels than usual, then these rodents could be getting into your farm. Squirrels are skillful hunters and would go anywhere to hunt food.

Sign#3: Strong Odors

Another evident sign that you could be having squirrels in your garden is the pungent odor that saturates from their urine and droppings or even dead squirrels.

If you smell an unusual and weird odor in your garden, you may be smelling your new guests’ droppings or urine, and in worst cases, a dead squirrel.

Sign#4: Squirrel Dropping and Deceased Squirrel

More often, you can smell the strange smell that permeates from dead squirrels or droppings. However, sometimes you might come across any of the two.

Deceased squirrels or squirrel droppings prove that squirrels are not very far from your surroundings. Avoid coming into contact with the dead squirrel because it can be a root path for diseases.

Sign#5: Strange Noises

Another thing to be attentive to are the unusual sounds or noises you hear around your farm. Squirrels are not silent animals; sometimes, they can be very noisy.

If a squirrel doesn’t know you, then you appear like a predator to them. When scouting your field and a squirrel sees you, it will alert others by making sounds, like kuk-kuk-kuk. The noise will not skip your ears.

Sign#6: Scratching on Tree Limbs or Trunk

Squirrels are rodents and have front teeth that never stop growing. To keep the teeth filed down, these animals have to chew complex objects.

They typically chew on the bark of trees. Squirrels are fond of trees with thinner barks because they’re easier to chew than thick barks. Moreover, these rodents use the barks of a tree to build their nests.

Sign#7: Destruction on Crops

If you have crops growing in your garden, it can be an attractive site for squirrels. More often, these creatures visit gardens to steal food and carry it away.

They might harvest fruits from trees or uproot crops from the ground. If you notice damages on crops or fruits disappearing from trees, the chances are that there are some ruthless visitors around.

A group of squirrels
When you notice a sudden increase in the population of squirrels in your yard, be sure they are eating from your garden.

9 Humane Solutions to Protect Your Garden from Squirrels

Now that you know there are squirrels in your garden, what is the following action? Getting rid of them.

There are many potential ways to keep squirrels off; some are humane, and others inhumane. Of course, you need to imply humane measures even if you badly need squirrels out of your area. It’s helpful and respectful.

Here, I have nine humane solutions to protect your valuable asset or garden from squirrels.

Building Physical Barriers

Physical barriers, e.g., wire fences, act as roadblocks and block squirrels from accessing our gardens. Using such barriers is suitable for your garden as many animals cannot colonize the farm, not just squirrels.

Another good thing about physical barriers is that they don’t pose any threats to the growing crops. They are environmentally friendly and require one-time installation. The most effective deterrents to use are;

A Wire Fence for Your Garden

Erecting a fence is suitable for keeping squirrels off. We have chicken wire, hardware cloth, and plastic bird netting that does a beautiful job of keeping unwanted guests out of our gardens.

Squirrels cannot squeeze through the wire if correctly installed; ensure the wires are close together. I encourage you to bury the wire deep to discourage squirrels from digging under it.

When using a fence, make sure to use nothing but a squirrel-proof fence. Such a fence takes into consideration the animal’s ability to nibble, climb, or dig.

Cover Your Plants

There are several options on how you can cover the plants. For instance, mulching or lying down aluminum foil. 

I recommend using inorganic mulch when mulching because they’re more potent, and their texture discourages squirrels from digging. The best inorganic mulch to use is rubber chips, plastic sheeting, or chicken wire.

Moreover, these animals intensely dislike the feeling of foil between their teeth. The foil discourages squirrels from digging your crops, thus serving as an excellent mulch.

You can also wrap the bottom of a tree trunk with aluminum foil; it helps to dispirit squirrels from climbing.

Tight-fitting Trash Cans

Squirrels find their way to the trash cans hoping to get food. It is the smell of foods in the cans that attracts squirrels.

Use a metallic trash can that squirrels cannot burrow, and make sure it has a tight and fitting lid. These rodents have strong and sharp teeth that are super great at gnawing; thus, plastic isn’t safe to use.

Keeping the Garden Clean

A clean garden isn’t conducive for animals because they can’t get anything to eat. Animals visit your farm because there is food and not the other way.

More often, fruits, nuts, and seeds fall beneath trees and in the garden. Their smell allures squirrels so much, and you won’t miss seeing these animals.

So, therefore, clean up such items from your garden and beneath trees and on bird feeders to stop enchanting squirrels.

Cover the Ground by Gravel

Squirrels dislike the feel of mulch under their feet, mainly gravel. So, adding gravel around the plants will help to eliminate squirrels.

Although this technique utilizes a lot of labor, it effectively safeguards your farm from destructive animals like squirrels and others.

Hide or Remove Things that Attract Squirrels

Foods are surefire in keeping squirrels around the gardens. If you have bird feeders, ensure to remove them after feeding the birds. Also, be sure to collect the seeds that fall on the ground during feeding and dispose of them appropriately.

That way, the chances of having squirrels are limited. Check if there are any hollow trees and cover them if possible, and destroy squirrel nests.

Scaring Them

It is possible to scare squirrels away by adopting natural techniques. You can use cats and dogs, dummies, and sudden water spray to startle these animals.

Squirrels are enemies to many animals, and therefore, the only thing that doesn’t frighten them is fellow squirrels. They don’t withstand anything that appears as a threat to them.

Using Cats and Dogs, or Dummies

If there is something that both dogs and cats enjoy, it’s chasing small animals, including squirrels.

Put your dog or cat on a squirrel guard and let them startle and chase squirrels away. Squirrels also run in the presence of a dummy.

A Sudden Spray of Water

If squirrels have to defend themselves, the only thing to use is their sharp teeth and claws. If they encounter something scary, the only option is to take flight rather than to stay and fight.

You don’t need complex things to scare squirrels. A sudden sound or movement is enough to cause their flight. The motion-activated spray and motion-activated sprinkler will perfectly startle these rodents.

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A sudden sprinkle of water from a motion-activated sprinkler or air blast from motion-activated air can automatically shoo squirrels away.

Attracting One of their Predator

Employing natural predators for squirrels is another excellent alternative to keep off these rodents.

Squirrels are food to many animals, including owls and hawks. Attract these predators to your garden by providing nests, e.g., an owl nest or a raptor perch.

Note that this method will not only startle squirrels away but also other animals. So, if you want to keep some small animals around, this technique wouldn’t be a good choice for you.

Create Smells that Squirrels Hate/Natural Repellants

Despite not being picky eaters, there are some smells that squirrels wouldn’t dare approach. They are disgusting and significant enough to expel these creatures.

The human hair, dog hair, some herbs and flowers are natural repellents that you can use to repel squirrels away.

The Human Smell: Human Hair

Have you tried using human hair to keep squirrels out of your garden? I urge you to try it out; the method works effectively.

Squirrels are irritated by a couple of scents. Repellents like human hair work exceedingly well. You can try tucking a small amount of human hair around and under a plant.

Dog Hair

Likewise, no squirrel will stand the smell of dog hair. Therefore, scattering a barrier of dog hair clippings around the garden or tucking it on the soil when planting has an advantage.

However, both the dog and human hair offer a temporary solution as they lose their smell with time.

Grow Herbs and Flowers

Has anyone tried to repel squirrels from the garden using herbs and flowers? The truth is, some herbs and flowers help to make our gardens a less welcoming place for destructive squirrels.

It is safe to plant these herbs because they don’t negatively impact our soil, only squirrels. A few examples of herbs and flowers that offend squirrels include alliums, fritillaries, hyacinth, daffodils, geraniums, lily of the valley, etc.

Provide Food for the Squirrels

Giving food to squirrels is still another option to avoid squirrels in the garden. However, since you are likely to attract more squirrels by employing this idea, feed them in a place away from the garden.

You can use foods like nuts and peanuts, which are squirrels’ favorite dishes. Additionally, look for a squirrel feeder, and make sure to clean the place after feeding.

Last update on 2021-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Provide a Dish of Water

Squirrels need to have water at their free choice. More frequently, squirrels invade a garden to eat juicy fruits like tomatoes because they are thirsty.

Provide a dish of clean water, and perhaps squirrels will not put their legs on your garden, thus leaving you to enjoy your harvest.

How to protect your garden from squirrels [source: Gardens All]

3 Solutions that Should not be Used to Prevent Squirrels

Although you are anxious to keep your garden free of squirrels, make sure that the method you adopt is effective.

Things like mothballs, traps and a mixture of chili peppers can help remove squirrels but don’t offer a sustainable solution.

A mixture of Chili Peppers

A mixture of chili pepper is an option that people use to deter squirrels, and it turns out to be effective. But do you know that you leave the squirrel suffering?

Chili pepper is harmful to squirrels. If some mixture gets on a squirrel’s paw and touches its eyes, this item causes pain and might result in temporary blindness.


The use of mothball to deter squirrels is another method that you should avoid altogether. It may seem acceptable at the moment but beware of its impacts.

Mothballs are toxic to squirrels, and they are also poisonous to children and pets. We recommend that you only adopt solutions that are eco-friendly and less harmful to an animal.


A trap is the first thing to come to mind when we want to do away with pests around us. However, this is the last thing that we should think of; it’s something to be rejected.

Before everything, keep in mind that traps cannot eliminate all squirrels. Additionally, traps are disregarded because you might be trapping a squirrel mother and eventually leave her babies with no one to care for them.

Not all countries permit the use of traps to keep away animals. Therefore, make sure you are not doing what is illegal.


What is the best way to repel squirrels?

If there is something remarkable at repelling squirrels, it’s got to be a sudden spray of water. The squirrel does not stand at something that scares them; their only option is to run away. A sprinkle of water is also safe and non-toxic.

How do I keep squirrels out of my garden naturally?

You don’t have to kill a squirrel to keep them out of your garden. Planting herbs and flowers that squirrels find disgusting works perfectly well. Other sustainable solutions include keeping your garden clean, using gravel for mulching, etc.

What do squirrels hate the most?

Squirrels hate any taste or smell that is minty or spicy. If you want squirrels off your garden, plant flowers that emit a strong odor and are brightly colored, e.g., hyacinth, geranium, etc.

How do I protect my raised garden beds from squirrels?

To protect squirrels from visiting your garden beds, you need to install a cover or a cage. Plastic bird netting, chicken wire, and hardware cloth provide successful protection.

Some Thoughts

We have learnt a lot more about protecting squirrels from getting into our gardens. I want you to always remember the following points.

  • Squirrels are opportunistic eaters, and they munch on anything edible they find in our gardens.
  • It is not humane to kill squirrels using traps because you might be separating a mother from her helpless kittens.
  • Squirrels are beautiful at sight and fun to watch; however, they’re merciless destructors to our gardens or properties.
  • Feeding squirrels their food can help prevent them from going to our gardens.
  • When deterring squirrels from the garden, you should only employ solutions that are humane and sustainable.
  • A squirrel invading your garden is a sign that it is hungry and thirsty and only wants some food. Feeding wild squirrels is a good job.