Don’t let the big eyes and bushy tail fool you. Even though they seem cute and playful, squirrels can be troublesome critters. These mischievous creatures have a reputation for destroying patio furniture, raiding bird feeders, and playing keep away with your flower bulbs. In fact, according to an article by World Class Wildlife Removal, squirrels are responsible for millions of dollars of property damage every year. How can you keep these pests away from outdoor spaces so you can enjoy your yard or patio? Read on to learn valuable tips.
How to Keep Squirrels from Destroying Your Patio Furniture
1. Choose Metal Furniture
Did you know that squirrel teeth never stop growing? It’s true and this fact is part of the reason why they are so destructive. Squirrels are constantly chewing on wood to wear down their teeth, and once they take a liking to a favorite chew toy, your wood patio table for example, they are determined to come back time after time. To avoid squirrels gnawing on your outdoor patio set, look for metal furniture which is too hard for them to chew on and avoid materials like wicker or wood.
2. Store Cushions Inside
Humans aren’t the only ones who find your outdoor cushions cozy and comfortable. Another reason why squirrels damage patio furniture is to find bedding to create their nests. Squirrels will tear open your pillows and upholstery to steal some of the fluffy padding or stuffing inside. The remedy for this is simple. Whenever possible, store your outdoor pillows indoors or in a sturdy deck box to protect them.
3. Create a Homemade Squirrel Repellent
There are a variety of household materials that can be used to humanely keep squirrels away from your home. Mix two tablespoons of red pepper with six drops of liquid dish soap to make a homemade squirrel repellent mixture. Spray this mixture around your patio a couple of times a week to keep the squirrels at bay.
4. Plant Mint
Another item that squirrels do not care for is mint. The fresh smell is enough to drive them away. Place several planters of mint around your patio to drive them off. In fact, according to an article by the GardenSquared, mint also repels a variety of insects and mice as well and can be used for a variety of cooking purposes.
5. Scare Them Off
Squirrels have a variety of natural predators and some of them, like dogs, can be recruited to help scare them off. If your dog spends time in your backyard around your patio furniture, the squirrels are less likely to want to hang out near your patio furniture. Other squirrel scare tactics can include placing a scarecrow or a statue of an owl near your furniture (just make sure to move it occasionally so the squirrels don’t catch on).
How to Keep Squirrels Out of Raised Garden Beds
1. Keep your Garden Beds Neat and Clean
Raised garden beds are great for gardening, but squirrels also like the added height of the garden beds. These beds provide a place full of seeds that is off the ground away from predators. This can be pretty tempting to a hungry squirrel. To avoid the squirrels stopping by to snack on your flowers or vegetables, be diligent about picking up any seeds, nuts, vegetables, or fruit that may fall from the plants in the area.
2. Plant Marigolds
In addition to mint, there are other plants available that feature scents that squirrels hate. Mint is considered an invasive plant so it is better planted in individual containers and should not be planted alongside other plants, however, marigolds can be planted alongside veggies and other plants to keep the squirrels away.
3. Use Water
If squirrels are venturing into your garden beds to take a bite out of juicy tomatoes, they are probably more thirsty than they are hungry. Place a dish of water out a fair distance away from the garden bed so they can get a refreshing drink. Sprinklers can also be used to surprise squirrels. Place a sprinkler near your garden bed. After getting splashed a couple of times, the squirrels will look for food somewhere else.
4. Place Groundcover
Squirrels do not like the feel of mulch or gravel beneath their feet. Place a layer of these materials over the soil in the garden bed to keep squirrels from digging for seeds. Laying mulch also has some advantages for your plants as well by keeping them insulated and keeping the water from evaporating as quickly.
5. Cover Your Plants
If the squirrels are still determined to reach your plants, you may need to give them some extra protection. Use a cloche-style greenhouse to cover the plants so the squirrels can’t reach them. Like laying mulch, this can also help your plants by keeping out other pests and creating the optimal amount of humidity.
How to Keep Squirrels Away from Bird Feeders
1.Choose Better Food
Both squirrels and birds have an appetite for seeds and nuts, however there are a few foods that birds prefer but squirrels have no taste for. Try filling your bird feeder with nyjer seed, safflower seed or white proso millet seed. These types of birdseed will attract a variety of birds but won’t appeal to the squirrel population.
2. Place Bird Feeders Away from Trees or Structures
Tree branches are a playground for squirrels and these nimble creatures can use them to jump or climb to hanging bird feeders. Typically squirrels will not jump higher than five feet off the ground or more than seven feet across an area. Keeping this in mind, place your bird feeder on a tall pole a safe distance away from trees or buildings.
3. Create Obstacles
Don’t make it too easy for squirrels to reach your bird feeder. There are a variety of products that can be used to make it a little tougher for a squirrel to access the bird feeder. Squirrel baffles are typically cone shaped devices that can be placed on the pole of a bird feeder so they can’t climb all the way up to the feeder. Looking for a low-cost (and entertaining) option? Attach a slinky around the pole. The spring design makes it difficult for the squirrel to climb up the pole and will safely dump them back on the ground. Plus, watching the squirrels attempt the climb can provide hours of fun.
4. Keep the Area Tidy
Squirrels can be attracted to bird feeders by scavenging the seed that falls from the bird feeder. Birds do not have the best table manners when eating and seeds can collect on the ground creating a tasty treat for the squirrels. Add a seed tray to the pole to help collect some of the mess. Otherwise, be diligent about cleaning up the seed left behind.
5. Use Irish Spring Soap
I know what you’re thinking… Soap? Really? It’s hard to believe, but there is something about the scent of Irish Spring soap that squirrels can’t stand. How do you use it as a squirrel deterrent? Simple. Grate a small amount of the soap into a sock or a pair of pantyhose and hang it next to your bird feeder. The birds don’t seem to mind its fresh scent.
Squirrels can be pretty crafty critters, but there are a number of ways to outsmart them. These techniques will help keep the squirrels away from your favorite outdoor locations so you can enjoy your patio or garden. Who knows? As long as they are not causing trouble, you may even learn to appreciate their unique charm.