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How to Stop Squirrels from Digging: Effective Tips and Solutions

squirrel uk

Are squirrels wreaking havoc in your garden, digging holes all over your lawn? You’re not alone. Many gardeners face this challenge, particularly in the UK. From burying food in your soil to disrupting newly planted bulb beds, these little rodents can turn a beautiful garden into a mess. One effective way to stop squirrels from digging is to use protective netting. This method not only prevents squirrels but also keeps other rodents away from your precious plants.

Installing squirrel-resistant bird feeders can also significantly reduce the attraction for these pests. When gardeners provide loose food or birdseed mixes, it often invites squirrels. By switching to bird feeders designed to be squirrel-proof, you can enjoy watching birds in your garden without the undesired visitors. Another handy tip is to cover bulbs with wire mesh, allowing the plants to grow while keeping the squirrels from digging them up.

For a more immediate deterrent, try creating a homemade squirrel repellent using common household items like hot sauce and dish soap. Simply mix these in a spray bottle and apply around your garden’s perimeter. This natural solution can make your garden an unattractive area for squirrels, helping you maintain a tidy and healthy lawn.

Key Takeaways

  • Use protective netting to prevent squirrels from digging.
  • Switch to squirrel-resistant bird feeders.
  • Spray homemade repellents around your garden’s perimeter.
squirrel traps

Understanding Squirrel Behaviour

Squirrels are fascinating creatures with complex behaviours driven by their need for food, shelter, and social interaction. Knowing these behaviours can help in creating effective strategies to stop them from digging up your garden.

Foraging and Feeding Habits

Squirrels spend a lot of time foraging for food. Their diet mainly consists of nuts, seeds, fruits, and sometimes small insects. They are known to bury nuts and seeds in the ground to save for the winter. These buried caches are often the cause of digging issues in gardens.

Tree squirrels, in particular, are very active during the early morning and late afternoon. They scurry about searching for food to store. They have a strong sense of smell that helps them locate their buried food. This behaviour can lead to numerous small holes in lawns as they dig to retrieve their stashes.

Nesting and Sheltering Needs

Squirrels need safe and secure shelters. They build nests called dreys, usually in tree branches or hollow tree trunks. These nests are made of twigs, leaves, and other plant material. In urban areas, they may also nest in attics or sheds.

During the breeding season, which typically happens twice a year, they are particularly focused on nesting. A squirrel’s nest is essential for raising young and protecting them from predators. Understanding nesting behaviours can help in identifying why they might be digging in specific areas, such as near trees or hiding spots.

Play and Social Interaction

Squirrels are also social creatures, often seen chasing each other or engaging in playful behaviour. This play is not just for fun but helps in establishing social hierarchies and practicing survival skills. Young squirrels, in particular, spend a lot of time playing, which can sometimes result in digging.

Besides playing, squirrels communicate through a series of vocalisations and tail movements. These interactions can sometimes lead to more digging activity as they mark territories or locate buried food. Observing these social behaviours can provide insight into why certain areas of a garden are more prone to digging.

Understanding these key behaviours is crucial for developing effective and humane methods to stop squirrels from digging in your garden. It helps in identifying the triggers and finding suitable deterrents.

squirrel in yard

Preventative Strategies for Your Garden

Preventing squirrels from digging in your garden involves creating physical barriers, choosing specific plants, and utilising effective deterrents.

Creating Physical Barriers

Physical barriers are often the first line of defence. Using chicken wiremetal mesh, or hardware cloth can shield plants and bulbs from squirrels.

Gardeners can cover bulbs and seeds with these materials, securing them just below the soil surface. This not only prevents squirrels from digging them up but also allows plants to grow without interference.

Potted plants and container gardens can also be protected with fine mesh covers. Tight woven netting is useful for covering entire garden beds, ensuring squirrels can’t reach your plants. Protecting individual plants like crocus bulbs with wire cages is effective, too.

Choosing the Right Plants

Selecting the right kinds of plants may reduce squirrel interest. They tend to avoid certain flowers and bulbs, making these less likely to be disturbed.

Daffodilsalliumshyacinth, and snowdrops are known to repel squirrels naturally. These plants can be used strategically around more vulnerable plants to act as a natural deterrent.

Incorporating strong-smelling flowers like nasturtiums and marigolds also helps. They add beauty to the garden while keeping pesky squirrels at bay. Planting such species can be an effective part of an integrated pest management strategy.

Utilising Deterrents

Various deterrents can keep squirrels away from gardens. Homemade sprays using ingredients squirrels dislike, such as garlicchillies, and mint, are effective.

peppermint essential oil spray can be made by mixing it with vinegar, water, and a bit of dish soap. This can be sprayed around the garden to create an uninviting environment for squirrels.

Other organic deterrents include coffee groundsblood mealbone meal, and crushed oyster shells. These substances not only enhance the soil but can also discourage squirrels from digging.

Squirrel-proofing bird feeders and avoiding nuts and hard foods intended for wildlife further minimises squirrel attraction

Implementing these strategies will significantly reduce squirrel activity in your garden, fostering a healthier and more productive growing space.

Daffodils

Control Methods Beyond the Garden

Securing rubbish and compost bins, along with introducing natural predators, can significantly help in reducing squirrel activities outside your garden.

Securing Garbage and Compost Bins

Squirrels are often attracted to food scraps in garbage and compost bins. Ensuring these bins are secure is vital. Use bins with tight-fitting lids to prevent squirrels from getting in. Choose metal bins if possible, as they are harder for squirrels to chew through compared to plastic ones.

Avoid overfilling bins, as loose debris might attract animals. Placing heavy objects on top of bin lids can add some extra security. Also, keep bins away from fences or structures that squirrels can use to jump onto them.

Simple steps such as these can help reduce the appeal of your outdoor area to these persistent critters.

Adopting Natural Predators

Natural predators can be an effective deterrent to keep squirrels at bay. Adopting a dog is a common solution. Dogs, by patrolling the garden, can scare off squirrels. Their presence and scent mark the territory, warning the rodents to stay away.

Using fox urine or a similar scent can also work. These products are available in garden stores. They mimic the presence of natural predators like foxes and raccoons and make squirrels uncomfortable.

Another option is to install fake predators like owl decoys. While this might sound simple, it can significantly reduce squirrel activity. Placement is crucial, so move the decoy periodically to keep the illusion alive and effective.

dog predator

Ongoing Maintenance and Monitoring

Keeping squirrels from digging up your garden requires continuous effort. By following a structured routine and regular inspections, it is possible to deter these persistent animals effectively.

Routine Garden Upkeep

Maintaining your garden is essential to keep squirrels at bay. Trimming trees and shrubs prevents squirrels from using overhanging branches as access points. Regularly mow the lawn to reduce hiding spots.

Use protective netting over lawns and garden beds. Netting blocks access to the soil, deterring digging. Installing squirrel-proof bird feeders helps, as bird food can attract grey squirrels and chipmunks.

Apply organic fertilisers instead of chemical options. This can help maintain a healthy lawn without attracting squirrels. Keep the garden tidy by removing fallen fruits, nuts, and seeds that may attract wildlife.

Regular Inspection for Squirrel Activity

Frequent checks are crucial. Look for holes in the lawn, which indicate digging. Inspect the base of trees and shrubs, as shoots or bark damage may point to squirrel activity.

Check for signs of nesting, like clusters of leaves or twigs. Inspect sealed entry points and fences to ensure they remain secure against grey and red squirrels.

Monitor bird feeders regularly. Squirrel-proof feeders can wear down, so adjustments may be necessary. Watching for squirrels means you can respond quickly with deterrent sprays or adjusting physical barriers, like stones and netting.

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