How do I discourage squirrels?

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Squirrels are wreaking havoc in my garden, and those of my neighbours. They dig EVERYWHERE! They jump into large flower planters and rip the plants out. They dig up bulbs and eat them - except for onions and garlic. They seem to really enjoy tulips other than yellow. Whether things are in the ground or in pots on a deck, or even in hanging baskets, they get in and rip things apart.
City bylaws won't let us shoot them, even with BBs or slingshots. Poisoning is too hazardous to pets and children.
Cayenne pepper didn't faze them at all, even before rain or watering washed the stuff away.

  10 answers
  • Ama29412513 Ama29412513 on Sep 10, 2017
    Red pepper is a solution. I sprinkle it all over my garden.......no problem
  • Pat Hippert Pat Hippert on Sep 10, 2017
    My squirrels dig right over the red pepper. Something that kind of helps is to stick plastic forks, handle first,,tines up...into the dirt either right around the plant or around the edge of the pot. I also use this around my tulip plants to prevent rabbits from eating the first new leaves.
    • Barrie Templeton Barrie Templeton on Sep 10, 2017
      I have tried red pepper, and even filled my tomato and flower pots with several forks, as you suggest. Doesn't impress these little %$&#@. They just dig around and knock the forks onto the deck. :(
  • Karen Krysowaty Karen Krysowaty on Sep 10, 2017
    Crushed red pepper has helped but I also use crushed up starlight mint candy instead of peppermint oil which is more expensive. Both of these have to be reapplied after rain etc., but it is very cheap
    • Barrie Templeton Barrie Templeton on Sep 10, 2017
      My rodent neighbours aren't even slightly deterred by red pepper.
      I'm not sure what you mean by 'crushed up starlight mint candy.' Is that a brand?
  • Rachael Bruesch Rachael Bruesch on Sep 10, 2017
    Getting a fake owl also deters them from entering your garden. It worked for us ☺
    • See 1 previous
    • Rachael Bruesch Rachael Bruesch on Sep 11, 2017
      Wow! You have some fierce squirrels up there. The ones here are very timid by the fake owl (it has a head that turns 360 degrees)
      Sorry that I couldn't help.
      What about the liquid repel spray, ever tried it? I'm sure they sell it on Amazon.
  • Alice Hulse Alice Hulse on Sep 10, 2017
    I have this problem as well. What has worked for me is moth balls. I find where they have borrowed in the ground and place about 5 moth balls in an old knee high and put it as far down the hole as I can. I will tie a string to the knee high so if I want to get it out I can. I have had them push it out of the hole. When this happened I tied the other end of the string to a small stick or stake which was driven into the ground. I have had very good luck with this method. They still mock me through the window. Good luck.
  • Barb Barb on Sep 10, 2017
    Moth balls from dollar tree and red pepper flakes from dollar tree it worked for me
    • Barrie Templeton Barrie Templeton on Sep 10, 2017
      I hesitate to use mothballs, as they are poisonous to children and pets. I don't think Dollar Tree or other dollar stores around here carry mothballs or pepper flakes. Buying spices, even at oriental stores, gets pretty costly.
  • Karen Krysowaty Karen Krysowaty on Sep 11, 2017
    Starlight mints are a candy you can get at your local Wal Mart a peppermint candy It kept them out of my fairy garden last year
  • Pat Hippert Pat Hippert on Sep 11, 2017
    Some people in my town are setting out wild life cages...trapping the little buggers and releasing them outside of town. Don't know if you need a license to do this. My neighbor down the alley way had 1 huge walnut tree and then left quite a few tiny ones grow big...so now we have walnuts all over for the squirrels. Maybe that will help keep them out of my flower pots...or else they will use my pots to hide the walnuts. I guess we grin and bear them.
  • Marji Billings Marji Billings on May 14, 2019

    Try shaving a bar of Lifeboy soap around your plants. Supposed to keep bugs away so maybe the squirrels won’t like it either.

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