Protect Your Containers and Plants From Digging Squirrels

2 Materials
5 Minutes

I’ve been battling with the squirrels digging in my containers and destroying newly planted flowers. I was looking for a deterrent and solution that won't harm my plants and hopefully will keep the squirrels away!
It's so frustrating to plant your pots and have the squirrels dig them up, breaking them and destroying the roots. It's as if their squirrel radar goes off and they can sniff out fresh garden dirt!
We have a very healthy squirrel population with all our trees. We’ve been to war with squirrels in our attic, under our porch and had a  squirrel stowaway on our boat a few years ago. I’m determined keep them out of my containers. . .
I picked up some cayenne pepper and plastic forks from Dollar Tree. The forks work as a physical barrier with the tines pointed up and inserted into the soil. You can also use wood/bamboo skewers (that you use for kebabs on the grill) inserted in your containers. The mini wood stakes also work as a deterrent to keep the squirrels from pouncing in your pots and digging around.
I sprinkled the cayenne pepper liberally on the surface of the soil and on the edges of the pots. The 2.25 ounce bottle of cayenne is a bargain for $1, compared to purchasing it at the grocery store.
The cayenne pepper won’t hurt the plants and hopefully with one lick of the hot pepper off their paws and they’ll scurry away never to return! I’ve had to reapply the cayenne with our rain showers and after watering the pots, but it’s worth the effort until they get the ‘do not dig here’ memo. I'll keep you updated!
You can see more garden blooms around the Potting Shed, here.
Keep Calm and Cayenne On!

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 20 questions
  • Lavernezimmerman
    on Jun 1, 2019

    Beautiful Bichons. I have one & don’t have a big problem with eye stain but with black stuff Harding at the corner of his eyes. Do you have any suggestions for me? Thanks and I’m headed to the Dollar store right now to get my forks & pepper to try to train those pesky squirrels to go somewhere else.

    • Debra
      on Jun 8, 2019

      As far as the eye stain on your dogs eyes..I use contact won't hurt our eyes and neither does our dogs..and we don't put it in their eyes..just on works for me..use it liberally..

  • Carol Ocheltree
    on Jun 1, 2019

    Will this work for chickens ?

    • Birds don’t have any sensitivity to capsaicin (the active ingredient in hot peppers) unlike mammals, so I don’t think it would work for chickens.

  • Debbie
    on Jul 1, 2019

    will this work on my husband? any suggestion?

    • Krafty Mrs.K
      on May 26, 2020

      yeah hubby with a weed wacker can be do almost as much damage as those darn squirrels.

      I think it will work on Rabbits with their sensitive noses.

      We have both and bluejays too.

Join the conversation

2 of 95 comments
  • Deidre
    on May 25, 2020

    I use restaurant-size 1gallon cayenne containers (cheap from amazon). Sprinkle on landscaping between the front fence and sidewalk and it keeps dogs from using the area as a bathroom. Squirrels won’t dig there either.

  • Carol
    on May 26, 2020

    It’s a try for me think it will keep rabbits away

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