7 Simple Ways to Keep Squirrels Out of Your Garden

Squirrels can be a major nuisance in gardens, as they dig up newly planted bulbs and seeds, eat ripening fruits and vegetables, and even chew on trees and plants. Keeping them out of your garden can feel like an endless battle, but there are some simple, humane ways to deter squirrels and prevent damage. With a bit of effort and the right techniques, you can have a squirrel-free garden.

Use Fencing to Block Access

Installing fencing is one of the most effective ways to keep squirrels from invading your garden spaces. Short fencing like chicken wire or hardware cloth works best for smaller garden plots. Bury the bottom edge several inches underground to prevent squirrels from digging underneath. For larger gardens, tall metal or wire mesh fencing at least 5-6 feet high does a better job keeping squirrels out. Make sure the fencing doesn’t have gaps wider than 1/4 inch that squirrels could squeeze through. Place smooth plastic sheeting or metal flashing on top of fence posts and gates to prevent squirrels from climbing over.


  • Creates a solid barrier to keep squirrels completely out of garden space
  • Durable long-term solution when installed properly
  • Height deters squirrels from jumping or climbing over


  • More expensive and labor intensive to install initially
  • Can create an eyesore depending on aesthetics and placement
  • May not be practical for very large gardens

Use Repellents to Deter Squirrels

Natural or chemical squirrel repellents can effectively scare squirrels away from gardens. Strong scents, tastes, and textures deter squirrels without harming them. Spread or spray repellents around the garden perimeter and anywhere squirrels frequently enter. Reapply after rain or irrigation. Some popular options are:

  • Hot pepper wax or spray – the capsaicin chemicals irritate squirrels
  • Predator urine like coyote or fox urine – mimics scent of predators
  • Moth balls or flakes – unappealing odor drives squirrels away
  • Ammonia soaked rags – unpleasant ammonia smell repels squirrels


  • Convenient and easy to apply throughout the garden
  • Safer for children/pets when using natural repellents
  • Usually affordable and can work quickly


  • May need reapplication after rain or every few weeks
  • Smell from urine/ammonia repellents can be strong
  • Some chemical options can be toxic if misused

Use Dogs or Cats to Chase Them Off

Squirrels are afraid of dogs and cats, so allowing them access to your yard can deter squirrels from sticking around. Supervise your pets when first letting them outside so they don’t harm squirrels, but most will quickly scare squirrels away from the area. Dogs are more effective chase squirrels from gardens than cats. Consider keeping pets indoors at night when squirrels are most active.


  • Dogs/cats can patrol gardens and keep squirrels away 24/7
  • No special equipment or installation required
  • Fun outdoor activity for pets


  • Dogs require training not to harm squirrels
  • May not be practical if you don’t already own suitable pets
  • Some pets could damage garden spaces themselves

Use Motion-Activated Sprinklers

Motion-activated sprinkler systems target squirrels with a quick burst of water when they enter the garden, scaring them away over time without harming your plants. Choose sprinklers with an adjustable range so you don’t soak plants/walkways unnecessarily. They can be hooked up to a hose or hard piping system. Some even allow timing adjustments to only deter squirrels during certain hours.


  • Effective physical deterrent without chemicals or foul smells
  • Can cover a large garden area
  • Once setup, requires minimal maintenance


  • More expensive initial investment
  • May scare away beneficial wildlife like birds
  • Can accidentally spray people walking by

Apply Natural Predator Scents

Squirrels have an instinctual fear of predators like hawks, foxes, coyotes, and snakes. Applying these natural scents in your garden can trigger squirrels’ prey response. Try using predator urine, feathers, fur, or feces. For example, place bowls of coyote urine around the perimeter. You can also collect snake shed skins or hawk feathers from nature to scatter around. Replenish scents after rainfall.


  • Leverages squirrels’ natural instincts to stay away
  • More natural approach without chemicals
  • Scents tend to be affordable and easy to use


  • Reapplication required to maintain potency
  • Some people may dislike certain scents
  • Effectiveness varies based on concentration

Protect Individual Trees and Plants

For orchards, fruit trees, or prized vegetable patches prone to squirrel damage, protect them individually. Wrap hardware cloth or metal sheeting around the base of trees so squirrels cannot climb up. Encircle ripening produce with aluminum foil or mesh netting secured tightly to poles. Small seedlings can be covered with cloches or wire cages. These solutions are best for targeted problem areas rather than entire gardens.


  • Protects specific plants without altering entire garden
  • Immediate effect where applied
  • Inexpensive DIY approach


  • Time consuming to protect many individual plants
  • May look unsightly depending on materials used
  • Not a permanent solution for entire garden spaces

Remove Food Sources Around the Garden

Eliminating external food sources near your garden can make squirrels less likely to frequent and damage your growing areas. Cut back overhanging tree branches with fruit or nuts. Clear up fallen fruits/nuts under trees regularly. Remove external bird feeders that could attract squirrels. Monitor for pet food or compost piles left accessible to squirrels. A tidy garden perimeter removes incentives for squirrels to hang around.


  • Reduces motivation for squirrels to enter the garden
  • Part of general garden maintenance anyway
  • Often simple and inexpensive to implement


  • Doesn’t completely deter squirrels on its own
  • May attract squirrels from other directions instead
  • Requires ongoing vigilance to maintain tidiness

Use a Combination of Methods for Best Results

No single squirrel control technique is perfect. The best approach combines several complementary methods, such as fencing, repellents, predator scents, and tidiness practices. Review your garden layout and squirrel activity patterns to choose 2-3 compatible techniques. For example, install fencing, position predator decoys around the yard, and keep pet dogs active outdoors. Customize your integrated squirrel deterrent plan over time for maximum effectiveness.


  • Layered techniques are harder for squirrels to overcome
  • Can compensate for flaws in any single method
  • Adaptable approach based on evolving garden needs


  • More effort to research and implement multiple methods
  • Certain combinations may not be compatible
  • Requires ongoing adjustments and upkeep

Frequently Asked Questions about Keeping Squirrels Out of Gardens

How do I remove squirrels humanely from my garden?

The most humane ways to remove squirrels include using repellents, predator scents, and physical barriers like fencing. Avoid lethal traps or poison. Scare squirrels away instead of trying to relocate them, which often fails.

What scent do squirrels hate?

Squirrels strongly dislike the smells of predator urine (especially coyote or fox), hot peppers, ammonia, and moth balls. Use these scents as repellents throughout the garden.

What is the best squirrel repellent for gardens?

Effective natural repellents for deterring squirrels include hot pepper sprays, predator urine, moth balls/flakes, and ammonia. Look for humane chemical-free options first. Reapply repellents liberally, especially after rainfall.

How do I keep squirrels from digging in my garden?

Stop squirrels digging in garden beds by installing fencing or wire mesh barriers to block access. You can also spread repellents like hot pepper wax or predator scents around the perimeter. Remove nearby food sources to make gardens less attractive.

What scent keeps squirrels away?

Squirrels are highly sensitive to predator scents, especially coyote, fox, hawk, and snake. Urine, fur, feces or shed skins from these predators placed around gardens triggers squirrels’ natural fear response and deters them.

How do I keep squirrels from eating my vegetables?

Protect ripening fruits/veggies with mesh netting or small cloches. Use fencing and repellents to secure the garden perimeter. Try motion-activated sprinklers. Remove fallen produce and debris to eliminate food sources. Keep dogs/cats active in the yard.


Dealing with pesky garden squirrels requires diligence, patience, and the right mix of deterrent techniques tailored to your specific situation. But with constant monitoring and a combination of fencing, natural repellents, protective barriers, tidiness practices, and fear-inducing predator scents, you can successfully keep squirrels from ravaging your garden plants and harvests. Implement these 7 simple, humane tricks to reclaim your garden and get planting without constantly battling squirrels for your produce and flowers. Don’t let those furry tailed pests stop you from gardening success!