We are having a real problem with squirrels and chipmunks digging in our garden. What can I do other than traps? I don't have time to trap and release a few miles away. I don't want to kill them, just discourage them.
Hardiness Zone: 5b
Jeanne from Albany,NY
The most effective way to prevent squirrels and chipmunks from digging in your garden is to cover your soil with metal screening or hardware cloth (using a 1/2 inch grid squares or smaller). Bury the screen just below the soil and use rocks to hold it in place. Of course, covering your soil with screen or mesh is really only practical if your garden is small or you're trying to protect individual pots. Some temporary deterrents you might want to try include predator urine, mothballs and other strong smelling scents-all readily available at garden centers. I don't recommend sprays or other products containing hot peppers. If these get into the animal's eyes, they can seriously injure or even blind themselves in an attempt to alleviate the pain caused by the oil in the peppers. I can think of nothing more horrifying than watching a half blind animal run frantically around the garden writhing in pain. My method of dealing with these garden critters isn't always popular with everyone, but it works for me. I've resorted to feeding them. Squirrels love corn, peanuts, peanut butter, fresh and dried fruit, dry dog food and black oil sunflower seeds. By feeding them during the height of my garden's productivity, I have successfully distracted them from deflowering and de-fruiting my plants. I use a simple wooden box on the ground placed about 50 feet away from my garden. As an added bonus, they seem to have lost all interest in my bird feeders, too.
Not many solutions.Moth balls soap and some other foolish ideas won't deter the critters.You could net or enclose the area so they can't get in.One other solution that could work is spraying coyote or fox urine.However,it must be srayed after every rain storm as the rain will wash it away.Home Depot used to sell it for $17 a gallon.I don't know if they do now.I trap them the ones around my house then release them some distance away.
I have been buying from www.gardensalive.com for a long time. Great products & excellent service. They have humane & environmentally friendly products. They have a lot of humane solutions to critter problems. Or you could do as I do & feed them elsewhere. I have a "cafe" for the squirrels, chipmunks, ducks et. in my front yard. I don't have a garden now but I did for yrs. & they never bothered it.
Have you ever thought of taking a large can of RED OR BLACK HOT PEPPER and sprinkling it on the ground where they will be. It would get into the fur and feet...after cleaning it/them, I can guarantee you they will stay away from your area once they figure out that they always have something hot in their mouths after cleaning themselves from being there!. It won't take them long to figure out that that is not a good place for them to be at all!
Would feeding them help? Placing a table feeder or other accessable means for them to eat AWAY from the garden may help. (as Vic suggested)
Also, a few birds of prey will nest in man-made nesting boxes. You could maybe place those around the place. By upping the population of such birds should effectively down the number of the rodents. (Just be careful with this, as the majority of the birdhouses this size also happen to be the same size used for what you are getting rid of).
Cats may also help!
I listened to a garden show this morning where this guy swears by peppermint oil mixed with water and sprayed in the area he wants to deter the squirrels from. I ordered some today to spray in the area of my bird feeder to see if it works?
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