15 Best Ways to Stop Squirrels Digging up Your Garden

Tired of finding your garden transformed into a squirrel excavation site? Say goodbye to the relentless battle between your flora and furry invaders! Unleash the power of nature’s defense mechanisms with our guide on “6 Ways to Stop Squirrels Digging up Your Garden.”

From clever deterrents to strategic landscaping tips, we’ve curated a toolkit that not only protects your precious plants but also adds a touch of ingenuity to your outdoor oasis.

Bid farewell to the days of witnessing your garden beds being plundered, and join us on a journey to outsmart these persistent diggers, turning your backyard into a sanctuary free from squirrel shenanigans!

Squirrels Digging up Your Garden

Table of Contents

6 Ways to Stop Squirrels Digging up Your Garden

Are pesky squirrels wreaking havoc in your garden? Fear not! Discover effective strategies to put an end to their digging escapades and protect your cherished plants and flowers.

From natural deterrents to clever garden design, here are six practical ways to reclaim your garden from these persistent critters.

Invest in Squirrel-Proof Plant Covers:

Shield your garden with durable plant covers, creating an impenetrable barrier against curious squirrels.

These protective covers act as a physical deterrent while allowing sunlight and water to nourish your plants. Invest in mesh or wire options for a secure defense without compromising your garden’s aesthetic appeal.

Apply Natural Repellents:

Harness the power of nature to discourage squirrels from turning your garden into their personal playground.

Sprinkle cayenne pepper, garlic powder, or use predator urine near plant beds. Squirrels find these scents unpleasant, prompting them to seek greener, less pungent pastures.

Optimize Garden Layout and Mulching:

Strategically design your garden layout to minimize squirrel-friendly hiding spots. Additionally, consider using mulch alternatives like gravel, rocks, or cocoa bean shells, as these textures deter digging.

By making your garden less accommodating, you discourage squirrels from considering it a prime digging destination.

Install Motion-Activated Devices:

Utilize technology to your advantage by incorporating motion-activated devices. From sprinklers to ultrasonic repellents, these gadgets startle squirrels and discourage their presence.

The sudden bursts of water or high-frequency sounds disrupt their digging routines, teaching them that your garden is off-limits.

Secure Bird Feeders and Food Sources:

Squirrels are notorious for raiding bird feeders and snacking on garden delights. Secure bird feeders on poles equipped with baffles, preventing squirrels from reaching the tempting treats.

By eliminating easy access to food, you dissuade squirrels from considering your garden a convenient dining spot.

Employ Natural Predators:

Embrace nature’s balance by inviting natural squirrel predators into your garden. Attract birds of prey, such as hawks or owls, with perches and nesting boxes.

These feathered guardians not only add a touch of wildlife charm but also keep the squirrel population in check, maintaining harmony in your garden ecosystem.

What are Squirrels?

Squirrels are small to medium-sized rodents that are found all over the world. They are opportunistic feeders with varied diets that include tender leaf buds, wild fruits, nuts and acorns, bird eggs, seed crops, or even tree bark.

Depending on the species, squirrels may expand their diet to eat insects and other animal matter. In the summer, squirrels will feast on berries, fruits and succulents.

Specifically, they enjoy fruits and vegetables like oranges, apricots, corn and avocados. Squirrels have four front teeth that continually grow, which allows them to bite through hard exteriors like apples and nuts.

Squirrels do bite on occasion, but damage to the home or yard is much more likely. When residents give food to the pests, they create the conditions for future squirrel bites.

These animals naturally shy away from human contact, but squirrels quickly lose that instinct if they associate people with food. The hungry rodents may approach humans and become aggressive to get a meal.

4 Ways to Identify Squirrel Damage:

Bite Marks and Gnawing: Squirrels have strong teeth that continuously grow, leading them to gnaw on various surfaces. Look for bite marks and gnawing on tree bark, wooden structures, electrical wires, or plastic pipes.

Digging and Burrowing: Some squirrel species, especially ground squirrels, may dig holes in lawns and gardens to bury food or create nests. Check for disturbed soil and holes around the garden or yard.

Feeding Signs: Squirrels are notorious for raiding bird feeders. If you notice damage to bird feeders, scattered birdseed, or missing flowers, fruits, or vegetables from your garden, it might be the work of squirrels.

Chewed Electrical Wires: In urban areas, squirrels may chew on electrical wires, which can lead to electrical issues and pose a fire hazard. If you find chewed wires around your home, squirrels might be the culprits.

10 Humane Methods to Keep Squirrels Out of Gardens:

Use Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeders: Invest in bird feeders designed to deter squirrels, such as those with weight-activated mechanisms that close access to the food when a heavier animal (like a squirrel) tries to feed.

Install Physical Barriers: Use metal mesh or wire mesh around plants and garden beds to prevent squirrels from digging or accessing crops.

Apply Natural Repellents: Use substances like cayenne pepper, garlic, or vinegar around plants. Squirrels often dislike the smell or taste of these substances.

Provide Alternative Food Sources: Place food sources that squirrels enjoy away from the garden to divert their attention. This can include a separate feeding station with nuts and seeds.

Use Squirrel-Resistant Plant Varieties: Choose plants that are less appealing to squirrels. Some species are less likely to attract their attention, reducing the risk of damage.

Implement Motion-Activated Devices: Install motion-activated sprinklers or lights to startle squirrels when they approach the garden.

Keep the Garden Tidy: Remove fallen fruits, nuts, and seeds regularly to discourage squirrels from frequenting the area.

Use Scent Deterrents: Squirrels are sensitive to certain scents. Consider using strong-smelling substances like peppermint oil or predator urine around the garden perimeter.

Trim Tree Branches: Trim branches that provide easy access to the garden, as squirrels are skilled climbers.

Employ Noise and Disturbances: Squirrels are wary of disturbances. Utilize noise, such as wind chimes or radios, to make the garden less attractive.

Squirrels Digging up Your Garden

Harmful Squirrel Deterrents:

Poisons: Using poisons to deter squirrels is not recommended as it poses a risk to other wildlife, pets, and can be inhumane.

Lethal Traps: Avoid using lethal traps as they can cause unnecessary harm and suffering to squirrels.

Chemical Repellents: Some chemical repellents may contain harmful substances that can be detrimental to the environment, pets, or other non-target animals.

Ultrasonic Devices: While some ultrasonic devices claim to repel squirrels, their effectiveness is debated, and they may cause distress to other animals.

It’s important to opt for humane and environmentally friendly methods when dealing with squirrel-related issues, considering the well-being of both wildlife and the surrounding ecosystem.

Does Cayenne Pepper Keep Squirrels Away?

Yes, cayenne pepper is often used as a natural deterrent to keep squirrels away. The strong and pungent smell of cayenne pepper is unpleasant to squirrels, deterring them from areas where it is applied.

You can sprinkle cayenne pepper around plants, bird feeders, or other areas where you want to discourage squirrels. However, it’s essential to reapply after rain or watering, as the effectiveness may diminish.

Will Mothballs Keep Squirrels Away?

Mothballs are not recommended as a squirrel deterrent. While they may have a strong odor that can be unpleasant, mothballs contain chemicals (naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene) that are toxic and harmful to both humans and animals.

Using mothballs in outdoor areas poses a risk to the environment, pets, and wildlife. Safer and more humane alternatives should be considered for squirrel control.

What About Traps?

Traps can be effective for capturing squirrels, but it’s crucial to use humane traps and consider local regulations regarding trapping and relocating wildlife.

Live traps, such as Havahart traps, can be baited with nuts or seeds to attract squirrels. Once captured, squirrels should be released in a suitable location away from your property.

Tips for Keeping Squirrels Out of Bird Feeders and Away From Bulbs:

Use Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeders: Choose bird feeders designed to be squirrel-resistant, often featuring mechanisms that close access to the food when a heavier animal, like a squirrel, tries to feed.

Install Baffles: Place baffles on bird feeder poles to prevent squirrels from climbing up and accessing the feeder. Baffles are typically dome-shaped or cylindrical guards that deter squirrels.

Provide Distractions: Set up a separate feeding station with squirrel-friendly food, such as nuts and seeds, to divert their attention away from bird feeders.

Use Scent Deterrents: Apply scents that squirrels find unpleasant, like peppermint oil, around the bird feeder area.

Clean Up Fallen Seeds: Regularly clean up fallen birdseed to reduce the incentive for squirrels to visit.

How to Keep Squirrels from Eating Pumpkins:

Apply Repellents: Sprinkle cayenne pepper or commercial animal repellents on and around pumpkins to deter squirrels.

Use Physical Barriers: Create a barrier around pumpkins using mesh or wire netting to prevent squirrels from reaching them.

Elevate Pumpkins: Place pumpkins on elevated surfaces, such as tables or raised platforms, making it more challenging for squirrels to access them.

Employ Scent Deterrents: Squirrels are sensitive to certain smells. Consider using strong-smelling substances like vinegar or essential oils to discourage them.

Monitor and Remove Squirrels: Keep an eye on your pumpkins and scare away or relocate squirrels if you notice them attempting to feed on the pumpkins.

Why Do Squirrels Dig in Lawns?

Squirrels dig in lawns for various reasons, and their behavior is often driven by instincts related to survival, reproduction, and natural behaviors. Here are some common reasons why squirrels dig in lawns:

Food Storage:

Squirrels are known for storing food to prepare for times when food may be scarce, such as winter. They bury nuts and seeds in the ground as a form of food storage. Lawns provide soft soil, making it easier for them to dig and bury their food.

Food Retrieval:

Squirrels have an excellent sense of smell and memory. They bury food items in various locations and later retrieve them when needed. Digging in lawns allows them to access stored food.


Squirrels are natural foragers, and they search for a variety of food sources, including insects, grubs, and other small invertebrates that may be present in the soil. Digging helps them uncover these hidden food items.


Squirrels may dig in lawns to create burrows or nests. While they often build nests in trees, they may also dig burrows in the ground for shelter, especially during the breeding season or when seeking protection for their young.


Squirrels are playful animals, and digging can be a form of play for them. Young squirrels, in particular, may engage in digging as a way to explore their surroundings, practice essential skills, and expend excess energy.

Squirrels are Natural Foragers:

While squirrels are natural foragers and play a vital role in the ecosystem, their foraging behavior can be detrimental to gardens.

Digging for Food: Squirrels may dig in garden beds in search of bulbs, seeds, or plants. This can uproot or damage delicate seedlings and disturb the overall layout of a garden.

Consumption of Garden Produce: Squirrels are known to eat fruits, vegetables, and flowers from gardens. This can lead to a reduction in the harvest of crops and damage the aesthetic appeal of ornamental plants.

Squirrels Stock Up For Winter:

Squirrels engage in food caching behavior as a survival strategy for the winter months, which can impact gardens.

Burying Food: Squirrels bury nuts, seeds, and other food items in gardens, often digging multiple holes to store their stash. This can disrupt the soil and harm the roots of existing plants.

Tree Seedlings: Squirrels may plant acorns or other seeds in garden beds while burying them, leading to the unintentional growth of tree seedlings where they are not desired.

Squirrels are Pesky Ransackers:

Squirrels, in their quest for food, can be persistent and cause damage to various garden elements.

Gnawing: Squirrels have strong teeth that continuously grow, leading them to gnaw on various objects, including garden furniture, hoses, and structures.

Feeding on Bird Feeders: Squirrels are notorious for raiding bird feeders, depleting the birdseed meant for other wildlife.

Squirrels Migrate Indoors:

In some cases, squirrels may seek shelter inside homes, posing potential problems.

Nesting in Attics: Squirrels may chew their way into homes, especially attics, to build nests. This can lead to structural damage, noise disturbances, and the risk of fire if they chew on electrical wiring.

Damage to Insulation: Squirrels may tear up insulation in search of nesting materials, reducing the energy efficiency of homes.

Signs of Squirrels in Your Garden

Squirrels Digging up Your Garden

Partially Eaten Flowers:

If you discover flowers with partially eaten petals or leaves in your garden, it might be a clear indication of squirrel activity.

These furry foragers are often attracted to blooming plants, and their distinctive bite marks on the flowers may signal their presence.

 Container Digging:

Unwanted soil disturbances in your potted plants? Squirrels are notorious for their container digging habits.

If you observe upturned soil in your containers, it’s likely the work of these curious creatures exploring your garden.

 Nibbled Seedheads:

Squirrels have a penchant for nibbling on seedheads, affecting the natural dispersal of seeds. If you notice seeds appearing partially consumed or missing altogether, it’s a clue that squirrels have been active in your garden.

 Missing Plants:

Have some of your garden plants mysteriously disappeared? Squirrels, in their quest for food or nesting materials, may uproot or damage plants, leaving noticeable gaps in your garden landscape.

 Bite Marks:

Distinctive bite marks on fruits, vegetables, or plant parts can be a clear sign of squirrel presence. These creatures often leave behind telltale signs as they enjoy a snack or explore your garden.

 Shallow Digging:

Small, shallow holes in your garden soil? Squirrels engage in shallow digging as they search for buried treasures or stash their nuts.

While not as disruptive as deep digging, these holes can still impact the overall aesthetics of your garden.

Squirrels Digging up Your Garden

 9 Ways to Keep Squirrels Out

If you’re dealing with pesky squirrels wreaking havoc in your garden, here are 9 effective ways to keep them at bay:

Removing Things:

Clear away potential squirrel attractions, like fallen fruits and nuts, to discourage their presence.

Repelling Them:

Utilize natural repellents, such as cayenne pepper or garlic, to create an environment squirrels find unpleasant.

Distracting Them with Sunflower Seeds:

Set up a designated feeding area with sunflower seeds to divert their attention away from your garden.

Scaring Them:

Employ scare tactics, like motion-activated devices or strategically placed objects, to startle and deter squirrels.

Excluding Them with Chicken Wire:

Use chicken wire to create barriers around vulnerable plants or areas, preventing squirrels from causing damage.

Protecting Your Garden:

Invest in physical barriers or netting to safeguard your garden from squirrel intrusions.

Covering Soil:

Cover exposed soil with mulch or ground cover to make digging less appealing for squirrels.

Making Your Garden Less Appealing:

Choose plant varieties that are less attractive to squirrels, minimizing their interest in your garden.

Keeping Them Off Your Bird Feeder:

Opt for bird feeders designed to be squirrel-resistant, ensuring your feathered friends get the food intended for them.

Discover the 15 Best Ways to Keep Squirrels Out of Your Garden

# Method Description
1 Remove Attractants Eliminate fallen fruits and seeds to discourage foraging.
2 Use Repellents Apply natural deterrents like cayenne pepper or commercial sprays around plants.
3 Cover Your Garden Protect plants with wire mesh or netting to prevent digging and nibbling.
4 Keep Squirrels Away from Bulbs Bury bulbs in wire mesh or bulb cages to safeguard them from being unearthed.
5 Protect Your Trees Wrap tree trunks with metal guards to thwart climbing and gnawing.
6 Squirrel-Resistant Bird Feeders Invest in feeders with weight-activated mechanisms to deter squirrels while allowing birds to access the feed.
7 Seal Entry Points Block gaps or openings in your home’s structure to prevent squirrels from nesting indoors.
8 Encourage Predators Attract natural squirrel predators like hawks or owls with perches or birdhouses.
9 Use Decoys Place fake owls or predators as visual deterrents to intimidate squirrels.
10 Get a Dog Having a dog can discourage squirrels with their presence and scent.
11 Install Motion-Activated Devices Use devices like sprinklers or lights triggered by motion to startle and deter squirrels.
12 Trim Tree Branches Remove overhanging branches that provide easy access for squirrels.
13 Apply Scent Deterrents Use strong-smelling substances like peppermint oil or vinegar to discourage squirrels.
14 Clean Up Fallen Seeds Regularly clean up fallen birdseed or nuts to reduce the incentive for squirrels to visit.
15 Provide Alternative Food Sources Set up a separate feeding station with squirrel-friendly food away from the garden to divert their attention.


FAQs For  6 Ways to Stop Squirrels Digging up Your Garden

 Why are squirrels digging up my garden?

Squirrels often dig in gardens in search of food, such as buried nuts or insects. They may also be creating nests or storing food for the winter.

 What damage can squirrels cause to my garden?

Squirrels can uproot plants, damage bulbs, and disturb the soil, affecting the overall aesthetic and health of your garden.

 How can I identify squirrel activity in my garden?

Look for small holes in the soil, displaced plants, and chewed bulbs. Squirrel droppings and the presence of scattered nesting materials are also indicators.

 What are some natural deterrents for squirrels?

Natural deterrents include using spicy substances like cayenne pepper, planting strong-smelling herbs, and placing predator-scented items like hair or predator urine around the garden.

 Are there humane methods to keep squirrels away?

Yes, humane methods include using motion-activated sprinklers, providing alternative feeding stations, and using physical barriers like wire mesh to protect specific areas.

 Can I use commercial repellents to deter squirrels?

Yes, there are various commercial squirrel repellents available, including sprays and granules. However, it’s essential to follow the instructions carefully and consider the environmental impact.

 How can I protect bird feeders from squirrels?

Use squirrel-proof bird feeders designed with barriers or weight-activated mechanisms. Placing the feeder away from trees and using baffles on poles can also help deter squirrels.

 Is it possible to create a squirrel-friendly zone in my garden?

Yes, designate a specific area where you allow squirrels to forage and dig freely. This can help redirect their activity away from more sensitive areas of your garden.

 Can I use electronic devices to repel squirrels?

A: Yes, ultrasonic devices emit high-frequency sounds that are unpleasant for squirrels but typically inaudible to humans. Ensure the devices are placed strategically for effectiveness.

 When is the best time to implement these deterrents?

A: It’s best to start implementing deterrents before the gardening season begins or as soon as you notice squirrel activity. Consistency is key for long-term success.


In conclusion, implementing effective strategies to deter squirrels from digging up your garden can greatly contribute to maintaining a thriving outdoor space.

By combining a variety of methods, such as using natural repellents, creating physical barriers, and providing alternative distractions, you can strike a balance that protects your garden without causing harm to these furry creatures.

Understanding the underlying reasons for squirrel behavior, such as a search for food or a place to bury nuts, allows for more targeted and humane solutions.

Ultimately, finding harmony between safeguarding your garden and respecting the natural instincts of squirrels ensures a peaceful coexistence and a flourishing outdoor environment for both humans and wildlife alike.

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