Squirrels Driving You Nuts? 7 Ways To Keep Them Out Of The Garden

No matter how often I chase the squirrels away from the garden, they always return. I believe they understand they’re not welcome, but they come back all the same. These pesky little rascals dig up garden beds everywhere and turn over containers to search for hidden treasures of acorns and walnuts. They’ll devour berries, nuts, vegetables, bulbs, and flowers. Is there any way to stop the carnage? Try these humane tips for keeping squirrels away from your garden beds.


Squirrels have sensitive noses. The scent of predator urine, available at garden supply stores and big box retailers, indicates a natural enemy is nearby and deters unwanted guests. However, this method can be short-lived; it will wash away when it rains. Sprinkling coffee grounds throughout the garden or planting peppermint plants can also help keep squirrels at bay. If nothing else, the coffee grounds add nutrients to the soil and make the garden smell nice.

Eliminate Food Sources

Squirrels consider the bird feeder an all-you-can-eat buffet. So naturally, removing the bird feeder also eliminates any temptation. Sorry, birds. Even if mounted on a tree or pole, squirrels are spry and can get to it. Consider purchasing a squirrel-proof bird feeder; they actually work!


Squirrels don’t do spicy foods, so sprinkling cayenne pepper around the base of flower beds and containers might help keep them away. Another option is apple cider vinegar. Mix one part apple cider vinegar with three parts water in a spray bottle, and spray on your containers and plants.


This is a personal favorite of mine. When you apply thick mulch around your plants, such as small stones, bark mulch, or even a heavy blanket of leaves, squirrels can’t dig through it to get to the roots of plants. Plus, mulch is incredible for so many other ecological reasons!  

Squirrel gathering nuts.

Loud Noises

Loud noises will scare squirrels away – albeit temporarily. Once the din subsides, they will timidly venture back, but at least there is a short reprieve. Go ahead and pretend every night is New Year’s Eve, and when you see a squirrel chopping and digging in the garden – bang those pots and pans.

Plant Protection

Covering your plants with mesh or chicken wire is a good option. Note to the wise: I recommend wire, not fabric mesh if you use this method. Squirrels can pull and break the latter.

Plant Daffodils

This method works! Squirrels despise the smell and taste of daffodil bulbs and will steer clear of where they’re planted. I love daffodils, and the more, the better! Leaving the bulbs in the ground all year instantly creates a squirrel-free zone.

Although somewhat cute, squirrels are wild rodents. They’ll go after what you like in the garden, including fruits, veggies, nuts, and your prized tulip collection. Give them a wide berth by trying some of these methods. Have you got any tricks to share?

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Invited by the Canadian Garden Council to be an ambassador for the Year of the Garden 2022, Jennifer is a garden enthusiast, writer, and alumni of Simon Fraser University. Her bylines have appeared in the opinion section of the Toronto Star, and her portfolio includes articles for Chatelaine online, Reader’s Digest, Canada’s History Magazine, and Modern Farmer magazine, among other newspapers, magazines, and websites across Canada. When not writing, you can find her visiting local garden centers or puttering, planting, and nourishing her urban garden oasis in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.