The Q&A Archives: darn squirrels

Question: hi,
i am a new member to the garden club & i want to know what i can use to keep squirrels from digging in my flower garden? i have tried cayenne pepper, and an organic spray used to keep deer & small rodents away. it finally worked after a great deal of damage was done, and alot of replacements where made.
also what would you suggest for plant food so that it would guaranty more blooms.
one last question, i have some annuals that the buds dry up and die before they bloom, whats up with that?

Answer: I wish there were an easy solution, but it is difficult to keep squirrels out of a garden. To deter squirrels, try to cover the soil around planting beds with sheets of 1-2 inch diameter wire mesh. Squirrels don't like to walk on it. How to keep a squirrel out of a tree? That's a tough proposition. You can try baffles that prevent them from running up the trunk, or bird netting. You'll have to secure it around the trunk so the squirrels can't get in. Depending on how low the lowest branches are, you could wrap a wide metal band around the trunk, just as the fruit is ripening. That would prohibit squirrels from climbing the trunk. If the lowest branches are within squirrel jumping distance--or if there are other trees around that the squirrels could jump from, it wouldn't help. You can also try pruning trees so the lowest branches are at least 6 feet above ground and placing 2 foot wide metal bands around the tree trunks, positioning them so the bottom of each band is at least 2 feet off the ground. This prevents them from climbing trees and discourages them from taking up residence in your yard. Various repellents and "scare tactics" are generally not effective for the long-term. They need to be reapplied and "scare" devices moved frequently or creatures get used to them. The bottom line, is the best method is exclusion, i.e., fencing them out, or surrounding individual plants with wire.

To promote flowers use a fertilizer with a low first number and a high second number such as 5-10-5. There are also "bloom booster" fertilizers on the market.

It the buds of your annuals dry up before they open, they could have a fungal disease, they might need more water, or you may have spidermites feeding on them. I can't say for certain, but those are the things you might look into.

Best wishes with your garden!

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