underground squirrels - Knowledgebase Question

Wickenburg, Ar
Question by Lam1sue
May 7, 2010
how do you stop underground squirrels from eating your flowers and making big holes in your new landscaped yard?


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Answer from NGA
May 7, 2010

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I wish there were a solution! Taste repellents such as Ropel or Hinder can be applied to seeds, bulbs, and flowers, trees and shrubs, poles and fences, siding and outdoor furniture. However it will be necessary to reapply repellents after rain. Repellents are most effective when they are applied before the damage has begun.

Squirrels are supposedly adverse to tasting cayenne pepper. Hot pepper powder, which is said not to affect birds, is sometimes mixed in with bird seed to keep squirrels out. Reports about the effectiveness of this strategy have been mixed.

You can also try removing overhanging branches and other access to bird feeders and buildings to help reduce squirrel damage. Some gardeners find that offering an alternative source of food such as corn, nuts or sunflower seeds might distract the squirrels from bulbs and other valuable plants. However, alternative feed as well as bird feeding may also increase the number of squirrels that visit the yard. In some cases it may be best to eliminate feeding altogether.

Squirrels dig to cache food and they dig again to retrieve the food they have hidden. However, the holes are quite shallow and the impact of the digging on a healthy lawn is usually minimal and temporary. Since digging is part of a squirrel's adaptation for survival, it may be impossible to eliminate this behavior. Ground covers such as pachysandra, ajuga or vinca might be an alternative to grass in areas where the diggings is a major problem. Squirrels are unlikely to dig in the groundcover and if they do, no one will notice. Wish I had more to share with you.

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