Gardening for Wildlife forum: squirrels wearing thin...

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Name: UrbanWild
Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Kentucky - borderline of 6a & 6b
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Butterflies
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UrbanWild
May 1, 2017 8:11 AM CST
My love for squirrels is being tested. I have one (out of eight) who really seem to try to make an impact. Smaller transgressions started last fall... digging out hanging pots, digging up shallots, biting tomatoes, etc. During winter, it was hammering the beat up ice plants I rescued, digging up crocus/hyacinth/anemone/etc. Now...the top mix dahlias I have been watching all the way to budding, su flower shoots, glads, and... the Lucifer Crocosmia. Arghhh!!! Rather than dig them up, they are mowing down the plants.

I have been using coffee grounds to keep them out of the dirt. This works temporarily...need to reapply. I put up a hopper-type squirrel feeder with shelled peanuts where they can feed themselves all day. Also, have recently started using ground cinnamon in some pots.

Look, I do like the squirrels...and want to find a way to live with them. But, I am getting a little frustrated. Anyone know of other ways to protect the plants? We have red-shouldered hawks, Cooper's hawks, and red-tailed hawks. I hate to say it, but it might not be a bad thing for the lone offender to become a meal.

And don't even get me started on feral house cats...after weeks of fence mending, a few have decided climbing over the privacy fence is a good expense of effort to get a chance at my doves.
Always looking for interesting plants for pollinators and food! Bonus points for highly, and pleasantly scented plants.

"Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, nihil deerit." [“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”] -- Marcus Tullius Cicero in Ad Familiares IX, 4, to Varro. 46 BCE
[Last edited by UrbanWild - May 1, 2017 8:15 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1429825 (1)
Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Beavers Region: Canadian Dragonflies Butterflies Cactus and Succulents
Birds Cat Lover Native Plants and Wildflowers Deer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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JuneOntario
May 1, 2017 1:31 PM CST
Hi @UrbanWild
I have numerous grey and red squirrels that hang around all day eating peanuts and the sunflower seeds that fall out of my bird feeders, and they've never touched any of my garden plants. I don't fork-over my flowerbeds, so the surface of the soil is quite hard and does not encourage excavation. When I plant in containers, I top the soil with gravel as an excavation deterrent. Usually, squirrels only dig where it's easy, and mostly they are looking for nuts or seeds that they previously buried. Have you actually witnessed the damage being done to your plants, or could another critter be the culprit?
Name: UrbanWild
Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Kentucky - borderline of 6a & 6b
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Butterflies
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UrbanWild
May 1, 2017 8:52 PM CST
Yes...I frequently see it in progress. I can tell my individual squirrels. They all look slightly different.I think I have the digging under control. But with the above ground damage, I'm at a loss. I worked the garden until lunch then went out today. I came back to a severed swamp hibiscus. Sigh. I may try a garlic and soap spray.
Always looking for interesting plants for pollinators and food! Bonus points for highly, and pleasantly scented plants.

"Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, nihil deerit." [“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”] -- Marcus Tullius Cicero in Ad Familiares IX, 4, to Varro. 46 BCE
[Last edited by UrbanWild - May 1, 2017 8:53 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1430616 (3)
Name: Abbey
Eastern New York State (Zone 6a)
Bookworm Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Garden Photography Garden Art Birds Region: New York
Herbs Container Gardener Annuals Dog Lover Butterflies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Garden10
May 6, 2017 5:08 PM CST
Urban Wild, my grandfather taught me to use hot pepper, and it is the most effective thing I use. I have four grey squirrels and one black, and once the greys (the black is always on his own and has never given any trouble) learned they couldn't get into my bird feeder, they've behaved -- I haven't lost anything, and I put in a lot of annuals because they arrived all at once and so far, so good. They don't even come on my upper deck where all the herbs are. Crossing Fingers!
"Every now and then I leave the book on the seat and go and have a refreshing potter among my flower beds from which I return greatly benefited, and with a more just conception of what is worth bothering about, and what is not." The Solitary Summer -- Elizabeth von Arnim
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Jun 23, 2017 12:02 AM CST
Small Have-A-Hart trap baited with peanut butter. Large tub of water to fit trap. End of problem.

I don't say that lightly. In my experience, there are only a few "Evil Squirrels" that learn bad habits like that. You get rid of a few until you get the ones that are causing the damage.

I don't like it either, but you rid the world of a few and get the offending ones and the rest are fine to have around.
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
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purpleinopp
Jun 26, 2017 5:29 AM CST
I get along much better with the tons of squirrels that live/hang out in my yard when I keep a dish of water on the ground. I think some, maybe even most, of the chewing is thirst-related.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
[Last edited by purpleinopp - Jun 26, 2017 5:29 AM (+)]
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Name: Mac
Soon to be MidCoast, ME (Zone 6a)
Ex zones 4b, 8b, 9a, 9b
Cat Lover Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Frogs and Toads Vermiculture
Critters Allowed Vegetable Grower Canning and food preservation Annuals Morning Glories Sedums
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McCannon
Jun 26, 2017 7:40 AM CST
We've had squirrels here forever. The worst thing they did was raiding seed feeders and shredding a few wooden suet plug feeders. We solved that by broadcasting our birdseed on the ground to make it available to everyone. They dig a few holes in the garden, burying or digging up walnuts and acorns, but that's no serious damage. They get a steady supply of water from the birdbath. The squirrels, birds, rabbits, and groundhogs all exist peacefully in our yard.
The aboriginal people of the world and many other cultures share a common respect for nature and the universe, and all of the life that it holds. We should learn from that!
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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LindaTX8
Jun 26, 2017 4:21 PM CST

Moderator

I'm pretty much seeing two male squirrels so far this summer. One larger one and a smaller one missing part of his tail. I have no idea where the females are. For a long time I had a female around I called "Notch Ear" because something had taken a bite out of her ear. We need rain and the teasing predictions lately with 40% or 50% chance...it's getting on my nerves, because we're getting 0 precipitation!
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad

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