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How can I keep squirrels from destroying my container plants?

 
Posts: 2
Location: Ontario, Zone 5B
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A physical barrier is sometimes possible, but not always. I have tried a lot of different tactics and the only thing that has worked is keeping the plants indoors.

Do you know any tactics - humane ones, preferably - for keeping the furry varmints from destroying my herbs?

Things that have not worked:
- blood meal
- cayenne pepper
- covering the plants/soil with a thick layer of dog fur
- raising the containers up on buckets/pails, and on tables
- spiky plastic things that claim to keep creatures away (they leap over them, which is worse)
- having a dog in the back yard (he is lovable but not fast enough to catch squirrels, though he sure tries)
- trapping and relocating (it works one squirrel at a time, but that's a losing game)
- enticing the squirrels to eat other things, like unshelled peanuts piled 10' away from the garden area (even worse: they bury the peanuts in my herb containers)
 
pollinator
Posts: 767
Location: Western MA, zone 6b
466
cat dog forest garden foraging urban food preservation
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Physical barriers are the only thing I've found to be reliable while my plants are little.   Once they fill in and develop a good root system they seem to be able to hold up to squirrel and chipmunk abuse!   Hardware cloth,  wire baskets,  dog crate panels..  my yard looks like a junkyard in the spring lol.
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pollinator
Posts: 252
Location: Sedona Az Zone 8b
146
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Hi Kermit,
Sorry I don't have an answer for you. But this guy on youtube mentions his solution to stop squirrels from getting to his bird feeder. Maybe that would work for you or maybe not. But watching his video you might get a new idea.... and have a good chuckle! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFZFjoX2cGg Good luck to you.
Debbie
 
Heather Staas
pollinator
Posts: 767
Location: Western MA, zone 6b
466
cat dog forest garden foraging urban food preservation
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Small update here,  I'm in the process of making some concrete garden cloches to sell at my farm market stand for just this problem.  

These are my model/ideas I've saved..   along with my primary offender in the process of squishing one of my nepeta lol...



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concrete-garden-orbs-feature.jpg
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gardener
Posts: 5069
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
962
forest garden trees urban
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I love this idea!
I use white buckets as cloches, maybe they could serve as forms for your cement cloches?
 
gardener
Posts: 1251
Location: North Carolina zone 7
444
5
hugelkultur forest garden fungi foraging ungarbage
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Hello all! Here’s a trick that I did for years. My farm was in the woods where there was lots of hickory trees. In the fall I’d collect as many pounds of nuts as possible. I kept them in a cage I built, in a weather proof building. When squirrels started doing damage I’d toss some out. They always preferred them to the veggies unless there was a drought. When the weather was dry they seemed to be after the moisture most of all. Then I’d leave fresh bowls of water around the gardens. Both of these techniques worked well for me.
 
Posts: 48
Location: Kentucky - Zone6
9
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I have had some success with an electric fence, very basic set-up:

- put weed barrier down (optional, but makes it much easier to avoid weeds to touch the line and short it)
- put plastic stakes down at 5 foot increments, for example these: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B7BQKP89?ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details&th=1 (but anything you have that is insulated works)
- attache metal wire stake to stake.
- attach wire to electric fencer, I am using this solar one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BWZB74/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1

One thing to think about is that the squirrel needs to be making contact with the ground and the wire at the same time. If you use the electric wire above wood chips, the wood chips may insulate the squirrel from the ground and the squirrel won't get shocked. A solution would be to place a small strip of chicken wire below the wires and ground that chicken wire.

You probably don't have to fence off the whole garden, just the side(s) the squirrels are coming from

Good luck

M
 
master pollinator
Posts: 4581
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
1250
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Excellent advice, Maarten Smet!

We do the same thing at my parents' garden to keep the Canada Geese from chewing every last bit of green down to nothing. The old ones teach the young ones to stay away from the wire -- we only have to power it up every two or three years.
 
I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay, I sleep all night and work all day. Tiny lumberjack ad:

World Domination Gardening 3-DVD set. Gardening with an excavator.
richsoil.com/wdg


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