In theory, everyone likes Squirrels. And why not, they are bushy-tailed, good-looking, little chaotic tricksters that have co-existed around most of us all our lives. Their antics are ridiculous, their offspring are adorable, they are a constant source of nature’s entertainment at your window, or front porch. But for a gardener planting their Spring beds, these furballs are Enemy Number One. Following are some of the reasons why, and steps for prevention naturally, and with out causing your furry buddy any harm.
We all know of their affinity to cache, or bury their nuts and seeds in the garden for future consumption, disrupting your careful laid bed, accidentally tearing at newly-planted stems. But they also enjoy eating bulbs, stems, roots, and seeds too, leaving your entirely new arrangement in danger of being dug up, and snacked upon. Two ways to avoid this reality are to plant non-edible bulbs, such as Daffodils, that Squirrels have no taste for, there by keeping them from spending much time in an unwanted area. But until these bulbs have grown, and established, thereby becoming uninteresting to said Squirrels, placing a layer of wire mesh over the soil is helpful. The spaces in the mesh must allow growth of the bulbs, but no room to dig underneath. Weigh it down with bricks, and remove it when the plants have begun to grow substantially.
Squirrels also enjoy the woodsy, fibrous flavor of tree bark, and can do much damage to the shade-providing giants that you have carefully planted around. Since damage to that tree can have long-term significant impact on your garden and your environment, prevention of the destruction is crucial. Wrapping your trees lower layer of bark with a 24″(60cm) wide layer of aluminum flashing around the base of your tree trunks. Use aluminum, or stain-less steel nails or screws to attach the metal to your trunk, and don’t worry. A nail of this size, inserted 1″ into the bark won’t hurt it. The tree should compartmentalize, and heal around the wound just fine.
Bird Feeders are a prime target of our furry marauders, the seeds and nuts provided are definite bounty. But their theft can keep out the very visitors you are trying to feed. You can set up a Squirrel-proof feeder with a cone-shaped cover that Squirrels can’t break into, some of these also spin, shaking them off, and providing you with some much-needed giggles. If your bird feeder is on a pole, however, I cannot emphasize how amazing Vaseline is, as you can see in the following video. Hi-Jinks for hours.
With a little careful ingenuity, and compassion, you, your garden, and these little furballs can live peacefully for years. Patience and resourcefulness almost always win the day. Good Luck, Gardeners!