How to prevent squirrels from digging up my lawn?

Tudor Sebi

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A lovely lawn is the pride of the homeowner especially when it is personally taken care of by the homeowner. Personal caring of the lawn spurs up a different sense of ownership and pride unlike that executed by hired hands on lawn upkeep.

However, the best of lawns could be destroyed by pests and unwelcome intruders like the squirrels whether in the city or country surroundings. These expert climbers dart quickly up and down trees while scampering across the beautifully mowed lawn digging here and there.

Pet or Pest?

While some individuals may coo over a squirrel as their pet, others are high-strung over one when their lawn is messed up with holes and piles of soil dug up. This is due to the survival nature of squirrels which spend a lot of time foraging for food not just for the day but storing up for their future.

With the rapid development of mankind where forests are quickly transformed into housing estates or residential areas, it is not surprising to find many of these furry creatures uprooted from their natural habitats to forage in man’s backyards. These furry rodents have no inkling of the hard work put into maintaining a beautiful lawn all year round.

The backyard or garden has become a hotspot for squirrels in their natural survival mode activities. Another nature of squirrels is their persistence in finding their food; they do not give up until they find what they are after. Hence, it is not surprising to have them labeled as pests instead of pets although they could be adorable to some.

They have sharp teeth and fast eating habits to chew up fruits still on the plant or pull up vegetables like carrots from the neat rows in someone’s veggie plot. Many little unsightly holes are seen in landscaped yards that are turned into an unearthed landmine. These persistent critters could also occasionally destroy property as they tend to chew through objects that stand in their path for food.

However, it is possible to keep these unwelcome creatures away from the lawn or garden which homeowners could exercise.

1) Clear Off Incentives

A first step in stopping squirrels from coming into the yard to make it squirrel-proof is to remove or clear off any incentives. This would mean a consistent raking of leaves, nuts, or berries fallen from trees to avoid squirrels being lured into the yard by their scent or sight.

Trash cans should also be closed tightly with proper lids to avoid squirrels becoming scavengers. This practice also deters other scavengers from messing up the trash can and surroundings.

Homeowners could trim off long hanging branches in or near their garden to discourage squirrels from hopping and popping over so easily. Squirrels could also nest in these trees and access the garden through the branches in their scavenging routines.

2) Using Repellants

The market has a special repellant that is effective at keeping squirrels away; this squirrel repellant is easily available at local hardware stores or lawn upkeep shops. Innovative homeowners could conjure up their special concoction of squirrel repellants from their kitchen.

Squirrels are not fans of spicy food scents; hence, a sprinkling of hot spices like chili powder or cayenne pepper over the yard should ward off these critters. The spices do not physically harm the squirrels or plants but they are effective in deterring squirrels from chewing or digging up the lawn with the foul odor.

A simple natural squirrel deterrent item is the garlic with a strong odor which even squirrels cannot put up with. Homeowners could also chop up jalapeno pepper or garlic and mix it with water and vinegar to squirt on those who dare show their face despite the other deterrents put in place. These natural repellants need to be reapplied after every rainfall.

Squirrels do not like the strong scent of peppermint which makes it an excellent choice of repellant on squirrels. A live peppermint plant placed in a pot could put the squirrels at bay; alternatively, concentrated peppermint oil exudes a strong scent that is repulsive to squirrels. A few drops of this oil on cotton balls would do the trick when placed around the yard or garden.

Some homeowners may use mothballs which prove to be a nuisance to squirrels. These could be placed in nylon stockings to be hung around the yard to keep squirrels out.

3) Place Predator Scents

A squirrel is part of the natural chain of food web where it could be a prey or predator although it thrives mainly on fruit and vegetables. Homeowners could adopt a dog or cat as a pet to ward off squirrels as these are known to be predators to the smaller critters.

The presence of a predator proves to be a strong deterrent to the squirrel where the dog or cat is likely to have some fun chasing after any squirrel that is bold or foolish enough to come into the garden. A predator pet is a highly effective natural squirrel repellant. Homeowners get the satisfaction of keeping the garden free from squirrel invasion as well as enjoying their pets.

Cats and dogs are highly hyped up with moving creatures smaller than themselves. Hence, it is an innate motivation to chase after squirrels. It could also be a case of territorial possession with cats and dogs if squirrels should try to cross their territory.

Instead of an actual predator like a pet, homeowners could simplify matters with the scent of a predator. The predator urine or repellant scent is highly effective in keeping squirrels away as fear is instilled although the predator is not in sight. Such repellant scent could be purchased online or from hunting stores in town.

This type of scent deceives the squirrels with a false impression of a potential threat in the backyard. However, these scents could be washed off after rain or snow; hence, reapplication is necessary.

4) Diversion

A diversion is another excellent way to keep squirrels away from the backyard or garden. This would involve luring the critters away with more alluring food outside the premises. Squirrels could munch on flowers and plants out of hunger if they could not find their preference.

Homeowners could place a squirrel feeder with appetizing food that would entice squirrels in that direction instead of the backyard or garden. This could include peanuts or sunflower seeds which are popular squirrel fare. Such foods could be located further away from the premises like the edge of the yard or the path leading to the forest if possible. This would prevent the squirrels from hunting too far from home.

5) Instill Fear

Electronic devices from advanced technologies could prove helpful in keeping squirrels away from the premises. Motion-sensitive lights or even high-frequency sound emitters are highly effective in frightening off squirrels.

Motion-activated sprinkler systems prove effective when they are turned on to shock squirrels as they try to tread across the lawn. Squirrels are easily scared creatures with every little movement or motion. The grass gets watered at the same time.

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6) Fence Up

Good fences could protect the foliage from being uprooted by squirrels. Fences could keep the squirrels on the outside but the right type of fence must be installed. Fencing must be buried deep enough to discourage squirrels from digging under the fence to come into the garden.

Mesh netting is an alternative to fencing where specific items could be protected from squirrel invasion. Budding flowers or fruit plants could be surrounded by mesh netting of tight-knit holes that squirrels cannot squeeze through. Hence, squirrels would not be able to snack on plants and fruits which would have the opportunity to bloom and ripen.

7) Traps

Traps could also be used to get rid of squirrels that persist in invading the territory. Simple mouse traps could be placed around the yard with some alluring foods as bait. This could include some of the squirrels’ favorite foods like fruit or nuts.


Squirrels that ruin a well-kept lawn or garden are viewed as pests although it is their instinct to hunt for food to survive. These are very adaptable creatures that learn to thrive in changing environments as their habitat is destroyed or transformed.

It may not be possible to eliminate squirrels from the backyard or garden but the above options could lessen homeowners’ frustration with their well-kept yards, flora, and fauna.


Tudor Sebi

A 20-year lawn mower expert, offering insightful guidance for optimal maintenance and top-notch landscaping solutions

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