Squirrels in the Garden

If you are seeing plants eaten to the ground and holes in your gardens;

Squirrel Hole

and if squirrels are vacuuming up birdseed in and around your bird feeders;

Squirrel

Squirrel

you might have a squirrel problem. How do you solve the problem?

Past Squirrel Problem
We had a problem with squirrels several years ago when we lived in New Jersey. I naturalized the backyard with a variety of bulbs. It was fun to see the bulbs peak through snow and the buds begin to develop. Just as the buds were beginning to bloom, every one was bitten off and left next to its plant.

We talked to gardeners and folks at nurseries. We tried everything that they suggested. Eventually we gave up and accepted we would not see hundreds of flowers blooming in our yard.

Now we have at least five squirrels living in and around our gardens. I will admit they are fun to watch. They run up and down the wisteria that covers our deck, stopping for a taste of a Norfolk pine. I watched as a squirrel sat in a pot of mums eating every leaf. That may sound strange to watch, but it is amazing how they use their wee paws, to see their dexterity.

We decided that we must relocate the squirrels. We tried this trap, but the squirrels could snag the bait and run out. And a larger trap can capture larger animals. We forgot to close the trap one night and found this critter–

Skunk

We purchased a smaller humane trap and again forgot to close it one night. And found this critter–

opossum in Trap

opossum in Tree

After we released the opossum it ran up the bottle brush and eventually disappeared.

What have I learned? When you make gardens that are woodland-like they are inviting for all kinds of critters. Also the drought conditions have forced critters to find food and water for survival and we offer that in our gardens.

Perhaps one day we will be free of squirrels. Actually that is rather interesting. We live in an area where you just don’t see squirrels. Ground squirrels typically are seen in the surrounding fields and on and around the mountains. But in the our neighborhood it is rare to see them. The 20 plus years we have lived in SLO we have seen two squirrels in our neighborhood. Five squirrels, together is definitely unusual.


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