Squirrels!


JardinDelBronx

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Hello,

I am new here and I was responding to a question in my intro post, when I realized that it might be better to start a new thread to cover the magnitude of the problem I am trying to solve: Squirrel attacks!

This is a list of things I've tried to keep them out of my yard (and the effectiveness of the method):

1. Sprinkling cayenne pepper around the container (totally ineffective, although I did manage to kill some seedlings this way)
2. Commercial pest deterrent/repellent (totally ineffective)
3. Humane animal trap (totally ineffective, to this day...I have no idea how they were able to take the bait out without getting caught inside the trap)
4. An ultrasonic pest repellent device designed to scare animals away by emitting a noise that irritates them, but doesn't bother humans because we can't hear it (totally ineffective)
5. Mouse traps & industrial rat traps around the containers (totally ineffective, it appears that they would somehow set them off without getting caught in the trap and then simply jump into the container)
6. A huge, realistic-looking "Garden Defense Owl" (totally ineffective, except in 2 cases where I was showing friends around in my backyard and they thought there was a real owl peering at us--they were slightly jolted at the sight)
7. Waiting for them to show up and throwing pebbles/stones to scare them off (they would just wait from a distance until I went inside and then they'd destroy anything they could get into)
8. I'm embarrassed to admit...we borrowed a BB gun to scare them off, but my boyfriend and I are such bad aims, it was a total waste of time.
9. The only thing that seemed to work was wrapping every container with a chicken-wire "hat", basically covering the top of the container with chicken-wire so that the plant could go thru it but prevent the squirrel from digging out the seeds or roots.

Covering everything in chicken-wire was effective but not worth effort because I had to adjust the chicken-wire covering as the plants grew. I had a lot of containers at the time (over 50, different sizes). Also, it makes my garden look like a mini prison or something, everything is covered in a 'mini fence'.

I want to be able to have my plants freely growing in the space I have (we're a bit of an anomaly in the Bronx, we have a huge space with decent sunlight most of the day). And I wish that I could have seedlings outside, but there is no way these squirrels are going to let me plant anything.

I will say that they seem to stay away from a raised garden bed which only has mint. I'm grateful I can keep mint, but I'd like to grow more than mint leaves! They also don't really do anything to a small apple tree and fig tree (both in containers), I'm grateful for that as well. Now that I think about it...there's also a thyme plant, a lavender plant, an oregano plant, and a rosemary plant that they seem to have little or no interest digging up.

It's really frustrating for me because I spend all of my free time from work (my job can be very stressful at times) in the yard. I've spent entire weekends tending to the garden until late into the night, only to find the whole of my work destroyed by Monday morning when the squirrels rage in my backyard.

I can't even keep a bird-feeder in the yard because they will tear into that as well.

I should add that my garden is basically a roof-top garden. I have 2 (medium) raised garden beds, 3 smaller garden beds, and many containers in the yard.

If anyone has any helpful advice, I'd really appreciate it. I want to conquer this squirrel problem!

Thanks for reading!

-Araceli
 
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MaryMary

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Well, it appears you have tried everything except the thing that works for me. :)



I call it "Pinwheel of Cats."

0505041731a.jpg




Now I know, it's not for everyone, but it works, I swear it does. (y) I have spring bulbs, perennial flowers, a vegetable garden, and 6 or 7 bird feeders.

:eek: We do lose a bird every now and then, :oops: but squirrels are not a problem!! :ROFLMAO:

Welcome to the forum! :)
 
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Another vote for a cat. Or a Terrier!

I wonder if you have a different type of squirrel than I do? I have tons of squirrels but they've never bothered the garden, and I bought an effective squirrel proof bird feeder. Or maybe the ones around me just have lots more food options (tons of trees all around here) than in a dense urban environment?
 

JardinDelBronx

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Well, it appears you have tried everything except the thing that works for me. :)



I call it "Pinwheel of Cats."

View attachment 17618



Now I know, it's not for everyone, but it works, I swear it does. (y) I have spring bulbs, perennial flowers, a vegetable garden, and 6 or 7 bird feeders.

:eek: We do lose a bird every now and then, :oops: but squirrels are not a problem!! :ROFLMAO:

Welcome to the forum! :)
Love the photo!! Unfortunately, I am not sure that I'm ready to be a pet owner at this time. Also, I'm pretty sure there are cats in the yard and they partake in the debauchery! I once noticed that the culprit who had dug in one of the containers left broader prints in the soil. They looked like the softer, rounder paws on a kitty cat than the jagged little claws on the fierce squirrels.

I could put some cat food out to attract neighborhood cats (I might be able to share the neighborhood cats) but I'd risk attracting raccoons and I wouldn't put it past the squirrels to eat the cat food too.

I believe they have plenty of food options as there are lots of trees in the neighborhood (there are large tree-lined parks not far from where I live). Also, I live a few blocks from the local New York Botanical Garden. I asked myself "why can't these squirrels go mess with the Botanical Gardens? They have to pick on the rookie!". And yes, I know it sounds odd to hear about all of the greenery in New York City! I live on the border of the densely populated part of the Bronx and the greener, suburban region of the borough. That might be part of the problem. :p

-Araceli
 
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If it's any consolation, we have to resort to chicken wire cages also. We aren't protecting our plants against squirrels (they are all down at the pecan orchard, pigging out) but from raccoons, feral cats (MaryMary, don't take offense!), and the occasional adventurous dog who just loves to dig.
 
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MaryMary

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Unfortunately, I am not sure that I'm ready to be a pet owner at this time.
Believe me, when it comes to cats, you don't own them, they own you! :rolleyes:

The joy to owning a cat is this, even if you are not ready to be a pet owner; they like their freedom. (I have one of six that wants to be a lazy, indoor fluffmuffin, but the rest want to be outside.) All they need is as much food as you can hold in your open hand, once in the morning and once at night. Access to clean water. Scratches behind the ears. Flea medication. A commitment to take them to the vet if you notice something amiss. That's it, that's all they really want. Maybe a lap to sit in, if you spend time sitting outside. (y)

The smallest of those cats, (the grey one at the 5 o'clock position,) I've seen him roll a squirrel in a New York minute!! I actually stopped him, because squirrels are a rarity in my yard.

:D No offense taken, @marlingardener!! If they dug in my yard, I'd have to stop them, too!
 

JardinDelBronx

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If it's any consolation, we have to resort to chicken wire cages also. We aren't protecting our plants against squirrels (they are all down at the pecan orchard, pigging out) but from raccoons, feral cats (MaryMary, don't take offense!), and the occasional adventurous dog who just loves to dig.
The chicken-wire life isn't easy! lol I cut my hands a lot when I was working with chicken-wire. I had less injuries once I was working with protective gloves but it was very cumbersome.
 

JardinDelBronx

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Believe me, when it comes to cats, you don't own them, they own you! :rolleyes:

The joy to owning a cat is this, even if you are not ready to be a pet owner; they like their freedom. (I have one of six that wants to be a lazy, indoor fluffmuffin, but the rest want to be outside.) All they need is as much food as you can hold in your open hand, once in the morning and once at night. Access to clean water. Scratches behind the ears. Flea medication. A commitment to take them to the vet if you notice something amiss. That's it, that's all they really want. Maybe a lap to sit in, if you spend time sitting outside. (y)

The smallest of those cats, (the grey one at the 5 o'clock position,) I've seen him roll a squirrel in a New York minute!! I actually stopped him, because squirrels are a rarity in my yard.

:D No offense taken, @marlingardener!! If they dug in my yard, I'd have to stop them, too!
I've often joked that the reason I wouldn't be a good cat owner is because in a lot of ways... I behave like a cat! I love my freedom, I like my lazy days, sometimes I want attention and will put on a show to get it and other days I squirm at the idea of social interactions. :LOL:
 
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Proper size havaheart trap works well for me. Slice of apple with peanut butter and a few sunflower seeds on top and I have caught upwards of twenty five om the past year and brought them to new home. Have to set the door so it barely is held up. (also caught a opossum once and small skunk :eek:)
 
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JardinDelBronx

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Proper size havaheart trap works well for me. Slice of apple with peanut butter and a few sunflower seeds on top and I have caught upwards of twenty five om the past year and brought them to new home. Have to set the door so it barely is held up. (also caught a opossum once and small skunk :eek:)
That the trap we tried! We placed a piece of cake inside the trap as bait, the squirrels somehow were able to reach in, eat the cake and never set the trap off! I was flabbergasted and very impressed.:LOL:
 

JardinDelBronx

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Update:

I don't know how to feel about this, but I thought I should share since we were just talking about it last week.

We took down one of the squirrels with a bb gun. It was during the middle of a digging frenzy in one of the raised beds I have. Usually the squirrel runs off after I shoo at them from the window but this time it seemed like my "get outta here, squirrel!" didn't work. So my boyfriend went and got a bb gun he borrowed from the building superintendent and he took him down with one shot. I felt a lot worse than I expected to, and a few minutes later another squirrel had taken over the digging assignment. The second one did run off once I screamed at it.

The carrots are not going to be an option this year (that's where the 2 squirrels did their damage). I think it wasn't a good idea anyway (to plant carrots), those seeds are way too sweet for the squirrels to resist. I feel terrible but I also remember the stressful season I had last year as a result of these insatiable scoundrels.

I'm seriously considering getting a cat!
 
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I have a lot of squirrels in my yard and did have a problem with them going after bulbs and such but since I decided to always have sunflower seeds in a pan out there for them, not a problem since, not even a problem with them digging holes to hide their seeds.
 
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I have a lot of squirrels in my yard and did have a problem with them going after bulbs and such but since I decided to always have sunflower seeds in a pan out there for them, not a problem since, not even a problem with them digging holes to hide their seeds.
Hmm...now this seems like an interesting option. I'm afraid it would draw to many other critters. Just caught a possum last night
 

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