Aug 20, 2022 - Things to Do

How to keep squirrels from your garden and bird feeder

Squirrels leave their mark on the garden by eating tomatoes. Photo: John Frank/Axios
Squirrels leave their mark on the garden by eating tomatoes. Photo: John Frank/Axios

This week, I came face to face with his nemesis. And it had one of my red tomatoes in its mouth.

What's happening: The damn squirrels are at it again, this time looting tomatoes β€” the precious few left unscathed after the recent hail storm β€” from the garden.

  • They even ate a watermelon on the vine, and they're after the bird feeder, too.

Why it matters: The fruit of our garden labor this time of year is like gold in Colorado. It's not easy to grow a cornucopia out here, given the weather (hail in August?!) and other plant maladies.

What to do: I've tried metal cages, bird netting, coffee grounds, throwing rocks, a high-powered hose and I'm this-close to resorting to more potent means.

  • Thankfully, Leslie Clemensen at Wild Birds Unlimited in Castle Rock talked me from the ledge. Between the garden and bird feeders, how to deter squirrels "is probably the No. 1 question we get," she says.

Her advice: Just pick the tomatoes a little early, before they become bright red and enticing for the squirrels.

  • Cages and coverings can work, she says, but not foolproof and she's even had snakes get caught in there.
  • She's tried sprays, too. "You have to put it on so frequently that I wasn't very good about keeping up with it," she says."
  • When it comes to bird feeders, buy hot pepper bird seed because squirrels don't like it and our feathered friends don't mind it.
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