Gardening expert gives tips on deterring pets and pests
The common grey squirrel is a rodent often seen in garden and woodland areas, and signs you have them in the garden can be easily spotted. Particular favourites of the pests include tulip bulbs, sweetcorn, strawberries, apples, pears as well as the flower buds of camellias and magnolias. Keeping them away completely is impossible, but there are steps Britons can take to minimise them causing damage.
Liam Lapping of Flowercard said: “For some gardeners the antics of squirrels can be relatively amusing, from their acrobatic abilities to using their mouths as temporary storage for nuts.
“However, for other gardeners squirrels and other rodents can be seen as a nuisance, especially during the colder months when preparation for winter is in full swing.
“A squirrel’s winter preparation typically involves rummaging through planted bulbs and terrorising bird feeders.”
If you want to keep the rodent out of your garden, make sure to squirrel-proof your bird feeder by purchasing a clear dome to stop the animals running up it.
It is also recommended to keep the feeders away from fences, walls or trees where squirrels could easily jump onto the bird feeder from.
The expert explained that one step is to try and prevent squirrels access to new bulbs and seeds, which is extremely important at this time of year.
He said: “It can be a good idea to sow new plants by growing them in a greenhouse, propagator or cloche, preventing squirrels from being able to dig.”
Some bulbs and seeds can even be started off indoors on warm window sills to prevent the animals ruining them.
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Liam continued: “You could also consider covering your pots with a layer of metal or chicken wire until shoots begin to appear.”
Fruit and vegetables can also be protected with the help of a fruit cage, although this is usually for larger areas.
Fruits such as strawberries, which squirrels love, can easily be covered with some netting, which will also stop birds eating away at them.
Another way to “deter” the rodent is to plant flowers and cropswhich they hate, which will help to keep the animals out of the garden.
The gardening expert explained: “There are thought to be a series of plants that squirrels will avoid based on their taste and smell, including mint, hyacinths and geraniums, to name a few.”
Scents of white pepper and garlic powder will also help to repel them as they will be repulsed by the strong scents.
They also do not like the smell of coffee and cinnamon so this can also be used in the garden to deter squirrels.
Spray growing crops with water and put some of the seasoning around them to keep the rodents away.
Liam added: “You can use a series of visual deterrents to scare off squirrels. An owl decoy is a popular choice for this, because owls normally prey on squirrels.”
Place this somewhere the squirrels will be easily able to see the owl, such as near the bird feeder, but be careful not to scare birds off.
Squirrels are also known to knock over containers and it is therefore important to plant in suitable containers.
It is advised to only use heavy, unshakeable containers on the ground just in case a squirrel or other animal tries to push it over.
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