Keeping Squirrels Out of Your Raised Garden Beds

Having squirrels dig through our vegetable beds can be very annoying for people who love gardening and growing their own food. You don’t want squirrels to ruin your garden after all the work you put into building and planting your raised beds. They should not be eating your sprouting plants or digging up your seeds.

The good news is there are effective solutions to squirrel proof your raised garden beds and protect your plants without harming the squirrels. In this article we’ll go over some of the top techniques to safely and humanely keep squirrels from destroying your raised bed vegetable garden or flower beds.

Why Squirrels Invade Gardens

Before diving into solutions, it helps to understand what attracts squirrels to gardens in the first place. Squirrels have a natural drive to dig and forage for food. Your garden beds are appealing to them because:

  • Loose, workable soil is perfect for digging and burying nuts.
  • Squirrels can smell seeds and seedlings, which they love to eat.
  • Vegetable plants, fruits, and flowers are tasty snacks.
  • Fence panels around beds provide convenient access.
  • Raised beds are elevated off the ground for quick escape.

Squirrels are persistent and will go to great lengths for food Keeping these motivations in mind can help you protect the plants they like to target most

Physical Barriers for Raised Beds

Making a physical barrier that squirrels can’t get through to your raised garden beds is the best way to keep them out. Here are some ideal solutions:

1. Netting

Covering beds with netting is a simple and affordable option. Use garden-specific mesh netting with holes that are no bigger than 1/2 inch. Steel hardware cloth also works well. The netting should be secured tightly and extend over the entire bed. Bury edges at least 6 inches underground to prevent squirrels from burrowing underneath.

2. Wire Fencing

Construct a cage of 1/2 inch wire mesh fencing around the entire raised bed perimeter and top to create a secure enclosure. Bury the bottom edge to prevent access by digging. Chicken wire can work but squirrels may chew through it.

3. Cloches and Row Covers

Cover individual plants or rows with cloches, fabric row covers, or tunnels to create protective barriers. This works well for lower profile veggie beds. Secure the edges tightly with stones, U-pins, or stakes.

4. Garden Fabric in Pots

For potted plants, cut garden fabric to fit over the soil surface and cut an X for the plant. The fabric prevents digging while still allowing the plant to grow. Weigh fabric down with small stones.

5. Burlap

Use burlap as an inexpensive porous cover over seed beds and new transplants. It protects from digging squirrels but allows water and light through. Wrap burlap snugly and stake in place.

Natural Squirrel Repellents

When physical barriers aren’t practical, natural scents and deterrents can also be very effective for repelling squirrels from garden beds:

  • Apply hot pepper powder, chili pepper flakes, or cayenne around beds. Reapply after rain.
  • Sprinkle dried blood meal around the garden perimeter. Blood meal also fertilizes plants.
  • Mix up a garlic and hot pepper garden spray. Use garlic oil for longer lasting effects.
  • Place mesh bags of human hair, dog fur, or predator scents like fox urine near beds.
  • Interplant squirrel resistant plants like lavender, catnip, marigolds, or geraniums.

Check beds frequently and reapply natural repellents as needed. Combining 2-3 options together works better than a single deterrent.

Scare Tactics and Devices

For a more hands-off approach, you can also use scare devices strategically around your vegetable garden to frighten squirrels away:

  • Set up a motion activated sprinkler that sprays squirrels when detected.
  • Use a ultrasonic or battery powered animal repeller tuned to squirrel frequencies.
  • Hang old CDs or strips of aluminum foil on branches to scare with flashes and noise.
  • Apply squirrel repellent gel on fence posts, raised bed edges, and poles.
  • Set up a scarecrow, lifelike plastic owl, or dangling mylar tape near beds.

The key is changing up and moving scare devices regularly so squirrels don’t get accustomed to them. Use in combination with other methods.

Tips for Ongoing Squirrel Prevention

Keeping squirrels away from your raised beds is an ongoing battle. Here are some useful tips:

  • Monitor beds daily for new squirrel damage and act quickly to reinforce barriers.
  • Ideal time to protect beds is when installing transplants or sowing new seeds.
  • Handpick larger visible nuts squirrels may have buried in the beds.
  • Clean up any fallen fruits and vegetables promptly.
  • Keep surrounding yard areas tidy to eliminate squirrel habitat.
  • If fences are damaged, repair any gaps or holes immediately.
  • Avoid feeding squirrels or giving them water which encourages garden visits.
  • Plant squirrel resistant flowers like daffodils and lavender around the garden perimeter.
  • Start plants from transplants rather than seeds which are more vulnerable.
  • Consider fencing around the entire garden area for larger spaces.

With persistence, a multifaceted approach, and reinforcement during key planting times, you can successfully protect your raised beds from sneaky squirrels! Let us know which solutions have worked best in your garden.

Additional Tips from Gardeners

We asked experienced gardeners to share their top tips for keeping squirrels out of raised beds:

  • “I surround my veggies with marigolds and garlic – squirrels hate the smell.”

  • “Netting is essential but big enough holes let birds in. Use 1/4 inch netting for best protection.”

  • “Draping burlap directly on beds blocks squirrels effectively until plants are established.”

  • “Sprinkling cayenne pepper onto damp soil helps the scent stay strong after watering or rain.”

  • “Hardware cloth wrapped around the lower half of beds keeps out burrowers.”

  • “Motion activated sprinklers work great but have to be moved around to remain effective.”

  • “Planting scented flowers like lavender and mint around the perimeter helps deter squirrels.”

  • “My best solution has been complete cages of 1/2 inch wire mesh around raised beds.”

Protect Your Garden Investment

Don’t let pesky squirrels ruin the fruits of your gardening labor. With some simple, strategic solutions, you can safely and humanely keep squirrels out of your raised beds and fend off the furry garden raiders. Use an integrated, multifaceted approach for best results. The effort to protect your beds is well worth it when you can successfully harvest baskets of homegrown veggies and flowers!

Squirrel Proof Raised Garden Bed Covers for Tomato Plants


How to stop squirrels from eating in the garden?

Deter squirrels with essential oil, and spices, add flowers they hate, or stick a sparkly spinner in the pot to scare them. Plant pot grids or netting can also deter not only squirrels but other pests from digging, as well.

What do squirrels hate the most?

Now that we know more about them, we’ll discuss the scents they hate! The scents on this list are: Peppermint Oil, Capsaicin, Coffee Grounds, White Vinegar, Garlic, Cinnamon, Predator Urine, Irish Springs Soap, Dryer Sheets, and Rosemary.

Why did we build a squirrel-proof enclosure for our garden?

Squirrels. The furry little critters were pillaging our gorgeous garden, and what made it worse was that they weren’t even enjoying the fruits of our labor-they discarded them after just one sour bite. We were determined to put an end to this vicious cycle by constructing a squirrel-proof enclosure for our garden.

How to keep squirrels out of your garden?

Choose Your Plants Wisely The easiest and cheapest way to keep squirrels out of your garden is to not plant vegetation they like to eat. Any soft or tender plant (think smooth leaves that are easy to tear) Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Apples, Avocadoes, Oranges

How do you keep squirrels out of a squirrel enclosure?

While the enclosure needs to keep the squirrels out, we needed a way to get in! So, using the same landscape poles for a frame, we built a door. We cut two of the 12 ft. planks into four equal pieces and two longer side pieces using a miter saw.

Should you protect plants from squirrels?

In wooded areas or those adjacent to parks, it becomes impossible to exclude squirrels, and in these places, it makes more sense to protect individual plants from squirrel damage. It may seem like a lot of work, but as a bonus, you will also be preventing damage from mice, voles, groundhogs, birds, rabbits, and deer.

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