Controlling squirrels can be quite a challenge, especially during tomato season when the little pests come down to your garden for a full-on buffet!
It takes time and care to grow and look after tomatoes and therefore it can be extremely frustrating waking up and seeing the damage done to your plants by neighboring squirrels.
Take a read at the following methods and techniques on how to keep squirrels away from your tomato plants to avoid this issue from happening!
How to keep squirrels away from tomatoes
Though you can’t indefinitely protect your tomato plants from squirrels, eliminating squirrel attractions, caging your plants, using natural repellants, and creating some noise can scare these rodents off. You can also use motion sensor lights, sprinklers, and mothballs to keep squirrels at bay.
1. Remove squirrel attractions
One of the ways to control and do away with squirrels from your garden is to remove all the things that attract them there in the first place.
If you have trash cans outside or food scraps lying in the garden this will attract squirrels.
Place your trash cans inside or ensure that they are firmly closed if you choose to leave them outside.
Bird feeders are also a big attraction for squirrels.
The bird feed lures them in and after that, there is just chaos! If you have tomatoes that are ripening it is best to not put bird feed out.
Trees such as acorn trees and other nut-bearing plants are a major attraction for squirrels. Growing the two plants together can be troublesome.
I would advise that if you’re growing tomatoes to do it far away from these types of plants.
It would be a good idea to replant these nut-bearing plants somewhere else to eliminate the attraction of squirrels.
2. Put a cage around your plant
Putting a cage around your tomato plants is a great way to make sure they stay protected from squirrels.
If you find it impossible to get rid of the little guys, then it might be worth your time to set up a caging system.
The best materials to use when building a cage for your tomatoes are bird wire, netting, metal rods, and cable ties.
Place the metal rods around your tomato patch. Thereafter, take the bird wire and surround the metal rods around the patch.
Then, use the cable ties to tie the bird wire to the rods and stabilize it.
Once you have created the outer fence you need to create the roof of your cage.
This can be created by using bird wire or netting.
When creating the top roof of your cage, make sure that it is high enough so that it doesn’t restrict your plants or squish your tomatoes.
If your tomato plant already has a livestock panel supporting its growth, connect the bird wire or netting to the livestock panel for stability.
Use the cable ties to connect the bird wire or netting to the livestock panel. This will ensure that no squirrels get into your tomato patch!
If you don’t have bird wire or netting and can’t get to a local gardening center, it might be time to get creative and build a cage from the materials you have at home!
Make sure that the fencing material you use is sturdy and ensure that the cage has no large holes in it!
Squirrels are small and therefore they need a type of wiring or cage that will restrict them from entering your tomato patch.
3. Use a natural repellant
Another effective method to fend off squirrels from your garden and your tomato patch is to use natural repellants.
Some great repellants you might find at home consist of ground-up coffee, cayenne pepper, black pepper flakes, and garlic flakes.
The taste and smell of these repellents repulse squirrels.
Sprinkle one or more of them around the soil of your plants. The harsh smells and taste from the shavings will immediately scare them off and protect your tomatoes.
Growing mint close by your tomato patch is another way to repel squirrels. The strong smell of the mint will scare them off.
4. Motion sensor sprinklers
This is an effective method to use if you are willing to buy and set up motion sensor sprinklers.
Place the sprinklers all around your tomato patch. When the sprinkler system senses movement, it will turn on.
The water will most likely give the squirrels a huge fright and chase them away! Squirrels will not try and steal your tomatoes when the sprinkler system is on.
5. Motion sensor lights
Similar to the sprinkler system, these lights will turn on as soon as they sense any movement.
The light will frighten the squirrels away.
However, this is not the most effective method as it will only work at night and many squirrels are active during the day.
Place a handful of mothballs inside a plastic bottle and close the lid. Leave the bottle with mothballs outside next to your tomato patch.
Don’t worry. Squirrels don’t eat mothballs, so this method will not kill them.
Just the smell of the mothballs is enough to repel the squirrels.
7. Create some noise
Creating some noise in the garden is a good way to frighten off pesky squirrels.
Squirrels do not like sudden loud noises as they are unfamiliar to them. Unexpected noises cause discomfort and disorientate squirrels.
Putting up wind chimes around your tomato patch will help scare the pests off. When the wind blows and the chimes move, the squirrels will be frightened and run away.
Keeping a radio in your garden by your tomato patch is another way to create noise.
The sound of music and people talking will give the illusion to the squirrel that there are people around.
The squirrel will be frightened from the noise and refrain from eating your tomatoes.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.