13 Tips for Keeping Squirrels Out of Your Tomatoes

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Have you noticed that the tomatoes you grow in your backyard are being constantly chewed and eaten by some creatures? It might be squirrels sneaking into your property when you’re not around.

Squirrels are a common problem for backyard farmers. Although these creatures mostly eat nuts and birdseed, squirrels also like to feed on fruits, vegetables, berries, and other foods that they may easily find.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent these animals from visiting your garden and nibbling on your tomatoes. 

Below are the 13 tips for keeping squirrels out of your tomatoes:

1. Bring home a canine or feline

If you’re looking for a way to scare off squirrels without using hazardous chemicals, you can try the old-fashioned, but very effective method of having a dog to roam around your property.

If you’re not a fan of canines, you can invite over feline friends as well since cats prey on squirrels.

If you’re having a dog for this specific purpose, it is important to know that there are specific dog breeds that specialize in chasing away squirrels.

American Squirrel Dog, Rat Terrier, German Pinscher, and Border Collie are just some of the many dog breeds that excel in hunting squirrels, rodents, and other small creatures.

Raised garden beds with tomatoes and other vegetables and plants and herbs with fencing

2. Build fences

Another way to keep squirrels from eating your tomatoes is by protecting your garden from unwanted visitors. Wire fence is a good choice for blocking pests.

Make sure that the fence is buried deep to prevent diggers from entering your property. You may consider installing an electric fence as well.

Other materials for building physical barriers are plastic bird netting, summer weight row, hardware cloth, and chicken wire. All these materials are easily found at your local hardware or garden supply centers. You can also use a raised garden bed so that it will be easier to install and bury your fence.

The type of fence you should use will depend on the variety of tomato you are growing, so it is suggested to do thorough research first before buying and installing a fence for your tomato garden.

It will also help for you to know that squirrels prefer to munch on ripened tomatoes, instead of the green ones. Although it can be tedious, you can try wrapping ripening tomatoes in a bird netting to ensure that your ripened tomatoes will not be stolen by these small creatures.

Making a cage, fence, or cover is ideal if you have plenty of squirrels in your area as it will completely prevent them from entering your garden.

3. Provide squirrels with alternative options

If you want to ward off squirrels without harming them, you can try playing it nice. Distract squirrels by setting up plants that these small creatures will truly love in an isolated area of your yard.

Squirrels love sunflower seeds, peanuts, and corn. They are not huge fans of tomatoes, which is why they only bite them for a while and will leave them in your yard.

Providing them with their most favorite crops will ensure that they will never come close to your tomatoes again since there are better options available.

mint plants growing in raised bed garden

4. Plant mint close to your tomato garden

The reason why you should plant mint near your tomato garden to fend off squirrels is because squirrels hate mint. You can plant mint in a pot, and put it in areas where squirrels are most likely to sneak in, such as near patios and your garden. 

Although it is not 100% guaranteed that planting mint alone will repel squirrels, it will probably help a little.

Not only can it help prevent squirrels from entering your home, but you also have a readily available fresh herb that can be added to your favorite cocktails and dishes.

5. Eliminate what attracts squirrels

You might not be fully aware of it, but there are various reasons why squirrels are attracted to your yard.

It may be because of the scent of fallen fruits, nuts, or seeds. It may also be the alluring scent of birdfeeders. Trash that is left out in the open may also be one of the reasons why squirrels will invade your property.

Eliminating such things will be very helpful to reduce a squirrel’s interest in your home. Always clean the fallen seeds, get rid of bird feeders, and make sure that the garbage can’s lid is securely closed.

Although it can be a lot of work, cleaning your yard regularly will ensure that squirrels will not visit your property since for them, there is nothing interesting about it.

6. Use predator urine

Predator urine is an effective way to repel squirrels that will try to come to your tomato garden. Squirrels know the scent of predators, so they would not even dare come close to an area where there is danger.

The scent of coyotes, owls, foxes, and other predator’s urine will definitely scare squirrels a lot. Therefore, spraying some of this to your tomato garden will ensure that your tomatoes will not be eaten by these small thieves.

A predator’s urine is widely available online, or at your local department store and specialty hunting shops. You don’t have to obtain a predator’s urine in a weird way.

Woman painting a polystyrene owl figurine

7. Put predator decoys to your garden

Not only do squirrels know the scent of their predators, but they also recognize their physical appearance. Therefore, placing decoys of foxes, hawks, owls, and other predators will be enough to send squirrels away from your garden.

You can place the decoys beside your tomato plant so that when squirrels recognize them, they will instantly back out and run away.

However, this technique will not work forever. After squirrels get used to the presence of these decoys, they will soon realize that they are not real threats.

To maximize the effectiveness of decoys, you can try placing them in different positions regularly. This will trick the squirrels into thinking that these decoys are real and moving.

8. Place a radio or stereo near your garden

In general, squirrels hate noises. Therefore, placing a radio or stereo near your garden will terrify these small creatures, causing them to stay away from your garden.

The only issue that may stop you from using radio to deter squirrels is when you live in a place with noise restrictions. You also have to be cautious not to bother your neighbors with the music.

Closeup of vintage radio on wooden table near garden

9. Buy squirrel repellent sprays

You can also try making use of squirrel repellent spray that can be purchased online, or at your local store.

Squirrel repellent sprays are easy to use since you will only need to spray it on areas where you don’t want squirrels to come, like your tomato garden.

While the squirrel repellent spray may be effective for a good amount of time, rain will easily wash it off. If you irrigate your tomato garden, it will also mean that you need to regularly spray the repellent.

There are cheap squirrel repellent sprays you can purchase, although determining if they’re practical to use or not will entirely be up to you.

10. Use motion-sensitive sprinklers

You can install a motion-activated sprinkler that will go off once it detects any movement. Setting this up in your garden will scare away squirrels and other pests that may try to invade your garden.

However, you might need to plan where to set this up since planting too close to your garden might cause your tomatoes to drown. Keep in mind that it is not healthy for a plant to consume water more than they need. 

11. Use ultrasonic repellent devices

An ultrasonic repellent device is a small gadget that you can place in the ground of your tomato garden. This device plays sounds that are effective in scaring away squirrels and other pests, although humans cannot hear it.

Ultrasonic repellent devices will play predator sounds, or any noise that squirrels and other pests find annoying or threatening.

Usually, these types of devices are solar-powered, which makes them easy to maintain. They will automatically operate just by being exposed to direct sunlight every day.

Hanging cds used to keep birds and squirrel away from the garden

12. Use other distractions

Aside from squirrel repellent spray, motion-sensitive sprinklers, and ultrasonic repellent devices, you can also make use of other distractions to keep squirrels away from your yard.

One example is installing pinwheels in your tomato garden. You may also hang old CDs using a fishing line in your garden.

However, these distractions only work in the beginning. When squirrels get used to it, they will eventually ignore them and will completely invade your tomato garden.

13. Make DIY squirrel repellent spray

There are ways to make squirrel deterrent sprays at home using readily available ingredients, such as garlic, hot peppers, or capsaicin. Some people also add peppermint oil, vinegar, or apple cider vinegar to repel squirrels.

Spraying a mixture of these ingredients will help deter squirrels. You may spray it every few days, and respray it after it rains. Just ensure that you don’t spray the mixture directly on the tomato.

Garlic And Chili Peppers on black background

Final Thoughts

Since there are various ways to keep squirrels out of your tomatoes, you can either choose one of these tips, or combine them together.

You might also experiment to determine which method works best for you. In the end, the goal here is to keep your tomatoes safe from squirrels and other pests.


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