Natural Squirrel Repellent Ideas – Keep Squirrels out of The Yard!

Dealing with squirrels has been an ongoing problem for me in one way or another for several years.  Do you have a problem with squirrels?  If so, these natural squirrel repellent ideas may prove useful to you.Tips for keeping squirrels out of your garden, Try these natural squirrel repellent ideas.

If you read my blog often, you may remember reading about the squirrels in my vegetable garden a few years ago. Suffice to say, it was a nightmare all around. I was at my wit’s end trying to keep them out of my home grown vegetables.

Problems caused by squirrels in the garden

Animal lovers are charmed by the acrobatic maneuvers of squirrels and find them delightful.

But when a gardener walks out into their vegetable garden to find their corn in a mess and their tomatoes scattered over the ground with exactly one bite out of each, they are anything BUT charmed.

Squirrels are a constant source of frustration for any vegetable gardener and I, for one, am always looking for new, and natural, ways for keeping squirrels out of my garden.Red Squirrel

I am an organic gardener by nature, but when my 1000 foot vegetable garden was destroyed by squirrels two years ago, I was prepared to try anything and everything to get rid of them.

I made some squirrel repellents but was never happy with the idea that they contained moth balls, which are quite toxic, so I discontinued the use of them and started looking into other natural squirrel repellent ideas.

Even if you never see squirrels in your yard, there are lots of signs that they have been visiting your garden.

Look for shallow digging and holes around plants, small bites on vegetables (particularly tomatoes), seed heads that hat been nibbled, whole plants that have disappeared (!) and digging evidence in your plant containers.

These are all signs that Mr. Squirrel has been paying you a visit and that it might be time to take action to control him.

Let’s look at some Natural Squirrel Repellent Ideas

Keeping squirrels out of the garden is a challenge for sure, but these ideas should help.

Hot Pepper Plants and Cayenne PepperHot Pepper plants and cayenne pepper are natural squirrel repellents that really work.

Hot peppers are the most often used ingredients in natural squirrel repellent remedies, it seems.  You can use them in a variety of ways:

  • Sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes on the ground near the plants that seem to be attracting squirrels.
  • Sprinkle a light dusting of cayenne pepper right on the leaves of squirrel tempting plants. Low lying leaves are the most important ones to sprinkle.
  • Mix cayenne pepper and petroleum jelly and spread it on the stems of plants at the base. Also spread it on fences, poles and other solid things near plants that squirrels like.
  • Make a cayenne pepper spray to spray on the leaves of tempting plants. To do this, mix a small bottle of your favorite hot sauce with a gallon on water. Place in a spray bottle and use it directly on the leaves of the plants that the squirrels are going after.

Note:  all of these remedies will need to be reapplied periodically, especially after it rains.

Garlic SpraysUse crushed garlic and vinegar to deter squirrels

Squirrels also dislike the smell and taste of garlic.  Make a concoction with chopped up garlic, water and vinegar.

Let the mixture sit for a few days to give the flavors a chance to combine well and spray it on plants, fences, and stakes in your vegetable garden.

Apple Cider Vinegar SprayApple cider vinegar spray

The acrid taste and smell of apple cider vinegar is a real turn off to squirrels. Use it as a spray on hard surfaces and fixtures in squirrel infested areas.

Note:  This spray is for use on hard surfaces, and it can be sprayed 100%. If you use it on plants, it should be diluted with water first. (10 ounces to 10 gallons of water.)

Squirrel Repelling Bulbs and Plants

Use bulbs as a way of keeping squirrels out of the garden.  Some of them are actually unappealing to them.

Plant squirrel repelling bulbs

There are some bulbs and plants that squirrels really avoid due to their taste and smell.  Planting this type of bulb near your vegetable garden can do a good job of keeping the squirrels away.

A few ideas for squirrel repelling bulbs are daffodils, hyacinths, allium, lily of the valley, peppermint and geranium.

Squirrels aren’t the only thing that plants will repel. Lots of plants are great at repelling insects. See my list of mosquito repelling plants here.

Peppermint Essential Oil is a Natural Squirrel RepellentPeppermint essential oil is a natural squirrel repellent

Squirrels don’t like the strong scent of peppermint. In the same way that a live peppermint plant will deter them, peppermint essential oils also can be used.

Soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them here and there on jar lids around plants in your garden that the squirrels like. The baits will need to be re-soaked periodically.

You can also make a peppermint essential oil spray with the ratio of one drop of peppermint essential oil to one ounce of vinegar and use it to spray on plants.

Other Natural Squirrel Repellent Ideas

If the remedies don’t work at keeping squirrels out of the garden, then it might be time for some more drastic measures.

Scaring SquirrelsMetal scarecrow with light sensors keep the squirrels away and make a great natural squirrel repellent

Motion detecting lights, scarecrows, high frequency sound machines, owl decoys, and other tools are used to scare squirrels. Some friends of mine have a huge farm property and Randy has a vegetable garden which gives her prizes every year at the State Fair.

When I visited recently, I asked Randy how she keeps the squirrels away from it and she said it was this amazing sculpture that she had made.

The sculpture is huge, has lights that come on when anything approaches the garden and does a great job of keeping the squirrels away from it.

Using Cats and Dogs Dogs keep squirrels out of the garden

The last few dogs that we had love to chase squirrels and this is one behavior that I don’t discourage.  

If you have a dog or cat in your yard that chases the squirrels every time they visit, it is unlikely that you will have much of a squirrel problem.

Not all dogs deter squirrels. When I had my squirrel invasion, the dogs I had then had no interest in the squirrels! Other times (and other dogs) proved just the opposite!

Squirrel Traps

Sometimes the answer to a squirrel problem is simply to trap them and remove them to another location.

Trap squirrels humanely and move to another area

Place sunflower seeds, small pieces of corn on the cob or other threats that squirrels like in a squirrel trap. Place the trap near the area where you know the squirrels visit.

Once the squirrel gets trapped, release it in some far away place (or they will just return if you release near your home!)

Remove things that attract squirrels

You may be unknowingly attracting squirrels in your attempt to bring other wildlife into the garden. The bird seed that the birds love is also a favorite food of squirrels.Clean up around bird feeders

Place bird feeders away from your vegetable garden area if possible, and be sure to clean up around them.  The smell of seeds and bits of fruit can really be attractive to squirrels.

Also, make sure that your garbage bins are closed to keep temptation away.  There is no sense in sending out a welcome mat if you want to keep squirrels at bay!

Give them an alternative food choice

This may seem like an oxymoron, but sometimes giving the squirrels their own food supply can be the answer.Set up a feeding station for squirrels far away from your veggie garden

If you have tried everything to keep squirrels away and they still keep returning to your garden, try setting up a distraction station somewhere in your yard that is some distance away from your veggies.

Set up a food station with squirrel tempting treats like sunflower seeds, nuts and other treats. This will attract the squirrels away from your vegetables and to other areas of the yard.

Just be sure the station is [positioned well away from your edible vegetables. Don’t forget to keep water here too.  My entire crop of tomatoes each had one bite out of them and I am sure the squirrels were mainly thirsty that day.

Cages for Vegetables

Squirrels love vegetables, in particular corn. (My squirrel problem was never a problem until I decided to plant corn in the vegetable garden.)

If all else fails, cages may be your only option.

One of the best natural squirrel repellent ideas is simply to keep them out! The squirrels cannot eat when they can’t get into the vegetable area.  Think about making tall wire cages.

Be sure the garden beds have tops (bird netting works well) as well as sides, or the squirrels will just climb up and in. Row covers also work for smaller veggies.

A note on Predators.

Both hawks and owls love to prey on squirrels.  My husband is convinced that our squirrel population is so much higher because wooded land near by has been built up with houses and the owls are less plentiful.Owls are natural preditors for squirrels

Find out what you can about attracting owls and hawks to the area to see if this helps.

If you don’t have live owls living nearby, think about investing in some owl decoys. They are designed to scare away squirrels and other rodents.

Have you found other natural methods effective at keeping squirrels out of your garden? Share your natural squirrel repellent in the comments below!

Pin this post on Natural Squirrel Repellent Ideas

Would you like a reminder of this post for keeping squirrels out of your garden?  Just pin this image to one of your gardening boards on Pinterest.These natural squirrel repellent ideas will help you manage with a summer time pest.

Admin Note: This post first appeared on the blog in April of 2017. I have updated the post with additional tips, more photos, a printable check list and video for you to enjoy.

Yield: Ideas to Keep Squirrels out of Your Yard!

Natural Squirrel Repellent Ideas

Natural Squirrel Repellent Ideas

There are lots of ways to keep squirrels out of your yard. This handy check list will help you plan for a squirrel free garden this year.

Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $10 - $50


  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Peppermint Essential Oils
  • Squirrel Cages
  • Motion Detectors
  • Vegetable Cages


  • Print out the check list below to help plan for dealing with squirrels this year.



  1. Hot pepper plants
  2. Cayenne pepper on the leaves of plants.
  3. Peppermint essential oil on cotton balls in the garden
  4. Garlic and vinegar spray with water
  5. Apple cider vinegar spray on leaves of plants
  6. Motion detector lights
  7. Large statues in the garden
  8. High Frequency sound machines
  9. Cats and Dogs will keep squirrels away
  10. Squirrel traps to trap and move squirrels
  11. Move bird feeders away from vegetable garden
  12. Keep garbage bins away too
  13. Set up a squirrel feeding station for their own food supply
  14. Grow vegetables in cages.
  15. Plant bulbs that deter squirrels such as daffodils, hyacinths, allium, garlic, lily of the valley, peppermint and geraniums.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  7 comments for “Natural Squirrel Repellent Ideas – Keep Squirrels out of The Yard!

  1. 09/26/2018 at 6:32 am

    Squirrels don’t like the smell of vinegar and ammonia. You can hang containers filled with soaked rags around your garden to keep squirrels at bay.

    Another trick is to cover the soil of your potted plants with some predator fur or even clippings from your own hair. Again, the smell of a predator will scare off the squirrels. Remember that those solutions must be “Re-freshed” from time to time, especially after a rainy day. 🙂

    • Carol
      09/26/2018 at 1:10 pm

      Thanks for the tips Amber!

      • Carol
        06/26/2019 at 11:10 am

        is there a way to keep the squirels from eating my pine cones from my pine trees.

        • Carol
          06/26/2019 at 11:57 am

          Not that I know of. I have the same problem. Perhaps another reader can help.

  2. Zeze
    04/21/2019 at 5:19 am

    Thank you good information!

    • Carol
      04/21/2019 at 8:35 am

      Glad you enjoyed it Zeze.

  3. Richard G
    07/19/2019 at 9:51 pm

    I used the apple cider vinegar on my tomatoe plants and othet veges. I did not see where you should dilute the vinegar, not my plants have all browned and might not survive. If you did say to dilute the vinegar I did not see it. If you did not say to dilute it please let people know it must be diluted

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