Tips from Protecting Your Prized Tomatoes: Effective Strategies to Keep Squirrels at Bay

In the realm of gardening, garden beds serve as enchanting havens, where natural beauty and serenity converge to captivate the hearts of gardening enthusiasts. Amidst this thriving tapestry of flora and fauna, earthworms emerge as humble yet vital players, diligently enriching the soil with their castings and nurturing the growth of plants. These unassuming trails represent the earthworms' tireless efforts, silently contributing to the garden’s overall health and productivity.

But amidst this harmony, there exist intruders that can disrupt the serenity of garden beds, and among them are squirrels. These lively critters, both tree squirrels and ground squirrels, are known to indulge in the delights of the summer vegetable garden, and that includes the prized tomatoes.

Ground squirrels, smaller in size and lacking a bushy tail, are often found in colonies, creating burrows with extensive tunnels underground. Their presence can be frustrating, with multiple entrance holes popping up through the garden beds. On the other hand, tree squirrels spend most of their time above the garden in trees, descending to the garden  beds during daylight hours to forage on ripe produce.

raised garden beds

Guarding Your Precious Tomatoes: Proven Techniques for Deterring Squirrels in the Garden beds They usually wait until the tomatoes are perfectly ripe before taking a bite. Interestingly, when squirrels eat a tomato, they frequently take just one bite before moving on to the next ripe fruit.

For gardeners who have experienced these squirrel-invoked tomato tragedies, it's essential to employ preventive measures to protect their precious harvest. Here are six effective ways to safeguard tomatoes from these lively critters:

Build a barrier: Create a critter-free area around your prized tomatoes by constructing a cage using heavy-duty hardware cloth. For ground squirrels, an 18-inch tall fence buried 6 inches below ground is sufficient, while tree squirrels require an enclosure enveloping the entire plant.

Use a repellent: Commercial repellents that deter squirrels from munching on plants are available. These products often contain ingredients like peppermint and hot pepper. Look for safe-to-use repellents in both granular and liquid forms.

Promote predators: Encourage natural predators like snakes, hawks, and owls to help control the squirrel population. They can be effective at keeping ground squirrel communities in check.

Employ the family pet: Cats and dogs can be effective squirrel deterrents. Just the scent of your pet in the garden beds can scare squirrels away. You can try placing shed pet fur around your tomatoes to keep them at bay.

raised garden beds

Seek professional help: Pest control companies often offer rodent control services. Inquire about trapping and relocating squirrels or consider fumigation as a control option in some areas.

Share the garden beds: Sometimes, it's challenging to completely prevent squirrels from indulging in a tomato or two. Consider planting a little more than you need and share your garden with these 4-legged creatures.

By implementing these strategies, gardeners can strike a balance between protecting their precious produce and embracing the coexistence with these lively garden visitors. With proper care and measures in place, garden beds can continue to thrive as enchanting havens of natural beauty and serenity for gardening enthusiasts to enjoy.

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