Ask any horticulturist, and they’ll tell you why it’s a great idea to include succulents in your garden. Asides from the enhanced aesthetic appeal it gives your yard, succulents also help to purify the air and improve the humidity of your home.
But like many other plants, water-filled succulent leaves are sumptuous meals for several animals, especially squirrels. And once squirrels gain access to your garden, they go on a wild succulent-eating feast.
This is bad news for any gardener. That’s why in this post, we’ll explore some of the ways to prevent squirrels from your succulent garden.
Signs of Infestation
As noted earlier, lots of animals eat succulents – including slugs, insects, possums, and domestic animals like chickens and ducks. So, how would you know if squirrels are the culprit?
The nature of the damage is the best indication to you. Squirrels are known for chewing and digging their way through gardens, so check out for that. What’s more, the presence of uprooted plants, leaves, and holes with a variety of squirrel foods like nuts indicates a squirrel infestation. To learn more about squirrel prevention at CritterPro, you should promptly contact them.
Furthermore, squirrels distinctively chew on succulents. Unlike insects that make holes by taking tiny bits, squirrels take a big chunk from succulent leaves. They also leave deep wounds and jagged tear marks on leaves. And since they don’t eat the whole leaves, you’ll see disfigured succulents scattered around your garden.
How to Prevent Squirrels from Your Succulent Garden
There are several strategies for keeping squirrels away from your succulent garden, each with a varying level of effectiveness. In this section, we examine some of them:
1. Netting and Fencing
Netting or fencing is arguably one of the most effective ways to keep squirrels away. Think about it – erecting a barrier that they cannot pass through makes sense.
However, because squirrels are adept climbers and diggers with acrobatic talents, erecting an effective barrier can be challenging. That’s why the barrier has to go a few inches into the ground to prevent squirrels from digging under. Also, the barrier has to have a smooth surface so they cannot climb it.
Even if you use a squirrel-proof fence, it’s often necessary to include netting over it to be on the safe side. And if you choose not to, be aware of branches close to your garden. Squirrels can climb those branches and hop into your garden from there.
The major drawback of netting and fencing is that they detract from the overall aesthetic appeal of your garden. Also, you need to routinely inspect the fence for damage and holes to maintain a squirrel-free garden.
2. Smell Repellents
Squirrels detest certain smells. Why not take that to your advantage?
Peppermint is a prime example. Applying peppermint alongside your succulents makes them unattractive to squirrels. Mothball is another repellent used by gardeners, as squirrels hate the smell. However, note that mothball is toxic, and it can harm wild animals, pets, and even kids if consumed.
In general, squirrels do not like spicy food. Hence, you should consider making or buying a pepper spray that you can apply to your garden. Sprinkling dried spices, like red pepper flakes or cayenne, can help to discourage squirrels.
Note that smell repellents are not very effective because they need to be constantly reapplied, especially after rainfall or heavy watering. Failure to do so invariably attracts squirrels back.
3. Get a Dog
It’s no news that dogs love to chase squirrels. If you don’t mind having a furry companion, you can also put a dog on squirrel patrol to scare them away.
4. Natural Predator
If you don’t want the added responsibility that comes with owning a dog, you can take advantage of natural predators of squirrels to keep them away.
For example, spraying your garden with the urine of a natural predator is a proven way to keep squirrels at bay. But again, it needs to be constantly reapplied to maintain its efficacy.
Another strategy is by placing plastic owls, snakes, and hawks around your yard since squirrels are afraid of them. But note that you have to regularly change the positions of these dummy predators, so squirrels do not become acclimatized and lose their fear of them.
5. Give Them Their Food
Disclaimer: This is a highly controversial method, but some homeowners claim it has worked for them. This strategy involves using a squirrel feeder to feed them with peanuts, feed corn, sunflower seeds, and other foods they love.
The idea is that by providing them with easy access to their best foods, you remove the incentive for them to attack your succulents.
6. Startle Them
Squirrels hate to be startled. That’s why you should consider harnessing a motion-activated water sprinkler or blast of air from a motion-activated air can. The startled squirrel quickly runs back to safety.
If you’re keen on enjoying your succulent garden, then you must keep squirrels away. We’ve explored some of the best strategies for accomplishing that. But if you’ve tried these strategies with no luck, then it’s time to bring in a professional.