Squirrels are often classified as garden pests, particularly grey squirrels due to their ferocious appetites and often destructive behaviors. However, their acrobatic abilities and cute appearance can counter these negatives and encourages gardeners to try attracting squirrels into their garden.
Though they have a bad reputation, when encouraged into your garden the right way, squirrels can help your garden by removing unwanted insects and fungi.
They can take time to feel safe in a new environment but once they do, are likely to stay long-term. So if you would like to learn how to attract squirrels to your backyard, without encouraging them into your home, keep on reading.
Like many rodents and small animals, squirrels feel safer under cover when moving around than in the open, especially if you live in an area with predators.
Squirrels are extremely agile and nifty animals able to move quickly in small, tight spaces. Though they can do so easily, they don’t like to move around using open fences or garden sheds.
If you want to attract squirrels to your backyard, you need to provide natural cover in the form of hedges or bushes. These can be grown on the borders of your garden to act as a safety barrier between your garden and the land outside of your yard.
This will help squirrels feel secure and be able to observe your backyard for any dangers before feeling confident to visit your garden.
Like all animals, squirrels require access to fresh water too. Depending upon your location, it may not be easy for squirrels and other animals to access fresh water.
If you live in a hot climate, providing fresh water can be a lifeline to many animals including squirrels who need the water to bathe in and cool down, or just to drink.
Whereas if you live in an area that experiences winter, fresh water again can be life or death to many animals. Although squirrels tend to not be as active during the winter months, they still need water to survive. Providing a water source that is flowing and not frozen in winter is vital for local wildlife.
For attracting squirrels, it is best to place these water sources in shallow dishes that are near trees or shrubs around your property.
Squirrels love trees. They use them for food, shelter, and for marking their territory. But not all trees are squirrel-friendly.
The most squirrel-friendly trees are those that offer edible nuts, flowers, or seeds. They are structured in such a way that squirrels can remove the bark to create hollows for building their nests. Plus, are trees that will withstand a squirrel’s natural behavior of removing bark, which on the wrong tree, can kill a tree.
Ideal trees include spruces, pines, willows, and aspens. These can be planted in your garden, ideally away from your property for two reasons.
Firstly, so that the roots of the tree do not stretch and grow underneath your property. Secondly, avoid branches growing too close to your home for squirrels to easily access your house.
Although trees will provide food for squirrels, they take a long time to grow, are often seasonal, and aren’t always possible to plant in every backyard due to space, etc.
The good news is that squirrels aren’t fussy eaters. They eat a huge variety of foods including seeds, nuts, berries, flowers, insects, bird’s eggs, bark, bulbs, and vegetables.
The bad news is that because they eat such a vast range of food, once you encourage squirrels into your garden, you will need to protect your crops from being eaten and your flower beds from being dug up (but onto that later!)
Make sure to plant specific food for squirrels in your garden that is easy to access and free from obstruction. If squirrels are satisfied, they are less likely to come after your favorite crops or vegetables.
In addition to planting some crops specifically with squirrels in mind, consider adding a couple of squirrel feeders into your garden.
These feeders have been designed with squirrels in mind so that the food isn’t accessible to other animals. They are best placed high up where squirrels can access them by climbing or jumping across from hedges and trees to use them.
It is best to fill the feeders with some of the squirrels’ favorite foods as this will help to deter them from attacking your garden. Items such as sunflower seeds, peanut butter, or corn.
Minimize Potential Problems
As mentioned earlier in the post, once squirrels are comfortable visiting your garden, it is almost impossible to remove them harmlessly.
Only use the above methods if you 100% want to attract squirrels into your backyard. You also need to dedicate some time in advance to protect the areas of your garden you do not want squirrels to invade.
Squirrels have sharp claws and strong teeth. They easily dig up covered bulbs in flower beds and can chew through the plastic mesh.
Try to use metal wire across your crops and over your flower beds until your flowers begin to grow. Also, ensure to add highly desired foods into your squirrel feeders to discourage squirrels from digging up your garden.
Ensure to cover up any outside access to your home too as squirrels can create havoc inside your insulation and the rest of your home. If planting trees on your property, cut down branches that stretch across to your windows or guttering, or ensure your trees are planted away from your home.
Squirrels can be a welcomed sight in many gardens and there are several sensible ways to attract squirrels into your backyard. However, remember to prepare your garden in advance to protect specific areas and minimize the risk of squirrels accessing your home.
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