Save your Flower Pots from Squirrels

Squirrel eating an apple

Right now, as I look out onto my front patio, I can see a squirrel sitting on top of my box planter, which is a permanent patio fixture, and happily chewing on something from the cache that he stashed there in the fall. It isn’t a big deal, at least right now, since the planter is full of snow, but it is a reminder that I will need to take some action next year to keep this happy-go-lucky squirrel from digging up the plants that will be in those boxes.

Squirrels can be pretty big pests when it comes to a backyard garden

Squirrels are known to dig up flower beds, chew on wires and hoses, and make nests in all the wrong places, including barbeques. Squirrels can create their fair share of damage, and there are tons of products on the market that claim they can deal with squirrels.

Before I go into how to save your pots and flower boxes from your neighborhood squirrels, I would like to mention first that you shouldn’t waste your money on the number of deterrents out there. Many companies will recommend noise emitters and smells, such as mothballs, that should deter the squirrels from digging in an area, but the main problem with these is that a squirrel will learn to work through them. If you want an example of “If there’s a will, there’s a way,” you don’t have to look much farther than a squirrel.

Don’t waste money on expensive spray or noise boxes for rodents, I would recommend driving down to your local home hardware store and picking up a roll of metal screening, and this is a metal screen with a square grid pattern to it. There are different grades, but it is crucial to find one that does not have large holes. If a squirrel can get its paws through the grid, then it is much too small.

A Squirrel eating in a garden.
A Squirrel in a garden.

Once you get it home, it will be time to start preparing your flower pots. The first thing you will want to do is carefully measure each flower pot. Once you have the measurements, take the wire and cut out a piece of screen that will cover the pot from rim to rim.
Mark on the screen where the plant stem is in the pot and then carefully cut out a hole in the center of the screen. Fit it onto the flower pot. If the plant is already in the ground, then cut the screen in half and then fit it around the plant so that there is about a half-inch to an inch of space between the stem and the screen.

After you fit the screen into the flower pot, take some soil and sprinkle it over the net to cover it. Make sure it is not too deep, about one inch only, so the squirrel will hit the screen the moment the squirrel starts digging. Around the edges of the pot and on the cut seam, sink a few rocks into the soil so it holds the screen in place and no amount of digging will move it.

You can screen small flower beds and flower boxes in the same way, and when you are done making it, the squirrels won’t be able to dig in your garden and create a mess of your flower beds and pots. Of course, knowing squirrels, once they can’t do something, they will find something else to entertain themselves, and you could be presented with a new problem to solve.

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