The Garden Community for Garden Lovers


Shropshire, England Eng

Does anyone have any tips on how I can squirrel-proof my planters and pots?

I don’t *know* that it’s squirrels, but they’re in my garden more than I am, and so they’re the natural ones to blame. I’ve stopped feeding the birds because that was bringing squirrels in (*s* when I first moved in, it was, “Ooh, aren’t they cute?” for the first week, and “Gerrof, ya sods!” ever since.

I put a 2-3” layer of shredded bark on top of the planters in the hope that it would be a deterrent (as well as for the usual mulching purposes), but each day when I go out a find bark scattered over the paving, exposed soil in the planters and fewer pansies than I had the day before! My grasses are also being dug into, but they’re in much larger pots and so, I hope, more resilient.

I did think of gravel – there’s an aquatics shop just up the road where I buy fish-tank gravel for the bottoms of pots – but no matter how careful I am when repotting, the gravel tends to end up thoroughly mixed.

I’ve seen pebbles and glass nuggets, but they seem to be either very small packs for craftwork of half-ton sacks, neither of which would be very useful for me.

But would any of these be any more effective than bark as a deterrent?

Given that my outdoor space is the size of a large postage stamp, I don’t want anything too obtrusive or elaborate – or expensive.




Squirrels are possibly worse than rabbits to have in the garden. At least you can fence against rabbits, but squirrels can climb. Other than "domes" of wire over the pots, or chilli powder sprinkled on to put them off (washes away in heavy rain) I haven't got any suggestions.

I have quite a few plants growing under domes or inside cylinders of wire. Here's one -

Not ideal, but better than nothing.

12 May, 2011


I have rabbit problems in my pots & troughs and have found some success using chopped dried chilli from the ethnic part of the supermarket ( 99p in mine)-- the rabbits did -- only once-- have a go and this works better than the powder which dissolves in the rain....
I'd be interested to know if it works for you!!

12 May, 2011


Thanks Beattie; I've had a look, but all my stuff is off the ground, and with any luck will soon be further off the ground, on raised benches, so I don't know how I'd "wire off" the pots effectively.

Thanks, Pamg, I'll try it. how much do you need to put into your pots and planter? cover completely, or sprinkle? if the rabbits/squirrels are eating the plants, i can see where tht would work, but in some of my pots at least, they seem to be only digging.

13 May, 2011


just what happened to me--digging and turfing out anything in there until it looked like a war zone... I sprinkled it lightly all over, originally it was the powder as I'd got some old stuff but that disappeared in the rain and dried chopped chilli was the cheapest-- the rabbits had a couple of goes but havn't been back for a few weeks-- the flakes can still be seen so I am cautiously hopeful.....

13 May, 2011


Thanks Pamg, I'll add that to my shopping list, and will report any progress!

13 May, 2011


I went to my local supermarket yesterday: half-way round I suddenly remembered "dried chopped chilli" and, as had no idea what it looked like, asked a shelf-stacker. I got a bit of a "durr?" response, so I explained, and was shown to jars of chilli paste; said I wanted the dry stuff, but apparently they don't sell it. I'll have to try another supermarket, or look online.

17 May, 2011


Don't they sell dried herbs and spices, in pots? Very unusual....

17 May, 2011


lol this is Tesco we're talking about! I only shop there cos the nearest Sainsbury is two buses away.

There are a lot of ethnic food shops around, so I might try those. But buying in small packs, which I presume is what most people would want, would push the cost up.

I just did a Google, and found a site called Just Ingredients: they have whole dried chillies for £4.84 per kilo, or crrushed chillies for £7.57 per kilo. Crushed isn't sliced, but it's closer than whole ones, so I think I'll go for those - it'd be more cost-effective than buying whole ones and slicing them myself.

17 May, 2011


I've been Googling various ways and means most of the afternoon: eHow says to try a fake snake; prop the head up into a "waiting for dinner" pose and move it every couple of days to make it look alive. Amazon has some rubber pythons, but apparently native UK snakes aren't sexy enough to be sold as educational toys anywhere (even tried the Natural History Museum shop) - don't know if Uk squirrels would recognise a cobra or coral snake!

Amazon has a liquid "squirrel repellent", but aonther post said that fox or lion urine would work, if one happens to have a friend who works in a zoo.

lol I even checked on what preys on squirrels, then tried to look for model owls and foxes, but ...

I found a site that offered "squirrel proof" plants - I presume these are plants that squirrels don't like, and will avoid, so maybe mixing them with other plants might help. One could also select rabbit-proof and deer-proof plants.

Another site recommended mothballs (I got some after reading that it was a mouse-deterrent) but someone said that they might harm the squirrels - others recommend red pepper, though she said she had to uproot the pepper plants from the seeds that take!

In the meantime, I suppose it's chop the chillies and see how that goes ...

ps apparently squirrels don't like lavender, either,

pps: got 200grammes dried chillies from my local shop; couldn't cut or chop them easily, but mangled them eough by hand. now to see if that works ...

28 May, 2011


bought mine for 99p in the ethnic aisle in tesco-- called Natco crushed chilli 300g--( your ethnic shops should sell it) the seeds and dried red flakes both of which don't disappear in the rain after all your trouble I do hope it works....

29 May, 2011


thanks - that's the worst of buyiung in small shops, they have to pay more for their stock and so have to pass it on. That was the first shop I tried, they had it, I bought it; but I'll have to check around - my minicab driver and I were swopping squirrel stories last week (though she lives in an upper maisonette she had squirrels nesting in a bucket of old paint cloths on her balcony!); she'd told me there's a cash and carry a little way away that migth do what I need in bulk and at a lower price.

There doesn't seem to have been any further disturbance; but then, we've had serious rain (bank holiday weekend, what else?!), which might be a factor; the surfaces of the tubs were a bit dry, as I was watering mostly from the bottom.

But it's certainly worth investing in some more - and marigolds and lavender, when I can get some.

Wonder if hanging small bags of it on the fence would be a "global" deterrent? I've got plenty of old net curtain I could use, to let the full flavour out. Might be orth trying that, too, but then, of course, I'll be left wondering which deterrent is having the most effect.

29 May, 2011


I know we shouldn't complain but its been pouring all night-- and is forecats to last all day, I know we badly need it but why always on bank holiday monday.....
you could always try different things in different areas ....
we'll get'em, your squirrels & my rabbits... last year Spritzhenry had badgers digging great holes in her beautiful lawns.....

30 May, 2011


it's sunny in London at the moment (three sunny Bank Holiday Mondays in a row? against nature!!)

I checked around just now: the "chillied" planters seem untouched, but I found a small excavation in an ivy that I put aside for repotting, so they're still trying their luck.

Badgers! wow. Although they do eat slugs and pests, it's as hard to be grateful to them as it is to moles, whose tunnels aerate the soil - at least when they're not in nature.

In a way, we bring it on ourselves: we take a desert, turn it into an oasis, fill it with a all manner of edible goodies, and then complain that we get gatecrachsed! though it's hard to think that when your pots have been dug out or your plants grazed to shreds or your lawns turned into the surface of the moon. My own problems pale into insignificance besides Spritzhenry's - it's bad enough to work so hard and so long on someting and see it wiped out - and mine are only a few pots and pans[ies], not whole lawns!

30 May, 2011


I think that they solved it with an electric fence.....
still pouring here, a very wet bank holiday but forecast for next weeken is warm & sunny \0/\0/\0/hurray!

30 May, 2011

How do I say thanks?

Answer question


Not found an answer?