How To Get Rid of Squirrels Humanely

Date March 20, 2023

Author TreeNewal Staff

Squirrels are cute and fun to watch playing in the yard, but they can be a menace in the garden. A squirrel will eat nearly any fruit or vegetable and may destroy plants. Squirrels may also make a habit of digging up seeds and bulbs before a plant has an opportunity to sprout. Their appetite can be trouble for homeowners trying to grow a garden. Luckily there are ways to get rid of squirrels in the garden without hurting them.

How To Get Rid of Squirrels

Image via Unsplash by ecjs 

To get rid of squirrels in the garden, homeowners can introduce squirrel repellents such as smells and sounds that squirrels don’t like. Squirrels can also be scared away by predators or decoys. Homeowners with squirrels can try these methods to humanely get rid of squirrels snacking in their garden.


There are several smells that have been effective in warding off squirrels. They don’t like the scent of coffee, peppermint, or pepper. Gardeners can leave a border of coffee grounds around their garden to repel squirrels. Some have success with creating a mixture of peppermint and coffee or peppermint, garlic, and vinegar, which creates a strong smell that squirrels don’t like. Using peppermint oil, gardeners can make the vinegar and garlic mixture a spray and spray the repellent closer to plants to protect them.

Another option to repel squirrels with an odor is to sprinkle cayenne pepper and chili flakes around plants in the garden. This doesn’t harm plants but makes them taste and smell bad to squirrels, so they may leave them alone.


Posting a decoy of a predator in the garden is a good way to deter squirrels. Owls are natural predators and gardeners can create a perch for a fake owl to watch over the garden. This works just like a scarecrow and tricks squirrels into thinking a predator is nearby, so they avoid the space altogether. Decoys of other large birds or a cat may also work.

Motion-Activated Sprinkler

A motion-activated sprinkler can effectively startle a squirrel and send them out of the garden. A sprinkler at the edges of the garden will stop a squirrel and benefit the plants. Gardeners can set sprinklers at a height to repel other pests, such as birds in the garden.

Sonic Repellent

High-pitched frequencies cause squirrels to avoid an area. Gardeners can buy a device to place in the garden and emit a sound that repels squirrels. These frequencies are silent to humans but may affect pets. Some sonic repellents are motion activated so the sound won’t bother pets constantly.

Netting or Cages

Placing netting or cages around plants can also keep squirrels away. Homeowners with fruit trees should net the entire tree during the growing and harvest season. Covering the tree trunk with aluminum foil or pie pans can also prevent squirrels from getting into the tree.

Homeowners can take precautions by contacting tree care services in their area, such as TreeNewal, for advice on how to choose trees less likely to attract squirrels and prevent these creatures from damaging plants and trees.