Have you noticed that your tomatoes have been getting eaten by something lately? There’s a good chance that squirrels might be eating your tomatoes when you aren’t around.
Squirrels are very common in many areas and you’ll likely have many squirrels in your area that will look for food in your yard. If you’re growing things such as tomatoes, then those will be like a beacon that will attract squirrels.
You don’t have to just put up with squirrels eating your tomatoes and ruining them, though. There are some things that you can do that will make things better.
Read on to learn how you can protect your tomatoes from the local squirrel population. If you take the right steps, then you’ll be able to enjoy delicious tomatoes soon without having to worry about if they’ve been nibbled on by squirrels.
1 – Try to Eliminate Things That Attract Squirrels to Your Yard
There are going to be many things that will attract squirrels to your yard. For example, you could be leaving trash out in the open, and squirrels will rummage through looking for bits of food that they can eat.
If you can eliminate things like this from attracting squirrels into your yard, then you’ll at least be a bit less likely to have to deal with squirrels messing with your tomatoes.
Keep your trash cans secured so that squirrels and raccoons aren’t able to get inside. It’s usually better to buy trash bins that have some type of secure lid that locks.
You should also consider getting rid of bird feeders since those can attract squirrels. It might be best to do this if you’re growing vegetables anyway because birds could become a problem due to some birds wanting to eat plants.
If you do decide to keep the bird feeders, then you should make them so that squirrels can’t access them. It’ll also be necessary to clean up excess bird seed that falls on the ground because squirrels will try to come and claim it after some time.
Cleaning your yard up is going to be helpful as well because your trees and bushes could be dropping things that squirrels like to eat. You’ll want to continue to clear the yard of nuts, berries, fruits, and seeds that could be attracting squirrels.
This can be a lot of work, but being proactive will really help to protect your tomato plants. If you wish to keep squirrels from seeing your yard as desirable, then this is going to be the best way to get started.
2 – Protect Your Tomato Plants
Protecting your tomato plants will be a solid idea when you know that there are lots of squirrels in the area. You could use bird netting, cages, or covers to keep the plants from being easily accessible.
This is a strong idea when you want to be sure that squirrels won’t be able to get to your tomato plants. It might not always be 100% foolproof, but it does do a good job of keeping squirrels from eating your tomato plants.
Squirrels seem to be more likely to try to eat tomatoes when they’ve ripened. You can use this information to your advantage by wrapping ripening tomatoes in bird netting.
The squirrels will likely ignore the green tomatoes, but it’s still going to be wise to just use cages or bird netting around the whole area if you can. It creates a bit of extra work for you, but it does ensure that your tomatoes won’t get stolen by squirrels.
3 – Plant Some Mint Near the Tomato Plants
Did you know that squirrels hate mint plants? For whatever reason, the scent that mint plants give off will keep squirrels from wanting to get too close to them.
Many people use this to their advantage by planting mint plants near patios, gardens, and any other areas that they don’t want squirrels to mess with. You could easily plant mint plants near the tomato garden, and it might help to repel squirrels.
It’s a very simple and natural way to keep squirrels from becoming a big problem. This isn’t a 100% guarantee to keep squirrels from stealing your tomatoes, but it can really help quite a bit.
4 – Dogs Can Help
Dogs can do an excellent job of scaring squirrels and chasing them away. If you have a lot of squirrels in your backyard, then maybe you should just let your dog spend some time outdoors.
Most dogs are going to have an instinct to chase small animals such as squirrels. The squirrels will be understandably afraid of the dog, and this will keep them from getting too close to the tomato plants.
Some people even have their dogs stay outside permanently to watch out for pests like this. You could build a doghouse outside somewhere, and your dog could wind up being the guardian of your tomato plants.
Of course, in certain areas, it isn’t so good for dogs to stay outside all the time. If you have other predators to worry about and if it gets too cold, then it might only be practical to keep your dog outside during certain parts of the day.
5 – Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar does a surprisingly good job of keeping squirrels away from things. Many animals hate the scent of apple cider vinegar because of how powerful it is.
This means that you could go out and buy some apple cider vinegar to help to solve your squirrel problem. It doesn’t cost much at all, and all you need to do is soak rags in the vinegar.
Once you’ve soaked some rags in apple cider vinegar, it’s going to be possible to place them at specific points in your yard. If placed intelligently, then you’ll be able to keep the squirrels away from your tomato plants.
If you’re looking for cost-effective squirrel deterrents, then this one is worth your time. It works pretty well, and it’s easy to just soak some rags and put them in different spots.
6 – Predator Urine
Predator urine will be something that can send squirrels packing, and it’s recommended to utilize it if you’re having really bad problems with squirrels. The urine of coyotes, owls, foxes, and other predators will scare squirrels a lot.
Squirrels have evolved to know the scent of predators, and they’re going to understand that smelling predator urine will mean that predators are nearby. Spray some predator urine near the tomato garden and it’ll make it seem like a very dangerous place to the local squirrel population.
You don’t have to go out to try to collect predator urine in some strange way. It’s available to be purchased in many products that you can find online, at certain department stores, and in specialty hunting shops.
7 – Predator Decoys
Predator decoys can work pretty well to scare squirrels away, too. You can actually go out and buy decoys of hawks and owls that will frighten the squirrels and keep them from coming too close to your garden area.
You can use these decoys right near the tomato plants to make it so that the squirrels won’t bother going in that direction. When they see the outline of the predator decoy, their natural instincts will tell them to run away.
The problem is that the predator decoys won’t work forever. After some time has passed, the squirrels might begin to realize that the decoys aren’t a threat.
You can mitigate this by moving the decoys around and changing the positions every so often. Some people even buy multiple decoys and rotate them in and out every few days to keep the squirrels confused.
8 – Squirrel Repellent Sprays
There are squirrel repellent sprays that can work to keep squirrels away from certain things. These are very simple to use since you’re just going to point a spray bottle and squeeze the trigger to release liquid.
This repellent should do a good job of keeping squirrels from wanting to get near the things that it has been sprayed on. You can spray the area near the tomato plants to keep them safe, and it won’t be hard to do this whenever it’s necessary.
The repellent should last for a good bit of time, but the rain is going to wash it away eventually. You’ll also likely be irrigating the tomato garden, and this means that the area near the tomato garden might require regular applications of this squirrel spray.
Whether squirrel repellent is practical for keeping squirrels away from tomatoes or not is up to you. It does work pretty well and you can find squirrel repellent sprays that aren’t all that costly.
9 – Ultrasonic Repellent Devices
Ultrasonic repellent devices are great for scaring away squirrels, and you can use them to keep other animals away as well. These are nifty little devices that you can place in the ground to keep pests at bay.
The ultrasonic repellent device will play sounds that cannot be heard by human ears. Squirrels and other animals will be able to hear the sounds clear as day, though.
Devices like this will play things such as predator noises or even just annoying sounds that squirrels won’t like. It should make them want to stay away from the source of the noise because they will see it as a threat.
Many people have had good results by placing an ultrasonic repellent device near their tomato gardens. You could stake one into the ground to keep squirrels at a healthy distance.
It’s also nice to know that these devices are usually solar-powered for your convenience. They should be able to continually operate just by being exposed to the sunlight each day.
10 – Radios Might Work as Well
Squirrels just generally don’t like noise, and they’re going to be wary of any noises that are coming from devices. This means that you don’t necessarily need an ultrasonic device to scare squirrels away.
You could place a radio near the tomato garden and put some rock music on or something like that. Even if you decide to play your favorite songs on repeat, the squirrels aren’t going to be big fans of the music.
You could easily place a radio near the tomato plants to keep squirrels from being as likely to get near them. It’s something that won’t really cost you any money assuming that you already have some type of radio that you can utilize.
The downside here is that you don’t want to bother your neighbors, and you also don’t likely want to hear music all day long yourself. Even so, this is an idea that can work to keep squirrels from getting as close to the plants.
11 – Motion-Sensitive Sprinklers
Motion-sensitive sprinklers might do the trick to keep squirrels from wanting to run around in your yard. You could set up a sprinkler system that will go off every single time it detects movement.
This means that when a squirrel runs through the yard it’ll get blasted by a stream of water for its efforts. It’s an effective way to deter squirrels from hanging out on your property.
You might be wary of doing something like this too close to the tomatoes since you don’t want to water the tomatoes more than they need to be watered. This can still be an effective deterrent, but you’ll have to consider how to set things up.
Sprinklers like this have even been known to help keep robbers away from homes. If a potential burglar can’t sneak through someone’s yard without getting sopping wet, then it’s going to be harder for them to break into a home.
You know a lot more about squirrels and how you can keep them out of your yard now. There are many methods for getting rid of squirrels, and using some of these ideas in tandem should work to solve your problems.
Your tomato plants will be much safer when you take the right steps to protect them from squirrels. It isn’t likely necessary to use all of these methods in conjunction, but using two or three of them might be the perfect way to keep your tomato plants from getting stolen by pesky squirrels.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
If you want more backyard tips including recipes, how-tos and more, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel