My neighborhood is saturated with squirrels, and I see the little critters burying nuts or whatever in my back yard all the time. They leave small holes about 2 inches in diameter in the yard. There is one place they are particularly fond of, and it is forming a depression and killing a lot of the grass. Any way to get these things to stay away?


8 Answers 8



  • .22 (check local ordinances...killing them may not be allowed)
  • trap and release (release far away...again, check local ordinances)
  • metal mesh. Squirrels don't like digging through wire. This is a great technique for protecting flower bulbs...not as practical for a yard.
  • repellent (the stuff I've used that seems to work OK is a mix of garlic, dried blood, and pepper. Alas, it STINKS...so your yard will smell like a bad italian restaurant, but it did seem to repel the squirrels

The best option, though:

  • a dog

Granted a dog can end up digging bigger holes.

  • 2
    Metal mesh seems like a good solution to the favorite spot that keeps getting torn up. I'll try the repellent as well. Unfortunately our dog cannot stay outside 24/7 and shooting guns in town is frowned upon. And there are far, far to many to catch and release. Thanks for the tips!
    – eterps
    May 30, 2012 at 3:15
  • 1
    As an alternative to a 22, you could go with an air rifle instead. They don't make nearly as much noise: mine's about as loud as a staple gun. Careful though - a 1000 fps lead pellet will penetrate a 5/8" privacy fence board. They're definitely not toys!
    – Doresoom
    Jun 4, 2012 at 21:14
  • @eterps Something I'm going to be trying soon that might help you as well is building a few owl and kestrel boxes. I just want to observe the birds, but they'll help with the squirrel problem as well. It's hard to shoot a squirrel with a .22, because they run around the tree and I have two dogs that will tree a squirrel and take turns sitting on it, but beside the immediate area of the house, and typically just the side the dogs are on, I haven't noticed a large difference in the squirrel population.
    – Dalton
    Apr 21, 2015 at 15:34
  • Water balloons might work, but around here, when a squirrel sees a cat coming, it runs. Sep 2, 2015 at 3:15

You can make your own all natural squirrel repellent at home that won't (shouldn't) kill the grass.

In a 2oz pot of water add the following ingredients.

  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • one chopped Jalapeno pepper
  • one chopped onion

Boil for 20 minutes and then let cool with the lid on it.

Strain liquid threw a cheese cloth into a spray bottle, then spray covering the trouble areas.

Be very careful not to get any on your skin, and if you get some one your hands you need to wash it all off. The slightest touch to the lips or eyes will result in immediate irritation.


I use chicken wire to keep squirrels out of my garden. They are always digging holes there and burying acorns. One thing I've noticed: they always go for open soil, and once plants are established there they don't seem to dig and bury stuff anymore. So you might try the mesh until you can get other vegetation better established.

I was going to put mesh over more of my garden until I figured this out. Now I have a couple pieces of mesh and a mesh box that I move around to cover newly started areas. Once established I don't need it anymore, the squirrels stay away.


I had/have the same problem -as they never go away, keep coming back once they get used to one solution. Check if there are no chipmunks, they might also be digging and making a mess. I have used moth balls and it worked for a while. When they came back to a different area -I have a very small flower bed area- now I'm using the pepper solution w/o jalapenos yet. I just spread a mix of pepper, onion and garlic, and so far it seems it is working! My next step would be trying the bucket with water and sunflower seeds -I'm sick of them- I read they go in and drown in the water as they cannot come out. I will let you know when that comes around...


They hate the smell of bleach. Put bleach on rags and hang them round the garden fence but do keep the rags damp!

  • 3
    I think this would only work for as long as it takes the rags to dry..
    – kevinskio
    Sep 23, 2014 at 15:52
  • Just respray wet rag with a bleach solution. Oct 8, 2014 at 10:41

There is a human solution to this problem that will also nurture your lawn. Buy a box of Blood Meal at Home Depot or a garden center. Here is a description of it:

"Blood meal is a high nitrogen fertilizer (it rates a 12-2-0; a very high number for a natural product), as are fish meal (and fish emulsion), horse and poultry manure and corn gluten meal (which also prevents seed germination, making it the only natural springtime weed and feed for lawns)."

I've used it, and it repels squirrels.

  • Yes, but it must be renewed every few days or after rain
    – kevinskio
    Apr 19, 2015 at 17:05

Hitting squirrels with an air rifle is pretty difficult. They are very jumpy and move as soon as the shot is fired. I have one confirmed kill and a bunch of other times that I'm pretty sure I hit, but they fled.

  • 1
    Gardening is not about killing wildlife but caring for it. Do not advertise it here, please.
    – Patrick B.
    Sep 1, 2015 at 18:31
  • 2
    Killing them just encourages other squirrels to occupy the newly vacated territory.
    – kevinskio
    Sep 2, 2015 at 16:49

In most communities, it's illegal to fire a weapon, so shooting them is typically not an option. I've heard that squirrels can find their way back to your place even if you drop them off several miles away. I've also heard that releasing them outside of your own property is illegal in some states. One effective solution is to trap the rodent, fill up a 30 gallon garbage can with water, and drop the trap in there for about 10 seconds. Problem solved.

  • Your answer is very localized to which state you live in and which country as far as firing weapons or trap and release policies.
    – kevinskio
    Jun 17, 2014 at 22:03
  • 4
    10 seconds? Won't that just result in a soggy (and likely very annoyed) squirrel?
    – Niall C.
    Jun 17, 2014 at 23:52

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