The Simple And Attractive Garden Addition That'll Keep Squirrels Out

There are a few reasons squirrels might dig in your garden. Sometimes they are looking for food and other times they are seeking a safe spot to hide what they have found. In the spring, you might find tree seedlings popping up thanks to the squirrels that stashed their acorns in your flower beds or planters. Although these are minor issues, squirrels can certainly create much bigger problems. They love to dig in loose soil, so if you've just added new plants to your flower garden, you could come out one morning and find that those little rascals have dug up your greenery. If you are tired of dealing with squirrels in your garden, consider switching to gravel mulch.

Squirrel repellants like hot pepper spray and other types of aromas may help keep squirrels from digging up your garden, but they have to be reapplied often and may not work against particularly determined critters. For this reason, a solid, physical barrier might be your best chance to keep your plants in the ground and your garden intact.

Gravel as mulch

If you are thinking about using gravel as mulch, there are a few things to consider. While squirrels are a big problem in vegetable gardens, this is not an appropriate area for gravel as mulch around plants since these small rocks will quickly become integrated into the soil when you change out your garden each season. In flower beds, especially those filled primarily with perennials, gravel offers a long-lasting ground cover that will help suppress weeds while keeping squirrels from making a mess of your mulch and soil.

When you think of gravel, you might imagine pointy grey rocks sold in bulk for driveways and other functional purposes. For those looking to save money while mulching a large area, you can buy that kind of gravel in bulk. A more attractive option is to use pea gravel or river rock as mulch. These options are smoother and offer a neutral palette of natural colors to enhance your flower garden without overwhelming it. Whatever type of gravel or rock you use, it will work as a barrier to keep squirrels out.

Add an extra layer of protection

Before you install your gravel mulch, you can increase its weed control properties by installing a layer of landscape fabric in your landscaped area. This extra barrier layer will help further prevent seeds from germinating, and even if squirrels manage to dig through your layer of gravel, they'll have to work even harder to get through the fabric. This is particularly useful if you are installing smaller rocks, like pea gravel, which are easier for tiny hands to dig through. Landscape fabric is dense enough to suppress most weeds while still allowing water to reach plant roots.

To use gravel as mulch, remove all existing weeds and grass in the area you want to cover. Lay your landscape fabric and secure it with landscaping pins. Cut away all the extra fabric so it will not be visible after your mulch is installed. Add about 2 inches of gravel mulch to the space, leaving about 4 inches of space between the mulch and the base of your plants to prevent moisture buildup and rot.