How To Attract Squirrels To Your Garden

Squirrels are controversial creatures that some love and others only want to drive away. As rodents, they can wreak havoc on a garden, steal bird seeds, eat fruit and vegetable plants, and even chew through electrical wiring. Still, according to The Harvard Gazette, we don't need to wage war on these intelligent animals known for using spatial memory to retrieve nut caches they've buried. If you do the work to discourage them from places they shouldn't be, they will happily live in any designated habitat. Each day while you sip your morning coffee, these creatures will entertain you as they show off their acrobatic skills; they'll also become adorably chubby during the colder months.

Admittedly, it's a bit more challenging to prepare your garden for squirrels compared to butterflies or birds, but in the end, you'll be glad you did it. With enough effort, you might even welcome a small squirrel nest that you can monitor as the kits mature.

Install natural cover for shelter

Creating shelter for your squirrels is one of the most important aspects of attracting them to your garden. A squirrel may visit your yard for a few minutes, but they'll never stay long without a natural cover. This is because they dislike being out in the open, as they're skittish creatures that need the proper shelter to feel safe.

The best materials to build a squirrel shelter out of are probably already in your yard. Finding dead wood, tall grass, hedges, or stackable logs is a great place to start, as per My Backyard Life. You can put one or more of these items together to create a small hidey-hole for the squirrels to climb into — ensure that it's dark and completely shielded. If you have a larger yard, don't be afraid to make more than one of these shelters. However, be careful not to build one near your home or in areas you want to keep away from these creatures. 

Grow the right plants and trees

One thing that is sure to bring squirrels to your yards is trees. They love climbing, living, and stashing their food in them. According to Pro Garden Reviews, the best trees to plant for squirrels include spruces, pines, willows, aspens, and trees that produce edible flowers and nuts. Additionally, planting hedges can provide squirrels with nesting areas. Be sure that these plants aren't growing too close to the places you intend to keep away from them. You may also need to prune your trees and hedges to contain their growth.

If you'd like to keep your squirrel friends from eating your flowers or vegetable garden, you can grow some plants that they don't like eating. The Spruce suggests onions, garlic, daffodils, goldenrods, Lily of the valley, and bleeding hearts. Using these as border plantings around the flowers and vegetables the squirrels enjoy will help you keep them out. 

Buy a squirrel feeder

If you already have a bird feeder in your yard, then you know that they attract more squirrels than birds. Still, what you need is a squirrel feeder. Squirrel feeders are specifically designed to support the weight of squirrels and carry the right kind of food for them. My Backyard Life says you can start by filling yours with nuts or acorns, and they also recommend sunflower seeds, one of the squirrels' most liked treats.

It's unlikely that these fluffy rodents will notice the squirrel feeder right away, so be patient. Place it in an area that doesn't get much foot traffic, but if the spot doesn't work, don't be afraid to move it around until the squirrels begin to use it. Make sure to check on the feeder often to ensure there's enough food. Hungry squirrels may look to other food sources in your yard or invade your fruit and vegetable garden if the feeder runs out. 

Provide water

It can be difficult for many kinds of wildlife to find a constant source of water that is clean for drinking. According to Pro Garden Reviews, when you put out a bowl or a tray of water for squirrels to drink from, they will remember to visit your yard when they are feeling thirsty.

However, if you want to take on a larger landscaping project in your backyard, you might consider installing a water feature such as a pond or fountain to hold clean drinking water for your new friends. No matter what you choose to implement to hydrate these furry rodents, be sure to refill the water source regularly. Stagnant water can cause many problems as it hosts dangerous bacteria and other organisms. Don't be frustrated if other animals begin to share the water, such as birds or pollinators like bees and butterflies. The squirrels won't mind, and your garden will thank you.