Animals that invade flowerbeds and vegetable gardens can be problematic. Squirrels rank high on the list of nuisances because they ruin patches of lawn, dig up bulbs, nibble on a variety of seeds and plants, and destroy tree and shrub bark. You can deter squirrels from eating cherished vegetation by adding plants they dislike to your yard and garden.
Daffodils (narcissus) are poisonous to squirrels, so they typically steer clear of these bulbs and their blooms. Since daffodils are shade-tolerant, they can be planted under trees and shrubs, ideally discouraging pests from stripping their bark. Allium (ornamental onion) is another good choice, because most pests aren't interested in eating them. Fritillaria imperialis (fritillary) is often effective in keeping squirrels at bay, because it boasts foul-smelling bulbs.
Trees and Shrubs
Since squirrels attack the bark on certain woody plants, consider including pest-resistant varieties in your landscape. Maple, cedar, spruce and oak are trees that squirrels tend to leave alone. To keep shrubs intact, plant lilac, boxwood, holly or viburnum.
A persistent squirrel may still steal a nibble or two from these plants, so other options for deterring pests are worth considering. Providing corn feeders sometimes works; in theory, a squirrel with a full belly won't feel the need to dig up bulbs. Also, consider covering newly planted bulbs with chicken wire. If all else fails, a number of commercial odor repellents are available.
- Colorado State University Extension: Animal Pests in the Garden
- Chicago Botanic Garden: Plant Profiles: Critter Resistant Bulbs
- Backyard Gardener: Fritillaria imperialis
- Rutgers: New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station: If Plants Could Talk: Keeping Rabbits Away from Desirable Plants in Your Garden and Landscape