Squirrels on balcony, into plants

Discussion in 'Garden Pest Management and Identification' started by torbie, Apr 16, 2007.

  1. torbie

    torbie Active Member

    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Hi there... I had a few plants on my balcony over the winter, mainly a variety of lavender plants and a couple large containers of sempervivum. The squirrels invaded in November shortly after I took up bird feeding... I dropped that hobby and the little buggers dug up all my semps and dragged them around the balcony, threw them off etc. The semps had been doing very well.

    The lavender did not survive the last few months, but the squirrels have never touched them!

    Any ideas for plants that squirrels dislike? I dread the thought of setting up the balcony with new plants only to find them trashing everything like little thugs ;)

    Otherwise, I'll stick to another group of various lavender plants and keep my fingers crossed... (I have a west facing balcony with a few hours of southern exposure as well)
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,954
    Likes Received:
    662
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    If they don't disappear on their own, due to discontinued feeding (including neighbors not feeding them either) then you are left with screening them out or using large plants only, that they won't be able to move around.

    We have them all over here, with at least some unthinking people somewhere nearby feeding them most years it seems. (One neighbor also throws bread to crows and gulls - last year I looked over the fence and her entire backyard looked and smelled like an uncleaned zoo enclosure - complete with carcasses, feathers and doo). Few plants in the garden are noticeably affected, primarily they make planting and retention of edible bulbs like crocus impossible (although even with these there is one kind that is able to persist) and they are a pest of orchard fruits, particularly plums - I have yet to get a single plum for myself from a comparatively rare variety I ordered in from California. A friend in Seattle kills them to protect their plum crop.
     
  3. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,526
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Victoria Australia [cool temperate]
    Don't know if this would work for you. We have marsupial possums (size of cats and bigger) that like to run and jump all over the place in their hobnail boots. Apparently they are very fond of roses. My problem with them is they upset my livestock guardian dogs because they think they should not be up the trees and chewing everything in sight. Because they are nocturnal they are not fond of light and I have found by leaving a low wattage light on all night no possums. I suppose the squirrels are not nocturnal????

    Liz
     
  4. torbie

    torbie Active Member

    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Thanks Ron and Liz for your replies!

    I live in an area that's full of apartments so chances are good there are other bird feeders or squirrel feeders. Last spring and summer I had none... now there are a few.

    They are most active during the daylight hours ( who knows if they ever sleep they are so hyper!) and are up by dawn and digging. Friends of mine trapped and relocated their squirrel population but I'm hesitant to do that to them.

    Perhaps they are turned off by the remaining scent of lavender?

    Those possums sure sound interesting Liz!

    Ron, maybe someday you'll get to try one of those plums... I invested a few bucks into the bird feeders I had, but the squirrels took over and drove the birds away, also knocking the feeders down contantly, I know how frustrating it can be!

    I can't screen the balcony in, but larger type plants may be an idea!

    Thanks again for your replies!
     
  5. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,275
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Maryland USA zone 7
    Hi Torbie,

    We found that feeding the squirrels with their own feeder has helped. We also purchased squirrel proof feeders for the birds. If you know of anyone feeding them and can't get them to stop, do request that they don't feed them whole peanuts in the shell as they bury those. Of course if you have oak trees it's a mute point. They do tend to stay away from smelly herbs like the lavender. Here's more ideas.
    http://www.garden-services.com/squirrel.html
    http://www.hgic.umd.edu/_media/documents/DealingwithNuisanceWildlifeHG90web_000.pdf
    http://www.squirrels.org/control.html
    http://www.ghorganics.com/page6.html#Squirrel Control
    http://www.bbg.org/gar2/topics/sustainable/2000wi_squirrel_tips.html

    Good luck,
    Newt
     
  6. torbie

    torbie Active Member

    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Hi Newt,

    Thanks for your reply and links, I'll check those out when I get home tonight from work!!

    I tried giving the squirrels their own suet, but it wasn't enough and they kept going after the feeders. I have limited options for mounting bird feeders and there were 3 that were suction cup mounted to the glass sliding balcony door and nearby window. Those things just weren't built to hold up a large squirrel..lol...I'd have to go 2 floors down to the ground below and find them there!

    Thank-you again!

    torbie
     
  7. PhillyPalms

    PhillyPalms Active Member

    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    The more food you put out, the more it will attract, regardless of "designated" feeders.
    Squirrels will start nesting closer to the food source also. So down the road, you may have more, and closer by. They will even start damaging the structure to set up nests.
    Once they're in the attic, they have no reason to leave, ever. They like to chew on wires up in attics too, which causes fires .
    Personally, I would use a Hav-a-hart trap #1030 or #1040, and start relocating them. After maybe catching two, that might be enough. Usually it's the same two or three doing all the mischief.
    I'm in the animal control business, so this is how I do it, as other methods fall short of guaranteed success. Good luck to you.
     
  8. PhillyPalms

    PhillyPalms Active Member

    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Actually, I was talking about the Eastern Gray Squirrel. Pesky little gremlins.
     
  9. torbie

    torbie Active Member

    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    I have no idea what type of squirrels these are....different shades of red, tan or dark brown. No blacks or greys.... but regardless of color.. pests!!

    I found out my neighbour upstairs feeds the birds and she won't be stopping anytime soon....yay :( so will see about trapping. Or buying plants they don't like. It's weird how suddenly so many different ones showed up all around the same time. I wonder if someone relocated them to here?
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,954
    Likes Received:
    662
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Quite an assortment. Too bad they're not chocolates! Vancouver has black eastern gray squirrels, the other shades if as large or larger perhaps fox squirrels - these were present in the Seattle arboretum for awhile, although I haven't seen any for years now myself.
     
  11. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,275
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Maryland USA zone 7
    Philly Palms, I have lived in this house for 18 years and have been feeding the birds and squirrels the entire time. They have never gotten in my attic because there is no opening for them to enter through. That doesn't mean that I don't have ventilation, but everything is secure which is key. The only time they were destructive was when we ran out of food for several days.

    Newt
     
  12. Stansgig

    Stansgig Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    I used to dust the flower pots with pepsicum pepper to deter the squirrels from hiding their acorns and other find in them. It helped. I did that on my tomato plants to discourage opposum from feasting on my crop. Tomatoes were fine.

    Good luck!
     

Share This Page