How can you keep squirrels from eating your corn? Squirrels can be super cute when running around or jumping from branch to branch up in the trees. But when it comes to gardens, the cuteness can quickly wear off when these little critters get after the fruits and veggies we are most excited for, like sweet corn! And because squirrels have a bit of a sweet tooth, sweet corn can be one of the most targeted garden items on their sampling list. Luckily there are numerous ways to keep squirrels from eating your corn, as well as way to coexist with these furry creatures.
How to Keep Squirrels from Eating your Corn
#1. Plant Enclosure
One way to fully protect the sweet corn is to not even let the squirrels have a way in. Because they spend so much time up in the trees, it's easy for them to find access points via ground and sky. For this reason, a regular fence around the perimeter will most likely not be enough. The plants need to be completely enclosed. Netting and window screening make great materials to either drape for a more temporary solution or using stakes and staples, creating a more permanent enclosement.
#2. DIY Scent Repellents
Squirrels have a strong sense of smell and can be quite picky about what they like and don’t like. For example, squirrels are not keen on peppermint oil, peppers, white vinegar, cinnamon, garlic and coffee to name a few.
Try mixing 16 ounces of water with 20 drops of peppermint oil in a spray bottle and spray around the garden and near the base of the plants. If using white vinegar, be sure to dilute with water as well and do not spray directly on the corn as the acidic nature of vinegar is not great for plants. If you’re a daily coffee drinker, try simply sprinkling coffee grounds with a healthy dose of cinnamon throughout the rows of plants too. This not only repels pests but can also work as a fertilizer! For a more savory repellent, create a spice mixture using spices like cayenne, paprika and red pepper flakes and sprinkle throughout the garden.
Squirrels can also quickly pick up on predator scents that will likely keep them at bay. Human or dog hair can be sprinkled around the perimeter of the garden and within rows of the plants. This will alert them that predators are near and they will be less likely to risk going after the sweet corn.
#3. Keep a Feeder Nearby
If the squirrels aren’t hungry, the corn will be much less appealing to the critters. By placing a well-stocked feeder, preferably filled with cracked corn or nuts, this will keep them satisfied and not needing to wander about for food. Place the feeder near the squirrel’s home and ideally away from birds as well, so as not to create neighborly issues among the animals in the area.
#4. Motion-Activated Sprinklers
If willing to make the purchase, motion-activated sprinklers can be a great defense mechanism against adventurous squirrels getting into your garden. When the sprinkler senses motion, it releases a short puff of water that frightens pests away. These days, most motion-activated sprinklers on the market have updated technology that allow for up to 40 feet of motion recognition, work day and night, and throughout all seasons.