Saturday, December 31, 2016

Squirrel Defense

Squirrels: Cute and destructive

It never fails- spring rolls around and the squirrels in the neighborhood all decide that they must CERTAINLY have buried all of their acorns in my flower pots. I've lost a good amount of seedlings and young plants each spring to their pesky digging. They aren't even interested in the plants! They dig them up and leave them, roots destroyed, to shrivel up in the sun.

Well not this year! This year I have squirrel defense. No not the cat, though he would love to get his little paws on a squirrel. He's not allowed outside by himself so his only squirrel defense is to lunge headlong into the door and hope that scares them away.

This year I have decided to make some squirrel-proof wire covers for my square pots. These are the ones I usually plant lettuce in at the beginning of March when squirrels are most likely to be digging for long-lost nuts. Squirrels can technically chew through the plastic of the pot if they're really ambitious, but I'm hoping that they aren't that interested. I mean, the acorns aren't even actually in there. They just hope they are.

Squirrel cover over a pot

I used 1/2" mesh hardware cloth to make the covers. It's similar to chicken wire, but thicker gauge and smaller holes. My other tools and materials included measuring tape, permanent marker, masking tape, thick gloves, and tin snips.

Materials for the squirrel guard.
I found out bungee cords work well for keeping the extra hardware cloth rolled up for storage.

The thick gloves are a must while cutting. The metal is very sharp on the ends which is also why I covered every cut end with masking tape, both on the piece I was keeping and the piece I was leaving behind. I don't want to reach into the closet one day and stab myself with the leftover mesh. Ticky was also running around while I was doing this and I wanted to keep his paws safe from sharp ends.

Safety! Yes!

I measured the pots and made the covers about an inch wider per side on the long sides so I could bend the wire around and crimp it tight to the lip at the top of the pot. The covers can slide on and off of the short ends (with some force) but are fastened on too tightly for a squirrel to detach it.

 The project is done well before I'll need them but I have the time for it now. In spring the covers will stay on until the plants have enough leaves to fill in the space and hide the bare dirt. Then the squirrels either give in or figure the seed has probably already sprouted. I can't tell what the squirrel logic is for that one. All I know is that thankfully they eventually lose interest. Here's to a good start to my garden two months hence!

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