10 Great Ways To Save Tomato Plants From Squirrels

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Quick Answer: How To Save Tomato Plants From Squirrels?

The tomato plants can be saved from squirrels using various natural ways, including hot pepper spray, providing alternate food and water, spraying predator urine, and practicing companion planting.  It is preferable to use physical barriers, including building a cage around plants, installing motion-activated sprinklers, and covering using floating row covers to discourage squirrels. You may also use commercially available squirrel-deterrent.

Are you wondering how to save your tomato plants from squirrels?

Then, check out this guide to educate on different methods to deter squirrels from tomato plants.

How Squirrels Harm Tomato Plants?

Squirrels eat both green and ripe tomatoes off the vines. It prefers ripe and soon-to-be-picked fruits. It leaves medium to large holes chewed in one side of the multiple tomatoes. It may also nibble on the container of the tomato plants.

You may check this video on squirrels eating tomatoes:

How To Confirm That Squirrels Is Troubling Your Tomato Plant?

One of the important signs that squirrels are troubling your tomato plants is the medium to large holes in one side of a tomato. It takes bites out of many tomatoes ruining many fruits. This damage appears overnight as the squirrels are active during the daytime.

Additionally, you will observe small holes in the garden and nearby containers. It may damage the nearby plants. It may also build its nest near your backyard, making it challenging to keep them away.

Watch this video to understand the damage to tomato plants by squirrels:

How To Save Tomato Plants From Squirrels?

After you identify that the squirrels are troubling the tomato plants, the next step is to deter them. There are many natural, physical, and chemical methods to save your plants from these pesky creatures.

You may use one or a combination of them according to your preference.

Next, let us explore different methods to save tomato plants from squirrels.

Natural Ways To Deter Squirrels From Tomato Plants

The different natural ways to deter squirrels from tomato plants are hot pepper spray, providing alternate food sources and water, practicing companion planting, and letting watchdogs out. These methods are cheap and harmless.

1. Use Hot Pepper Spray

Hot pepper is used as a pest deterrent. Squirrels do not prefer the taste or smell of capsaicin, an active component of pepper.

  • Prepare hot pepper sauce– Chop 10 cayenne peppers into small pieces. Combine peppers, and six cloves in a gallon of water. Simmer for 10 minutes and transfer to a spray bottle after it is cold.
  • Spray around the plants– Spray around the plants and on the leaves of the plants. You may also dilute hot sauce in a gallon of water or sprinkle dried hot pepper flakes around the garden.

Check this video for hot pepper pest deterrent spray:

2. Provide Alternate Food

Squirrels can be distracted from tomato plants by providing them with alternate foods, including nuts and seeds.

  • Set up squirrel-specific feeder– Install a squirrel-specific feeder in the tomato gardens.
  • Fill it with snacks– Fill it with squirrel-friendly foods, including unsalted nuts, chopped apples, carrots, spinach, bean sprouts, and celery.

You may also grow favorite trees of squirrels, including oak, beech, sweet chestnut, and hazel to distract them.

Watch this video for setting up a squirrel feeder:

3. Use Predator Urine

One strategy to discourage squirrels from tomato gardens is using predator urine as the pest deterrent.

It targets the sense of smell of animals. Fox urine is commonly used for squirrels and is safer and less expensive.

  • Spray fox urine products– Purchase the fox urine products at garden centers and spray the scent around the garden.
  • Reapply the products– Reapply the urine products after it rains and every week, depending on the product.

Here is a useful video on predator urine to keep squirrels away:

4. Plant Squirrels-resistant Plants As Companion Plants

Companion plants can deter squirrels from damaging tomato plants. These plants have a strong odor or taste that squirrels do not prefer.

  • Grow companion plants– Plant mint, marigolds, nasturtiums, or mustards near tomato plants. These plants make good companion plants for tomatoes. You may also interplant or plant these varieties in hanging baskets to provide a natural barrier.

Click this video to know companion plants that repel squirrels:

5. Provide Water

Squirrels can be deterred from chewing your tomatoes by providing water to quench their thirst and distract them.

  • Set a bird bath– Set a bird bath in the garden by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Fill it with fresh water– Fill it with fresh water daily or as it dries. Take care that it may attract other wildlife to the garden as well.

Check out this video on deterring squirrels using an alternate source of water:

6. Watch Using Dogs

Dogs can scare and chase squirrels away from your garden. It creates a landscape of fear for these little creatures. Domestic cats can also be used to scare them away.

  • Let the dogs out– Dogs can be let out in the backyard when you notice a lot of squirrels.
  • Sprinkle dog hair– You may also sprinkle dog hair around the garden beds to deter squirrels away from the tomato plants.

Click this video on using dogs to deter squirrels:

Physical Ways To Deter Squirrels From Tomato Plants

The different physical ways to deter squirrels include building a cage around the plants, setting motion-activated sprinklers, and using floating row covers. These physical barriers are effective and do not harm the animals.

1. Build A Cage Around The Plants

Building cages enclosing the tomato plants is an effective physical method to protect tomatoes from squirrels.

  • Set up cage– Dig a ring six inches deep around the tomato seedling. Roll the hardware cloth into the circle.
  • Place the fence– Place the circular fence around the tomato plants. Secure the fence to the stake placed near using twist ties. You may place bird netting over the hardware cloth cage.

Checking out this video on using chicken wire as a deterrent:

2. Install Motion Activated Sprinklers

Motion-activated sprinklers are designed to burst a jet of water when it detects motion. It can be used to deter squirrels away by scaring them with a sudden burst of water.

  • Install motion-activated sprinklers– Install motion-activated sprinklers near tomato plants after following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Ensure that these sprinklers are facing outward from the area where your tomatoes are growing. It can spray up to 35 feet away.

This video discusses the benefits of motion-activated sprinklers and how to use one:

3. Use Floating Row Cover

Floating row covers are lightweight fabrics that are commonly used for frost and insect protection. It can be used to prevent squirrels from damaging tomato plants.

  • Place a row cover over plants– Choose lightweight fabric over the tomato plants to protect them from animals. Squirrels will avoid entering the covered row as they don’t like the feeling of enclosure.

Chemical Ways To Deter Squirrels From Tomato Plants

Chemical squirrel deterrents are available in the market as sprays and granules. However, keep the pet animals and children from these deterrents.

1. Use Commercial Squirrels Repellent

Many squirrel repellents are available on the market that works as smell deterrent. It requires frequent reapplication as it can break down due to wind, water, and sunlight.

  • Prepare commercial repellent– Purchase commercial squirrel repellent and dilute them according to the instructions.
  • Spray on the plants-Spray on the developing tomatoes to deter hungry critters. However, wash them before eating them.


Can you use owl sculptures to keep squirrels away?

Yes, owl sculptures can be used to deter squirrels away and make an effective decoy. One disadvantage is that these fake owls have to be moved often. But, eventually, squirrels will get over them and so, have limited effectiveness.

Will spraying vinegar keep squirrels away?

Yes, vinegar can deter squirrels as these animals dislike strong smells. Many gardeners have had success with using apple cider vinegar. It can be sprayed on the plants and pots to keep these little creatures at bay. Scientific studies are required in the future.

Can you use essential oil to keep squirrels away?

Yes, essential oils, including peppermint, geranium, and cloves, are effective deterrents. Soak cotton balls in essential oils and place them in shallow trays around the garden or in planters. It can be used as an effective deterrent. However, it has to be kept away from pets and children.


I hope this guide has given you many methods to squirrel-proof your garden and protect the tomato plants.

Let me know if any other method has worked for you in discouraging squirrels from the tomato plants.

Share the guide with your friends and family if you find it helpful!