Stopping vegetable eating squirrels.

Asked March 16, 2016, 12:19 PM EDT

Hi, I'm from New Mexico which is very dry and I live at 7000 ft. I have been using chicken wire around my tomato plants which I have on my patio wall in planters. The squirrels still pull the branches through the chicken wire and have a good munch. Do you think something like foldable trash cans made of plastic without the tops would work or would this be to blocking for sun and rain? Any help would be great and I appreciate the advice? Thank you Wendy

Bernalillo County New Mexico

1 Response

Here are a couple of ideas to consider. First, if the squirrels are able to reach through and grab a tomato branch consider increasing the distance between the plant and the exclusionary fencing. Adding bracing of some type (heavy gauge wire or wood) to stabilize the chicken wire might help as squirrels are excellent problem solvers and may have figured out how to push the wire-mesh in to grab a tomato plant. Also, consider switching to a heavier gauge wire-mesh to replace the chicken wire. A ½ - or 1- inch hardware cloth, available at most hardware or garden centers, might provide enough rigidity to keep squirrels away given the distance between plant and fencing. Be aware that more rigid fencing may do little if it is too close to the plant. I can’t speak to a folding trashcans and plant light and water requirements as that is not my expertise. Finally, a ¼-inch hardware cloth may solve your problem as the mesh size is likely too small for a squirrel to reach through. Note that as wire-mesh size decreases it may be more likely to inhibit light transmission.