Squirrels can cause a lot of damage in the Garden. This is especially true in years when untimely spring frosts cause poor Crops of crab apples and other fruits.
In the summer, a squirrel normally eats fruits, berries and succulent plants, and, when available, fungi, insects, animal matter and corn. During the winter, when stored food runs short, squirrels may eat bark. In the spring, squirrels prefer swelling tree buds.
In addition to damaging trees, squirrels also will often eat tulip bulbs and crocus corms. Daffodil bulbs are poisonous to squirrels and generally remain untouched. Lawns also are damaged from squirrels storing and digging for food.
Squirrel populations periodically rise and fall. A squirrel’s predators include hawks and owls, but disease, food availability and environmental extremes are bigger factors in population swings.
Controlling squirrels is difficult. A fine wire mesh wrap may be used to protect tulip bulbs, but, in most cases, learning to Garden with squirrels is a necessity. They are protected by law and may only be trapped live and relocated. Repellents are short-term solutions and must be constantly renewed. Tree habitats are difficult to modify to exclude squirrels.