If you enjoy gardening, you’ve likely been plagued with squirrels, deer, birds, and other wildlife who’d like to sample your fruits and vegetables.
Squirrels are especially worrisome because they’re small enough to climb through fences and over barriers to enter your garden and dig up your pepper plants.
In this article, we’ll look at the most effective ways to stop squirrels from eating your pepper plants and raiding your garden.
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Will Squirrels Eat Pepper Plants?
Squirrels are more likely to steal your pepper produce than they are to eat your pepper plants.
However, squirrels do not like capsaicin (the compound that makes peppers spicy), so if you are growing spicy peppers, squirrels will be less likely to eat your pepper plants.
While squirrels usually do not eat pepper plant leaves, they often dig up the plants to munch on the roots.
How To Protect Pepper Plants From Squirrels?
Use Capsaicin Spray
Because squirrels do not like capsaicin, you can protect sweet pepper plants, or the leaves, roots, and stems of your pepper plants by adding capsaicin.
You can buy capsaicin sprays that you can spray around the plant.
Many of these are all-natural, so they will not harm the squirrels, but they will deter them from eating your plants.
Furthermore, these sprays are safe so you can still consume your peppers after using them.
Sprinkle Pepper Seeds Around Your Plants
If you eat peppers and do not want to buy capsaicin spray, you likely already have a natural deterrent to keep squirrels away from all of the plants in your garden.
When you eat a spicy pepper, save the seeds and sprinkle them on the ground around your plants.
When the squirrels taste the spice, they will look elsewhere for their next meal.
If you have a lot of plants in your garden and do not want to overdo it on spice in your own food, you can also buy chili pepper seeds in bulk to sprinkle around your garden.
Related Article: Is Growing Vegetables Near Trees a Good Idea?
Sprinkle Blood Meal Around
Sprinkling blood meal around the edge of your garden can be quite effective at keeping squirrels away from your pepper plants.
The problem is it becomes ineffective after a good rain shower so you’ll have to go out and sprinkle a little more.
Sprinkle Cat Or Dog Hair Around Your Garden
If you have a cat or dog in the house, give them a good brush and sprinkle the hair around your garden’s edge.
Squirrels and even other animals like rabbits and deer will pick up the scent of the hair, sense there’s a threat nearby, and look elsewhere for food.
Put Up Wire Fencing
Putting up wire fences around your plants can help deter squirrels from stealing the produce and digging up the roots.
You will want to get wire fencing with small holes, or else the squirrels will simply squeeze between the layers.
While you can put this fence around your entire garden, creating miniature fences around each plant is more likely to keep the squirrels away from your produce.
Many stores now sell chew-proof netting.
This netting is a wonderful option for protecting your pepper plants because it is lightweight and durable.
It still allows sunlight in, so it will not stunt the growth of your plants.
Squirrels will not be able to chew through it and steal your fruits and vegetables.
Cover the bed of the garden with black plastic netting to prevent squirrels from digging up the roots of your pepper plants.
Just be sure to keep an eye under the plastic to make sure mold isn’t growing.
If you use plastic sheets, make sure your plants have enough moisture as the black plastic may retain heat in the ground, which can dry out your plants during the hot days of the summer.
What Animals Will Eat Pepper Plants?
Insects are not as bothered by capsaicin as mammals are, so while you need to protect the roots and fruit of your pepper plant from squirrels, you will need to protect the leaves and stem from insects.
Caterpillars, slugs, and hornworms all particularly enjoy eating pepper plants.
If you struggle with bugs eating your plants, a capsaicin spray can also repel worms and mites.
You can prepare one yourself or buy one from the store.
Some insects can actually help to protect your pepper plants.
You can also release beneficial insects like ladybugs into your garden.
These bugs will help protect your garden from pests.
Birds Can Also Be A Threat To Your Pepper Plants
Birds may also take bites out of your peppers (particularly small sweet peppers).
To keep persistent birds away from your pepper plants, you can create chicken wire coverings that will help keep birds from attacking your pepper plants (and all of the plants in your garden).
Gardening is a great way to prepare sustainable food and enjoy time in nature.
However, it can be a major frustration if squirrels and other animals try to eat your plants.
If you are struggling with squirrels eating your pepper plants, try out some of the tips and tricks in this article and you’ll soon have the squirrels considering a different source of food.