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Dallas Morning News - October 26, 2017

Squirrel Control

Over the past 40 years I have become pretty good at helping people solve pest problems - except for one that is. One of the most common questions I get is how to get rid of or just control squirrels. Truth is – you can’t. It’s impossible. There are, however, some fairly effective solutions to some of the damaging habits squirrels have. These techniques work most of the time, but not always. Let’s review.

Damage to outdoor furniture and other wood structures is a common squirrel pastime. Tabasco sauce or most any other hot pepper mixture at about 1 oz. per gallon of water repels most rodents including mice, rats, rabbits and even squirrels. The only problem is that the treatment has to be repeated as the hot wears away. Dead spots in trees can a head scratcher but squirrel are the usual suspects. This is a ugly condition that pops in various trees, especially pecans in mid summer. It is a tough situation to solve short term but the long-term solution is the application of the Sick Tree Treatment. Stress in the tree is causing sugars to build up and the sugars are attracting the animals. The Sick Tree Treatment will relieve the stress. Bark eaten off Japanese maples, redbuds, fruit trees and other thin barked trees is done by various rodents including squirrels. They will sometimes chew on tree branches and twigs to sharpen and clean their teeth. That's why you may see many small cuttings on the ground around trees. But again - the main reason this damage is happening is the attractiveness of the sugar accumulations in the tree. The root flares (bases) of the trees should be uncovered and the rest of the Sick Tree Treatment should be applied. Once healthy again, the trees won’t be so attractive to munch on.

Digging out beds, pots, planting flats is what I used to deal with the most. Squirrels love to plant acorns but seem to forget where they put them and proceed to dig up every thing in sight. In beds that usually isn’t a problem, but around small transplants and especially in pots, this is a frustrating and sometimes costly problem. My solution for this behavior works well. Mulch the bare soil with lava gravel. Squirrels will sometimes push the gravel out of the way and dig anyway but it is rare. The jagged surfaces of the lava hurt their dainty little paws. Other kinds of gravel won’t work. Lava gravel also holds moisture well and helps plants grow.

I hope these tips help and you don’t have to resort to traps and heavy artillery.

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