Squirrels are eating my roses! Does Deer Off spray work?

fogrose(zone 10/sunset 17)August 13, 2010

I'm finally beating back the gophers with Jeri's squat pot trick but now the squirrels are overrunning my garden because my *!!#$!! neighbor puts out peanuts for them. They come to bury them in my pot ghetto and while they're here they snack on the roses. They're fondest of Madame Alfred but today I looked at Clytemnestra who has recently made a comeback. She had a HUGE candelabra of buds yesterday and today they're GONE! Not the stems, just the buds were neatly bitten off.

Does anyone have experience with either deer spray or hot pepper spray to keep away squirrels?



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I have loads of experience with squirrels digging in pots (and uprooting newly potted rooted cuttings) to bury nuts, but absolutely none with them neatly nipping off rose buds. Are you sure you do not also have deer?


    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 9:42PM
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fogrose(zone 10/sunset 17)

Hi Jackie,

If I didn't know that my entire yard is fenced in I would have thought the same thing. I've watched these squirrels run along the fence with a full blown Madame Alfred in it's mouth.


    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 12:30AM
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I would also want to verify that it is really squirrels. I'm not saying you're wrong but this really does surprise me. They've never touched my roses, though they raid my fruit trees and attack my vegetable beds on a regular basis.

If you are confident that it is squirrels, not deer, not rabbits, then certainly try spraying them with something that has an unpleasant taste. Do let us know if it works.


    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 12:35AM
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My local garden center sells something that contains coyote urine (to deter deer) and something that contains fox urine (to deter rabbits). A friend bought the fox urine stuff and watched a rabbit hop toward her plants, stop and suddenly run away. She swears by it. I'm sure one of these would work for squirrels. I don't remember the name of the stuff but I would bet it's easy to locate. If you can't figure it out, I can go up to the nursery and find out for you. Jeff

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 11:07AM
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buford(7 NE GA)

I know they sell hot pepper seeds that squirrels don't like, and the deer spray has hot pepper in it, so theoretically it should work.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 11:48AM
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ingrid_vc(Z10 SoCal)

I have no deer and have had the same experience with buds and blooms being eaten. We raised an orphaned baby ground squirrel and she loved rose buds, so I think it's entirely possible. If you have rabbits that would be another consideration. I've had to resort to putting circles of thorny rose stems around a lot of my bands that are in the ground to keep them from being nibbled to death. Very unsightly but it works.


    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 11:58AM
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fogrose(zone 10/sunset 17)

Definitely no deer and same for rabbits. The branch with the buds is about 4 1/2 feet high next to the fence that the squirrels use as a freeway.

As I said earlier, I have seen the squirrels with roses in their mouths.

Will try the spray and let you know.


    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 7:14PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I'm not saying squirrels will not eat roses (I'm sure I don't know), but I can definitively say that in the many years I've gardened, I have never had the many squirrels roaming around here ever nibble on rose blooms or any other blooms in my garden.

Digging little holes all over--yes. Rose blooms, no.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 9:27AM
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Yes, I had this problem several years back with the squirrels. They ate all my roses, dahlias, lilies, perennials, etc. I finally got the problem under control by adopting two feral cats from the local shelter. They have succeeded in controlling the squirrels, gophers, rabbits, etc. Very effective, cheap, and environmentally safe. The only pest that they have not been able to deter are the deer. I would also suggest talking to your neighbors about not putting out food for the squirrels. This normally attracts other critters like raccoons, skunks, etc.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 2:02PM
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Gosh yes the squirrels will eat buds! Not just on roses either. They ate most of my camellia buds a couple of years ago. Only that one year, and I don't know why. But I did see them doing it, so it was not something else. Denise

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 12:33PM
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