Do Squirrels Eat Roses? [Plus Tips & Tricks to Protect Your Plants]


do squirrels eat roses

You’ve worked hard on growing beautiful rose bushes, only to notice that something is eating them. Nothing is more frustrating to spend hours cultivating a garden, only to see your hard work being destroyed by rodents. If a squirrel is eating your rose garden , there are a few things you can do to stop it.

Do Squirrels Eat Roses?

Yes, squirrels will eat rose buds and other succulent parts of the flower. They will dig up freshly planted seedbeds, as they enjoy eating the seeds. The rodents (as well as other animals) are attracted to the taste, color, and scent of the blooms.

If you’ve worked hard on planting and growing roses, the last thing you want is for a squirrel to come along and eat them. But what can you do to stop these pesky creatures? Let’s take a closer look at how you can protect your garden.

But first, let’s take a look at the damage they cause to the flowers.

What Parts of the Rose Will Squirrels Eat?

Squirrels are opportunistic feeders, meaning they will eat any part of the plant, but prefer eating the buds, seeds, and leaves. The damage they cause can be extensive, as they will strip the plant of its foliage and flowers. This can prevent the plant from getting the nutrients it needs to grow, which will eventually kill the plant.

Large rose bush gardens are no exception. The rodents will climb the stems or pull them down to get to the blooms, breaking the plant in the process. That said, the rose bush may bounce back and survive, it’s likely the squirrel’s will keep coming back as they know it is a source of food for them.

As a homeowner, there are some things you can do to protect your rose garden from these critters.

How to Stop Squirrels From Eating Roses?

Like humans, squirrels have to eat. However, it doesn’t mean that they have to eat your roses. Below are some tips for keeping squirrels away from your rose bushes using humane tactics.

Create A Barrier

First and foremost set up a barrier to protect your rose bushes. A barrier such as a 3-4 foot high rabbit fence. Opt for a plastic rabbit proof fence, as you won’t have to worry about it rusting.

Bury it at least 10 inches deep in the ground, and make sure to extend it out a few inches so the squirrel can’t dig underneath it.

Use A Repellent

There are several commercial repellents available that you can use to keep squirrels away from your plants. Some contain capsaicin, which is an irritant to animals (and humans). You can also make your own DIY repellent by mixing water, hot pepper flakes, and dish soap.

Spray the mixture on the leaves of the plants, as well as around the base. Be sure to reapply after it rains or whenever you notice the squirrels coming back.

Remove Attractants

In order for repellents to work, you also need to remove anything that is attracting the squirrels to your yard in the first place. This means removing any sources of food and water.

Clean up any fallen fruit or nuts, as these will attract the rodents. Be sure to also empty bird feeders as they will eat the bird seed. If you have a pet , don’t leave their food out as this will also attract the squirrels.

Lastly, seal up any holes or cracks around your home, as this will give them access to your yard.

Unappealing Plants

Believe it or not, there are plants that squirrels hate. Consider planting some next to your rose bushes to keep them away. Some examples include Daffodils, Marigolds, Alliums, Lily of the Valley etc.

I’ve written an article on plants squirrels hate, so be sure to check it out. I have no doubt you’ll find something that will work for you.

Large Statues

Owl statues have been known to deter squirrels from gardens, since owls prey on rodents. That said, you’ll have to move the decoy around every few days, as the squirrels will catch on that it’s not real.

Use Garlic Spray

Squirrels don’t like the smell or taste of garlic. You can make your own garlic spray by mixing water, vinegar, and minced garlic. Let it sit for a few days, no less than 24 hours.

Spray the mixture on your plants, as well as around the perimeter of your yard. Be sure to reapply every few days or after it rains.

Before spraying the ground around the roses, give them a good drink of water to prevent the roots and leaves from burning.

Garlic is not only good for deterring squirrels and other animals, it protects the bushes bugs such as snails, ants as well as fungal diseases such as blackspot. So even if you don’t have a squirrel problem, you may want to consider using garlic spray as an environmentally friendly way to protect your roses.

Use Ground Cover

If squirrels are digging at the base of the roses, decorative flat rocks as ground cover at the base of the roses. This will prevent them from digging up the roots of the roses.

Ensure the rocks are heavy enough, so the squirrels won’t move them. If the stones are too small, the squirrels may carry them away to their nest or may spend time caching them like they do nuts.

The downside to using rocks, is the pests may use them to propel them higher, making it easier for them to get to the roses.

When using rocks to protect your rose bushes, it’s best to find the right balance. Using too many rocks will prevent the roots from getting the air and water they need to thrive.

Get A Feeder for the Squirrels

If you’ve tried everything you know to do, maybe it’s time to set up a squirrel feeder. This will give the rodents a food source that isn’t your roses. Set the feeder up away from the bushes and home, as you don’t want to attract more critters to your property.

Final Word

Squirrels like other animals are attracted to roses and will eat them, given the chance. If you’re having problems with these pests, try using some of the preventative measures such as moth balls, aluminum foil, ground cover etc.

You can also try using a live trap and releasing them in the wild, but this should only be done as a last resort. Be sure to check your state’s regulations before doing so, as there may be laws against trapping squirrels.

It may take some time to get them to stop, but it’s worth it to preserve your beautiful roses.

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