Holes and Voles and Squirrels! Oh, My!
Do you have a pest problem in your yard? Finding holes from voles or squirrels or unknown pests?
How to Keep Squirrels Out of Your Yard
Whether you live in the middle of the city or out in the country, chances are you’ve had to deal with squirrels. From eating fruit and vegetables, and the bird seed in your bird feeder, to destroying your trees by chewing on the bark, squirrels can be a nuisance.
They are also great at finding ways into your house and setting their nests up in your attic or crawlspace. Figuring out how to keep squirrels out of your yard can turn into a full-time job. Squirrels spend most of their days foraging for food to not only eat for that day, but they also are trying to find food to store for the future.
This frenzied search for food ends up turning our gardens and backyards into a veritable hotspot for unwanted squirrel activity. Squirrels are incredibly persistent and won’t stop until they get what they want.
Along with destroying your gardens, squirrels dig holes in your landscape and destroy any property that gets in the way of their food. In this article, we’re also going to go over how to repel squirrels from garden, and the best ways to keep squirrels out of fruit trees and plants.
Whether you like it or not, squirrels are a part of our world, but they cause damage as they search for food. It’s not uncommon for these pesky rodents to take up residence in your yard, foraging for food in everything from your garden to your bird feeder, to your outside pet food containers.
Chipmunks do the same thing. Here are some of the best ways to get rid of squirrels in your yard, as well as ways to get rid of chipmunks naturally. You’ll repel two “birds” with one stone, so to speak.
Keep Things Clean
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife explains that the best way to keep squirrels out of your yard is to maintain your property. Make sure your shed, greenhouse, water house, or other outdoor buildings are in good repair.
Patch any holes on the exterior of the building, and replace broken windows to limit their access. Cut back vines and vegetation from your home to eliminate their hiding places and the ability to climb.(..)
If you have bird feeders in your yard, make sure to place the feeders on an 8- to 10-foot metal-wrapped pole and put it far from anything the squirrels can use to climb. You can also buy squirrel-proof birdfeeders to keep squirrels at bay.
Squirrel-proof your outdoor garbage cans by making sure they have tight-fitting lids and don’t let the garbage pile up. Not only will this keep squirrels out of your yard, but it will help to eliminate other pests like chipmunks and raccoons from taking up residence.
You also want to make sure you rake up and remove any berries or nuts that have fallen from your trees to keep squirrels from being lured into your yard by the scent or sight of the food.
To keep squirrels from getting under your house or in the garden, use 1-by-1-inch mesh wire or chicken wire to deter squirrels from finding their way under your deck and into your garden.
For keeping chipmunks out of your garden and house, make sure you bury the fence at least a foot underground to keep them from being able to dig under it. To keep squirrels from climbing your trees, you can place cone-shaped aluminum flashing or 24-inch-wide metal bands around the trunks of your trees.
Get a Pet
If you aren’t able to keep ground squirrels out of your yard, you may want to consider getting a dog or cat to help chase them away.
Cats and dogs love to play with anything that moves, which make them a great, natural way to keep squirrels away by pursuing them. While they probably won’t be able to catch the squirrels, their presence alone will prevent squirrels from entering your yard.
Introduce Natural Predators
If getting a new cat or dog isn’t an option, you can use the scent of a predatory animal to repel squirrels. You can purchase animal urine online and spread it around your yard to give the impression that your backyard contains a threat.
You can also get rid of squirrels by decorating your yard with cat, owl, or hawk decoys. Position them in areas around your yard where squirrels like to scavenge or nest.
Install Motion Activated Sprinklers
If you want to keep squirrels from taking over your yard, try installing motion activated sprinklers. These types of sprinklers come on when they detect movement in your yard.
Using a live trap to catch the squirrels can rid your yard of the pesky critters. While this will decrease your squirrel population momentarily, new squirrels will still move in and occupy the area.
Also, squirrels are considered a game species in many parts of the country and are protected by the law. Before you spend money on traps, check with your state’s Department of Fish and Game to find out the regulations in your area.
Natural Squirrel Repellent Recipe
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 tbsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp powdered mustard
What to Consider Before Buying a Patio Umbrella
Only Use Table Umbrellas on Level Patios
Table umbrellas are a combination of a patio table with a hole in the center and a properly placed umbrella, typically sold separately but sometimes available as a single package. The two complement each other both in design and support, making this a common option. However, a table umbrella cannot easily be moved, and it requires a perfectly level surface to prevent wobbling. That makes this combination most suitable for level patios with plenty of open, unused space, large deck spaces, poolside, and other highly developed areas.
Consider Mobile Shade
Freestanding umbrellas are the best patio umbrella for all-around yard protection. You can move them to wherever kids, guests, or you personally want to sit, which makes them ideal for larger yards with lots of open space. Level ground also isn’t nearly as important, so you can set them up in the grass or on the patio with equal ease. However, they don’t have as much support as table umbrellas and will tilt over easily, so you will need to focus on maintenance and always take time to put the umbrella away when you are finished.
Movable freestanding umbrellas typically use a screw-in system (similar to how one might set up a Christmas tree), so there’s rarely need for extra tools. Note that there are permanent freestanding installations that require you to screw in a base to a wall or floor, although of course you won’t be able to move these around.
Get a Patio Umbrella That is Larger Than Your Sitting Area
For proper shade space, you need a table patio umbrella that’s larger than the table or area that you are sitting at (otherwise, at eye level, you won’t get much sun protection). As a general rule look for umbrellas that are a couple feet wider than the table you have. Most home patio umbrellas are nine feet in diameter, which fit tables around 36 to inches in diameter – extra-large tables should have even larger umbrellas around 11 feet. If you only want a single-person umbrella or a small table umbrella, then you can consider going down to 6.5 feet, but in these cases larger is usually better. Plus: Check out other outdoor projects to improve your yard!
Pick a Durable Fabric Designed for Outdoor Use
Patio umbrella fabrics need to be lightweight, strong, stain proof and easily foldable. That’s a tall order, but there are fabrics out there that can handle it. One of our favorite umbrella fabric producers is Sunbrella, which allows you to pick your own patterns and colors while still providing the durability that you need.
Use a Tilting Umbrella for Rotating Shade
A tilting umbrella can be angled to protect against sunlight coming from a specific direction. If you use your patio in the early morning or late evening when the sun is low in the sky, a tilting patio umbrella is a good choice for your house. They are also useful in wide-open spaces where there are no buildings nearby to add extra shade.
Consider Weather Conditions
Wind is the diehard enemy of patio umbrellas everywhere: If there is a lot of wind in your area, choose a design that uses more flexible materials like wood or fiberglass. Aluminum is a strong material that resists moisture damage, but it tends to get damaged more easily during windstorms because it has very little flexibility. And while we probably don’t need to say it, when you are finished on the patio, always fold up the umbrella, and remove it entirely if it looks like there’s going to be a storm.
Use a Base Weight for a Stable Umbrella
The base of the umbrella may be sold separately and must be the proper weight (typically weight in pounds). A table umbrella typically needs a base around 20-40 pounds for proper anchoring. A freestanding umbrella, however, will need a heavier base from 50 to 80 pounds, based on the size of the umbrella. Don’t skimp in this area!
For Extra-Large Patio Spaces, Consider a Cantilever Umbrella
If you have a large patio sitting area with multiple seats/sofas, or an outdoor bar that needs more than your average amount of shade – but a full canopy just won’t work – then you need a cantilever patio umbrella. These umbrellas are made to angle out over a large area while not getting in anyone’s way. They tend to be a bit more expensive than the average table umbrella, but they do come in home-friendly models.
How to Diagnose Holes in Your Yard
When you’ve spent countless hours under the hot sun grooming your lawn to perfection, few situations are more discouraging than the sudden appearance of unidentified holes. Look on the bright side, however: Once you’re armed with the proper know-how, you can easily identify common pests by the holes, burrows and mounds they leave behind, and knowing your enemy is the first step to reclaiming your yard.
One key step to diagnosing holes in the yard is investigating the holes for mounds. If holes have raised soil covering or surrounding their entrance, you can narrow the list of culprits. For instance, moles leave conical mounds while gophers leave rounded mounds. If your yard is near water and a muddy mound surrounds a hole’s diameter, which measures about 2 inches in this case, then the yard may have crayfish.
Burrows, shallow holes with no soil piled around their entrance, are perhaps the most common holes left behind by yard pests. The size of an entrance hole is your most important clue in this case. Pesky voles and shrews create small holes with openings of about 1 to 1 1/2 inches while squirrels and chipmunks leave behind 2-inch holes. Vole holes may be even as small as a dime. Bigger holes, about 2 to 3 inches in diameter, may indicate rats, especially if those holes are near trash, water, woodpiles or buildings. Muskrats dwell in 4-inch-wide burrows near water sources. The biggest burrows, which measure about 6 to 10 inches in diameter, belong to skunks and raccoons.
Surprisingly, big pests sometimes leave little holes. If your yard is pocked with shallow divots, you may have raccoons, squirrels or even skunks visiting your lawn, even if they’re not burrowing there. These creatures dig divots in grass and mulch to eke out food. Having your plants uprooted at night – or finding big chunks of sod – points to raccoons. If the damage is done during the day, however, then squirrels may be to blame.
Determine whether or not the holes are part of a tunnel system; you can tell by raised surface sod. In a wet region, tunnels may point to star-nosed moles. Contrary to expectations, skunk holes do not feature the creature’s signature scent. In rare cases, you may find a 4-inch-diameter hole with small animal bones around the entrance. This hole might be the home of a fox. Contact animal control services to deal with that animal. If you remain stumped by holes in your lawn, contact your location’s Cooperative Extension System office for additional help identifying outdoor pests.
Edwards Recalls Mechanical Heat Detectors Due to Failure to Alert to Fire
Name of product:
Edwards Mechanical Heat Detectors
The recalled heat detectors can fail to activate in reaction to rising temperatures, posing a risk of failure to alert consumers to a fire.
Recall date: June 17, 2020
This recall involves mechanical heat detectors used indoors to detect elevated temperatures as part of professionally installed fire detection systems for residential homes and businesses. In residential settings, this product is installed in kitchens, attics and garages for property protection. The recalled heat detectors do not detect smoke or make an audible sound, but rather act as sensors that trigger fire alarms or security panels when elevated heat is detected. The heat detectors can be mounted to walls or ceilings and are labeled with “135F” and “NOT A LIFE SAFETY DEVICE.”
Edwards Fire Safety at 800-505-5088 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday to Friday, or online at https://edwardsfiresafety.com and click on “Mechanical Heat Detector Information” for more information, or at https://edwardsheatdetector.rsvpcomm.com.
- Tips to keep squirrels out https://www.tipsbulletin.com/how-to-keep-squirrels-out-of-your-yard/#keeping-squirrels-out-of-your-yard
- Finding the Right Masks https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/beauty/25-brands-making-stylish-reusable-cloth-face-masks-you-can-buy-online/ss-BB13ZD5s
- Diagnosing Holes in your Lawn https://homeguides.sfgate.com/diagnose-holes-yard-82136.html
- This weeks recalls https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2020/Edwards-Recalls-Mechanical-Heat-Detectors-Due-to-Failure-to-Alert-to-Fire#
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Thank you for tuning in Holes and Voles and Squirrels! Oh, My! And check in next week for more cool tips!
“Holes and Voles and Squirrels! Oh, My!” Show Notes for On The House with the Carey Brothers aired June 27, 2020.
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