Patches of yellowing and dead grass throughout your garden can often be the result of animal urine. Whether or not a squirrel could be responsible is up for debate.
Can Squirrels Cause Patches of Dead Grass?
Squirrels are seen by some as pests within the garden and they are able to cause a lot of damage to your plants and lawn.
As well as digging up plants and stealing food from your bird feeders, the presence of squirrels can lead to wilting and yellowing or dead patches of grass around your garden.
Whilst it is not confirmed, many people assume that the grass dies as a result of exposure to squirrel urine. This makes sense as a lot of other animals can cause damage to grass as a result of frequent urination in one area.
What Other Animal Urine Kills Grass?
Pets are a common cause of patchy grass because many pets, like dogs and cats, have strong urine which can cause damage to grass in high amount. As well as your pets and squirrels, there are some other culprits that may be responsible for your dying lawn.
If you live in an area with raccoons, then they may be the culprits. They will sneak around houses and gardens at night looking for rubbish, so, they will often damage your garden without you even realising.
As they are both canines, it is likely not a surprise that these urban hunters will have the same effect on your grass as your four-legged companion.
There have not been studies directly showing the relationship between a specific species and the state that the grass is left in. This means that gardeners have to try and figure out whether it is a result of their own pet or of a wild animal.
How to Prevent Squirrels from Killing Grass
It is much easier to prevent squirrels than it is to drive them away. If you make your garden unappealing to squirrels then they will likely not frequent it, therefore they will urinate less on your lawn and your grass will live for longer.
Here are a couple of basic tips for keeping your grass squirrel free:
Use Deterrent Flowers
There are many flowers, such as hyacinths or daffodils, that squirrels despise and if they can help it, they will not go near these plants.
This is a great way to prevent squirrels from visiting as it is natural, and the addition of these flowers helps to make your lawn look nicer.
No, this doesn’t mean use perfume! Squirrels really hate sweet and spicy scents so sprinkling cayenne pepper around your garden is a great way to keep squirrels at bay.
Another good scent to use is peppermint. Be careful using pre-made ones, some contain the urine of predators so that they will scare off squirrels, but this will end up ultimately killing your grass as well.
Use Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeders
One of the main reasons why a squirrel would visit your garden is for food resources.
If you get a bird feeder that the squirrels cannot access, then trying to obtain it will be wasted energy for the squirrel and it will go to find an easier resource. You should also avoid using certain seeds and nuts in your bird feeders.
For example, squirrels love black sunflower seeds so avoid using these to avoid unwanted squirrel attention.
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These are only a select few methods that do not require overwhelming amounts of work or the use of products that are bad for the environment.
If after implementing these you are still having patches of grass dying, there may be another cause. Whilst it is possible that your squirrel deterrents were unsuccessful, you should also look at the possibility that the dying grass may be the result of something else, such as a different animal that is visiting you.
To summarise, here are some key points of what we have learnt. Squirrel urine can kill grass, although studies into the specifics of this have not been conducted.
Other animals also produce urine that can kill grass. These animals include pets, such as cats and dogs, raccoons and foxes.
It is easier to prevent patches of dead grass than it is to treat it, so it is a good idea to squirrel-proof your garden before it becomes a problem. To do this you can plant squirrel deterrent flowers, like hyacinths, or sprinkle cayenne pepper for an off-putting smell.
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden