It’s a beautiful day outside. You walk out the front door, look around your lawn, and you are incredibly proud of all the hard work you’ve put into it. However, you notice that your freshly planted grass seed and straw is now just a pile of upturned dirt. “What happened here?” You ask. The answer? Squirrels.
To prevent squirrels from eating newly planted grass seed, cut and place galvanized poultry wire over the area where the grass seed is planted. This will simultaneously allow the grass to grow while keeping squirrels from eating the seeds.
There is absolutely nothing worse than planting something in your lawn or garden only to have a wild animal ruin your hard work. Placing a wire fence to protect your grass seed will not only keep your lawn from getting dug up, but it will save you time in the long run.
Why a Poultry Wire Fence Will Save Your Lawn From Squirrels
So, let’s get right to it.
If you arent familiar with galvanized poultry or chicken wire, it’s simply a wide metal fence with 1-inch holes throughout. The primary use of poultry wire is to keep predators such as coyotes out of chicken coops for individuals who raise chickens.
Galvanized poultry fences are usually are around 5-6 ft tall, but sometimes owners who build coops combine the fencing and create large spaces with the fences.
With this type of fence, nothing can get inside to harm the creatures,
Galvanized chicken wire is meant to keep larger predators out of an area. So using chicken wire will be more than enough to keep squirrels off of your grass seed.
In order to build a fence to keep animals away from your grass seed, here a few things you’ll need:
- Galvanized poultry wire
- Galvanized garden landscape sod staples
- A wire cutter and hammer
If you need to know where to find these, I’ll place a few links at the end of this section to show you where you can get some good value materials.
Now, that you have your supplies, we can start to set up the fence.
Here’s how to build a fence to keep squirrels off your grass seed:
- Gather your galvanized poultry wire, landscape staples, wire cutter, and hammer
- Measure the width of the grass seed area
- Determine how many fence pieces you’ll need to cover the area
- Cut and place your chicken wire fence along the top of the grass seed area
- Hammer in your landscape staples at the end of each fence
So first, you’ll want to gather all of the supplies that you need to get the job done, this includes the poultry wire, landscape staples, wire cutter, and hammer.
Next, you’re going to want to measure the width of the area where your grass seed is to determine how many pieces of fence you’ll need. You’ll want to match how large the area is with how wide your fence is.
For instance, let’s say you have a wire fence that is 72 inches tall (6 ft.). Additionally, your grass seed area the same width as the fence and is 144 inches (12 ft.) from top to bottom.
In this scenario, that would mean you’ll need to cut out two even pieces of fence to cover the entire grass seeded area.
Depending on how big your grass seed area is, you may either place your fence vertically or horizontally over the top of the grass seed.
So now, you’re going to cut and place your chicken wire over the top of the grass seed. Evenly place 3 metal landscape staples through the fence base once you put it down
Next, lay the chicken wire across the grass seed and evenly place 3 more metal landscape staples through and at the end of each fence.
Make sure that when you do this, you’re arching the top of the fence slightly so that it isn’t actually touching the grass seed
One last note, if you extend the wire fence over the edge of the grass seed area to the part where it is actually on your lawn, then you’ll prevent squirrels and other animals from being able to have any chance of getting under the fence too.
That’s it! As long your fence is secure and fully covering the area, squirrels or any other animals won’t be able to get through and eat your grass seed.
Back to the links that I mentioned earlier.
If you need to get the materials to build the fence, here’s a link to a great poultry wire fence that would be great to use in this situation. You can view the MTB 20GA Galvanized Hexagonal Poultry Netting Chicken Wire here.
The garden staples are essentially metal rods that you stick in the ground to hold the fence in. I’d recommend these 6-Inch Galvanized Garden Landscape Sod Staples from Homestead Choice.
Lastly, If you need a good wire cutter, I recommend the IRWIN VICE-GRIP.
Why Do Squirrels Eat Grass Seed in the First Place?
So, why do we need to build a fence in the first place? Well, squirrels absolutely love seeds of any type; however, they love to eat certain seeds more than others.
For instance, gray squirrels (the most common species of squirrel in the United States) love to eat any type of acorns, nuts, fruits, berries, and seeds.
Most species of squirrel have a similar diet to that of a gray squirrel, which will often lead them to eat something out of your lawn or garden.
The important thing to know about the diet of squirrels and rodent-like animals is that yes, they have a preferential diet, but it is entirely dependent on how easily available the food is.
For instance, if a squirrel wants to eat part of a blackberry bush, they will have to power through a large number of thorns to get what their food. While squirrels have thick fur that protects them from thorns, the risk/reward may not be worth getting hurt in this situation.
Conversely, if you place a bird feeder up in your lawn and it’s easily visible and accessible, you’ll definitely get some squirrel-like visitors to come and eat your birdseed.
This is a wild grapevine we have growing outside of our house. Often, I’ll come outside and notice that some of the grapes are half-eaten and have some bites taken out of them.
We don’t actively try and grow these grapes, so I haven’t put a ton of thought into preventing them from getting eaten. So naturally, these grapes are right out in the open and extremely accessible for something like a squirrel to come to eat.
There are no thorns or anything that could injure an animal who is trying to get at the grapes. This could lead to any sort of animal eating these grapes, but I would bet that either squirrels or white-tailed deer are coming to eat these.
Just remember that when planting a garden or placing down grass seed you need to keep in mind that if you just leave everything out in the open, you’re making it extremely easy for squirrels to come and eat whatever you’ve placed outside.
The same goes for just about any other type of animal. The more visible and accessible something is, the more likely an animal is to eat it.
Remember, squirrels are diurnal creatures and are only active during the day. They go to bed at the same time as you and me (except on the weekends, they’re huge partiers).
Since squirrels are only active during the day, you’ll likely notice them eating your grass seed when it happens.
If you’re noticing that your grass seed or plants are getting eaten at night, then the culprit is more than likely a raccoon, opossum, or deer.
Don’t worry, placing a chicken wire fence around your grass seed will still save the seed – regardless of the animal that is trying to eat it.
If You Can’t Get a Fence, Try Putting up a Bird Feeder
If you’re on the fence about building a fence (get it?), then there’s one alternative that could possibly work in preventing squirrels from eating your grass seed.
Since squirrels go for the most readily available food, it may be worthwhile to put up a bird feeder on your yard to attract squirrels to it while you wait for your grass seed to finish growing.
The squirrels will be more attracted to the bird feeder because of how much more nutritious and easier it is to eat the birdseed.
Grass seed is not as nutritious for squirrels, so this will lead to the squirrels being drawn to the birdseed where they will continue to forage from while you wait for your grass seed to finish growing
This method is much less of a slam dunk than what building a fence is.
However, if you are unable to build a fence to protect your grass seed, then this is a great secondary option.
For a well-rounded bird feeder that can help get you through this situation, the Twinkle Star Wild Bird Feeder should be able to help you out quite well.