Squirrels Eating Your Roses: Here’s Why…

You planted some roses with the purpose of enjoying them, only to have the squirrels come in and eat them before they could grow. Not only do they gobble down the climbing new shoots, but they also eat the rose buds too.

Why do squirrels eat roses? Roses smell lovely to squirrels, which can draw them in for a meal. They taste like strawberries: another plant that squirrels love to eat. Even if the squirrel does eat the rosebuds, don’t worry because this won’t kill the rosebush.

If you’d like to learn more about why squirrels eat roses, keep reading because we will cover this subject in-depth in the coming article.

Squirrels: Prodigious Sense of Smell

Squirrels can smell food under 12 inches of snow, and they will tunnel in to retrieve it. Male squirrels can smell a female squirrel in heat from a mile away. Squirrels rely on their sense of smell when it comes to finding food. That should give you an idea of why they go after your delightfully smelling roses.

Unfortunately, as much as we love the smell, of roses it attracts the squirrels to it, also.

Important to Note: Not only do squirrels eat roses, but they also eat daisies, daffodils, marigolds, hyacinth and geraniums. Outside of roses, squirrels love the smell of these flowers as well

How to Tell if Squirrels Nibbled on Your Roses

Some people mistake squirrels for deer because of the incredible amount of damage unleashed on their rose bushes. When these little guys attack your roses, you will see half-eaten flowers with most of the center disk missing. This hands you a clue that squirrels have taken a liking to your roses.

Other animals that like roses include:

  • Deer
  • Rabbits
  • Gophers
  • Feral pigs

Why to Take Squirrels Eating Your Roses Seriously

Gray squirrels can unleash devastation on roses because of how they pick them like apple pickers. They store up food for the winter, which causes them to hoard more food than they need. That means that when they eat your roses, they will take more than their fair share. Always take this greedy garden bandit seriously because they will unleash incredible damage for such small creatures.

On top of eating your roses, they will damage the bush from climbing on it.

How to Keep Squirrels Away from Your Rosebushes

Now that we have covered why squirrels eat your roses, let’s look at how to keep them out of your rosebushes.

To keep the squirrels from having a heyday with your roses, put up a chicken wire fence. Chicken wire only costs between $0.50 to $3.50 per foot. Bury the wire in the ground 12 inches to ensure that they can’t dig underneath it.

Experts recommend that you use wire mesh no larger than 1 inch to stop squirrels from coming in. Anything larger and they could squeeze through it.

Let’s say that you don’t want to ruin the aesthetic appeal. You have other things that you can do as well to stop the squirrels from eating your roses. For example, you could pour cayenne pepper on the ground. No animal outside of humans likes spices. When they taste the cayenne pepper from licking themselves, they will avoid the area. The problem with this strategy is that once it rains, it washes away the cayenne pepper.

Keeping the squirrels away from your rose bushes, you can make them taste bad too. You might, for example, spray apple cider vinegar in the area and on the rosebushes as a way to keep them away.

This will keep cats and other animals away as well as squirrels because they don’t like the smell. Humans find this pungent odor distasteful, and they don’t even have as strong of a sense of smell. Like with cayenne pepper, this strategy will only work if you continue to apply it.

Motion-Activated Sprinkler for Squirrels

The Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer and other products like it will turn on the sprinklers as soon as the squirrels think to go after your roses. You can use any motion-activated sprinkler, have it installed and wait for the fun. It makes watching the squirrel’s attempts to feed on your roses, or even a bird feeder, fun to watch. Revenge is sweet.

A motion-activated sprinkler will humanely repel squirrels from the roses with a short spray of water, maintaining the aesthetic appeal. This handy piece of technology can be used for roses and other things too. Plus, it keeps your roses watered. Set it anywhere that you don’t want squirrels in the rose bushes.

With a device like a motion-activated sprinkler, remember to move it every once in a while to continue surprising them. Eventually, this can lose its effectiveness if you don’t keep surprising them.

Feed the Squirrels Elsewhere: Can That Work?

You have some people who have accepted that they must pay tribute to the squirrels to keep them out of their roses. The goal here comes from encouraging them to move elsewhere so that they will go for that food source instead.

You could a variety of foods to distract them from the roses, such as:

  • Chopped apple
  • Spinach
  • Green beans
  • Celery
  • Carrots

Place this in an area farther away from the rose bushes as a way to encourage them to eat elsewhere.

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Ground Squirrels vs Tree Squirrels

Two types of squirrels exist, and we think it worth knowing the difference since it can explain your problem.

Some people say that the squirrels in their neighborhood don’t bother their roses. Others complain about the squirrels eating their roses relentlessly and causing a terrible amount of damage.

Ground squirrels live on the ground, rather than in trees. While they may occasionally bother the roses, tree squirrels have an infamous reputation for being the culprit with bothering the roses. They will eat every shoot and every rosebud.

Furthermore, they will damage your roses because they love to climb the shoots. You might protect your roses by surrounding them with thorny rose branches. Most often, squirrels will eat the young rose bush before it can reach adulthood because it doesn’t have as many thorns. You can use thorns of any type.

Tree squirrels, in comparison, will bother the roses and other plants as well. They will dig up your bulbs and make an active mess of any garden.

Bring in an Active Predator

It may sound cruel, but squirrels are cruel too. They will even pillage a robin’s nest for bird eggs. To keep them off your roses, if everything else failed, bring in a cat or dog with a taste for squirrel.

Show them the area and have them patrol it. Some people may not be willing to do this, but it works after a few squirrels get eaten.

Intelligent creatures that can even recognize human faces, squirrels will learn fast to avoid your roses if they don’t want to become the lunch of the day.


Squirrels like roses because of the strong aroma. It draws them to it as a source of food like other flowers. You may have tried everything to stop the squirrels from eating your roses. If one thing doesn’t work, try another. Before trying any of the methods outlined to protect your roses, first check the local regulations. In some areas, they may have made certain methods illegal, which can leave you with an expensive fine.

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