How to Keep Squirrels From Eating Your Grass Seed

If you’re like most people, you probably enjoy having a nice, green lawn. Not only does it make your home look nice, but it’s also great for getting some exercise by mowing and tending to it yourself. However, one of the main problems with keeping a lawn is dealing with pesky animals like squirrels that can eat all your grass seed before it has a chance to grow. This can be very frustrating and you might not know what to do about it

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to keep these critters from stealing your turf. In this blog post, we’ll give you some tips on how to keep squirrels from eating your grass seed and ruining all that hard work. Keep reading to find out more!

Why Do Squirrels Eat Grass Seed?

Before learning how to keep squirrels away from your sod, it’s helpful to understand why squirrels eat grass seed in the first place. Squirrels are actually omnivores and will eat a variety of things, including nuts, fruits, insects, and seeds. They can even eat little birds or other small animals if they’re really hungry.

However, they can’t digest cellulose, so once your grass has grown, or if you have flowers or plants in your garden, these should be immune to squirrel nibbling. Grass seed, on the other hand, is an attractive food choice for these furry critters. 

Grey squirrels, the most commonly found squirrels in the United States, feed on acorns as well as seeds, nuts, berries, and fungi and insects. Red squirrels, black squirrels, and flying squirrels are similar in their dietary choices, but are far less common.

Squirrels are different than other small mammals you might see wandering around your neighborhood. For one thing, they are known as synanthropes, which are animals that actually benefit from living near to and interacting with humans, like pigeons, raccoons, and other urban wildlife. So, they are more likely to actively seek out food in a person’s backyard than other animals, and could therefore be harder to evict.

Squirrels are also diurnal, meaning they are awake and active during the day and asleep at night. Therefore, if you notice your grass seed being stolen or eaten at night, it is most likely not a squirrel, but maybe a raccoon or opossum.

How To Keep Squirrels Away

Squirrels love to eat grass seed, and any other type of seed that you might be spreading around your lawn. So, how can you stop them from digging up your turf and stealing all of that precious future grass? Here are a few solutions that might work for you.

Wire Fence

One effective method of keeping squirrels at bay is to use wire fencing around the area where you’ve planted the seeds. This has to be done in a certain way, however.

If you just set a perimeter of wire fence, it won’t necessarily be very effective. Squirrels are great at climbing trees and bushes as well as jumping, so they most likely will be able to either climb over or jump over the fence, and then be able to enjoy all the grass seed they want.

This could deter a few, however, and squirrels are very opportunistic feeders, so simply making it harder for them to eat for your yard than your neighbors yard might be enough to move them away, but it’s not guaranteed.

Also, laying the wire down over the grass seed will also not keep them away, as they can easily walk over and around it and reach through the holes in the mesh to get the seeds.

Therefore, what you have to do is make an enclosed dome-like structure around your planted grass seed. This will ensure that squirrels, who can’t squeeze through the 1 inch holes in the wire mesh, cannot get within reach of the grass seed.


Netting is also an effective deterrent method to keep squirrels from eating your grass seed. It doesn’t have any holes to reach through, so simply laying a layer of netting down on your planted seeds will be effective to keep the squirrels from getting to them.

However, you need to ensure your netting is decently strong and tough, or else a squirrel can potentially rip it apart. This isn’t necessarily a very common occurrence, but it can happen, and it’s best to make sure it doesn’t by using netting that is hard to rip.


Motion sensor sprinklers are a great way to keep not only squirrels from eating your grass seed, but other types of wildlife as well. These devices emit a jet of water from the top when they detect motion by either heat or movement within their range.

They can be set to go off even at night and will startle any critter that tries to move around your yard, even if that critter isn’t actually eating your grass seed. This will likely send them scurrying away to find another plot of grass seed for their next meal.

Sprinklers that go off with motion detection are quite expensive, however, sometimes upward of $100. It does have the added benefit of watering your newly planted grass seed, but some people might feel that the added cost is not worth it.

Feed Them?

As mentioned above, squirrels are very opportunistic in their feeding habits. They tend to go for the easiest food source 9 out of 10 times. What this means is, if you are stuck on any other ideas and the squirrels are still destroying your lawn and getting to the grass seed, you could try leaving out food in another location that is easier to get to.

While this may be an effective short term solution – you could use it for the few days it takes for your grass to start growing and for it to become less appetizing to squirrels – there are a few drawbacks to this method as well. Firstly, you’re making it known to squirrels that there is an easy food source in your yard. This could attract more squirrels, and if it’s set up near enough to the grass seed, they might go for both anyways.

You could then have trouble getting rid of the squirrels after you’re done feeding them, as they will have learned to come back to your house multiple times for food. Additionally, this method could get expensive, as squirrels like to eat a lot of food, particularly in the spring when they are hungry from the winter and there are very few natural food sources available.

We would recommend this method only as a last resort, or in conjunction with other methods mentioned above.

Final Thoughts

As any homeowner knows, keeping your lawn and garden in good shape takes a lot of hard work. Between mowing, watering, and fertilizing, there’s always something to be done. But when those pesky squirrels start eating your grass seed, it can really add to the workload. In the end, it’s important to remember that squirrels are just trying to survive and they may not be able to help themselves. If you are patient and persistent in keeping them away from your garden, you should be successful in the long run.

So, how do you keep squirrels from eating your grass seed? There are a few different ways, which we’ve discussed above. You can make it harder for them to get to, or make it unappetizing to them so they go elsewhere. By following one (or more) of these methods, you should be able to protect your new lawn and enjoy watching it grow! So if you’re patient and willing to put in a little extra work, you can still get your lawn looking great next year – we wish you the best of luck with all of your grass growing work and hope your effort is rewarded!

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Written by Linda Chan
Linda Chan is a passionate gardener and writer with a background in horticulture and landscape design. She has over 10 years of experience working in the lawn care industry and has a deep understanding of the science and art of keeping a lawn healthy and beautiful.