Adding a fragrant oil to surround for deer and squirrels?

As the season starts and I see flowers that will lead to fruit that will lead to full bellies for the squirrels and deer that frequent my yard, I’m starting to think of various ways to deter them. I’ve used the egg mixture that @alan has recommended and that helps keep deer from eating foliage, as long as I remember to start doing it before they start eating and get used to what to eat. But the squirrels, in particular, are merciless on my fruit. Cloth bags do nothing and they just tear them open. The same with netting.

But what if I added some rosemary oil or other fragrant oil to the surround when I spray that? Any chance the fragrance, like the egg/protein smell with deer, would help with squirrels? I say rosemary oil, since I have some, but am open to other ideas. I’ll probably test it anyway, just to see if it helps, but I hope it won’t taint the flavor of the fruit at all. I guess I could add super hot chilli powder, but I’m probably the only one in my family that would enjoy flaming hot peaches which I expect they would be even after washing. Of course flaming hot peaches might be a huge success at farmers markets, lol.

Anyone try anything like this?

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Never tried but If I did I would use castor oil the sent has not been removed from. Nature’s MACE Mole & Vole Repellent 32oz Castor Oil Concentrate / Covers up to 5,000 Sq. Ft. / Keep Moles and Voles Out of Your Lawn and Garden / Safe to use Around Home & Plants Guaranteed: Health & Personal Care

I like the idea of castor oil but not to spray on the tree but in the soil, per this article.

I can easily test this theory buy spraying the mixture around my bird feeders aka squirrels’ feeders. If squirrels laugh at it, I know it is another myth.

If you want just a temporary fix go with the Irish Spring. I used to take them and just rub it up and down the trunk of the tree. It works, but not very long. Even so it is cheap to do.

Also I don’t know about rosemary oil but 10 oils where tested vs a member of the cicada family and only lavender was effective.

Lets Talk cicadas damage - General Fruit Growing - Growing Fruit

@Robert did that work for you with squirrels as well or just deer?

I oddly do not have many squirrels, but deer I am overstocked. Best thing for squirrels is metal or plastic surrounding the trunk of the trees so they cannot climb. 100% effective as long as they have no way to jump on from the top or sides of the tree. Cheap metal flashing from HD works well or cut PVC pipes in half then put together around trunk. Many things can be used. You just need something to slippery to climb. Or a trap.

Given the national salmonella epidemic killing thousands of birds as a result of bird feeders, I’m hoping people rethink this manner of feeding wildlife, which for all other forms this is taboo. What exactly makes squirrels, rats, chipmunks, mice and…oh yeah, birds the exception to this rule. You can exclude a squirrel or rat from a feeder but you can’t stop the birds from throwing half the feed to them- unless maybe you float it on a pond and have fish who will grab it before swimming rodents.

I love birds but I hate squirrels more and nothing helps squirrels survive a low acorn winter better than a bird feeder.

I have posted pictures here of my squirrel baffles. Over the last quarter century I’ve tried all manner of taste and smell repellents and none work for squirrels. Plus, it’s hard to get a mountain lion to piss in a jar.


Cats work pretty well. Years ago I had a few and they would kill squirrels just for sport.

I had a client who loved his huge, pure bred cats (don’t know the cultivar but they were furrier than any peach). He claimed they would control the squirrels when I installed a big orchard for him, He didn’t blame me when he turned out to be wrong, but he didn’t blame his cats either. He titled his estate Sleepy Cat Farm instead.

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If his cats were controlling the squirrels there would have been none when you arrived. The cats I had were pretty mean from fighting the dogs. I actually felt bad for the squirrels, because the cats tortured them. They would wound them, then keep letting them go so they could catch them again.

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I’m taking the add stinky approach this year, trying lime-sulfur more regularly as I have noticed the deer do not like it. Please let us know if your fragrant oil works, my neighbors would be much happier with that!

Why not have a go with very hot chilli powder steeped in very hot water, and left for a few days. Mix with a little water, and add some latex glue. I found this to work well with rabbits when sprayed onto tree trunks.
For squirrels not too sure what to apply it too. Maybe some sacrifical inshell or shelled peanuts or walnuts. Just so it is shows them not to eat the nuts later on.

Not sure if it actually works but I’ve been using a mix if egg whites, hot sauce, mint oil , peppermint oil,and cinnamon oil. Its stinky enough to make me not want to come back around lil.