7 Best Trees To Bring Squirrels to Your Garden

Squirrels eat a variety of nuts and foliage from native trees. As a gardener, you should aim to plant trees that provide food and shelter for squirrels. They can be attracted to your yard with minimal effort, and so will birds and deer.

Some gardeners use feeders to attract squirrels to their gardens. This is not recommended as it encourages a high population of squirrels, which cannot be supported by the surrounding habitats. They will look for nesting sites in your home, resulting in potential property damage. Squirrels need mature trees for nesting. 

The following native trees will support squirrels in your garden by providing food and shelter.

1. Persimmon/ Diospyros virginiana

Persimmon/ Diospyros virginiana

This evergreen tree produces fruits that are highly favored by squirrels. There are various species to choose from. For example, the American Persimmon takes about six years to bear fruit. However, there are other species that produce fruit faster. 

  • It grows to around 40-60ft tall and spreads to around 20-35ft.
  • Requires full sunlight to grow.
  • Best grown in moist, well-drained soils. 
  • It is highly drought tolerant.
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 4-8. 

2. Pignut Hickory/ Carya glabra

Pignut Hickory/ Carya glabra

This deciduous tree produces nuts that are loved by squirrels. They are able to open the shells from the nuts and feed on them for their highly nutritious value. Other species of hickory also provide nuts eaten by squirrels. 

  • It reaches a height of 50-65ft and spreads 30-40ft. 
  • Grows in full sunlight or partial shade.
  • Highly resistant to drought and cold. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 2-7. 

3. Red Maples/ Acer rubrum

Red Maples/ Acer rubrum

This deciduous tree native to North America produces seeds that are preferred by squirrels. Its foliage blooms in the fall. They are also valuable for their shade which can provide protection for squirrels from extreme weather. Maples are good nesting sites. 

  • Reaches a height of 60-75ft and a spread of 25-35ft. 
  • Grows best in moist acidic soils. 
  • Highly resistant to cold weather.
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 3-8. 

4. Southern magnolia/ Magnolia grandiflora

The tree produces large white flowers which bloom in the spring. During summer, the tree produces red seeds which attract birds and squirrels. 

  • The tree begins producing seeds at 10 years and peaks at 25 years. 
  • It reaches a height of 60-80ft and spreads 30-40ft. 
  • The tree is resistant to extreme cold. 
  • Thrives in moist, well-drained, and acidic soils.
  • Requires full sunlight or partial shade. 
  • Leaves fall all year round and therefore you have to constantly maintain your lawn. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 6-10. 

5. Black walnut/Juglans nigra

Black walnut/Juglans nigra

This tree produces wild nuts which attract squirrels and birds to your lawn. Squirrels have large incisors which are well adapted to opening the hard shells of the black walnuts. Birds will feed on the fragments of the nuts left behind after squirrels break the shells.

The black walnut produces a compound called juglone which inhibits the growth of other plants. It is recommended that you keep it away from your vegetable garden, or plant very few of them. 

  • Trees reach a height of 130ft at full maturity. 
  • Fruiting begins at 4-6 years. 
  • Thrives best in full sunlight or partial shade. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 3-8.

6. Oak trees/ Quercus species

They are great for food and shelter for squirrels. A single oak tree produces both male and female flowers. They produce acorns, which squirrels adore. Oak is a top native choice for feeding squirrels in many gardens.

The acorns are highly nutritious, and rich in proteins, fat and carbohydrates. Acorns take around 6-18 months to reach full maturity. The trees vary in size, so you should make sure to choose the right size for your yard. 

  • Oak trees can grow to a height of 40-80ft and spread 60-100ft. 
  • Grows best in moist, well-drained acidic soils. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 4-8. 

7. Red Mulberry/ Morus rubra

Red Mulberry/ Morus rubra

This native tree produces berries that are favored by squirrels. It is rapidly growing, deciduous and produces fruit early in the year. It is therefore a good early season source of food. If you plant it in your garden, you can have fruits and nuts around the year.

The fruits appear between April and May. It heavily produces fruit so it is advisable to avoid planting in your front garden, or near sidewalks. 

  • Male and female flowers are on separate trees.
  • The trees are medium-sized, around 30-60ft high. 
  • It can live up to 125 years.
  • Requires full sunlight or partial shade. 
  • Ideal for hardiness zones 4-8. 


Squirrels are frequent visitors to trees in your garden. If you intend to attract squirrels in your garden, look to plant trees that offer a variety of nuts and good nesting sites like persimmon, pignut hickory and red maples. Squirrels will eat different berries and nuts, provided they have high nutritional value.

You should ensure to plant trees native to your area, but with moderate fruit production to prevent your garden from being overpopulated by squirrels.

Have a variety of trees that fruit at different times to provide a year-round source of food to the local squirrel population. It is important to note that you should not feed the squirrels; instead, plant trees that produce their favorite fruits and nuts.