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The 8 Best Ways to Keep Chipmunks Out of the Garden

If you’re struggling with keeping chipmunks out of your garden, know that you’re not alone. Luckily, this article will take you through some great tips for keeping these critters off your garden.

The best way to keep chipmunks out of the garden is to use deterrents. Alternatively, you can plant chipmunk-repellent species around your garden to ward the critters off. Other solutions include putting up barriers, covering your plants, and turning on the sprinklers.

Please keep reading to learn more.

Chipmunk on a post near a garden

1. Put Up Barriers

Physical barriers are one of the many go-to solutions to keep critters away from properties like gardens. That’s mainly because they’re usually effective and foolproof in deterring animals from your land. 

However, it’s a bit tricky with chipmunks. Not only are they great burrowers, but they can also climb. So if your barrier isn’t deep or tall enough, it’s nothing to them. 

When installing fences made of chicken wire, hardware cloth, wood, or other material, ensure they go deeper than three feet (0.91 meters). You can also cover it with slick plastic, so it’s harder for them to climb.  

2. Cover Your Plants

The physical barriers I’ve mentioned above usually cover your garden’s perimeter. However, that may take too much effort and investment for some, especially since they need to be taller and deeper than usual. 

Use Row Covers or Wire to Protect Rows of Plants

An easy alternative is to cover the plant themselves. You can use metal wires to form semicircle hoops and place them over your plants. Then cover the whole row with row covers, mesh wire, hardware cloth, or chicken wire. 

Garden covered with wire to keep out pests

If you want to get a better idea of how it works and looks, watch this short YouTube tutorial on making plant coverings: 

It’s crucial to leave room for your plants to grow. This option is best for those whose plants are still growing and need protection. 

Cover Individual Plants With Wires, Baskets, or Plastic Jugs

Instead of covering entire rows of plants, you can opt to protect them individually. Some materials you can use to cover your plants are:

  • Chicken wire 
  • Plastic jugs (bottom is cut off)
  • Metal wires 
  • Old metal colanders 
  • Old metal baskets 
  • Metal screens 
  • Wired shelving 

Basically, you can recycle different items and use them as plant protectors! Hit two birds (or maybe chipmunks) with one stone. 

This YouTube video features recycled plant covers: 

If you don’t have anything to recycle or don’t have enough, readymade plant protectors are also available on Amazon: 

3. Turn On the Sprinklers

If the chipmunks have already made their way inside your garden and you need a quick fix to get them away, simply turn on the sprinklers. The water will annoy them and, hopefully, deter them from ransacking your place. 

Sprinklers running on a lawn

However, this is a short-term or temporary solution only. You cannot rely on this approach constantly, so you’ll still need a better, long-term alternative for keeping the chipmunks away. 

4. Use Chipmunk Deterrents

If chipmunk invasion is something you deal with on the regular, you need to invest in a good deterrent. 

There are different kinds of chipmunk deterrents. You can use repellent sprays and douse them with that when they visit. You can also plant certain species they don’t like. 

Besides those, you can also install decoys, like fake owls, to frighten them. If you have pets, they may also discourage critters from coming near your garden. 

Repellent Sprays

Repellant sprays, whether homemade or store-bought, are one of the most common and effective ways to keep chipmunks away. Thus, make sure to have some on hand. 

The thing with these repellants, though, is you’ll need to apply them often, especially after rain. 

Homemade Repellent Sprays 

Check out this Hot Pepper Spray Garden Recipe from YouTube to get a better idea of how to make your spray: 

These repellent sprays have specific components that deter chipmunks, such as: 

If you have cayenne, garlic, hot spices, or mothballs, you can also sprinkle or place some around your garden. Once the chipmunks get a whiff of those, they will likely stay away.

Readymade Repellent Sprays 

If you don’t want to make repellent sprays from scratch, there are many of them being sold on Amazon: 

  • Rodent Sheriff Pest Control Ultra-Pure Peppermint Spray: Among the best-selling repellents is this peppermint oil spray from Rodent Sheriff. It’s designed against rodents, which include chipmunks and mice. It’s all-natural and non-toxic. 
  • Plantskydd Animal Repellent: This all-natural repellent works against many animals, not just chipmunks. You can also use this to protect ornamentals, bulbs, and food crops. It contains dried blood, which repels many species. 
  • Bobbex Animal Repellent Ready-to-Use Repeller Spray: This repeller spray works against chipmunks, deer, elk, moose, rabbits, and more animals. It’s natural and can be used on various plants, but not edible leaves, herbs, or berries (like strawberries). 
  • Mighty Mint 16oz Peppermint Oil Rodent Repellent Spray: This spray contains highly-concentrated, high-grade peppermint for maximum protection. It’s natural, safe, and effective against rodents like mice, rats, chipmunks, and other animals. 

Fake Decoys  

Chipmunks are the prey of several animals. The sight of these predators is frightening to them, and you can use that to your advantage. 

Install fake decoys throughout your garden to discourage chipmunks from entering. These can be:

  • Fake owls
  • Fake hawks 
  • Rubber snakes 

Remember to move these fake decoys around every now and then. If they are static, the chipmunks would catch on to your trick and come running again, unafraid. 

Specific Plant Species 

You can also design your garden to be chipmunk-proof. You can surround your garden’s perimeter with plants known to deter chipmunks and other critters. 

These are some plants chipmunks hate:

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Daffodils
  • French marigolds 

Other Animals and Their Hair

You can also install owl boxes instead and encourage actual owls to live in your garden. They can prey on the critters and keep them away. However, these owls may attack your small pets, so beware, pet owners.  

You can also let your pets, like cats and dogs, guard your garden. Their presence and scent will discourage critters. 

You can also spread animal hair, either pet’s or yours, around your area. The hair’s scent will deter the chipmunks.

Related 9 Best Plants To Repel Pesky Chipmunks and Squirrels.

5. Protect Your Bulbs

Chipmunks enjoy munching on bulbs, especially tulip bulbs. If you don’t want to see all your hard work dug up, you have to install some protectors. 

These are some ways to protect your bulbs from becoming chipmunk snacks: 

  1. Use bulb cages: These cages are usually made from chicken wire or hardware cloth. Place the bulbs inside them and then cover them with soil. They will protect your bulbs from all directions, making it harder for the chipmunks to get through them. 
  2. Plant them deep: If the bulbs are deep enough, the chipmunks are unlikely to get them. Depending on the bulb, you’d need to place them around 3 to 6 inches (7.62 to 15.24 centimeters) deep. 
  3. Sprinkle crushed, sharp objects around the bulbs: You can spread crushed eggshells or gravel around the bulbs. The sharpness of these objects will deter the chipmunks. 
  4. Repellent sprays: Spray repellents on or around the bulbs. Don’t forget to make sure they’re safe for the plant. 

You can watch this video to see what bulb cages look like: 

6. Clean Your Garden

Ask yourself – why do chipmunks raid gardens? Like most other creatures, it’s because they’re looking for food.

Gardens appear to be bountiful havens for them because of the scattered nuts, leftovers, and whatnot that they can get. They’d also eat some fruits or plants, like tomatoes. 

You can avoid making your garden look like a chipmunk’s lunch table by cleaning it regularly. 

As you clean, allow as much open and clean space as possible so that they’d have fewer hiding spots, making it harder for them to scurry around. If you have feeders or pet food bowls, move them away. 

Once the garden’s all clean and set, you can further chipmunk-proof your space by sprinkling spices, spraying repellents, installing barriers, and following other tips I’ve shared above. 

7. Trap the Chipmunks

Traps are also an excellent way to remove a chipmunk or two. However, before I go any further, I’ll emphasize that this isn’t the most effective solution. 

  • Firstly, you can only trap as many chipmunks as you can. If there are many, your trapping efforts may be in vain.
  • Secondly, once you let them loose somewhere, there’s no guarantee they won’t come back, especially if you release them somewhere near. 

Thus, if you trap and release chipmunks, establish further precautions, like barriers or repellents. 

How to Trap Chipmunks

So, how do you trap chipmunks? Here’s how:

  1. Check state laws. Some states have regulations protecting chipmunks, meaning they may not allow the practice. Some may only allow live trapping and not snap traps. 
  2. Choose what type of trap you’ll need. If the laws aren’t too stringent, you can choose from two kinds of traps – live or snap. The live traps keep the creature alive for release, while snap traps kill them. 
  3. Set up your trap. Select an area where you can hide your traps. Set up a bait using nuts, seeds, and other favorite foods. 
  4. Trap the chipmunks. Once the chipmunk has been trapped, you’ll need to release it (if it’s alive) or dispose of its body (if it’s killed by a snap trap). 

Best Live Traps 

Looking for effective live traps? You can buy them on Amazon: 

  • Kensizer Humane Rat Trap: This small cage is intended for rats, chipmunks, and other tiny rodents. It’s made of sturdy galvanized steel and has a sensitive trigger mechanism that ensures the rodent is immediately trapped. There’s also a replacement assurance if the trap gets damaged within half a year. 
  • Faicuk Heavy-Duty Squirrel Trap: This silver cage is made of heavy-duty alloy steel, making it durable. It has an outside trigger bar that is very sensitive. A gravity-action door traps the animal inside. 
  • Havahart 1025 Small 2-Door Humane Catch and Release Live Animal Trap: This chipmunk trap from Havahart is unique for having two doors, making it easier to attract and catch critters. It’s made of galvanized mesh with a steel door to avoid rust or corrosion. It’s well-designed to protect both animals and humans. 

Best Snap Traps

Before getting these snap traps on Amazon, make sure it’s legal to use them on chipmunks in your state: 

  • Jarminero Mouse Snap Trap: This black, plastic snap trap is bigger than usual, making it easier to catch and snap chipmunks. Its stainless steel spring makes it sensitive and snaps quicker than other traps. There’s also a removable bait cup. 
  • Victor M156 Metal Pedal Sustainably Sourced FSC Wood Snap Mouse Trap: This one is a traditional snap trap. It’s made of wood sourced from responsibly managed forests. It’s simple, quick, and disposable. 
  • Dos Veces Large Powerful Mouse Trap: This large, reusable mouse trap is designed to have a more substantial bite, effective against larger rodents. This is made possible by its unique spring system and sensitive trap mechanism. It’s made of durable polystyrene. 

8. Set Up a Separate Food Source for the Chipmunks

If you don’t have the heart to kill or drive away chipmunks but just want them away from your garden plants, you can set up a space for them. You can have plants they like to nibble on in a plot bit farther from your plants. Include some water sources as well. 

Other gardeners actually use this trick, along with the other tips above. If the chipmunks have their own food, they are more likely to ignore your garden plants.

People Also Ask

In this section, I’ll answer some of the most commonly asked questions about keeping chipmunks out of a garden in an effort to help you strategize your plan better. 

Will Coffee Grounds Keep Chipmunks Away?

Coffee grounds are likely to keep chipmunks away. The intense odor is abhorrent to them, and they are unlikely to approach the scent. Thus, you can sprinkle some coffee grounds around your garden to deter these critters. 

Does Vinegar Repel Chipmunks?

Vinegar repels chipmunks, making it a great homemade repellent. Mix with water and put in a spray bottle for use. It is highly recommended to use apple cider or white vinegar because of the sharp odor. 

Will Irish Spring Soap Keep Chipmunks Away?

The Irish Spring Soap smells repulsive to chipmunks and helps keep them away. Thus, you can use it as a repellent. To use, grate an Irish Spring Soap and sprinkle the shavings around your garden and its perimeter.

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