Wide-eyed and chubby-cheeked, there’s something about a chipmunk that just screams cute. However, chipmunks can cause serious damage to your yard and garden.
Closely related to squirrels, these little rodents have found fame in shows and movies like Alvin and the Chipmunks. However, unlike their singing counterparts on the big screen, real life chipmunks are quick to become public enemy number one to gardeners and homeowners who take pride in their tedious landscaping and don’t want chipmunks destroying their hard work.
So, is it possible to enjoy chipmunks while simultaneously keeping them out of your garden? That’s what we’re here to find out.
Join us as we discover what attracts chipmunks to your yard and how to keep chipmunks out of gardens for good.
What Are Chipmunks?
Chipmunks are small, burrowing rodents native to North America.
Most of us have seen the Chipmunk’s movies and listened to the songs (shoutout to the Chipmunks Christmas album of ‘58) but unfortunately, real life chipmunks don’t wear sweaters, they don’t sing in incredible harmonies, and they don’t have very decent table manners.
Larger than mice but smaller than squirrels, chipmunks are rodents who grow to be around 11 inches and weigh nearly 4.4 pounds. Chipmunks are native to North America, with nearly 25 different species spanning the United States. However, there is one chipmunk who occupies Northern Asia, known as the Siberian chipmunk, but we’re pretty sure this isn’t the chipmunk species tearing up your garden, snacking on your bulbs, and tipping your bird feeders.
That said, while our North American chipmunks can be quite destructive, they are actually solitary rodents who don’t congregate in large numbers and don’t live in big colonies. This is good news for those of you wondering how to keep chipmunks out of gardens because chances are you are only dealing with one or two cheeky chipmunks at a time.
You see, chipmunks only meet up twice a year to mate. Upon mating, the male and female go their separate ways and the female chipmunk raises her young. Then, just eight weeks later, the young chipmunks move out of the den to live their own solitary chipmunk lives.
That said, even a single chipmunk can be disruptive. Like their famous movie counterparts, chipmunks are quite chatty. Have you ever heard a chipmunk? Chances are you have, although you may have thought you were listening to a choire of birds.
In fact, hearing the song of a chipmunk or two may be the first indicator of chipmunks on your property. And if you’re wondering how to keep chipmunks out of gardens and yards, you’ll need to know some of the other telltale signs of chipmunk activity around your home.
Let’s learn more.
How To Keep chipmunks Out Of Gardens – Recognizing A Chipmunk Problem In Your Yard
Chipmunks are known for digging up gardens and eating plants, bulbs, and more.
Like many rodents, chipmunks like to borrow and are known to make dens that go as far as three feet underground. This can be problematic when they get too close to the foundation of your home, but more often a chipmunk’s burrowing becomes an issue for your gardens and landscaping.
Chipmunks make two types of champers. One is where they prefer to live, sleep, eat, raise young and store food. Other dwellings offer them quick and temporary hideouts and protection from predators when they’re out and about. Generally, chipmunks prefer to make their dens and hideouts in areas of pre-made shelter, including woodpiles, trees, stumps, logs, and other areas they can quickly seek protection if need be.
For this reason, you may not even notice a chipmunk’s den since the entry and exit holes will likely be hidden under other structures. That said, the chipmunk’s dens aren’t really the issue for most people. No, for most homeowners, a chipmunk becomes a problem when it begins digging around your garden and foraging for food.
So, in order to know how to keep chipmunks out of gardens, you must first know what to look for to determine you do indeed have chipmunks to blame for your upturned yard.
Here are a few signs you may have chipmunks running around your garden:
- Noticing small holes near in your yard, near trees, woodpiles, or other sheltered places
- Uprooted plants or bulbs in your garden
- Finding small rodent trails along walkways or leading to den holes
- Finding disturbed bird feeders or spilled seeds
- Hearing loud chirping sounds throughout the day
When working on how to keep chipmunks out of gardens, try and remember that chipmunks are beneficial rodents who not only help aerate the soil and disperse seeds, which in turn can benefit plant growth, but they are also an important food source for other wildlife like fox, owls, and hawks.
Chipmunks are also generally not as destructive as many other digging pests like voles, moles, and gophers. In fact, they are usually quite entertaining and even fun to watch.
That said, they can cause problems if they decide your garden is a smorgasbord of tasty treats and daily snacks. If you want to know how to keep chipmunks out of gardens while still being able to enjoy them in your yard, you’re in luck! There are plenty of ways you can protect your gardens from these cuties without kicking them off of your property.
Of course, if you simply don’t want to deal with chatty chipmunks any longer, there are plenty of ways you can go about evicting them from your garden altogether.
Now, without further ado, let’s talk about how to keep chipmunks out of gardens.
How To Keep Chipmunks Out Of Gardens – The Best Methods
Experts recommend using netting and repellents to keep chipmunks out of your garden.
Remember, chipmunks are solitary rodents who live isolated lives. This means that you are usually only dealing with one or two chipmunks at a time in your yard or garden. For this reason, getting rid of chipmunks isn’t too difficult so long as you follow the proper methods.
Most experts advise against the use of poisons, kill traps, or other lethal methods to remove chipmunks. For one, lethal methods aren’t necessary considering getting rid of a pesky chipmunk is rather simple. Two, simply killing a chipmunk does not solve the issue and you will continue to deal with future chipmunks digging up your garden, especially if it is attractive to these little rodents.
Instead, we suggest you use four of the below popular methods for how to keep chipmunks out of gardens.
- Garden Netting
- Chipmunk Repellents
- Live Traps
- Home Remedies
The above methods are popular and effective for how to keep chipmunks out of gardens. They are also perfectly legal, safe, and harm-free. Wondering which method is right for you?
Let’s learn more about your above four options.
Chipmunks are often attracted to gardens because there is so much there for them to eat. One of the best ways to protect your garden and keep chipmunks from destroying it is to install netting or mesh to keep your plants, fruits, and veggies safe.
One of the best things about using netting or mesh for how to keep chipmunks out of gardens is that it is a totally non-toxic, harm-free, safe and effective method that protects against all kinds of plant-eating rodents and pests.
However, when it comes to using netting with smaller animals like chipmunks, you’ll need to make sure you get the proper netting or mesh that is specifically designed to keep smaller creatures out, which we’ll cover a bit further down.
Using repellents is one of our favorite ways for how to keep chipmunks out of gardens because it works as a preventative to not only keep these pesky critters away, but oftentimes other garden-destroying pests as well.
Most of the repellents that work best are natural, safe, and totally fine to use on edible plants and in gardens.
Unless your property is very large, you’re likely only dealing with a few chipmunks. Remember, these guys like their space and live solitary lives. This is what makes catch and release traps so effective when it comes to how to keep chipmunks out of gardens and yards.
However, while trapping and relocating chipmunks is safe and humane, trapping should be used with caution and care. Remember, trapping requires that you drive the chipmunk far enough away so that it won’t return. Furthermore, if you trap an adult female chipmunk who has babies on your property, you are condemning those babies to death.
We love using home remedies for how to keep chipmunks out of gardens, especially if you are dealing with just one pesky chipmunk who won’t go away.
Some of the best home remedies use all natural ingredients you likely already have in your pantry that you can throw together on your own as a repellent. That said, most repellents and home remedy repellents work best when used alongside nettings or mesh to help keep chipmunks at bay.
Now, let’s take a look at some of our favorite products for keeping chipmunks out of your gardens and protecting your plants.
How To Keep Chipmunks Out Of Garden Using Netting
Using netting and mesh is an effective way to protect your garden from chipmunks when used properly.
As we mentioned above, netting and mesh are some of our favorite methods for how to keep chipmunks out of gardens. That said, you have to be very careful that you are using the proper mesh coverings and sturdy enough netting that is specifically designed to keep chipmunks and other burrowing rodents from getting into your garden.
Take a look at this video below which shows how you can use a mesh covering to help protect plants from chipmunks and other small rodents.
Remember, like squirrels, chipmunks are intelligent problem solvers who may surprise you with their talent for finding their way past barriers. If you choose to use a netting or mesh, make sure it is buried at least one foot underground and is high enough to not be easily climbed or jumped over. Many gardeners use netting that protects their plants from the top as well.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of our favorite nettings and mesh coverings you can use to protect your garden.
De-Bird Garden Netting
This netting is made specifically for birds but it will also protect against other pests like chipmunks, squirrels, rodents, and more when used properly. The netting is 7.5 x 65 feet, so it reaches a very large distance and is ideal for good sized vegetable gardens.
Shopping Garden Green Garden Protection Netting
This is another netting made specifically for birds but can protect well against burrowing rodents like chipmunks when used properly.
This product is ideal for vegetable gardens but can protect all kinds of gardens and areas you want to seal off from chipmunks. We also like that you can reuse this fence for how to keep chipmunks out of gardens, and when you no longer need it, you simply roll it up and store it away.
Agfabric Insect Screen And Garden Netting
As we saw in the above video for how to keep chipmunks out of gardens, sometimes using traditional fences or mesh isn’t always the most effective way to keep your garden safe. If you are having a serious problem with chipmunks in your garden, you may want to give this insect netting a try.
This garden net protects against a number of pests, from insects to birds, to squirrels and chipmunks. That said, you will need to make sure you reinforce the foundation of your garden and ensure there is a barricade belowground so burrowing pests like chipmunks can’t simply dig under the net.
How To Keep Chipmunks Out Of Gardens Using Traps
You can bait live traps using peanuts or peanut butter.
When it comes to a safe and humane way for how to keep chipmunks out of gardens, one of the easiest steps you can often take is to trap and relocate a chipmunk. That said, before you do this make sure trapping and relocating animals in your region is legal.
Furthermore, also be aware that chipmunk females may have babies on your property, and relocating a female chipmunk will mean that her young starve to death and die, which is inhumane.
That said, if you feel confident you do not have baby chipmunks on your property and feel comfortable trapping and relocating chipmunks as your method for how to keep chipmunks out of gardens, we have listed some of our favorite live traps below.
Kensizer Small Animal Trap
This trap uses a foot pedal to note the weight of the chipmunk and trap it. It works quickly and effectively, reducing the escape rate and allowing you to safely trap and relocate the chipmunk. You can bait this trap with peanut butter, peanuts, or birdseed, and leave it anywhere you have noticed chipmunk activity.
Again, when trapping chipmunks to relocate them, remember to drive at least three to five miles away so the chipmunk cannot find its way back.
Havahart One-Door Trap
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We love this live animal trap by Havahart for how to keep chipmunks out of gardens, especially if you are dealing with just a small chipmunk problem. It works similarly to the live animal trap by Kensizer, using a trigger loaded door that is ideal for catching small rodents like squirrels and chipmunks. It is also rust-resistant and can be cleaned and reused as many times as needed.
How To Get Rid Of Chipmunks Using Repellents
Repellents using peppermint oil can help repel chipmunks naturally.
When it comes to using repellents for how to keep chipmunks out of gardens, we recommend using repellents that use natural ingredients which are safe to use on plants and around children and pets.
There are plenty of repellents you can use that are harm-free, effective, and safe to use in your garden and around your home, and we have listed some of our favorite products for you below.
Rodent Defense Natural Repellent
Rodent Defense is a natural rodent repellent you can use in your garden and around the perimeter of your home as a method for how to keep chipmunks out of gardens and yards. This product uses peppermint oil to deter not only chipmunks, but also other pests like mice, rats, and squirrels.
This product is all natural, safe for the environment, and safe to use around children and pets.
Grandpa Gus’s Chipmunk Repellent
Specifically designed for squirrels and chipmunks, Grandpa Gus’s Chipmunk Repellent is another product we love for how to keep chipmunks out of gardens. This product uses peppermint oil and cinnamon oil to repel and deter chipmunks, squirrels, and other pests from digging around your yard and garden.
And because it uses all natural ingredients like essential oils and water, it is totally safe to use in areas where children and pets play. It is also harm-free to the environment and will not damage flowers, plants, or veggies.
IMustGarden Rodent Repellent Granules
Rodent repellents like granules work well because you can sprinkle them around your garden and around the perimeter of your yard to keep pests at bay. We like these above granules for how to keep chipmunks out of gardens as well as other pests like squirrels, mice, and more.
Best of all, the granules are safe to use around children and pets because they use natural, non-toxic ingredients that repel rodents without harming them.
Garden Secrets Ultrasonic Electronic Pest Repellent
When it comes to garden protection, we love ultrasonic, solar powered pest repellents like this one by Garden Secrets. It uses sound frequencies and vibrations that irritate garden-disturbing pests like chipmunks, skunks, squirrels, deer, rabbits, and more.
That said, ultrasonic repellents will likely need to be used alongside netting for how to keep chipmunks out of gardens effectively, especially if your garden is often the center of destruction in your yard when it comes to hungry pests.
Plantskydd Animal Repellent
Last we have Plantskydd, which is an all around animal repellent that is safe to use on plants and in gardens. It is a weather-resistant product that, once applied, lasts in your garden and offers protection from pests like chipmunks, deer, squirrels, voles, rabbits, and moles.
However, since this does require consistent reapplication to be effective, we would advise using other repellents along with it for how to keep chipmunks out of gardens effectively in case you forget.
How To Keep Chipmunks Out Of Gardens Using Home Remedies
Plant daffodils in your garden to repel chipmunks.
Chipmunks aren’t going after your garden to destroy it on purpose. They are simply seeking their next meal and often storing up for the coming winter. The best ways to keep chipmunks out of gardens is to make your garden less inviting to them.
Not sure where to begin? Don’t worry, we have plenty of home remedies you can use to keep chipmunks out of gardens below. Take a look!
- Install An L-Shaped Footer Around Your Garden
As we mentioned above, the best footer will be buried at least a few feet underground to help prevent digging pests like chipmunks from gaining access to your garden. Still, experts say if you can’t dig that far down, simply installing an L-shaped footer at least a foot below the surface should help.
Make sure your footer is bent at a 90 degree angle and pointing away from the garden, extending out another foot. When done properly, installing this type of barrier can also help protect your garden from voles, moles, and other digging pests.
- Plant Your Bulbs Beneath Mesh
If you want to know how to keep chipmunks out of gardens and from digging up your bulbs, try being one step ahead of them by planting bulbs beneath mesh garden netting. Make sure your mesh openings are 1” x 1” to allow the plants to grow, but keep the chipmunk from digging up the bulb and destroying your garden.
- Include Chipmunk Repellent Plants In Your Garden
A chipmunk won’t find your garden as delicious when it’s surrounded by plants that disgust it. Some of the best chipmunk-repellent plants you can use to keep chipmunks out of gardens include allium, daffodils, hot peppers, lily of the valley, peppermint, geranium, and hyacinths.
- Cayenne Pepper Or Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
If cayenne pepper and crushed red pepper flakes burn our nose and eyes, it’s no surprise a chipmunk would be especially irritated by these spices. Simply sprinkle these spices around your garden or mix them with water and spray them on plants. This concoction will also help repel squirrels and even some insects.
That said, using cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper to keep chipmunks out of gardens will only be as effective as often as it is applied. For this reason, it should be reapplied often and used alongside other chipmunk-repellent remedies like garden netting.
- Garlic And Hot Pepper Mix
Just as with cayenne and hot pepper flakes, chipmunks are sensitive to garlic. You can make your own chipmunk repellent spray using garlic, hot pepper, and water. Spray the solution around your garden and the perimeter of your yard to keep chipmunks away. Again, you’ll need to reapply this mixture often and should use it with other chipmunk repellents.
How To Keep Chipmunks Out Of Gardens – When To Call The Professionals
You may need professional help to trap and relocate chipmunks, especially if you think there are baby chipmunks on the property.
If you’re dealing with a serious chipmunk problem and especially if you feel you may have a mother chipmunk with babies on your property, it may be time to call in the pros.
A professional will help you remove the chipmunks safely and will be able to advise you about how to keep chipmunks out of gardens in the future.
Keep in mind that most professional pest control experts cost around $100 to $300 to remove chipmunks, but this price can vary depending on the severity of your problem.
How To Keep Chipmunks Out Of Gardens And Yards In The Future
Help prevent chipmunks by continuing to use repellents and following the below methods.
Now that we know how to keep chipmunks out of gardens, let’s take a look at how to prevent them from coming back.
- Incorporate Chipmunk Repellent Plants Into Your Garden
Again, one of the best methods you can use for how to keep chipmunks out of your garden now and in the future is by planting repellent plants. That said, keep in mind that some repellent plants mentioned above to deter chipmunks can be toxic to pets.
Daffodils, for example, can cause skin irritation and digestive upset if ingested and should be planted with caution in homes with curious animals and kiddos.
- Invite Chipmunk Predators
This isn’t tough, considering chipmunks have so many natural predators. Everything from cats to large birds are enough to scare chipmunks away and will help you work on how to keep chipmunks out of gardens in the future.
If you don’t want to invite actual predators onto your property, you can install an owl decoy near your garden, which will work as a scarecrow and will frighten chipmunks away.
- Remove Bird Feeders
If chipmunks are a real problem to the health of your garden, you’ll want to make sure you’re not inviting them into your yard. Chipmunks are attracted not only to our garden plants, but also to seeds and nuts, especially those we put in bird feeders.
If you want to keep chipmunks from your yard and garden, we recommend removing bird feeders or at least installing rodent-proof ones and keeping these feeders far away from your gardens.
- Continue Using Chipmunk Repellents
Working on keeping chipmunks out of gardens is a fulltime job, and just because you’ve managed to kick the chipmunks out doesn’t mean they won’t be back. Along with using the above methods and remedies to keep chipmunks out of gardens, we also suggest continuing to use repellents. This will not only help protect your garden from chipmunks, but also from other garden-destroying pests in the future as well.
Do you have other ideas or home remedies for how to keep chipmunks out of gardens? What do you think about using traps and relocating chipmunks as opposed to using mesh and repellents? We would love to hear from you. Leave us your thoughts in the comment section below.
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.