How to Keep Chipmunks Out of Your Garden

Chipmunk in Garden

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The beauty of your garden comes from the bounty that grows there—so the last thing you want is for a pest to devour your flowers and vegetables. Chipmunks, a common culprit, use their keen sense of smell to find your prized plants. “Chipmunks like all kinds of nuts and seeds, flower bulbs, and tree bark,” says Sabine H. Schoenberg, a home and garden expert and the CEO of Smart. Healthy. Green. Living. “During the dry months, they often shred leaves to get to the moisture in the plants.” To prevent your garden from being targeted by these little creatures, check out our expert-approved tips.

Related: These Pests Are Actually Good for Your Garden

Run your sprinkler to scare them off.

Chipmunks don’t like water (they really hate thunderstorms!), so running your sprinkler system will send them scattering, says Schoenberg. The only downside to this method? It is a short-term solution. “Animals that are used to living around humans will be less shy, smarter, and more adaptive to environmental changes (scare devices and repellents) than their wild counterparts,” says Josh Matta, senior biologist for Liquid Fence Animal Repellent.

Use natural deterrents from your pantry.

To keep the rodents out of your yard for long periods of time, Schoenberg recommends sprinkling deterrents like hot cayenne, garlic, apple cider, peppermint, or coffee grounds around your plants and gardens. “Coffee grounds are particularly good around acid-loving plants, so it does double duty,” she adds. “While it is a deterrent against chipmunks, it is also a fertilizer for acid-loving plants, like hydrangea, azaleas, and Rhodes.” Just be sure to reapply whatever you use as a deterrent after rainstorms, since it will wash away over time.

Place ultrasonic sound devices around your yard.

Whatever you do, Schoenberg strongly recommends avoiding toxic repellents. “While I agree that chipmunks are a nuisance, poisoning them is definitely not a recommended way [of dealing with them],” she says. Her best long-term suggestion is to pick up ultrasonic devices at your local hardware store or purchase a few online. They emit vibrations and sounds that unsettle chipmunks and will keep the rodents out of your garden for good (not to worry, you won’t hear a thing). “For more location specific protection, place mesh wire over or around vulnerable plants,” Matta advises.