If you ever wondered do rats eat plants, the answer is, unfortunately, yes. Rodents can be a real nuisance, especially in the garden, because they cause damage to plants and can even spread diseases.
If you’re one of the many gardeners out there who have had to deal with rodents, you’ll know how frustrating it can be. But don’t worry, because this must-read guide to deterring rodents and preventing plant eating will help you protect your garden and keep the pesky critters away.
JUMP TO TOPIC
- Do Rats Like To Eat Plants?
- How Do You Know Rodents Are Eating Plants in the Garden?
- How Do You Set Rodent Traps To Protect Plants?
Do Rats Like To Eat Plants?
The term “rodent” is used to refer to all kinds of small mammals, including mice, rats, moles, voles, and gophers. These animals typically have pointy noses, long tails, and sharp incisor teeth. These are known to cause a lot of damage to gardens, from eating plants to digging up roots. If left unchecked, they can quickly cause a lot of damage to your garden.
In addition to damaging plants, rodents can also spread diseases. Rats and mice are known to carry a variety of parasites and diseases, such as salmonella, leptospirosis, and rat-bite fever.
These diseases can be transmitted to humans through contact with rodent urine and droppings. For this reason, it’s important to take steps to deter rodents and prevent rats from entering your garden.
– Plants That Attract Rodents
Field mice are keen on nuts, berries, and insects. They will also love the sight of leafy garden greens and different varieties of houseplants if there’s nothing else around. If you don’t want to see any rodents around, try not to plant corn or sunflowers near your vegetable garden, as they will go ballistic over kernels and seeds.
Grass seeds, wheat, and other grains are also a favorite of mice, and rats eat anything that falls to the ground.
Rats eat fruits and vegetables too, but will only do so when nothing else is there. If they spot a place with readily available meats, oils, and other fats, they will quickly turn to that. If there are no seeds or corn available they will prey on cabbage, cauliflowers, carrots, leeks, peas, potatoes, turnips, tulips, and even pumpkins!
While there are plants that will make rodents not eat flowers, fruits, and seeds, some invasive species of plants can affect your garden and some will even attract rodents. One such tree is Wisteria — although it is beautiful, it will shoot sprouts and strangle other plants, as well as attract rats and mice.
– Leaves That Rodents Like
Rats not only like leaves, but they will also take a bite out of various gardens and houseplants too! They are especially fond of seeds and kernels, so corn and sunflower are your no go crops near your other vegetables.
Fresh grass seeds, grains, and other leafy vegetables are also highly attractive to these pests.
– Rodent Diet
Rodents can eat a variety of plant materials, including fruits, vegetables, and grains. They are also attracted to pet food and bird seed. In addition, rodents will also eat insects, worms, and other small animals.
In addition to food, rodents also need access to water. Common water sources that attract rats include birdbaths, pet water dishes, and leaky outdoor faucets. If you have any of these water sources in your garden, it’s important to take steps to keep them very clean and free of debris.
– Preventing Rodents From Eating Plants
If you’re worried about rats eating your plants, there are several effective methods you can try for your pest control efforts. Start by planting plants that are not attractive to rodents, such as marigolds, lavender, and rosemary. You can also use natural rodent repellents, such as peppermint oil or garlic. You can also use physical barriers, such as netting or fencing, to keep rodents away from your plants.
The best tried and tested method to keep rodents out of your garden is to make sure they can’t get in. Start by sealing off any potential entry points in your home and yard. Make sure to check windows and doors, as well as any cracks or crevices. You should also inspect your foundation, as well as your roofline, for any signs of rat activity.
While mice and rats are known to eat away at fruits and vegetables, there are some plants that rats will hate and keep away from. Try planting marigolds, garlic, daffodils, or even black pepper. Other plants that can serve as good deterrents are rosemary, lavender, onions, and tomatoes.
– Deterring Rodents From the Garden
There are a few solutions you can do to deter rats from your garden. Start by removing any sources of food or water that may be attracting them. Make sure to keep pet food and bird feeders away from your garden and clean up any spilled food or water. You should also get rid of any potential hiding places, such as piles of leaves and woodpiles.
You can also use physical barriers to keep rodents out of your garden. Fencing and netting can be effective at keeping rodents away. You can also use motion-activated lights and ultrasonic devices to scare rodents away.
Once you’ve identified and sealed off any potential entry points, you should take steps to keep rodents from entering your garden. Make sure to keep your garden free of debris and clutter, as well as any food or water sources.
You should also keep your compost pile covered and away from your garden. You can also use motion-activated lights and ultrasonic devices to scare away rodents.
– Garden Plant Attractions for Rodents
There are a few things that can attract rats to your garden. One of the most common is an overabundance of food. If you’re growing a lot of fruits and vegetables in your garden, you should make sure to keep them harvested and picked up as quickly as possible.
Rodents will also be attracted to any areas of your garden that offer shelter and protection, such as piles of leaves, logs, and woodpiles. Rats eat flowers too and will be attracted by them as well.
Pet food is another common source of food for rodents. If you have pets, make sure to store their food in a secure container and keep it away from your garden. If you have bird feeders in your garden, you should keep them tidy. If you can spot any food remnants that have possibly been disturbed by rats, you should employ the assistance of a good pest control service.
How Do You Know Rodents Are Eating Plants in the Garden?
You will know rodents are eating plants in the garden by looking for signs of rat activity. Rodents are most active at night, so you may see them scurrying around after dark. You should also look for signs of burrowing or tunneling in your garden.
If you’re worried that rodents may have invaded your garden, it’s important to identify them first. Moles, gophers, and voles tend to tunnel underground, while rats and mice will usually nest in dark corners and crevices.
You can also look for signs of rodent activity in the form of droppings. Rat droppings are typically black and between half to three-quarters of an inch long. Mouse droppings are smaller, and about a quarter inch long. Both mouse and rat droppings tend to be found near food sources. You may also see tracks or footprints on the ground, as well as damage to plants or burrows.
Here are some other signs to look out for:
– Seeing the Rats
Rats will often travel on top of power lines and will do so at dusk and dawn. You can watch out for them climbing your fences, trellises, and trees too.
If garbage cans and dumpsters are lying open around your garden, they will use them to hide away from predators. Rats can also climb trees during the day to look for more food. In cities, they usually hide in sewers and other places where there’s plenty of darkness and no predators around.
– Plants Go Away Overnight
Do plantings, sprouts, and seedlings seem to disappear overnight?
If some seem to be tugged from under the ground, you can be sure you have rodents around, as other grazing animals will eat your plants from above the ground. Gophers and rats disturb the plants from below, right at the roots.
Rats enjoy where there is a continuous source of food. If you remove food sources and other attractive materials, rats are likely to move on.
Gophers, mice, and rats love to dig mounds in the soil after dark, and they do this to mark the entrance holes. You can go looking for these mounds in the morning, and if you spot any, then you know that there are rodents out and about at night.
How Do You Set Rodent Traps To Protect Plants?
To set rodent traps to protect plants, choose the type of trap that is most appropriate. The most common type of trap is the snap trap, which is designed to catch and kill rodents. There are also live traps, which can be used to capture rodents without harming them.
If you’re dealing with an infestation of rodents, you may need to set some traps to catch them. Make sure to check your traps regularly and dispose of any deceased rats.
– Mouse Trap Tactics
If you’re dealing with mice in your garden, you may need to use different tactics for your pest control. Start by identifying any food sources that may be attracting them. Make sure to keep pet food and bird feeders away from your garden. You can also use natural repellents like peppermint oil or garlic to keep mice away.
You can also use a snap mouse trap or live traps to catch mice. Make sure to check your mouse trap regularly.
– Remove Their Shelters
Rats and mice nest in brush and wood piles and even tall grass. Keep your grass cut throughout the growing season. Don’t pile away dead plant matter near your garden — if you’re composting your greens, try and use bins that you can close. Try to periodically disturb wood piles and turn your compost often to scare them away.
– Remove Lawn Grubs
Grubs and worms are known to attract rodents, including gophers, moles, and rats. Use treatments to kill off lawn grubs. While getting rid of rats, you’ll also reduce the population of beetles, which will come as a bonus.
– Seal Holes
Mice can squeeze through holes around the size of a small coin. You should seal up any entrances into sheds and other structures to prevent rats from getting used to coming and going as they please.
Seal holes with wooden or metal material to make sure these animals can’t bite through them.
– Use Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is a natural rodent repellent that can be used to deter rats from entering your garden. The strong smell of peppermint oil is unpleasant to all rodents, so they’ll usually stay away from it.
You can apply the oil directly to plants or around the perimeter of your garden. It’s always a great idea to have some peppermint planted around your garden perimeter.
Rodents can be a real nuisance in the garden, but with the right pest-proofing strategies, you can keep them at bay.
Let’s recheck what we’ve discussed in this article.
- Rats will eat fruits and vegetables, and will also nibble on houseplants. Field mice, on the other hand, love to eat nuts, berries, and insects.
- Start by removing any sources of food or water that may be attracting the rodents. Make sure to keep pet food and bird feeders away from your garden and clean up any spilled food or water.
- You can also use physical barriers, such as netting or fencing, to keep rodents away from your garden. If you’re dealing with an infestation, you may need to set traps to catch them.
- You can also use natural repellents like peppermint oil or garlic to keep rodents away.
Using these strategies, you can keep your garden and plants pest-proof and rodent-free!