Evergreen Seeds

Chipmunks, while cute to some, can be quite a nuisance for gardeners and homeowners. Despite their small size, these critters have an appetite for bulbs, fruits, and seeds, which can wreak havoc on a yard or garden. I have found that an effective, humane way to deter these pests is by utilizing certain plants that they find unpleasant.

Lavender and mint plants repel chipmunks with their strong scents

💥 Quick Answer

Among the various strategies to keep chipmunks at bay, planting chipmunk repellent varieties is a natural, aesthetic choice. Plants like allium, garlic, and strong-smelling herbs are known for their deterrent properties.

By incorporating these plants into the landscape, I not only add beauty and diversity but also create a protective barrier that effectively repels chipmunks. The use of such plants can enrich the ecosystem of the garden, inviting beneficial insects and birds, while keeping unwanted rodents under control.

Plants That Deter Chipmunks

When gardening, understanding the behavior of potential pests like chipmunks is crucial for protecting your vegetation. This discussion provides insights into their natural habits and how certain plants can serve as deterrents against these adept foragers.

Natural Habitat and Diet

Chipmunks flourish in various environments, from wooded areas to suburban yards. As omnivores, their diet is quite varied. It primarily consists of:

  • Nuts: A staple food source, perfect for storage in their burrows.
  • Seeds: Including those from flowers and bird feeders.
  • Fruits: Wild berries and cultivated fruits when available.
  • Vegetables: They do not shy away from garden vegetables.
  • Insects: They occasionally snack on small insects.

Common Attractants in Gardens

My garden has occasionally played host to these critters, particularly when I’ve grown:

  • Bulbs, such as tulips or lilies, which they dig up for food.
  • Succulent seedlings that are easy to munch on.
  • Abundant vegetation that provides cover.

Additionally, unsecured bird feeders are an open invitation for chipmunks, offering a rich source of seeds.

Burrowing and Nesting Patterns

Chipmunks are expert burrowers, creating extensive networks of tunnels underground. These burrows serve as

  • Shelter: Protecting them from predators.
  • Storage: Where they hoard food like nuts and seeds.

My observation of their nesting habits suggests a preference for areas near objects or structures — like decks, sheds, or foundations — that offer additional protection.

Impact on Gardens and Yards

The presence of chipmunks can have a two-fold impact:

Destructive Behavior:
  • Digging up plants, bulbs, and seeds, causing damage and sometimes plant death.
  • Undermining structural integrity with their burrows.


  • An infestation can lead to a depleted garden and competition for bird feed.
  • Their rapid reproduction rate may exacerbate these issues over time.

Implementing deterrents like certain plants and secure bird feeders is essential in managing these effects.

Preventive Measures and Repellents

In my experience with gardening, I’ve found that incorporating the right plants and creating effective physical barriers offer natural and humane methods to deter chipmunks. Additionally, certain scents serve as strong repellents, making them an integral part of chipmunk prevention in gardens.

Choosing the Right Plants

I’ve observed that certain plants can repel chipmunks due to their strong scents or toxic properties to these critters. For example, marigolds and daffodils not only add color to a garden but also serve as deterrents. Moreover, the allium family, which includes onions and garlic, can be a robust repellent due to their unmistakable scent. Here is a list of plants I’ve found effective:

  • Marigolds (Tagetes spp.): Their bright blooms are visually appealing to me and many gardeners, but chipmunks tend to stay away due to their scent.
  • Daffodils (Narcissus spp.): The toxic alkaloids present make these charming flowers an excellent choice for chipmunk prevention.
  • Onion (Allium cepa): I often grow these for cooking but their pungent aroma also naturally deters chipmunks.
  • Garlic (Allium sativum): Similar to onions, garlic plants are a staple in my kitchen and a natural chipmunk repellent in the garden.

Creating Physical Barriers

Constructing a barrier has proven for me to be an effective way to keep chipmunks from burrowing and getting to the plants. I’ve used wire mesh or hardware cloth as a fence or to cover the ground, ensuring that the openings are small enough to prevent chipmunks from squeezing through. Here is how I approach constructing barriers:

  • Fence: I use a fence with hardware cloth or wire mesh, buried a few inches into the ground to prevent digging.
  • Bulb protection: For protecting bulbs, placing them beneath a layer of hardware cloth before covering with soil helps. Plants can grow through, but chipmunks can’t reach the bulbs.

Utilizing Natural Repellents

In my garden, I regularly apply natural scent-based repellents that chipmunks find unpleasant. Cayenne pepper, peppermint oil, and a spray of cider vinegar have been successful deterrents without harming the chipmunks. Here are some repellents I use:

  • Cayenne Pepper: A sprinkle around my plants provides a spicy deterrent that chipmunks avoid.
  • Peppermint Oil: I’ve used soaked cotton balls in strategic locations, or a diluted spray around the garden for its strong scent that chipmunks dislike.
  • Eucalyptus and Cinnamon: These potent scents act as a powerful repellent when applied around my garden.

By incorporating these strategic plants, barriers, and repellents into my gardening practices, I’ve been able to maintain a thriving, chipmunk-free garden space.

Safe and Humane Removal Strategies

In dealing with chipmunks, ensuring humane treatment is paramount. Effective removal strategies can be employed without causing harm to these creatures. Here’s how I manage.

Live Trapping Techniques

When it comes to trapping, live traps are the most humane option. A small cage with a trigger-sensitive mechanism works well:

Bait Location Check Frequency Release
Peanut butter Near activity Twice daily 1 mile away

I always check traps frequently to minimize stress and never place them in direct sunlight.

Predator Mimicry and Decoys

Mimicking the presence of predators can be a highly effective strategy:

Decoys: Models of predators like cats or foxes
Scents: Sprinkling predator urine around gardens

I’ve found that changing the position of decoys frequently prevents chipmunks from becoming accustomed to them.

Cultural Practices to Deter Chipmunks

Altering the environment to be less chipmunk-friendly is a strategy I employ by:

⚠️ Cleanliness is Key

Removing food sources like bird feeders and pet food, and keeping the yard tidy by cutting back foliage and clearing debris.

Such practices discourage chipmunks from settling in my garden and cause minimal disruption to their natural behaviors.

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