Chipmunk Control Tips
Chipmunks may be cute with their furry faces and perky personalities, but these small critters can do big damage to a garden. They will eat seeds, damage bulbs, and create burrows that can destroy landscaping. Fortunately, they can be easy to discourage with the proper control methods.
Controlling Chipmunks in the Garden
There are many ways to help control chipmunks and keep them away from your garden.
- Strong Smells: These mammals have a keen sense of smell, and using strong scents near the garden can keep them away. Mothballs, red pepper, and garlic are popular choices, but they will need to be placed very near the plants that must be protected in order to be effective.
- Lack of Shelter: Chipmunks prefer ground cover to feel protected, and removing low, bushy shrubs, brush piles and rock walls with abundant crevices will remove the shelter they like best. Without a place to cache food or hide, they will quickly move on.
- Predators: Attracting predators to the area can quickly discourage chipmunks. Provide perches for hunting hawks or put up an owl nesting box to attract natural chipmunk control, or simulate the presence of predators with fox or coyote urine scents.
- Barricades: If chipmunks are getting at seeds and bulbs regularly, putting one-quarter inch metal mesh over the seeds immediately after planting can be an effective barricade to keep the pests away. The mesh should extend at least a foot beyond the planting area, and additional mesh should be used to block nearby holes the chipmunks may be using for shelter or burrows.
- Pets: Dog-owning gardeners can strategically position their pet's outdoor doghouse or kennel area near wherever chipmunks may be a problem. The regular presence of the pet will act similar to a predator and keep the chipmunks away.
- Traps: Depending on local wildlife laws, trapping and forcibly removing the chipmunks may be an option. Contact local wildlife officials for information about the best methods for local chipmunk removal, or contact a pest control company for assistance.
- Distraction Feeding: When all else fails, some gardeners have success by learning to live with chipmunks rather than discouraging them. An easy feeding area with corn, grain, or nuts away from the garden area will allow the chipmunks to access a reliable food source other than the garden, which they will avoid in favor of an easier meal.
If chipmunks are a problem in your garden, trying several control methods is the best way to protect your flowers and produce. With practice and patience, you can discover the best techniques to safeguard your garden without harm to the chipmunks.
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