Gardening is one of the most enjoyable activities. It teaches you a lot about life and sustainability, plus being outside, under the sun, and fresh air can help improve your mood.
That said, there are also several challenges to gardening. The unpredictability of weather, poor soil, weed growth, and pest infestation can become real issues that affect your crops.
Chipmunks, for instance, are cute furry creatures. However, these little critters can devastate your vegetables, plants, and flowers.
If you’re asking, “Will chipmunks eat my garden?” You’re in the right place.
Dealing with pests and infestations can become a severe headache if you don’t know what to do. So, keep reading, and let’s discuss all you need to know about gardens and chipmunks.
Chipmunks are small mammals and members of the rodent family. They resemble squirrels, their cousins, with beady eyes, furry bodies, and almost identical forms.
It can be easy to confuse chipmunks with squirrels. But they’re usually smaller, with shorter, flatter tails and black and white stripe colors running down their backs and eyes.
These animals are indigenous to North America. Although, there’s a common variety called the Siberian chipmunk found in Northern Asia, Russia, China, Korea, and Japan.
Chipmunks are well known for their cheek pouches. They use their expandable cheeks to hold and transport food, stretching up to three times the size of their heads!
Chipmunks are omnivorous, meaning they eat plants, fruits, vegetables, and other animals. Their diet mainly consists of nuts, seeds, berries, fruit, grain, eggs, and roots.
Aside from this plant-full diet, they also consume worms, insects, fungi, arthropods, and sometimes carrion. They may eat small birds on occasion as well.
Experts categorize chipmunks as opportunistic feeders. It means they’ll eat almost anything they can fit inside their expandable cheek pouches.
Their diet can become affected by their environment. And like humans, they mostly rely on their five senses to search and forage for their next meal.
At first glance, it’s easy not to think of chipmunks as pests. They aren’t the first animal that comes to mind when it comes to garden and crop infestations.
Don’t let their cute appearances fool you, though. They’ll start chewing up your freshly-planted crops and ravage your flowers when they can get the chance.
Farmers and gardeners can attest to their tendency to chew on tomatoes, strawberries, and tulip bulbs. With enough numbers, they can considerably reduce your garden’s produce.
These little rodents are small and agile. And they can effortlessly get into tight and close spaces and wreak havoc, unlike larger pests and animals.
Finally, chipmunks are excellent diggers, so crops below the ground aren’t safe. Their burrows can be expansive, with tunnels that can extend 2 to 3 feet and reach 20 to 30 feet wide.
Chipmunk infestation can be hard to spot if you don’t know what to look for. So, here are some common signs of chipmunks inhabiting your garden:
It’s not a secret that these rodents like digging holes. So, if they start infesting a place, you’ll usually see multiple small, deep holes around the area.
These excavations can be around three to five inches in diameter. Look for these holes around woodpiles, fencelines, rock piles, tree stumps, walls, damp spots, and outbuildings.
As we said earlier, chipmunks are opportunistic feeders. They’ll immediately feed on garden crops, plants, fruits, and insects long as the chance presents itself.
If you notice your crops and plants being uprooted or bulb plantings failing to grow and emerge, chances are you’re dealing with chipmunk infestation.
Chipmunks are cute, but they’re messy eaters. They usually leave seeds and grains scattered or in trails around the area, particularly in bird seed bins and livestock feed containers.
These animals also have the habit of piling nut shells and acorn tops. So, if you see these pilings around your garden, you may have a rodent issue.
Chipmunks mostly spend their days underground, in their dens and tunnels. However, they also build nests of leaves and other soft materials above-ground.
Some of these furry creatures make these nests on bushes or tree logs. And although uncommon, chipmunks can build nests around sheds, barns, and outbuildings.
Chipmunks love fruits and vegetables. You may notice bean sprouts, carrots, apples, and all sorts of fruits and vegetables vanishing when they mature or ripen.
These rodents use these types of food as a water source during dry and hot spells. They might leave holes in low-hanging vegetables like tomatoes or eggplants.
Chipmunks can become annoying with their chattering and chirping. They damage your landscaping and eat the crops, plants, and fruits.
There are several methods available to keep these animals from ruining your garden. And you may choose from different techniques depending on the severity of the infestation.
One approach is to use live traps to remove Chipmunks from your garden. However, some people might find these methods inhumane and unnecessarily excessive.
However, there are effective yet simple tricks that wouldn’t require hurting these animals. Here are some of the practices farmers use to discourage chipmunks from damaging their crops:
Laying out chicken wire or hardware cloth is one effective way to protect your crops. It’ll prevent burrowing animals like chipmunks from getting under and into the garden.
Cover your crop beds where you planted your bulbs and secure the hardware cloth using landscape staples. You can also construct barriers around each bulb to protect them from claws.
Chipmunks and burrowing creatures find it tough to dig through gravel and sand. And you can use this advantage to protect your garden from infestation.
Fill every chipmunk hole with sand and gravel, pushing in as much of the materials as possible. Do this diligently and they might leave your garden and plants for good!
Another effective way to discourage chipmunks from consuming your crops is to deter them through scents. It turns out that they won’t touch crops dusted with garlic and cayenne pepper.
They also don’t like the smell of citrus, peppermint, cinnamon, coffee, and eucalyptus. Try planting these plants around your garden to help with chipmunk issues.
Chipmunks are clever little creatures. They’ll avoid clean areas with no cover, such as bushes and rocks, to protect them from predators.
For this reason, it’s best to clean your garden regularly. Remove attractive hiding spots like wood logs, rock piles, tall weeds, and shrubs.
You can utilize dogs or house cats to chase these little critters around. The mere presence of these animals will help deter chipmunks from ravaging your garden.
Despite their adorable appearance, chipmunks are still pests that can harm your garden, consume your crops, and compromise your house’s integrity.
You can prevent these furry animals from infesting your gardens with the methods above. Keeping your garden clean and free from debris also goes a long way!
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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