Chipmunk Infestation in a Garden

Chipmunk (via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Chipmunk infestations in a garden can be a frustrating problem for gardeners. These small rodents can cause damage to plants, dig holes in lawns, and steal seeds and bulbs. Chipmunks are active during the day and are particularly fond of gardens that provide a source of food and shelter.

It’s worth noting that chipmunks are not necessarily harmful to the garden, they can be beneficial as they consume insects and spiders, but if their population is too high, or if they start eating a large quantity of your plants, then it could be a problem.


  • Holes in lawns and flower beds: Chipmunks dig holes in the soil to create burrows and tunnels for shelter and food storage. These holes can be unsightly and can also damage the roots of nearby plants.
  • Damage to plants: Chipmunks may gnaw on the stems and leaves of plants, causing them to wilt or die. They may also dig up bulbs and eat the roots of plants. This can result in a loss of plant growth and yield.
  • Stolen seeds and bulbs: Chipmunks are known to steal seeds and bulbs from gardens, which can make it difficult for plants to grow and thrive. They may also hoard food in their burrows, which can lead to a depletion of food sources for other animals in the area.
  • Burrows and tunnels in the soil: Chipmunks dig extensive burrows and tunnels in the soil, which can damage the structure of the soil and make it difficult for plants to grow. These burrows may also be used as a home for other pests, such as moles or voles.
  • Visible chipmunks during the day: Chipmunks are active during the day, which means that you may see them foraging for food or digging in your garden during the day. They may also be seen carrying food back to their burrows.
  • Presence of Chipmunk droppings around the garden, they are dark and cylindrical in shape.
  • Presence of Chipmunk tracks, can be seen around the burrows and near food sources.

What is a Chipmunk

A chipmunk is a small, ground-dwelling rodent that typically has the following characteristics:

  • Size: Chipmunks are usually about 6 to 9 inches long and weigh about 2 ounces.
  • Color: They have a reddish-brown fur with black and white stripes running down their back and sides, which helps them camouflage in the wild.
  • Tail: Chipmunks have large, bushy tails that are proportionally longer than the rest of their body.
  • Claws: They have sharp claws that are adapted for digging and climbing.
  • Eyes: Chipmunks have large, dark eyes that help them see well in the daytime.
  • Ears: They have small ears that are round in shape.
  • Cheeks: Chipmunks are known for their large cheek pouches, which they use to carry food back to their burrows.
  • Teeth: Chipmunks have sharp incisors that are used for gnawing and biting.
  • Movement: Chipmunks are agile and quick, they can climb trees and swim if needed.

Treating a Chipmunk Infestation

It’s important to note that chipmunks can be persistent, so it may take some time to effectively treat an infestation. It may also be necessary to use multiple methods in order to completely eliminate chipmunks from your garden.

Habitat modification

  • Clear away tall grass, weeds and debris that may be providing shelter for chipmunks.
  • Trim any trees, bushes, or shrubs near the garden, this will make it harder for chipmunks to access the garden.
  • Remove bird feeders or other food sources that may be attracting chipmunks to the area.
  • Create a barrier around the garden by digging a trench at least 12 inches deep and fill it with a mesh wire or sheet metal. This will prevent chipmunks from digging under the barrier.
  • Use a repellent like ammonia or mothballs to discourage chipmunks from entering the garden.


  • Use live traps to capture chipmunks and release them in a remote location far away from your garden.
  • Check traps regularly and dispose of any dead animals in a safe and humane manner.
  • If you are going to use traps, it’s important to check local regulations as trapping may require a permit in some areas.
  • Use different types of bait like sunflower seeds, peanut butter, or rolled oats to attract chipmunks to the trap.

Poison baits

  • Use specially formulated poison baits that are designed to target chipmunks.
  • Place baits in areas where chipmunks are active, such as near burrows or food sources.
  • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before using any poison baits.
  • Poison baits should be used only as a last resort, as they pose a danger to other animals, and people, and the risks of secondary poisoning.


  • Use repellents such as ammonia, peppermint oil, or castor oil to discourage chipmunks from entering the garden.
  • Reapply repellents as needed, especially after it rains.
  • Repellents may not be effective in all cases and may require multiple applications before seeing results.
  • Use natural repellents like predator urine, like fox or coyote urine, as they may be more effective than chemical repellents.