Chipmunks digging up potted plants

Asked June 8, 2019, 10:07 PM EDT

Any idea how to keep chipmunks from digging up my potted plants? I've tried critter rider, repels all, stones, Irish spring...sometimes moth balls work but the smell makes me sick.

Oakland County Michigan chipmunks

1 Response


Chipmunks, along with ground squirrels and groundhogs, have diets of plants (grasses, leaves, seeds, nuts, berries, fruits, bulbs) though they are known to occasionally supplement their diet with animal protein (ground nesting birds, eggs). All are ecologically important and interesting to watch, but can be nuisances depending on location.

Reduce summer bird feeding of large seeds (sunflower, safflower, peanuts) to reduce attracting these mammals. Live traps baited with peanuts (or fresh-cut apples for ground hogs) and subsequent release at least five miles distance can be successful. In Michigan, a licensed professional must be hired to release nuisance animals off your property. See the DNR list here-

For chipmunks, it is better to use taste (contact repellants) rather than odor (area repellants). Capsaicin repellants are one type. The problem in using taste repellants is the chipmunk must chew the plant. There is also the need for frequent application due to weather conditions, new growth, etc.

Some success might be had by creating a chipmunk feeder as far from the pots as you can. Wiring field corn to a fence post is one idea..

You can try cutting screening, or hardware cloth to fit the pot’s opening, and making large openings to plant through, then pin it down with lawn staples, or clip it to pot sides. Covering pots with wire cloches may break their habit.

They are looking for food this time of year, so once they stop finding any they may leave pots alone.