pegnj(6 central NJ)February 24, 2012

I've had a vegetable garden for 15 years, but mid-summer last year the chipmunks invaded. I have a 6' fence for the deer. Railroad ties and chicken wire around the bottom for the rabbits etc. BUT THE #@@#@# chipmunks. 4 of them made homes under the railroad ties and I think others would just visit for dinner. If they would only just eat one or two pieces -- but they take bites out of everything. they ruined about a quarter of my crop last year. We had enough for dinner every night but I couldn't freeze/save anything.

I saw one running around the empty garden this morning. THEIR BACK. I used to think they were cute but it is now a major problem.

Any suggestions?

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    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 9:27PM
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Large mousetraps.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 9:41PM
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Rat traps, actually, baited with peanut butter and birdseed heavy on the corn and black oil sunflower seeds.

I prefer the kind of trap in the link -- plastic, reusable, washable.

If you use them outside, you can take a bucket or old flowerpot and make a couple of holes in the rim about the diameter of a tennis ball, and set it upside down over the baited trap with a weight on top to keep it from blowing away. This will prevent the accidental death of seed-eating birds.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tomcat brand snap trap, rat sized

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 9:59PM
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pegnj(6 central NJ)

Can't do cats - we have a dog. She'll catch a chipmunk now and then but they are safe inside the fence surrounding the veg garden. (I've created chipmunk paradise)

I'll be planting/transplanting spring crops in a few weeks. Will the chipmunks eat the plants? - lettuce, peas, broccoli raab, etc? Last year they moved in mid season and ate tomatoes, eggplant, peppers etc. but I didn't see any damage to the plants themselves.

If they declare war - I'm going to have to do the traps. Thanks for the idea of putting a bucket/pot over the trap. The cat birds always peck at a few tomatoes but I don't want to hurt any birds.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 7:41AM
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Snakes are a much better option.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 10:24AM
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pegnj(6 central NJ)

2 years ago I had a resident snake. Before I went in the garden I would stamp my feet and clap my hands. Otherwise I would jump 5 feet high when we were both surprised to meet up. Maybe that was why the chipmunks weren't a problem the year before!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 11:31AM
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I have lots of snakes in my garden, and purposely built habitat to encourage them. Maine has the advantage of having no indigenous poisonous snakes, nor many large ones, but reptiles and amphibians are often considered a sign of a healthy ecosystem. Owls work, too, but they are hard to attract and have an irritating indifference to human intentions.

If you know where they are nesting, mothballs wrapped in an old sock are an old-school repellent that seems to work.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 12:01PM
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snakes work for me, but only when I am on vacation. A daily presence in the garden is too much for them. My neighbor has a manure pile, and there garter snakes congregate by the hundreds. There are enough that they provide meat for hawks and raccoons. Modest contribution on voles, though I have seen them get into the tunnels, all 4 ft of them. They sure clean the slugs, though.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 1:19PM
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Garters are too small for chipmunk control.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 1:54PM
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opal52(z7b GA)

We have had problems at times with chipmunks, squirrels, and neighbourhood cats getting into our veg. garden. We found a reasonable solution using what is sold as deer protection. I included a link to the product we used.

We found the netting, folded to be about 4 ft. tall, and attached to fence posts works well if it is not pulled tight. We leave a few inches which we turn and anchor at ground level.The squirrels and cats can't get a good hold to climb, the chipmunks get tangled up trying to dig under and this seems to have deterred them. I saw a chipmunk attempt to dig under and it got hung up in the netting and was having such a fit trying to get loose that I thought I would have to go and try to set it free. If I step on the netting at the ground level, I can get tangled up in it and have to be careful about tripping. It seems to stick like glue to my shoes. You mention you already have chicken wire fencing for rabbits. Perhaps you could install the netting inside your fence to see if it works for you.

I suppose you need to get rid of the chipmunks that already have dens under your cross ties first. if you use the search engine for the entire garden web site, and search on "Pool of Death" or chipmunk control, you will find some useful entries on how to control (kill) chipmunks around the house/gardens.

Here is a link that might be useful: Deerblock Protective Mesh

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 4:08PM
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A good rat trap, a piece of apple with peanut butter on the apple. Put them along the edge of your garden. Chipmunks don't like to run in the open, they like to run along the edge of something. I did this a few year ago, I was catching/killling so many I got tried of clean up. When I did clean up I feed them to the hawks and what ever else want a fresh dinner.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 8:27AM
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Trapping may not be a good solution if there are others near by that can move in to replace the ones you eliminate.

I had problems last year when one started chewing on tomatoes that grew on a plant in a half whiskey barrel. I found that if I left a tomato on the ground next to it, they would work on that and leave the rest alone. Maybe you can put something in the garden that they will like better than your vegetables. Of course that may cause their numbers to increase, but that could also result in them attracting attention from natural predators.

The other solution I would try is some sort of repellent if you can find something that repels them. I had trouble with mice in our basement and trapping seemed to reveal a never ending supply. A repellent placed near their access point kept them out.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 8:59AM
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pegnj(6 central NJ)

Thanks for all the suggestions!

I'm going to use them all. (except the snakes)
Mothballs in the 4 nests. (Traps if they don't work)
Netting around the bottom of the fence.

Instead of cleaning up the chewed vegetables,I'm going to leave some of the ground - maybe some outside the garden.

Hopefully I can reduce their numbers and how much they damage.

THANKS again

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 8:53AM
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My friend had a problem with squirrels. They even chewed a hole in his garbage can and would make a mess of his garbage. He put chocolate exlax out and it somehow deterred them. I'm not sure how or why, but maybe try googling that.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 10:05AM
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I've heard you run a wood plank (a ramp) up the to a five gallon bucket with about 4" on water in it .leave a trail of seed for them to follow and float some in the water. they follow the seed, fall into the bucket and drown.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 11:56AM
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I understand mothballs are toxic. If this is a vegetable garden, it might be something to reconsider- adding toxins to soil.

Good luck! It took my dog all summer to get all the voles. At least I hope he got them all. Little stinkers took out my baby pepper plants.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 9:41PM
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