Keeping chipmunks out of planters

Chipmunks In My Hypertufa Planters! Help!

How do you keep chipmunks out of your planters? I am having some trouble with this and it is getting so frustrating. What can I do? I know they are just doing what is natural to them, but I need to have my plants growing and having them dug up once a week is just not working! The poor plant can’t even begin to spread its roots!

image of freshly planted thyme in hypertufa planter

I admit it was not a good choice to set that hypertufa cube on the steps to the deck. Probably a little too much temptation for the critter. But I had made a mess and sprayed it off and wanted to let it set there for overnight so that it could completely drain. My plans were to set it on the usual table and put it on its “feet” which are just cupcake hypertufas that I use for that purpose. Now I have them in place where they are supposed to be.

image of guilty looking chipmunk next to dug out planter
Will these keep the chipmunks out of my planters?

Some kind of critter has been eating my hens and chicks out front, and based on the way they are dying, it seems that it’s the roots that are being eaten. It has only happened to some of them and the others are OK, so I don’t know what to  make of this. Maybe some are tastier? Closer to an underground tunnel run? Guess I will never know.

image of half-eaten succulent

I have sprinkled some cayenne pepper powder  out there but I really can’t tell if that has helped. There are a lot of hawks and coyote in the area so I don’t think we are overrun with problems, but I just wish they didn’t find my stuff either tasty or just for their recreational fun aka digging.

Sure they are cute, but how can I get rid of them in my planters.

Over winter, I have previously tied netting around my large containers, tightly so they don’t get stuck in it. ( Never has one of them become entangled and died. It just creates a barrier when they want to start scratching around and they move on. But I don’t want that netting on in the summer season because everything is full and blooming and it would not look good.

Any advice would be appreciated. These critters are really cute, but they are rascally little devils too!  I don’t have any bird feeders scattering seed near the house at all. The only feeders near the house and in the beds are hummingbird feeders, but these don’t leak sugar water or anything.

How To Keep Chipmunks Out of Planters - It Works!

I have heard of the recommendation of putting plastic forks in the soil of the container, but they are sometimes just pushed aside by my critters and that’s so ugly. As you see in the video, I have buried skewers in the soil of some containers to see if that is any different. So far, it seems successful since I can’t see any evidence that they have been disturbed. Too bad I didn’t put them into my newly planted hypertufa that first night.

Hidden skewers to keep chipmunks out of planters

Maybe I should mention that there are holes in many of my planters and all over the garden areas including near the deck. We have a little dog but no food is kept outside at all. Even the garbage cans are kept inside. No fruits or berries that I can think of at all. Why do they like this house so much?  

image of holes dug in planters

Another idea was to put “row covers” of shade cloth over the planters like netting or fabric until the plants reach a certain size and are not bothered by the critters looking for tender seedlings. But most of my plants are tiny anyway, and the purpose of my planters are for “show.” I don’t want to hide them except in the winter months with the netting when needed.

Any Suggestions?

How have you solved a problem? Trapping? Do those repellents work ? I would probably never get finished carrying them away!


  1. Anonymous says:

    I put chicken wire on the surface of my pots when I plant them. The plants grow through.

    1. I have done that too. And it works well.

  2. jill R Reed says:

    hello my name is Jill and I have a very bad chipmunk problem. I also just bought a little green house to put on my deck and was not thinking about my chipmunk problem. Do you have any ideas on how to keep them out of my greenhouse. thanks

    1. You might try a drop netting around the whole structure. It is usually sold in large sheets to go over fruit trees if that is big enough. I hope that helps.

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