Chipmunk Damage in the Landscape

chipmunk in the home landscapeAmong other things, 2020 may well be remembered as “the year of the chipmunk.”

For some reason there is an abundance of them this year.

Let’s just get this out of the way right up front: Chipmunks are cute. They scurry around, sit on rocks with their cheeks full of acorns and chide cats with their chipping sounds. They make us smile.

Unfortunately, Chipmunks are also destructive in the landscape. They chew irrigation lines and wires, cause steps and patios to settle with their burrowing, and cause irreparable root damage to mature landscape trees. If left unchecked, homeowners can be faced with thousands of dollars’ worth of chipmunk damage in the landscape.

If you’re wondering how to prevent chipmunk damage in the landscape, here are a few things you can do to make your yard a less friendly place for them:

  • Remove bird feeders in early spring
  • Relocate wood piles where they live
  • Plant deer and rodent resistant flowers like Daffodils, Allium, or Marigolds
  • Wrap tulip bulbs in chicken wire before planting
  • Use red pepper flakes to repel Chipmunks. Use mothballs with caution as they are toxic to pets.

If you are overrun with Chipmunks and are experiencing damage in the landscape or home, you may have no choice but to trap them.

Here is where this article gets difficult. There are three methods of trapping Chipmunks in New Hampshire. There are no registered repellents for use against Chipmunks, and poisons are illegal in most states.

Spring-loaded traps like the “Better Trap” by Intruder is a spring-loaded covered trap that is safe to use. Bait it with peanut butter and place against a wall or object in the paths where they run. This is a single use trap. Once it is sprung, you must dispose of the chipmunk and reset it.

The bucket method is a simple device that involves a 5 gallon bucket that is half-filled with water and a ramp up to it. A handful of sunflower seeds sprinkled on the surface of the water will attract the Chipmunks. They will jump in and drown. Bucket traps can catch multiple Chipmunks at once.

If killing Chipmunks is unthinkable to you, then you may be able to live trap and relocate them. Use a small trap baited with peanut butter. Be sure to check the trap often to prevent suffering and stress. Check your local laws regarding trapping and relocating wild animals before trapping Chipmunks.

Lastly, if you have experienced any damage to your irrigation system, patio, or flowerbeds give us a call at Groundhog Landscaping. We can fix anything that these little critters can dish out!

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