Chipmunks are making their home in my flowerbeds. Can you suggest plants that they’ll avoid? — M.B., Nashua, NH
Chipmunks eat seeds, fruits, nuts, and insects; except for certain bulbs, they generally don’t prefer the flowering plants we typically grow in our gardens, unless no other food is available. But they certainly do dig tunnels, and your plant loss is probably from disruption of the soil.
To get rid of chipmunks, removing water, shelter, and potential food sources (including leaky hoses, brush piles, and pet-food and bird-feed spills) will reduce these critters’ desire to hang around your yard. They may be repelled by hot-pepper extract, predator urine (available at your local garden center), and other strong scents.
Cats and dogs may be helpful in getting rid of chipmunks (if they’re so inclined). If installed properly, physical barriers like wire screening may deter digging and climbing. As with all pests, natural controls will ultimately moderate the problem. Snakes, hawks, and other wild predators will move in once the chipmunk population level is sufficient, if you have the patience to wait.