Rodent Repellents and Treatments for the Garden

Learn How to Keep Rodents Away from Your Garden

Spending time in your garden should be enjoyable and free from rodent terror but this isn't always the case. Here are some great tips on preventing and treating garden rodent infestations.


Identifying rodents that infest gardens and backyards

There are numerous types of rodents, many of which will infest gardens and homes alike.








Prairie dog














Kangaroo rat

Nutria (coypu)

Woodchuck (ground hog)


Spotting a rodent infestation in your garden is a must if you want to stop the problem before it becomes out of control. These are some of the signs of a rodent infestation:

  • Burrows near trash cans and compost piles or bins
  • Droppings near food containers or recycling bins
  • Gnawed leaves and stems on your favorite garden plants
  • Indications of digging around fences, animal houses, or sheds
  • Nest materials in bushes, shrubs, garages, drawers, boxes, or wood piles
  • Rodent carcasses brought home by pets or found in pools or hot tubs
  • Rodents traveling along utility lines
  • Smudge marks on poles and rafters from rodents rubbing their fur against them

If you want to get really specific about what types of rodents are infesting your garden, check out this How to Manage Pests guide.


Setting up your garden to prevent rodent infestation

As with most things gardening, prevention is the key to making rodents a problem you’ll never have to face. As in your home, pest control outdoors should involve several key components, including:

  • Remove food sources: Rodents will set up camp near food for easy access. If you store pet foods outdoors (including bird food and in bird feeders), find ways to store it elsewhere. Likewise with a compost bin or pile – use a system that is sealed so as to prevent infestations.
  • Remove shelter: As with food sources, rodents will locate their hide-outs in locales that protect them from predators. To prevent this, keep abandoned wood piles and similar shelters away from the garden and your home.
  • Keep landscaping well-trimmed: Bushes and shrubs that surround your garden may become a rodent’s home, as can long lawns. To prevent them for taking up residence, keep shrubs and bushes well trimmed and grass cut regularly.
  • Plant deterrents: Herbs such as wood hyacinth, allium, and daffodils have also been known to keep rodents at bay. Try planting some around your garden.


Humane rodent treatments

When you suspect a rodent infestation in you garden, find greener ways to get right of them. At ecolife, we feel that environmental protection includes animals (yes, even rodents), which means preventing suffering and inhumanity. Don’t you agree? If so, give these humane rodent deterrents a try instead of inhuman poisons, glue traps, and the like:

  • Humane traps: These are another option – they catch and contain the rodents in a box that can be used to relocate the critters to another location where they are released.
  • Fresh CabThese use Balsam fir oil, a non-food biochemical pesticide that repels rodents (and approved by the US EPA).[1]
  • Predator scents: Scents from predators like dogs, cats, and snakes can help to deter rodents. Some suggestions include dog hair, used cat litter (with urine) or dog urine, and dried snake feces. Distribute these deterrents throughout affected areas. You can order predator products at PredatorPee.
  • Other scent deterrents: Peppermint is said to have a deterrent effect on mice and rates – use it by soaking cotton balls and distributing them in the affected areas. Likewise with pepper, cayenne, garlic, and chamomile oil.
  • Ammonia: Some suggest that ammonia-soaked rags placed inside old coffee cans and distributed throughout affected areas can help deter rats.
  • Taste deterrents: Many believe that rodents dislike hot and spicy flavors, so putting food soaked with wasabi or hot sauce may help to send them running.

Note: Some of these solutions work better indoors and within enclosed outdoor spaces than they do in large open spaces.



1.  Balsam fir oil Fact Sheet. (n.d.). Retrieved January 14, 2011, from US Environmental Protection Agency: 

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