Acorns are nut-like seeds of the oak tree. Acorns can be eaten by humans and other animals, including chipmunks.
In fact, about 90% of their diet consists of plant material, with acorns being especially important during the winter season when other food sources may not be available.
In addition to eating an abundance of acorn storage proteins.
They provide energy that can last for several weeks at a time even without any additional nourishment, these rodents will also gnaw into live trees to extract the sap, buds, and insects living within.
Chipmunks typically cache (store) their food in small, underground chambers that they dig for the purpose. These “stashes” can contain hundreds of acorns at a time.
Chipmunks will also consume cached food items over a period of time. They help them to survive during the winter months when other food sources may be scarce.
Chipmunks are one of the few mammals that can eat acorns and not have any negative effects. Acorns are a good source of protein, fat, and carbohydrates for chipmunks. They also provide chipmunks with many essential nutrients, such as vitamin A, calcium, and potassium.
In fact, acorns make up a large part of the chipmunk’s diet. Chipmunks typically bury acorns in the ground so they can eat them later. This helps them to stock up on food for the winter months when other food sources are scarce.
Chipmunks also enjoy eating other types of nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. However, acorns are their favorite food by far.
So what kind of acorn do chipmunks like to eat? Almost all varieties of acorns are edible to chipmunks. The two most common species of acorns that chipmunks eat in North America are the Emory oak and the coast live oak.
Chipmunks Will Eat Any Acorn, But They Prefer The Following Types:
- Emory Oak
- Coast Live Oak
- Black Oak
- Bur Oak
- White Oak
- Hickory Nut
- Pecan Nut
- Butternut Walnut
- MountainAsh Berry
How To Prevent Chipmunks From Eating Acorns
1). Use acorn caps to keep chipmunks from eating acorns.
Scatter crocus flowers or other fragrant annuals atop the straw in fall for a pleasant, but not overpowering scent barrier around the garden. These are so fragrant that chipmunks will avoid them.
This is best implemented when planting tulips, crocus flowers, and hyacinths because these are all fragrant annuals that die off yearly before winter sets in. Also, coating the entire top of the straw with an inch or two of gravel may work well at keeping chipmunks away too.
Any loose rocks will do because any rocks that are big enough to walk on would be heavy enough to keep down even tall grass where rodents may be hiding.
2). Place a barrier of gravel around your seedlings or newly planted trees if you have problems with chipmunks eating acorns.
When chipmunks are a problem, look for ways to make the area unattractive to them – if they can’t get to the acorns then they won’t want to stay there.
One method that works very simply is surrounding saplings and small new trees with an inch or two of rocks surrounding the whole thing from all angles. This way, rodents cannot climb up into any branches without jumping high enough from a stone surface first.
Then it would be too heavy and they will instead choose easier targets: like your garden vegetables and flowers. All through autumn and winter, this will not only ensure any acorn nibbling but any leaves or needles they drop will stay in place for when you need them most.
3). Use a repellent for chipmunks if gravel or flower petals fail to keep them away from acorns.
Place cayenne pepper around the perimeter of your seeds and seedlings in fall through spring to create an invisible ring of fire that keeps all rodents at bay.
Just sprinkle some powdered cayenne pepper over the surrounding rocks or gravel, then spread it around with your foot so that there is a thin line of it encircling your garden bed, tree saplings, or new flowers.
This will cause severe discomfort to any animal who touches it with their sensitive paws, noses, or eyes, and they will quickly learn to avoid the area. Be sure to reapply after every rainstorm.
4). Try a physical barrier like a chicken wire fence around your garden or trees.
Another option is to place a fence around your garden that chipmunks cannot climb or jump over. Chicken wire fencing is an affordable way to keep small animals out of your yard, and it can be wrapped around the base of saplings and new trees as well.
Make sure the openings in the wire are too small for rodents to fit through (1″x1″ is ideal), and bury the fencing at least 6″ below ground so that chipmunks cannot dig underneath it. You can also staple the fencing down so that it does not come loose as the ground shifts over time.
5). Beetles may damage acorns, but they also keep chipmunks from eating them.
Insects that eat acorns prevent chipmunks from consuming those same acorns by dropping off 1 or 2 at a time onto the forest understory floor. The Beatles enjoy feasting on acorns first and then turning around to drop one or two off where other animals cannot get to them easily.
This way the Beatles enjoy their share of tasty acorns first and then ensure other animals do not have a chance for easy meals either.
Meanwhile, these fallen acorn caps will be just enough food for many types of fungi and bacteria until springtime when new saplings push past the duff layer to begin photosynthesis.
6). Keep your compost pile far away from your garden to prevent rodents from eating acorns.
Rodents like chipmunks love eating acorns, but they also enjoy raiding your compost pile for food scraps. If you have a compost pile close to your garden, then the rodents will be more likely to nibble on your plants and vegetables instead of looking for food elsewhere.
Move your compost pile further away from the vicinity of your plants and trees, or better yet, keep it in an enclosed container that the rodents cannot get into.
7). Plant thorny shrubs around the edge of your yard to discourage chipmunks from entering.
If you have a lot of open space around your yard, then chipmunks may be more likely to wander into your property in search of food. They can jump long distances, and are great climbers too.
One simple way to keep them out is to plant thorny shrubs like pyracantha or blackberry all along the perimeter of your yards that cannot be climbed up or jumped over from a neighboring property.
Be sure these plants stay pruned low to the ground at all times, otherwise rodents will use their full height as a highway right into your garden!
8). Make a DIY repellent.
Saltworks are a natural deterrent for chipmunks because they do not care for its odor or taste. Create a mixture of 3 parts salt and 1 part cayenne pepper, then sprinkle it around your plants, trees, and garden beds.
You can also make a spray repellent by mixing 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper with 2 cups of hot water. Spray this mixture directly onto the foliage of your plants to discourage chipmunks from nibbling on them.
9). Set up a live trap.
If you have an infestation of chipmunks in your yard, then the best way to get rid of them is to set up a live trap. These traps are simple to use – just bait them with food that the chipmunks like (like acorns) and wait for the little critters to enter.
Once they’re inside, the door will automatically snap shut, trapping the chipmunk. You can then release it back into the wild several miles away from your home.
10). Use an electronic repelled.
If you’re not comfortable with trapping or killing chipmunks, you can use an electronic repeller to scare them away from your property.
These devices emit a high-pitched noise that rodents do not like, and will keep them from coming near your garden or trees.
Place the repeller near the areas where you see the most activity, and replace the batteries when they start to run low.
How To Use Other Plants To Prevent Chipmunks From Eating Acorns
So you have an oak tree, and you know that where there are oaks, the chipmunks will not be far. You also know that these little guys can make a big mess of your property by eating every last acorn they find on the ground.
The answer to this problem is simple: plant other plants near your oaks. By planting some deciduous trees that yield nuts close to your existing ones, you encourage the chipmunks to eat their fill of nuts from those new trees instead of raiding the acorns still hanging on the oak branches.
Different species and varieties of trees produce different kinds and amounts of nuts; if possible, try to plant several types close to each other so that chipmunks use them all as a food source. Some good choices include:
- Hickory nuts
- Beech nuts
If you’re having trouble locating any of these trees, consult a local nursery or arboretum for advice.
In addition to planting other nut-bearing trees near your oaks, you can also try using plants that are unpalatable to chipmunks as barriers between the two. These could include herbs like lavender, rosemary, or thyme, or flowers like petunias or marigolds.
Again, consult with a professional if you’re not sure which plants would work best in your area.
Chipmunks are persistent creatures, and they may still manage to get a few acorns from your oak trees even with these measures in place.
But by using both other nut-bearing trees and unpalatable plants as barriers, you can drastically reduce the amount of damage they’re able to do.
Chipmunks classification and identification
chipmunks are small rodents that love to eat acorns. While they may be beneficial for the environment by dispersing acorns throughout the forest, they can become a nuisance if they begin to eat your prized plants and vegetables.
So if you see a chipmunk scurrying up a tree near your home, there’s a good chance it’s looking for an acorn to eat.
Acorns are a critical part of the chipmunk’s diet, so make sure you leave some out for them during the autumn months.