9 Ways To Deter Voles From Tomato Plants?

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Quick Answer: How To Deter Voles From Tomato Plants?

The different natural methods to deter voles from tomato plants include spraying castor oil and essential oils, applying predator urine, letting the dogs out in the yard, and making the environment unfavorable for the critters. The effective physical method that may discourage voles includes installing a fence, setting up a trap, and using an ultrasonic vole repellent. Commercial vole-deterrents are also available.

This guide provides you with insights on different methods to deter voles from tomato plants.

Read further to know more!

How Voles Harm Tomato Plants?

Voles are a common pest for backyard gardeners and cause severe damage to tomato plants. It eats through the stems, and leaves of the plant, leaving them severed.

It may also eat chunks of tomatoes, letting them rot. The damage is visible in early spring.

How To Confirm That Voles Are Troubling Your Tomato Plant?

Observe the damage caused by the pest. Voles chew through the stems and leaves of tomato plants. It destroys the entire plants.

Also, narrow grooves in the leaves created by the animal’s two front teeth confirm that voles are troubling your tomato plants.

You may notice shallow snake-like crisscrossing tunnels about two inches wide all over your garden, especially near the plants. The interior will be cleared of vegetation.

Check out this video to identify vole damage:

How To Deter Voles From Tomato Plants?

Many natural, physical, and chemical methods have discouraged voles from troubling tomato plants. 

Many gardeners use a combination of methods to increase effectiveness and save the plants.

Now, let us get into how to deter voles from tomato plants.

Natural Ways To Deter Voles From Tomato Plants

The different natural ways to deter voles from tomato plants include using castor oil and essential oil spray, applying predator urine, letting the domestic animals out and modifying the garden habitat.

These methods are harmless to the critters.

1. Apply Castor Oil Spray

Castor oil works as a vole deterrent. It makes the food source and environment of the animals smell and taste unpleasant.

It is organic, long-lasting, and safe for other pets. Also, it will not wilt or brown the leaves of the tomato plants.

  • Prepare the castor oil spray– Add a cup of water to a spray bottle. Add two tablespoons of castor oil, 1/4 cup vinegar, and one tablespoon of dish soap.
  • Spray on affected areas– Spray wherever you see the vole tunnel. Reapply as required.

Here is a recipe for preparing castor oil vole deterrent:

2. Spray Essential Oils

The essential oils, including peppermint and cedar, can repel voles by acting as scent deterrents.

  • Prepare the essential oil spray– Add 10 to 15 drops of essential oil to one cup of water. Transfer into the spray bottle.
  • Spray on the affected areas– Spray on the vole-affected areas. Reapply deterrents as required to remain effective.

3. Use Predator Urine

Predator urine can be used to deter voles from tomato plants. Its scent will scare the animals away, thinking they are in dangerous territory.

It is available in both powder or granulated form. It is non-toxic to animals.

  • Purchase the predator urine– You can buy bobcat and fox urine from the garden store.
  • Sprinkle on the garden– Sprinkle on the perimeter of the tomato plants. Apply twice every week till you reduce the vole population. Wash your hands after handling them.

Watch this video on using predator urine as a vole deterrent:

4. Let Dogs In The Garden

Household pets, including cats and dogs, can repel voles away from the garden due to their predatory nature. These animals will scare these critters away from troubling tomato plants.

  • Release dogs in the yard– Let the pet animals, including dogs and cats in the garden. It will scare the little critters, including voles.

5. Modify The Habitat

An effective way to reduce the voles from tomato gardens is by modifying the favorable landscape for voles.

Cleaning the yard and pruning the excess foliage will deter them.

  • Reduce vegetation– Reduce dense vegetation in the garden, especially near tomato plants as it makes the area more favorable for voles.
  • Drain the birdbath– Remove the water fountain or birdbath during the weeks when the tomatoes are ripening.

You may watch this video to discourage the voles by modifying the habitat:

Physical Ways To Deter Voles From Tomato Plants

The different physical methods to deter voles from tomato plants include installing a fence, setting up a trap, and using ultrasonic devices. These methods can be effective.

1. Install A Fence

Fencing can be placed around your tomato plants to protect them from voles. Bury them deeper to prevent voles from burrowing under.

  • Install a fence– Fence the garden area with a half-inch of mesh at least about 12 inches above the ground.
  • Bury them deep– Bury the fences about 6-10 inches deep to secure them. It helps in deterring the voles.

2. Set Up A Trap

Trapping may be an effective method to reduce the vole population in the tomato garden. Check with your municipality if it is legal in your area.

  • Set up a trap– Purchase the trap commercially at any garden store. You may use peanut butter as bait.
  • Keep them in the garden– Place them around the yard and fence lines. Also, keep them away from children and pets by covering the traps. Release the voles elsewhere if it is legal in your municipality.

Check this video on using a trap to catch the voles:

3. Use Ultrasonic Repellents

Ultrasonic vole repellents make use of sound waves to scare the voles and deter them without the need for chemicals or traps.

It covers a larger area than other options and is safer for humans and pets.

  • Install ultrasonic vole repellents– Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and install the ultrasonic repellents near the tomato plants. It will detect the motion of voles and scare them away. You may use solar-powered devices as they never run out of charge.

Here is a good video on using ultrasonic vole repellents:

Chemical Ways To Deter Voles From Tomato Plants

Different commercial vole repellents are available in the garden centers. It may be effective and long-lasting. But, it is preferable to keep them away from other pets and children.

1. Use Commercial Vole Repellent

Many commercial vole repellents are available in the garden store. It is made from predator pheromones and is available in both ready-to-use or shaker containers.

  • Prepare commercial vole deterrent–  Purchase commercial vole deterrents and dilute them according to the instructions.
  • Spray on tomato plants– Spray near tomato plants. Repeat the application every 3-4 months during the growing season or after heavy rain.
  • Sprinkle Vole deterrent- The granular deterrents can be spread around the garden and used to deter voles.


How to prevent voles from your tomato garden?

The first step is to make your yard inhospitable to voles by removing woodpiles, mowing the lawn, clearing the snow, and wrapping the plants using small-grade hardware cloth. Also, remove the bird feeders or keep them clean to discourage these critters.

What are the differences between moles and voles?

Voles are small rodents with compact bodies, short tails, and ears that eat plants. It makes tunnels in the soil and creates golf ball-sized holes. Moles are small mammals that live underground digging tunnels. It has large, paddle-shaped feet and creates volcano-shaped hills.

Can you use Epsom salt to deter voles?

Few gardeners claim that Epsom salt can be used to deter voles by sprinkling around the plants. But, no scientific studies are available to prove the claim. Future studies are required to prove its effectiveness.


I hope this guide has provided you with many tips on controlling voles damaging your tomato plants. You may contact professionals for major infestations in your garden.

I am interested to hear if you have tried any other method to deter voles from tomato plants.

Do share the guide with your gardening friends!