9 Effective Ways To Save Tomato Plants From Opossums

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Quick Answer: How To Save Tomato Plants From Opossums?

The different natural methods to save tomato plants from opossums, include reducing food sources, using ammonia, applying predatory urine, placing crushed garlic, and spraying hot pepper. You may also use physical methods including fencing, cage trap, and motion-activated devices to keep these animals away. Many chemical repellents are available commercially in the garden store.

This is a complete guide on different methods to save tomato plants from opossums.

How Opossums Harm Tomato Plants?

Opossums are small omnivorous animals that can eat tomatoes fresh from the vine or those fallen on the ground. Also, it prefers rotten tomato fruits.  

It is nocturnal and thus active at night. Eventually, it may eat many fruits depriving you of yield.

Here is a video on opossums eating tomatoes off the vines:

How To Confirm That Opossums Is Troubling Your Tomato Plant?

Look for the telltale signs in the garden. You may find missing fruits that are overripe or rotten. There may be overturned garbage bins or missing pet food dishes.

Sprinkle flour around the base of the plants. You may notice its pawprints in soft soil that are distinctive and resemble a human hand. You may also notice animal droppings that smell unpleasant.

Check out this video to help you identify opossums:

How To Save Tomato Plants From Opossums?

Many natural, chemical and physical methods can deter opossums from damaging tomato plants. It works by playing on the instincts of opossums, including taste and smell.

Next, let us explore the different methods in detail.

Natural Ways To Deter Opossums From Tomato Plants

One of the effective ways to deter opossums from tomato plants is by eliminating food sources in the garden. The other smell-deterrents that can work include ammonia, predator urine, hot pepper, and crushed garlic. These methods are cheap and effective.

1. Reduce Food Sources

Opossums are attracted to yards with plenty of food. You may keep them away from tomato plants by removing food sources from the yard.

  • Remove the food source– Eliminate food sources that are stored outside, unclosed trash cans, or fruits fallen to the ground. Feed the pet indoors as the smell of food may attract opossums.
  • Keep the trash closed– Seal the container and keep the trash with a tight lid that has clamps.

2. Use Ammonia

Ammonia has strong scents that can keep opossums from tomato gardens as it is intolerable to them. In addition, it helps in giving essential nutrients to the crops.

  • Prepare ammonia container– Pour a small amount of ammonia into a coffee can with a lid. Place a rag inside the ammonia can and pull one end through a hole in the lid. It will act as a wick and disperse the fumes.
  • Place the ammonia container– Place the ammonia container where opossums gather. It will disperse the fumes and deter opossums.

3. Apply Predatory Urine

Predatory urine, including coyote urine, is effective against opossums.  It deceives the animals that a predator is active in the area. It is available in liquid, granule, and powder form

  • Spray fox urine– Spray fox urine around the perimeter of the tomato garden. Or, tie the bag with soaked urine cotton balls to a tree and poke several holes to let the odor seep out.
  • Sprinkle predatory urine– You may also sprinkle the predator urine powder around the garden.

Check out this video on using coyote urine in deterring opossums:

4. Place Crushed Garlic

Garlic has a strong scent that opossums tend to run away from. Placing crushed garlic in the affected areas may keep opossums at bay.

  • Place crushed garlic– Place cloves of crushed garlic in the area near tomato plants. It allows more scents to escape and deter opossums.
  • Spray garlic- Place two tablespoons of freshly crushed garlic in a liter of hot water. Allow it to stand overnight and spray on the tomato foliage to flee opossums.

5. Spray Hot Pepper Sauce

Opossums cant handle the strong scent of hot pepper and will leave the garden. It is inexpensive and effective.

  • Prepare hot pepper sauce– Mix Tabasco sauce, detergent, and cayenne pepper in a gallon of water. Transfer into a spray bottle.
  • Spray on gardens– Spray around the tomato plants where suspected opossums. You may also sprinkle black pepper or red cayenne pepper.

Here is a video on spraying hot pepper sauce:

Physical Ways To Deter Opossums From Tomato Plants

The different physical methods that may discourage opossums from tomato plants are fencing, trapping, and installing motion-activated sprinklers with lights. These methods stay for a long time and are very effective.

1. Set A Trap

Trapping opossums is one of the non-lethal ways to keep opossums from your garden. It is humane and simple to install.

  • Set a trap- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and set a trap with a length of 30 inches. Place the bait with apples, canned pet food, or fish.
  • Release the animals– The captured animal should be released at least five miles away from the house. You may check with your local corporation about trapping these animals.

Here is a video on setting a trap for opossums:

2. Create A Perimeter Around The Plants

Fencing can be a feasible option to save opossums from entering tomato gardens. You may install electric wire across the top of the fencing to discourage the animals from climbing.

  • Install fencing– Install a new fence about six feet high. Avoid leaving a gap wider than an inch between boards.
  • Install an electric wire– You may install an electric wire across the top of the fencing to prevent opossums from climbing.  Keep pets and children away when the power is on.

Click here to build an opossums-proof fence:

3. Install Motion Activated Sprinklers Or Lights

Motion-activated devices are an effective way to frighten opossums with light and sound. Motion-activated sprinklers release a burst of water and scare the animals. Likewise, lights frighten away the skittish opossums.

  • Place the motion-activated devices– Install the motion-activated devices near the perimeter of the tomato plant. It gets triggered once the opossum crosses and scares the animals away.
  • Change the position– Keep changing the positions so that animals don’t get used to these devices. It can be used all year round and can be solar-powered too.

Check out this video to use motion-activated sprinklers to deter opossums:

Chemical Ways To Deter Opossums From Tomato Plants

Chemical repellents are available commercially to repel opossums because of their scent and texture. It can be used multiple times but keep it out of reach of pets and children.

1. Use Commercial Opossums Repellent

Many products are available commercially to get rid of the nuisance centers. It works by mimicking a particular scent or smell that will be unpleasant for opossums. It can be tested on a small part of the plant.

  • Purchase the chemical repellent– Purchase a product from the hardware store or garden store.
  • Apply the repellent- Follow the instructions and apply it safely. Sprinkle the powder over the desired area. Reapply when the effect lasts and rain.


Will vinegar keep opossums away?

Opossums don’t prefer the scent of vinegar. Few gardeners have had success deterring them by sprinkling some drops of vinegar in strategic locations. Avoid spraying on the plants as it may damage them. Also, scientific studies are required to confirm the effect.

Can you use pet hair to keep opossums away?

Yes, pet hair can be used to keep opossums away. You may place the hair in small mesh bags and hang them near the plants or scatter them around tomato plants. It is preferable to avoid letting pet animals in the yard as they may get into a fight.

Will mothballs keep opossums away from tomato plants?

Yes, mothballs can be used to deter opossums. Place a couple of mothballs in a sealed container. Poke multiple holes in the lid with a nail and place them near the garden. Avoid placing them directly on the ground.


I hope this guide has helped you choose many methods to deter opossums from damaging your precious tomatoes. You may call a professional if you have a severe infestation in the yard.

Do let me know if you have any other method that has worked for you.

Do share the guide with your friends and family!