How to Discourage Skunks in Your Garden

Skunks are mammals with an appetite for both plant and animal material. Their feeding habits change with each season. They eat insects, larvae, salamanders, small rodents, lizards, earthworms, rats, birds, moles, frogs, snakes and bird eggs. They also enjoy most types of berries and nuts, along with roots, grass, fungi and leaves. In neighborhood settings, skunks may rummage through trashcans. If you know how to discourage skunks in your garden and around your home, you may be able to prevent damage to your crops and your property.


  1. Image titled Discourage Skunks in Your Garden Step 1
    Discourage skunks in your garden by eliminating their access to the food source. The best approach is to fence your garden. Put cages around the plants and cover the berries with netting.
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    Choose species of plants that repel skunks.
    • Plant squash around the perimeter of your garden. Skunks enjoy squash but most won't walk on the squash leaves to get to the vegetable because the plant leaves contain tiny hairs that irritate the skin and feet of skunks.
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    Put some stinging nettle, or Urtica dioica, around the outside of your garden to discourage skunks. The leaves have pointy sharp hairs that break off and produce a liquid when disturbed. The combination of the 2 creates painful burning and stinging.
    • Consider planting Fritillaria imperialis, or Crown Imperial, to get rid of skunks. The Crown Imperial is a flower-producing plant. The flowers have an unpleasant odor to skunks, rodents and many people.
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    Spread mothballs around your plants or the entire garden to repel skunks. Most skunks have a keen sense of smell. The mothballs may not only keep skunks out of your garden, but they may keep them out of your yard altogether.
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    Treat your garden for insects. The reason why a skunk may be in your garden is the bugs, worms and other insect population common in gardens. Keep the bugs under control to discourage skunks.
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    Remove spoiled fruit and vegetables as soon as possible. Rotten food in general harbors insects.
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    Set traps to get rid of skunks. You can use traps that catch the animals so you can relocate them to better locations that are far away from your garden and home.
    • Be sure your traps are tubular in shape and narrow. This serves 2 purposes: it keeps the skunks calm in the dark and prevents them from raising their tails to spray.
    • Bait the traps with bacon, cat food, berries, peanut butter or other items that skunks like to eat.
    • Place the traps in the garden or in the travel paths to the garden.
  8. Image titled Discourage Skunks in Your Garden Step 8
    Repel skunks with a fox urine scent. Foxes are a skunk's natural enemy. This should discourage skunks from visiting.


  • Stinging nettle is a perennial plant that can be invasive, so you may have to keep it under control.
  • Some areas restrict the methods you can use to discourage skunks. Check with your local authorities before you determine the best way to get rid of skunks.
  • If you plan to get rid of skunks using traps, make sure you know how to remove skunks from the traps safely. Failing to follow safety guidelines may result in injury to you or the skunks.

Things You'll Need

  • Fence
  • Cages
  • Netting
  • Squash
  • Stinging nettle
  • Fritillaria imperialis
  • Mothballs
  • Traps
  • Bacon
  • Cat food
  • Berries
  • Peanut butter
  • Fox urine scent

Article Info

Categories: Garden Pests and Weeds