How do I get Rid of Rats in the Garden?

Autumn Rivers

When you notice signs of rats in your garden, it is best to get rid of them before they show up in your home, as well. Getting rid of rats in the garden often starts with ensuring that you do not have items lying around that will attract them, such as rotting fruit, or compost that contains food. To protect your plants and trees from the nibbles of rats, consider making a small fence around them while also removing any areas that rodents may be tempted to hide in. Rat repellent should also work to scare them away, as it typically smells like the predators that commonly threaten them.

Blocks of rat poison.
Blocks of rat poison.

One free, fast method of eliminating rats in the garden is to tidy it up, picking up fallen vegetables and fruits, since these may attract hungry rats. While putting compost in the garden is a popular way to help it grow, the kind that contains food scraps can attract rodents. For this reason, you should consider only using yard clippings in your compost, such as leaves, rather than garbage. While you are making these changes to get rid of rats in the garden, make sure to remove any sources of water that may attract them, as well. Once they do not have easy access to food and water, they may be encouraged to leave your garden alone.

Rats are common garden pests in many areas.
Rats are common garden pests in many areas.

Rats may be tempted to climb up trees to get to the fruit, so if you have any trees or plants that bear fruits or vegetables, consider putting a small fence around each one. It should be high enough that they cannot easily hop over, and it should not be easy for them to climb, either. Sheet metal often works well since it is usually too slippery for rats to climb, though smooth plastic may work just as well.

If you want to get rid of rats in the garden without having to hurt or kill them, you can use a type of repellent that scares them off. One of the most popular kinds is considered natural since it contains urine from common predators of the rat, such as bobcats and foxes. You can spray the leaves of your plants and trees, or sprinkle granules around each one, resulting in the rats smelling the formula upon approaching the garden. In most cases, people cannot smell the rat repellent, and it is usually safe for both pets and children, unlike most types of rat poison. Additionally, this natural method for getting rid of rats in the garden does not require you to actually harm or kill the pests.

Sheet metal can make for a slippery fence that is difficult for rats to climb.
Sheet metal can make for a slippery fence that is difficult for rats to climb.

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Discussion Comments


As @Drentel mentioned, poison pellets can work well to rid your garden of rats. However, be careful not to allow your pets or other animals access to the poison. Animals who eat rats can also be harmed or killed if they eat a poisoned rat, so keep that in mind, too.


Rats want food. That's why they are in a garden from the start, so poison rat pellets are perfect for use in the garden. The rats see them as a food source and quickly eat them.

In a house or other building, poison is not as good because rats may eat the poison then crawl into a wall or some other out of the way place and die. This leads to an unpleasant odor that you may have to live with for a while.


The best rat deterrents I have found are cats. My cats will not tolerate a rodent in the garden. Either they will capture the animals or they will harass them continually until the invaders decide to move on to some other location.

Of course, adopting a cat and bringing him into your home is a decision that should not be made without much consideration. You must like cats, and make sure no one in your home is allergic to felines before you get one.


If you want to get rid of rats in the garden and don't want to injure them then in addition to the repellents mentioned in this article, you can purchase large snap traps that will capture the rodents without injuring them. And if you are a little handy then you can probably make your own traps from items you have around the house.

Remember that once you capture the rats you are going to have to relocate them, so make sure you are up to the task before hand.

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