How To Keep Rats Away From Tomato Plants [Top 15 Tips]

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If you are fond of gardening and growing tomatoes for home use, you might have faced the problem of how to keep rats away from tomato plants. Rats are a big problem for gardeners. Rat control can be difficult, but it’s not impossible.

We have made a list of methods that you can use to keep them away:

  • Place Rat Traps
  • Put A Few Mothballs in A Bag
  • Poison sprays
  • Use Fences Around Tomato Plants
  • Cover Trash Cans
  • Tidy Up Your Garden
  • Grow Mint in Your Garden
  • Get an outdoor pet
  • Secure pet food
  • Tomato cages
  • Make a border of herbs
  • Pick green Tomatoes
  • Trim your garden grass regularly
  • Put an owl in your garden
  • Call Pest Control

Rats spread from one area to another at a rapid speed, which is why it’s essential to take action as quickly as possible. This article will give you some methods and tricks on how to keep the rats away from your tomato plants.

How To Keep Rats Away From Tomato Plants
How To Keep Rats Away From Tomato Plants

How Do You Keep Rats Out of Tomato Plants?

Try the methods discussed below to save your tomato plants from pesky rodents;

Place Rat Traps

Rat Traps

Place rat traps in your garden adjacent to the tomato plants and in the places where their presence is suspected. Place the traps about 20 feet from each other. You can also place some tomatoes, peanut butter, bacon, fruits, vegetables, cereals, or meats as bait on the trap.

Keep your kids and pets away from the trap. If the Ray is trapped, dispose of it as soon as possible, and don’t do it with your bare hand.

Put A Few Mothballs in A Bag


Put mothballs in a small fabric bag, tie it with a stick or pole, and place it near the tomato plants in the ground. Make sure to place mothballs at a distance from the tomato plants.

Mothball is a natural repellent for rats. But if you use this method, you should know that mothballs dissolve quickly in water and you should remove them immediately if it rains. If you don’t remove them, they will mix up with tomatoes, turning them poisonous.

Poison Sprays

Poison Sprays

Poison the entire area near you and set the rat traps, runways, and where you often see them. Spray rat poison in each rat trap to kill them instantly.

You can also make a homemade solution to kill rats. put 1 cup of boric acid and chicken broth in a bowl and make a thick paste. The smell of the broth will attract rats to consume it and eventually die.

But you should know that Poison can kill birds, squirrels, and even your pet. So, think carefully if you’re using poison to keep rats away from your tomato plants.

Use Fences Around Tomato Plants

Fences Around Tomato Plants

Build a fence around your garden. If you already have one, then make it more secure. You can use some 1/4″ grid hardware cloth to stop them.

To create an underground barrier, dig a trench along your fence, going 6″ down and about 6″ out from the fence. Then Staple the hardware cloth to the base of your fence. Then, bring it down below the soil surface and cover it.

Cover Trash Cans

Cover Trash Cans

Trash is the easiest food source for rats; unsecured trash will attract them to your garden. Make sure to tightly cover your garbage cans and not food crumbs around the house to prevent the rats from coming to your garden. Use a trash can with a heavy lid and secure it with a padlock. Invest in trash cans with built-in locking mechanisms to keep animals out.

Tidy Up Your Garden

Tidy Up Your Garden

People don’t clean their gardens and then wonder why their place became infested. Pests like rats, mice, and cockroaches may appear in your house if you neglect cleaning and do not take out the trash on time.

Prune and throw out dry leaves, and rearrange the pots every now and then, so your garden looks new. Also, remove any broken pots and replace them with new ones, wipe down your garden furniture frequently, and weed out the weeds to avoid rodents in your garden.

Grow Mint in Your Garden

Mint in Your Garden

We love to have mint margaritas in the summer, right? Well, apparently rats hate its scent. Mint is highly recommended as a natural repellent for rats. Rats have a very sensitive sense of smell so they do not like its pungent smell.

You can grow it near tomato plants to keep rats away or add its scent in the corner of your house to avoid coming near your vegetable garden. Soak some cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them around the tomato plants, and let it do its magic.

Get An Outdoor Cat

Outdoor Cat

Cats are very efficient rodent hunters and are known to mark their territory by rubbing up against things, whereas rats have an instinctive fear of cats.

Cats love to hunt and kill rats and the scent of a rat is enough to scare them away. so it’s the right time to get yourself an outdoor cat. The cat will not only be a great pet but will also keep your garden free of rats.

Some domestic cats are scared of rats but cats are smart and fast learners with long-term memory, so you can slowly learn how to kill such critters.

Store Pet Food Securely

Pet Food

If you have pets, place their food securely because rats love to eat pet food and chicken feed. Keep their food securely in a metal trash can with a secured lid because rats can not chew through metal.

The second option is plastic, but rats can easily chew through the plastic if they smell the food. Put your pet food inside an airtight container to lock the food aromas inside.

Make sure not to place them in your garden, especially at night or when rodents can access them easily.

Tomato Cages

Tomato Cages

Tomato cages are a hassle-free gardening tool to support your plants and stop rats from getting at your tomato plants. Tomato cages will also give support to your tomato plants because they are not strong enough to stand up on their own and sooner or later they will flop on the ground where rats will eat the leaves and fruit.

Tomato cages are frames of wire or steel that surround and support your tomato plant. Rats can quickly get tomatoes that are lying down on the ground. These tomato cages will completely prevent rats and other rodents from being able to get at your tomatoes.

Make a Border of Herbs


Rats don’t like the strong scent of herbs. You can plant a border of herbs like Mint, Echinacea, basil, garlic, and thyme around the base of your tomato plant to act as a barrier.

Making a herb border is practical, easy maintenance, and a very effective way to save your tomato plants from rats. Plant these herbs around your garden and also put these herbs at the entrance of the garden. The smell of all these herbs will be enough to keep them away. All these herbs will also fill your garden with sweet fragrances and will also increase the beauty of your garden

Pick green tomatoes

Fresh and ripe tomatoes are a favorite of everyone including rats because they are easy to access, safe, and nutritious for them. Rats absolutely love tomatoes and happily eat them all day long.

A trick for avoiding rat damage to ripe tomatoes is to grow non-red tomatoes. They don’t think the tomatoes are ripe so they don’t bother with it, for the most part.

Rats like juicy, ripe, and red tomatoes more than green ones. So, pick them while they are still green.

Keep Your Garden Grass Trimmed

Rats are naturally scared of open spaces and prefer to hide in their garden. Rats can find shelter in your garden and make nests in bushes or tall grass of your garden. Trim your garden grass regularly, and cut overgrown bushes or shrubs. pay attention to the areas around the fences or walls because they mostly like to take shelter in them.

Make sure your garden should look attractive to humans but attracted to rodents. Eliminate their shelter options so they can’t hide and settle in your garden.

Put An Owl in Your Garden

Owl in Your Garden

An owl is a natural predator of rats and plays a vital role in controlling rats. An owl hunts at night, and an adult owl can catch and eat up to 12 rats in one night.

Owls are night hunters and can help in controlling the rodent population. You can put an owl house in your garden but make sure their home is installed and stable enough to offer protection for the owls from both wind and predators.

Call Pest Control

Pest Control

All the methods given above are very effective in keeping rats away from your tomatoes but if they are not working for you in getting rid of rats, then call an experienced pest control company. Calling them will save you time and energy and they will do it properly.

With their experience, they will help you in getting rid of rats from your property and find all the entering points of the rodents in your gardens. They can also provide specialist animal-proofing services that will keep your property free from rats.

Do Rats Like Tomatoes?

If you are wondering who is eating the tomatoes in your garden and you have found signs of rats eating them then yes it can be possible. Rats can eat anything they can get their paws on to survive. The most accessible food source for rats is in your garden because they can quickly get fresh vegetables, such as tomatoes.

Rats like to eat tomatoes because they are fresh, juicy, tasty, easy to access, and packed with nutrients like Vitamin C, K, and potassium. they can eat it almost every day

How Do You Know If You Are Dealing with Rats in Your Garden?

Rats nibble a little on each tomato rather than eat the whole tomato at a time. So, if you notice many nibbles taken out of tomatoes, you might have rats in your garden. Another way to find out can rat droppings are black and are the size of raisins.

Check your garden carefully for any signs of rats like rat droppings, some tunnels, gnawing, fruit damage, or rat nest. If you are noticing all these signs in your garden, then yes, you have rats in your garden.

Why Do Rats Eat Tomatoes and Tomato Plant Leaves?

Rats need to drink water and find the water source. So, what’s better for rats than the juicy ripe tomatoes in your garden? Rats can live for a month without drinking water because they consume enough water to last them a month or more through foods like tomatoes.

Rats are not picky eaters. They can chew on anything if they are hungry. Although they prefer tomatoes, they can also eat tomato plants as well.


Rodents are one of the worst gardening pests that can devour your vegetable garden. If you are dealing with a rat problem in your garden and are here for a solution, then we hope the above methods and tips will help you get them away from your tomato plants.

List Of Sources

npic (National Pesticide Information Center)