How To Stop Possums Eating My Tomatoes: A Comprehensive Guide


You wake up in the morning, looking forward to harvesting the luscious, ripe tomatoes you’ve been nurturing in your garden. But wait! As you get closer, you realize that your prized tomatoes have been half-eaten, and the culprit is none other than the sneaky possum. 

Don’t fret; we have you covered in this engaging, easy-to-understand, and unique guide on how to stop possums eating your tomatoes.

Table of Contents

The Possum Problem: Pros and Cons

Pros of Having Possums Around

Before we dive into the solutions, let’s first understand why possums might be beneficial in some cases:

  1. Natural pest control

Possums eat insects, snails, and slugs, which can be harmful to your garden.

  1. Scavengers

They help clean up dead animals and rotting fruit, reducing the spread of diseases.

  1. Ecosystem balance

As a part of the food chain, possums are a food source for larger predators.

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Cons of Having Possums Around

However, their presence in your garden can also bring about some downsides:

  1. Tomato theft

As the title suggests, possums can eat your garden tomatoes, causing significant damage to your crops.

  1. Disease carriers

Possums can carry diseases such as leptospirosis, which can be transmitted to humans and pets.

  1. Mess-makers

They can scatter trash and create a mess in your yard or garden.

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5 Effective Strategies to Keep Possums Away from Your Tomatoes

  1. Use Physical Barriers

A proven way to keep possums away from your tomatoes is by using physical barriers. Here are some options:

  • Fencing

Build a fence around your garden, at least 4 feet high, and bury it 6-12 inches underground to prevent possums from digging under.

  • Netting

Cover your tomato plants with bird netting, ensuring it is securely fastened to the ground to prevent possums from sneaking in.

  • Cages

Protect individual plants by placing cages made of chicken wire around them.

  1. Employ Scare Tactics

Scaring possums away can be an effective method of keeping them away from your tomatoes. Try these tactics:

  • Motion-activated sprinklers

Install motion-activated sprinklers in your garden to spray water when possums come near.

  • Lights

Use motion-activated lights to startle possums and deter them from entering your garden at night.

  • Noise

Set up a radio near your garden to play talk radio or music, as the noise can scare possums away.

  1. Deter Them with Unpleasant Smells

Possums have a strong sense of smell, and certain odors can deter them. Consider using these options:

  • Ammonia

Soak rags in ammonia and place them around your garden, as the strong smell repels possums.

  • Garlic or hot pepper spray

Mix crushed garlic or hot peppers with water, and spray the mixture on your tomato plants.

  • Mothballs

Scatter mothballs around your garden, but be cautious, as they can be toxic to children and pets.

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  1. Remove Attractants

Eliminating factors that attract possums to your garden can significantly reduce their presence. Here are some tips:

  • Secure trash cans

Use tight-fitting lids or bungee cords to keep possums out of your garbage.

  • Clean up

Remove fallen fruit, pet food, and birdseed from your yard to reduce the food sources available for possums.

  • Trim trees

Trim tree branches that are close to your garden or roof, as possums can use them as access points.

  1. Encourage Natural Predators

Attracting natural predators of possums to your yard can help control their population. Consider these ideas:

  • Install owl boxes

Owls are natural predators of possums. Installing owl nesting boxes can encourage them to take up residence in your area.

  • Create a habitat for snakes

Some snake species, such as rat snakes, feed on possums. Providing a suitable habitat for them in your yard can help control possum numbers.

Additional Tips for Deterring Possums

  1. Apply Taste Deterrents

Possums can be deterred by unpleasant tastes on your tomatoes. You can try these options:

  • Bitter sprays

Apply a commercially available bitter spray on your tomato plants to make them taste unappealing to possums.

  • Homemade deterrent

Mix water, dish soap, and hot sauce to create a taste deterrent, and spray it on your tomato plants. Reapply after heavy rain or watering.

  1. Utilize Decoys and Diversions

Using decoys or diversions can sometimes trick possums into staying away from your tomatoes. Here are some ideas:

  • Fake predators

Place realistic-looking decoys of predators, such as owls or snakes, near your tomato plants to scare possums away.

  • Sacrificial plants

Plant crops that possums find more appealing, like corn or melons, away from your tomato plants. This may divert their attention and save your tomatoes.

  1. Plant Possum-Resistant Companion Plants

Incorporating plants that possums dislike in your garden can help deter them from your tomatoes. Consider adding these plants to your garden:

  • Marigolds

The strong scent of marigolds can repel possums and other pests.

  • Lavender

The aroma of lavender is known to deter possums, rabbits, and deer.

  • Lemon balm

The citrusy smell of lemon balm can help keep possums at bay.

  1. Modify Your Garden Layout

Changing the layout of your garden can make it less attractive to possums. Here are some suggestions:

  • Elevate your tomato plants

Plant your tomatoes in hanging baskets or tall containers to make them harder for possums to reach.

  • Create a barrier

Plant dense, prickly shrubs or hedges around your tomato plants to discourage possums from entering the area.

  1. Seek Professional Help

If all else fails and your possum problem persists, consider contacting a professional wildlife removal service. They can provide expert advice, humane trapping, and relocation services to help protect your tomatoes from possums.

Remember that possums are a natural part of the ecosystem, and our goal is to deter them from our tomatoes, not to harm them. With a combination of these strategies, you can effectively protect your tomatoes while coexisting peacefully with possums in your garden. Happy gardening!

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best deterrent for possums?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, as different methods work better in different situations. Combining multiple strategies, such as physical barriers, scare tactics, and repellents, is often the most effective approach.

What smells do possums hate?

Possums are deterred by strong smells such as ammonia, garlic, hot peppers, and mothballs. Spraying your plants with garlic or hot pepper spray, or placing ammonia-soaked rags around your garden, can help keep possums away.

Do possums eat garden tomatoes?

Yes, possums do eat garden tomatoes. They are attracted to the smell of ripe tomatoes and can cause significant damage to your plants.

Do possums eat ripe tomatoes?

Possums prefer ripe tomatoes, as they are softer and easier to eat. However, they may also eat unripe tomatoes if other food sources are scarce.

Does Vicks VapoRub deter possums?

Vicks VapoRub contains ingredients like camphor and menthol, which have strong smells that possums dislike. Applying Vicks VapoRub around your garden, especially near your tomato plants, may help deter possums. However, its effectiveness as a possum deterrent has not been scientifically proven.

Does Epsom salt keep possums away?

There is no concrete evidence to support the idea that Epsom salt deters possums. While it may have some deterrent effect, it is not as effective as other repellents such as ammonia, garlic, or hot pepper spray.

Wrapping Things Up

In conclusion, while possums can be beneficial in some ways, their penchant for eating tomatoes can be frustrating for gardeners. Employing a combination of strategies like physical barriers, scare tactics, repellents, and reducing attractants can help protect your tomatoes from these sneaky critters. 

And remember, a healthy ecosystem is all about balance, so use these methods responsibly and with consideration for the overall well-being of your garden and its inhabitants.

Cathryn Thompson

Hi, I am Cathryn Thompson. I am a full-time blogger. I ditched my 9-5 job many years back to explore life a bit more. In this blog, I like writing about everything that can save us from the monotony of regular life and live our life to the fullest.

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