Pest Away Tips

7 Natural Ways to Keep Porcupines Away from Your Trees and Structures

How to Keep Porcupines Away with Natural Deterrents

Porcupines are known to cause damage to trees and structures. They are solitary animals that are mostly found in wooded areas and are herbivores, which means they feed on plants.

Porcupines also have sharp quills that protect them from predators. However, they are not immune to the repellent scents of natural deterrents.

In this article, we will discuss the characteristics and diet of porcupines, their damage to trees and structures, and the reasons for repelling them. We will also delve into various natural scent deterrents such as hot sauce, rotten eggs, spearmint oil, lavender, citronella, and peppermint.

Characteristics and Diet of Porcupines

Porcupines are primarily nocturnal animals that can grow up to three feet long and weigh up to 30 pounds. They have dark brown to black fur with quills that protect them from predators.

These quills can quickly detach from their body and embed itself into the predator, causing pain and inflammation. As herbivores, porcupines feed mostly on bark, twigs, and leaves of trees and shrubs.

They use their sharp teeth for chewing through bark and nipping twigs, which causes significant damage to trees.

Porcupines Damage to Trees and Structures

Porcupines are known to cause damage to trees by girdling, which is the process of chewing through the bark around the tree’s circumference, which cuts off the flow of nutrients and water to the tree’s crown. Nipping twigs and chewing wood also contribute to damage to trees and structures.

Reasons for Repelling Porcupines

There are several reasons for repelling porcupines, such as protecting trees and structures from damage. They are also known to carry diseases and parasites that can be harmful to humans and pets.

Additionally, their quills can cause pain and inflammation if embedded into a human or pet’s skin.

Scent Deterrence Methods

Scent deterrents are a natural way to repel porcupines without harming them. They work by masking the scent of food or creating a pungent odor that repels the porcupine.

Below are some scent deterrents and their advantages and disadvantages.

Hot Sauce

Hot sauce is a popular natural deterrent that contains capsaicin, which targets pain receptors in a porcupine’s nose and mouth. This results in a burning sensation that makes them avoid the area.

Advantages: Cheap and easy to apply. Disadvantages: High concentrations of capsaicin are required for effectiveness.

Rotten Eggs

Rotten eggs create a strong odor that repels porcupines. This scent is generated by using putrescent whole egg solids in repellents.

Advantages: Nontoxic and safe for humans and pets. Disadvantages: Rotten egg smell can linger and be unpleasant.

Spearmint Oil

Spearmint oil is an essential oil that has a fragrant scent due to the presence of menthol and carvone. It is known for its antimicrobial properties and is also used as a bug repellent.

Advantages: Pleasant scent and non-toxic. Disadvantages: Requires frequent reapplication.


Lavender is a relaxing scent that is known to be a protective plant. It is also used as an essential oil and sachets.

Advantages: Pleasant scent, repels other pests as well. Disadvantages: Requires frequent reapplication.


Citronella is known for its masking scent of food due to the presence of geraniol, citronellol, and citronellal. Advantages: Pleasant scent, repels other pests as well.

Disadvantages: Requires frequent reapplication.


Peppermint is a minty scent that contains menthol and is used in commercial repellents. Advantages: Pleasant scent and easy to acquire.

Disadvantages: Requires frequent reapplication.


Natural scent deterrents are a safe and effective way to repel porcupines without harming them. Hot sauce, rotten eggs, spearmint oil, lavender, citronella, and peppermint are some of the natural scent deterrents that can be used.

These repellents work by creating a scent that is unpleasant for porcupines, masking the scent of food, and targeting pain receptors in their nose and mouth. In conclusion, if you want to protect your trees and structures from porcupines, natural scent deterrents are a cost-effective and humane way to repel them.

So why not give them a try?

Other Methods to Repel Porcupines

In addition to natural scent deterrents, there are several other methods to repel porcupines. Below are some of the methods that are effective in deterring porcupines from damaging your properties.

Installing Fencing

One of the most effective ways of keeping porcupines out of your garden or yard is to install a fence. The fence should be at least 18 inches high and buried 6 inches in the ground to prevent porcupines from burrowing underneath it.

An overhang at the top of the fence can also help to prevent porcupines from climbing over it.

Providing Alternative Food Sources

Providing alternative food sources can help to reduce the damage caused by porcupines. Salt blocks are an excellent food source that can be placed away from trees and structures that porcupines usually target.

Changing the sodium intake of plants in your garden can also be effective. Porcupines are attracted to plants that are high in sodium, so providing low-salt plants can decrease porcupine activity in your garden.

Using Commercial Repellents

Commercial repellents that are designed to repel rodents, squirrels, and rabbits can also be effective in deterring porcupines. These repellents typically contain capsaicin, cinnamon, or peppermint oil and can be applied directly to the tree’s bark or foliage.

Putting in Tree Protectors

Tree protectors are an excellent investment for those who want to prevent porcupines from stripping the bark off trees. These protectors wrap around the bark of the tree and create a barrier that porcupines cannot penetrate.

They can be made of plastic or metal and should be installed at the base of the tree trunk.

Making the Yard Less Attractive

Reducing clutter and removing food sources from the yard can make the area less attractive to porcupines. Porcupines are attracted to areas that provide shelter and food, so removing piles of leaves and debris, and picking up fallen fruits and nuts can reduce their activity in your yard.

Scare Tactics

Scare tactics can also be effective in deterring porcupines. Motion sensors that turn on lights or sprinkle water can startle porcupines and make them less likely to return to the area.

Setting up shiny objects like old CDs or reflective tape can also scare porcupines due to the unfamiliar reflection and movement. Placing jars of water around the yard can also deter porcupines as they will not want to cross the water barriers.

In conclusion, porcupines can cause significant damage to trees and structures, but there are several methods to deter them. Fencing, providing alternative food sources, using commercial repellents, putting in tree protectors, making the yard less attractive, and using scare tactics are all effective ways of preventing porcupine activity in your garden or yard.

By using a combination of these methods, you can keep porcupines away without causing them any harm. In conclusion, porcupines can be a significant threat to trees and structures, but there are various methods to repel them and prevent damage.

Natural scent deterrents, fencing, alternative food sources, commercial repellents, tree protectors, yard modifications, and scare tactics are effective ways to keep porcupines away. The most important takeaway is that it is possible to repel porcupines without harming them.

By using a combination of these methods, you can protect your property while preserving the wildlife around you. It is crucial to take proactive measures to prevent porcupine activity in your garden or yard and promote coexistence with nature.

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