What Animals Eat Tomato Leaves

Beware of garden invaders: Discover which animals munch on tomato leaves and how to protect your plants for a thriving harvest.


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Pest Management

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Ever noticed your tomato plants looking a bit worse for wear? It's not just pests you've got to worry about—larger animals like squirrels, deer, rabbits, and possums also have a taste for tomato leaves. These creatures are after the moisture in the leaves and stems, causing significant damage if left unchecked. But don't worry, there are effective strategies to safeguard your garden. Wondering how to keep these critters at bay and make certain your tomatoes thrive? Let's explore some practical solutions you can implement right away.


In times of drought, squirrels often eat tomato leaves to seek moisture. These clever rodents are drawn to tomato plants not just for their leaves but also for the water content in the fruit. Squirrels can be quite the pests in your garden, causing significant damage by nibbling on both leaves and tomatoes. This activity doesn't just affect the health of your tomato plants; it can also reduce your overall harvest.

To deter squirrels from eating your tomato leaves, contemplate using physical barriers. Netting can be highly effective, creating a physical obstacle that squirrels can't easily bypass. Another option is to use repellents with strong scents that squirrels find unappealing. Products like garlic spray or capsaicin-based solutions can work well.

Keeping your garden clean is also important. Fallen fruits can attract squirrels, so regularly picking up any tomatoes that drop can help reduce their interest.


Deer can wreak havoc on your tomato plants by munching on leaves, stems, and even the fruits. They often leave behind distinctive footprints in the soil, making it easy to identify their presence in your garden. To safeguard your tomato plant leaves and other garden plants, contemplate installing deer fencing. This physical barrier can effectively keep deer out of your garden area, ensuring your plants remain intact.

Another effective deterrent is the use of predator urine, which can create the illusion of a nearby predator and scare deer away. Motion-activated sprinklers are also a great option. These devices detect movement and spray water, startling deer and discouraging them from entering your garden. For a homemade solution, you might try soapy water. The scent can be off-putting to deer, adding another layer of plant protection.

Regularly inspecting your tomato plants for signs of deer browsing, such as partially eaten leaves or stems, can help you address the problem quickly. Planting a few extra tomato plants can also help offset any potential damage.


Rabbits can be a significant nuisance in your garden, often munching on tomato leaves at ground level and leaving behind cleanly nibbled edges. This damage can stunt the growth of your tomato plants and affect the overall health of your crop. As rabbits are common pests, you must take proactive measures to protect your garden.

One effective method is to use physical barriers like chicken wire or wood fencing around your tomato plants. Raised beds can also help deter rabbits by making it more difficult for them to reach the plants. Installing a wire mesh around the base of your tomato plants can prevent rabbits from nibbling on the leaves.

Method Description Effectiveness
Chicken wire Surrounds plants, prevents access High
Elevated beds Raises plants, harder to reach Moderate
Wire mesh Barrier at plant base, stops nibbling High


Aside from rabbits, possums are another garden pest that can wreak havoc on your tomato plants. These nocturnal creatures are known to eat tomato leaves, stems, and even the fruit itself, causing significant damage to your garden. Possums have a varied diet and are opportunistic feeders, which means your tomato plants can easily become a target.

When night falls, possums might visit your garden to feast on your tomatoes. To deter them, think about installing physical barriers like fences around your garden. Fences can be effective in preventing these nocturnal visitors from accessing your plants. Moreover, using repellents can help keep possums at bay. Various commercial repellents are available, or you can try homemade solutions to discourage them from nibbling on your tomatoes.

Possums are also attracted to gardens by the presence of easily accessible food sources. Removing attractants such as fallen fruit can reduce the likelihood of possums visiting your garden. By minimizing these attractants, you can help protect your tomato plants from further damage.

Understanding the habits and behaviors of possums is important in tackling the issue. By implementing these measures, you can safeguard your garden and enjoy a bountiful tomato harvest.

Preventive Measures

How can you effectively protect your tomato plants from animals that eat the leaves?

Start by installing physical barriers such as fencing or nets around your plants. This prevents animals like rabbits, deer, and raccoons from reaching the leaves. Make sure the barriers are sturdy and tall enough to deter these critters.

Next, contemplate using animal deterrents. You can apply hot pepper juice, cayenne pepper, or commercial sprays to the leaves to make them less appealing. These substances are often effective in repelling pests without harming your plants.

Another strategy involves planting repellent herbs like catnip or mint around your garden. These herbs can deter animals naturally, reducing the likelihood of damage to your tomato plants.

Moreover, creating a distraction area with plants that animals prefer can lure them away from your tomatoes.

Regularly inspect your tomato plants for signs of animal damage. Catching issues early allows you to take immediate action, preventing further leaf consumption.