I read that pouring dish detergent down an animal hole in the garden will cause the animal to leave the area. Does this work and does it kill the plants? I have a problem with chipmunks in a flower bed. Thank for your help
No it won't work. Chipmunks are coming to your yard for any combination of food, shelter and water.
To block the hole wait till you see the chipmunk outside the hole and stuff chicken wire down it.
I have also used coyote or red fox urine which you can buy from hunting stores. This only keeps them away for a while.
A better way is to remove what they are coming for. Do you have a bird feeder or bulbs like tulips or lilies?
Consider using daffodils or fritillaria which are not normally eaten.
Messing with burrow entrances doesn't work for a lot of burrowing animals, including chipmunks, because their burrows have multiple entrances.
Going from http://www.gardensalive.com/product/when-chipmunks-go-bad/you_bet_your_garden it looks like commercial deer repellent is a good option.
Or you can make your own:
- Puree 1 hot pepper and 1 clove of garlic into 1 pint of water
- Strain with a cheesecloth (or rag or whatever)
- Put the strained liquid into a spray bottle
- Add one drop of dishwashing soap
- Spray on plants you wish to protect from animals
As far as Dawn killing plants. There are conflicting stories but most are similar to mine: I've used very diluted Dawn on plants for other reasons and the plant was none the worse for wear (Dawn + water = excellent bug killer, btw - good for paper wasp nests). But none of the things I've read, nor my experiences, are of the "soaking the ground in Dawn" caliber.
My recommendation: If their damage is purely aesthetic, try an owl or hawk statue. They're surprisingly effective. Or, there's scent deterrents you can get (or make) to keep rodents away.
If they're nibbling on your plants: spray the plants with the mix.
If it's just because there's chipmunks afoot but they aren't actually messing with the look or plant matter - let them do their thing. It's a free tiny bit of tilling. (But then, chips in my yard don't really do anything but zip out, eat the cracked corn I put out for the doves, and zip back into their hole.)
I don't think dishwashing soap has an aggressive enough scent to deter them. Scent deterrents are ghastly when you smell them close. And my completely anecdotal evidence that dishwashing soap won't annoy them: I've had pet rats most of my life, for 20+ years I've cleaned their litter boxes with Dawn, and some of them just love camping out in the freshly scrubbed litter box.