How to Get Rid of Ticks in The Yard – Steps to a Tick Free Garden

Summer is a time for being in the outdoors. But ticks also love the warm temperatures and can be bothersome in your yard and garden. These tips show how to get rid of ticks in the yard as well as a few natural treatment options.

Keeping ticks out of yard is easy if you follow a few tips.

Ticks are a nuisance and can be dangerous as well, since they carry numerous diseases such as Lyme Disease. The bugs are drawn to dark moist places so there are steps that we can take to control them.

How to get Rid of Ticks in the Yard

If you want to have a tick free yard, you’ll need to follow a few simple steps in limiting the places where they might live. Here are some tips and tricks to help with controlling ticks in the yard.

Ticks love darkness and moisture

Ticks are drawn to certain areas of a garden.  You can help by limiting the areas where they might find a home. 

They especially like darkness and moisture, so messy firewood piles can be a home to them if you are not careful. How to kill ticks yard by keeping your wood piles tidy

If you leave the wood loose in an shady area where it will get rained on, it will become a tick magnet. Instead, keep your firewood neatly stacked in a dry location away from the rain if you can. 

A nice bonus is that the wood will also be dry when it is time to use it next winter.

Ticks love shade.  Damp and dark piles of brush and dead leaves are like tick heaven.  Don’t let vegetation build up in your yard. 

If you decide to compost garden refuse, use an enclosed tumbler, or keep the compost pile keep it away from play and pet areas and be sure to turn it often to keep it hot.

Keep Play areas Safe from Ticks

Locate swing sets, playhouses and other play areas in your yard away from the most densely wooded areas.  If possible position them in sunny areas.

This will give children and pets more protection and keep ticks out of the play areas.

Play ground areas in sunny spots won't attract fleas as readily

Use rocks or long cedar timbers as dividers from wooded areas. This will help to keep ticks away from areas most often used.

Regular Yard Maintenance Will Help to Repel Ticks in Yard

Mow your grass regularly so it won’t be a haven for ticks. If possible use a catcher on the mower that removes the grass clippings so they won’t attract ticks.Regular yard maintenance helps to repel ticks

Remove garden refuse away from the most often used area of the yard. Trim trees of dead branches and remove piles of old leaves. Any untended areas of a yard can attract ticks.

Barriers such as a foot of bark chip or rocks around yard in common areas will make it harder for ticks to enter from the woody areas nearby.

Try not to have standing water near wooded areas.  These will attract ticks. Remember to keep bird baths clean and free of refuse.

Avoid over watering

All gardeners love the look of a garden bed that is lush and beautiful because it has been watered well.  But remember that ticks prefer moist environments.Take care not to overwater lawns as this can attract ticks

If you have a tendency to over-water, and have poorly draining lawns this can act as an invitation to these insects. Water as much as your plants need, but be on the look out for areas that don’t drain well and take steps to aerate them.

Landscape to repel ticks

Ticks travel on deer, so choose plants wisely and stay away from those that are likely to attract them.  It’s not uncommon to find tick nests in grass, so keep garden beds away from grassy areas.

Also install fences to keep deer out if you have a big tick problem in your yard.Ticks can travel on deer so take steps to keep them out of the yard

Plants that keep ticks away from a yard

If you would like to try and control ticks without using chemicals, try planting Chrysanthemum cinerariae folium.  This plant has a high level of natural pyrethrins and helps to dispel ticks naturally.10 Plants that help to repel ticks

There are many other plants and herbs that are natural tick repellents. Try planting some of these:

  • Lavender
  • Geranium
  • Garlic
  • Pennyroyal
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Beautyberry
  • Citronella
  • Eucalyptus
  • Catnip
  • Mint

Tips and Tricks to Rid your Yard of Ticks

Keep away rodents

If you see a lot of mice in your yard, be sure to find a way to control them. Mice are carriers of ticks. Where there are mice, there will be lots of ticks too!Mice are hosts to ticks. Try and keep your yard free of them.

Garbage cans attract host animals like rodents so be sure to store it away from areas of  your year that you want to keep tick free. The first step in repelling ticks is simply to make sure your yard is nice and clean.

The Gardening Cook is a participant in the Amazon Affiliate Program. This post may contain affiliate links. I earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you if you purchase through an affiliate link.

Natural repellents to Kill Ticks in the Yard

What kills ticks in the yard? There are lots of repellents for sale but many of them contain harmful chemicals. I like to take a more natural attempt to keep them under control.

There are several natural repellents for controlling ticks in your garden. Some common ones are:

Make your own Tick Tubes. These are biodegradable, cardboard tubes  filled with permethrin-treated cotton balls.

Mice will collect the cotton to build their nests; when the deer ticks that feed on the mice are exposed to the permeation, they die. 

Create a citrus based repellent

One of the questions I am often asked is “How to get rid of ticks in yard naturally?” This citrus tick spray for yards (and people) is one way.

Ticks avoid all types of citrus plants, which makes citrus an effective weapon. Home remedies for ticks in yards often make use of natural ingredients. To make a citrus based repellent:

Boil 2 cups of water, and add two chopped lemons, limes, oranges, or grapefruit. Let it boil for a minute or so, then simmer for an hour.Citrus fruit

Strain the fruit out, let it cool, pour into the sprayer, and squirt it on you, your kids, your pets, your yard and anywhere ticks might be found in your yard.

Follow these tips to get rid of ticks in the yard and garden

The main thing to keep in mind is that a clean yard, free of refuse and well tended is far less likely to have ticks become a big problem. 

Admin Note: This post first appeared on the blog in July of 2014. I have updated the article to add new information, photos a printable check lists card and a video for you to enjoy. 

Yield: Keep your yard tick-free

Check List for Keeping Ticks out of Yard

Keeping ticks out of yard

Ticks love the warm days of summer too. This check list will help you keep your yard free of ticks this summer.

Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $10


  • Print out this check list so that you will know what to do to keep your yard tick-free this summer.


  • Make a natural citrus based Tick Repellent:
  • Ticks avoid all types of citrus plants, which makes citrus an effective weapon.
  • Boil 2 cups of water, and add two chopped lemons, limes, oranges, or grapefruit. Let it boil for a minute or so, then simmer for an hour.
  • Strain the fruit out, let it cool, pour into the sprayer, and squirt it on you, your kids, your pets, your yard and anywhere ticks might be found in your yard.



  1. Limit dark and moist areas in your yard.
  2. Keep play areas in a sunny location.
  3. Do regular yard maintenance to keep garden refuse at a minimum.
  4. Avoid over watering plants. Ticks love moisture.
  5. Landscape to avoid plants. Keep garden beds away from grassy areas.
  6. Use these plants that have natural pyrethrins: GARLIC, GERANIUMS, ROSEMARY, CITRONELLA, EUCALYPTUS, CATNIP AND OTHERS.
  7. Keep away rodents, which carry ticks.

Some good natural tick repellents are:

  1. Neem oil
  2. Cedar Oil
  3. Diatomaceous Earth
  4. Tick Tubes
  5. Other Tick Repellents labeled natural.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  40 comments for “How to Get Rid of Ticks in The Yard – Steps to a Tick Free Garden

  1. Allan
    06/13/2013 at 7:27 pm

    Chickens and guinea hens are also a good pesticide free method of getting rid of ticks. Not exactly useful in the cities but can be very useful in the country.

    • Sam
      08/02/2015 at 10:08 pm

      I can attest to guinea hens and chickens we had TONS of tick
      and once we got the birds we only found one and that was because I came home from the neighbors and found it on my leg.

      • admin
        08/02/2015 at 10:44 pm

        Hi Sam. What a great result for you. Thanks for sharing this tip. Carol

  2. TickHater
    06/10/2014 at 1:23 am

    This is good advice. But bombing your yard or fence with permethrin will kill any bee or frog that touches it. Permethrin is highly toxic to both, and has been linked to the massive honey bee die offs around the country (colony collapse disorder).

    Since frogs and bees are both important parts of the ecosystem, it doesn’t make sense to wipe them all out in an effort to control ticks. Select use of permethrin can be very effective, without risking exposure to bees and frogs.

    • ghostinthemachine
      08/13/2014 at 3:29 am

      I use these 25lb boxes of Diatomaceous Earth[crushed coral reef.] like for swimming pool filters. This version does have silica which if breathed will cut your lungs . The food grade is too expensive for my method.
      I put on a breather mask and scatter it about my yard. No ticks or other creepy crawlies all summer. Doesn’t harm bees or pets.
      You eat the food grade stuff in your grains you just didn’t know it until now. It’s got a lot of great properties . Check it out.

      • admin
        08/13/2014 at 11:08 am

        Hi Ned. Thank you for the great tip. Glad to know this works so well for you. Carol

      • allison
        04/20/2015 at 8:31 am

        I actually bought the kind that you can mix in with your pets food and put on their skin, it saved me last year~! I was so amazed, no fleas or ticks. the cats wanted to rip my eyes when they saw me coming but oh well! haha

        • Karen
          05/13/2015 at 8:41 pm

          Where can you buy this stuff. I have never heard of it. We are having a horrible problem with ticks this year.

          Thank you

          • Stella
            07/30/2015 at 7:11 pm

            Animal feed stores sell it cheaper. In Los Angeles, we buy a 50 lb bag for $26. The stuff is food-grade and totally safe. It works on fleas, too.

          • admin
            08/01/2015 at 12:43 pm

            Thanks for the tip Stella. Carol

      • Kris
        04/15/2018 at 12:34 am

        Read up more on this as you should only be using food grade. It is more effective due to the higher sulfur content…did some reading and it was recommended NOT to use the DE for pools.

      • Laura Rothberg
        07/22/2019 at 8:37 am

        does it work on “mites”?

        • Denise Parascando
          05/28/2020 at 9:34 am

          Yes works on mites also

  3. admin
    06/10/2014 at 10:25 am

    Thanks for the good information on Permethrin. I like to use non chemical measures when I can too. I’ve noticed the bees in my yard are much less this year and I rarely use chemicals out there. It is a significant problem, Carol

  4. Richard
    07/27/2014 at 6:42 pm

    Great tips. I hate ticks and will try some of these to see if they work.

  5. Elizabeth Ruppert
    07/30/2014 at 11:47 am

    I have lavender plants growing in my backyard. Is it possible to use them somehow for repelling ticks? Across the same yard I was sitting in the grass and these little tick like bugs were drinking off me. Left huge smears of blood when I squished them.

    • admin
      07/30/2014 at 12:40 pm

      Hi Elizabeth. My research shows that lavender is best planted around seating areas and near doors and windows as a tick repellent. It’s useful but in my opinion, nothing really gets rid of all of them, other than insecticides, which many gardeners do not like to use. Carol

  6. Tammy
    05/03/2015 at 12:39 am

    If I use the diatomaceous earth in my back yard, will it harm my pets? Do I need to keep my pets off the area for any amount if time after applying it to the ground?

    • admin
      05/03/2015 at 9:42 am

      Hi Tammy Thanks for the email. My understanding is that it is perfectly safe. Some people even use it on dogs and cats to help control fleas and ticks. (If you do this, I would use food grade diatomaceous earth.) If you google diatomaceous earth and pets, you will find lots of articles about it being safe.


    • C
      05/17/2015 at 8:41 am

      Diatomaceous Earth is only safe for your pets if you use food grade. DO NOT USE POOL GRADE NEAR PETS OR CHILDREN!!
      And no they are not destroying coral reefs to make this, it is a naturally occurring earth comprised of fossilized diatoms.

    • val
      06/02/2015 at 11:14 am

      yes it’s safe! use only food-grade diatomaceous, i get mine from amazon. I use it on my pom’s, on my 3 cats, on my chicken around in the chicken house i use it in the house to keep those nasty little ants out so far I have not seen 1 flea in my house, with the dogs i have to reply ever so often on the legs!

  7. Diane
    04/21/2017 at 2:09 pm

    Thanks for your recipe for the citrus based repellent. Do you mean to have 2 cups of chopped lemons, limes, orange and or grapefruit for the recipe? or can you just use either just lemons etc.

    • Carol
      04/21/2017 at 5:07 pm

      Hi Diane. The recipe is for two cups total. YOu can mix them or use just one as long as the total of citrus is 2 cups. Carol

  8. Fred
    04/24/2017 at 8:29 am

    how often do you have to put the -diatomaceous earth on your yard – for ticks ?????????????????

    • Carol
      04/24/2017 at 12:07 pm

      I’ve never used it Fred. It was a reader who suggested it so I don’t know how often to use it or how much. Google has lots of articles on the subject though. Carol

  9. 08/10/2017 at 12:09 am

    I have 2 dogs and 2 cats, ticks are always a problem for us. I try to keep the property tick free using natural methods. I have recently found out about Beneficial nematodes. Have you tried that, does it work. Thank you for your tips.

    • Carol
      08/10/2017 at 9:13 pm

      Hi Veronica. I have not tried them, so I don’t know how effective they would be. Carol

    • Mindy
      04/27/2018 at 7:55 pm

      I used nematodes for the first time and I still have a tick problem.

  10. usps tracking
    05/23/2018 at 12:51 am

    wow, that’s nice, i’m looking forward to reading more of your posts. great post thank you for sharing.

  11. Rebecca Sally
    06/17/2018 at 4:52 am

    I was diagnosed with Lyme disease 5 years ago and was taking Antibiotics and Nonsteroidal anti-Inflammatory drug which seemed to help. However, I still suffer from some of the symptoms. My symptoms have always been chronic fatigue, joint pain, and even neurological problems in controlling hand and leg movements. I am a 54 year old female. the Antibiotics wasn’t really working and I could not tolerate them for long due to severe side effects, so this year our family doctor started me on Natural Herbal Gardens Lyme disease Herbal mixture, We ordered their Lyme disease herbal treatment after reading alot of positive reviews, i am happy to report with the help of Natural Herbal Garden natural herbs I have been able to reverse my symptoms using herbs, my symptoms totally declined over a 8 weeks use of the Natural Herbal Gardens Lyme disease herbal mixture. My Lyme disease is totally reversed! I’m 54 and have never been this healthier

  12. 06/26/2018 at 9:21 pm

    I appreciate it when you said that ticks love areas that are dark and damp, so by limiting the parts in the yard that fits the description, we can reduce the possibility of getting ticks. Now I know what we have a lot of those pests in the backyard. The shed was torn down and left there a few months ago. The decaying wood and areas that accumulated water were what probably attracted them. I will call a professional to help me get rid of them, then I will get rid of the shed.

    • Carol
      06/26/2018 at 10:04 pm

      Hi Dino…yes many bugs like dark moist areas and ticks are no exception. Best of luck on getting rid of them! Carol

  13. 07/23/2018 at 11:41 am

    Please take this very seriously if you have a yard infested with ticks. Lyme disease nearly killed my mother!

  14. Tina
    09/19/2018 at 1:33 pm

    Song Bird safety can be quite different from pet safety. And bird safety is frequently not thought of when discussing what to put all over the yard. Are any of these products safe for birds and frogs?

    • Carol
      09/19/2018 at 4:27 pm

      My article only discusses household pets, so I’m afraid I don’t have that information but perhaps another reader might be able to help. Carol

  15. denise comeau
    06/01/2019 at 4:24 am

    Not sure if this made a difference but I sprayed Avons Skin-So-Soft on me last 2 days to keep away the black flies-and I only had 1 tick.Hubby did nothing and had 5. We have a big trash can full of the food grade Earth stuff to spread today,and I’ll be heading uptown for some plants to help deter them. We do have a wood pile drying in the full sun but nether of us went anywhere near that,we concentrated on cutting the grass. We have had alot of rain though,and its just been the last 3 years we’ve had any ticks,we’ve been here for 16 yrs. I’ll be getting some Citrus spray for hubby to spray himself..

  16. 07/12/2019 at 2:34 pm

    Thank you for your tips on keeping ticks out of the yard. I never new moist dark places are an attraction for them. My grandpa has a pile of wood that is in a shady spot. I’ll have to let him know is might need to be moved.

  17. jennifer Kimball
    03/08/2020 at 12:12 pm

    Just an FYI….I know citrus can make you burn badly in the sun. I’m not sure if it is diluted if it can cause same reaction, but may want to test a small spot on skin. I’m sure it’s just for clothing.

  18. Jennifer Gildred
    05/08/2020 at 12:58 pm

    Oh dear, does this mean I should have all the arbor wood mulch removed from my gardens? I had the landscaper disperse it to control weeds. Now I am wondering if I just created a bigger problem. If removal is recommended, then what to apply instead? Thanks for the tips.

    • Carol Speake
      05/10/2020 at 12:49 pm

      No you should be fine with mulch. Wood piles are more of a problem than mulch that is in the sunlight all the time.

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