4 Ways To Keep Snakes Away From Your Willow Tree

Weeping willow ornamental tree aka salix babylonica or babylon willow

Snakes are a normal part of our ecosystem. If you have trees on your property, you are more than likely to see them now and then. Not everyone wants snakes slipping and sliding through their yard though.

Willow trees are an ideal shelter for snakes due to the cover they offer and proximity to a water source. You can prevent snakes near your willow tree denying their food source, removing areas of cover near the tree, and by housing guinea hens near your willow tree, which are predators of snakes.

Luckily, keeping snakes away from willow trees can be an easy process. Keep reading on below to learn about why keeping snakes away from your willow tree is a good idea and how to do it!

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Why You Should Keep Snakes Away From Your Willow

Most snakes are harmless and scared of humans, but that does not mean you want them on your land. Many can coexist with snakes, but there are reasons you just can’t!

In general, you should keep snakes away from your willow tree if you:

  • Are afraid of snakes
  • Have venomous snakes
  • Have livestock such as chickens
  • Aren’t able to utilize your willow tree

For the first one, if you’re just plain ol’ afraid of snakes, then keep them away from your willow tree! Simple as that.

Venomous snakes are important to the ecosystem, but you should be wary of keeping them close to your home. If you find a snake near you, ALWAYS do some preliminary research based off the look of the snake to reasonably deduct what species it may be. Overall of course, this is a good reason to deter snakes. 

If you notice a venomous or suspicious snake, contact a professional for identification and removal.

If you keep livestock, having snakes around can be detrimental to your animals. Snakes eat eggs, chicks, and even full-grown birds.

Lastly, having snakes around your willow tree can make it difficult to enjoy your tree. Many love sitting under the tree and enjoying the shade and beauty it provides. Naturally, being afraid of snakes in the area can make it impossible to enjoy your landscape.

Signs That Snakes Are In Your Yard & Near Your Willow

Snake hole at soil field around green forest area, wildlife nature presentation.

There are a few easy ways to tell if you have snakes. One obvious way to know is if you find snake sheds. According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, snakes shed their skins between 4 and 12 times a year.

You can tell the size of a snake by the length of the shed. This can help you determine the type of snake you may have. 

Additionally, you may see snake droppings or even tracks in the sand or dirt. 

The droppings look a lot like bird droppings and can vary in size. The tracks in sand are lines. Snakes use their scales and muscles to help move. 

Holes can also be a sign of snakes as well as a sign of mice or rats. These are food for snakes, so you may have a rodent problem as well. 

If you’re suspecting you may have a venomous snake in your yard, check out this article by the CDC which lists the common types of venomous snakes in the US.

How To Keep Snakes Away From Your Willow Tree

The first step to figuring out why snakes are near your willow tree is to find out what they are eating. This could be rats, toads, or even insects, depending on the species of snake. It is important to figure out their food source to eliminate them.

Most snakes will not come to your home without a reason. If you find that you have a rodent problem, immediately deal with the infestation to help deter snakes from staying.

You can do this with humane traps, or by eliminating the food sources which the rodents are after. So do not leave pet food or any other types of food in areas they can get to. 

Remove any potential hiding spots for the snakes. This includes clutter, excessive branches, and piles of leaves. If snakes have a place to hide, they are more likely to stay around your willow tree.

Snake-proof your home and yard by patching up any holes and adding snake-proof fencing. If you have animals such as chickens, snake-proof their pens so the snakes cannot get in for an easy meal.

Snakes will often eat chicken eggs or chicks if given the opportunity and some larger snakes can eat adult chickens.

If you have these livestock near your willow tree, moving them to another area of your property will help to keep snakes away.

If you believe you have a problem snake, contact a local pest control specialist in your area to help remove the snake. Alternatively, you could also buy a snake trap with the help of a professional.

Avoid using glue boards as you can accidentally harm other animals instead of the ones you are targeting.

Using Scents To Repel Snakes From Willow Trees

Willow tree by the pond with the mirroring on the surface

Some strong scents can keep snakes away. Scents such as clove, cinnamon, and eugenol work wonders at deterring snakes from making your willow tree their home. 

Clove oil is a potent smell and can be useful in many pest applications. APHIS has noted that the use of these oils can help deter snakes. You can use these scents directly on the snakes and their environment as well. 

APHIS suggests two ways to use these oils: as an aerosol spray or as a fumigant. They make note of the Environmental Protection Agency determining that it is under an exemption from the EPA, meaning it is not regulated for use as a repellent. 

APHIS gives an aerosol spray recipe. They say to use one percent of the oil, one percent sodium lauryl sulfate, and ninety-eight percent water. This spray is to be used directly on the snakes and will not work on surfaces to prevent snakes.

While you may not be fond of spraying these directly on a snake near your willow tree, you can look into a repellent like Bonide’s Stopper 8751 Snake Repellent, which contains both cinnamon and clove oil, to spray near your willow tree.

While there isn’t scientific evidence backing the product, there are countless anecdotal reviews stating it’s effectiveness.

Using Plants To Keep Snakes Away From Your Willow Tree

While many of the plants that make claims to repel snakes are ineffective, other plants, such as roses, cacti, and other thorny plants, may work. Snakes cannot crawl through these plants, so growing them in landscaped areas around where snakes might live would work. 

Plants such as mint help deter mice and rats. Deterring mice or rats can help eliminate the snakes around your yard. As we have discussed before, rats and mice can attract snakes to your property. 

Planting plants that will deter the food sources of snakes is important to help keep away the snakes that prey upon them.

Guinea Hens: The Ultimate Snake Control For Your Willow Tree

A group of guinea fowl and chicken feeding outdoor

Consider purchasing Guineas to help with your snake problem. Guineas are a type of fowl known for their ruthless behavior. They will hunt a snake down and quickly dispose of it!

Guineas are an excellent resource for repelling snakes. These birds are fast and loud and often chase snakes. They are often known as watchdogs since they alert to any trespassers. Be careful, as they can be aggressive, roam miles, and can be very annoying. 

The downside of guineas is how loud they are. So if you have neighbors, this might not be the solution for you. 

They are easy to care for and often take care of themselves. Provide water, shelter, and some food and you should have a wonderful edition to your property and willow tree.

Even better, guinea hens eat ticks as well and can keep your property tick and snake-free!

Natural Methods To Deter Snakes From Your Willow

Japanese rat snake in the garden

Some natural remedies to get rid of snakes are smells that would deter them, natural predators, and making the area unpleasant for the snake. 

Using powerful scents like cedar can help deter snakes from living around you. Another way is by making the area unpleasant. Change up your landscape, throw smoke bombs in their holes, and be active in your yard.

Cedar is also bad for their respiratory system and the respiratory system of most animals, so be mindful of your own animals. However, it could potentially keep snakes away from your willow (along with other animals in the process.)

Will Mothballs Repel Snakes?

A common myth is that mothballs will keep snakes away. This is untrue and bad for the environment. Mothballs can be harmful to living creatures as well. If an animal consumes them, they may die. 

The smell does not deter snakes, and it is also illegal to use mothballs in this way, as it’s intended purpose is for moths. So, use mothballs for their intended use only to prevent any damage.

Properly use mothballs in airtight containers inside places moths go like closets. 

Reasons Snakes Are Good For Your Willow Tree

Snakes are an important part of the ecosystem and without them, there is an imbalance in the food chain. Snakes eat pests such as mice and rats, and without them, these pests will overpopulate. 

Mice and rats can carry and transmit diseases to humans. Snakes eating them helps prevent the transfer of zoonotic diseases to people. This is essential to help maintain public health. 

If a snake is making the area under your willow tree its home, ask yourself why. If you have a willow tree planted along the water, the snake could be looking for fish to eat or water to drink.

Non-venomous snakes are important to keep around since they eat many pests like mice and rats and become food for other animals like large birds of prey. Snakes help with biodiversity and are sadly in decline with many endangered species. This is due to their habitat decline and other critical environmental issues.

Biodiversity is important for a healthy ecosystem. When the balance gets thrown off, it can cause major issues. Burmese Pythons in the Everglades in Florida, for example, always have to be removed from non-native environments.

These snakes took over and eat almost everything in their wake. This has caused an imbalance in the Everglades. If snakes are permanently removed from their native environments, this can cause a similar issue to the Everglades. 

Some harmless species of snakes include:

  • Rat Snake
  • Garter Snake
  • Hognose Snakes

As the name suggests, rat snakes eat rats. They get to be around four to six feet long and are not venomous. Additionally, they are native to North America and make their homes in forests and grass.

Garter snakes eat a vast diet of anything they can get their jaws on. This includes pests like leeches, rats, and spiders. They are not venomous and get to be around three feet long. 

Hognose snakes love to eat toads. They are not venomous and play dead when threatened. They live in sandy areas and stay fairly small. 

Overall, most garden snakes are harmless to just let live. There are, however, reasons to deter them.

That’s All For Now!

Snakes can be a scary visitor to your yard, and naturally, unpleasant to see.

Many claims are floating around on various natural remedies and easy remedies to repel snakes. Mothballs are a commonly mentioned remedy, however, this is not only wrong but usually illegal to use.

Preventing snakes is the best way to repel them. Snake proof your yard and keep organized and picked up. If the snakes have nowhere to live, they are less likely to stay. Clean up anywhere snakes can hide.

Consider learning to live with non-venomous snakes. These are important members of the ecosystem, and allowing them a place to live can benefit you.

Overall, snakes are pretty easy to keep away from your willow tree if you follow these simple tips!


“APHIS Wildlife Services Snake Repellent.” USDA, 2003, www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/nwrc/publications/Tech_Notes/TN_SnakeRepellents.pdf.

“Snakes in and around the House.” Npic.orst.edu, 2020, npic.orst.edu/pest/snake.html. Accessed 15 Nov. 2021.

“USDA APHIS | Vertebrate Control Products.” Usda.gov, 2013, www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/wildlifedamage/programs/nwrc/product-registration-unit/CT_Control_products#:~:text=%20Vertebrate%20Control%20Products%20%201%20REPRODUCTIVE%20CONTROL.. Accessed 15 Nov. 2021.

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