Have you ever been chased out of your garden by a groundhog? Well, I have. It’s an awful experience and one that you don’t want to go through. Not only can they be quite scary, but they can also be very vicious if they feel threatened.
Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, are a common sight in yards and gardens. They’re not just cute to look at either; they’re also a great garden pest. Groundhogs dig burrows that can destroy your lawn and garden, as well as making it easier for weeds to take over. But you don’t have to suffer from these critters for long.
Groundhogs are large, furry omnivores that enjoy eating fruits, nuts, insects, and small animals. They’re sometimes called “hog-nosed” or “pig-nosed” because of their long snouts. They live mainly in Canada and the United States but can be found anywhere from Alaska to Florida. They’re a common sight in gardens and fields and often burrow in the ground to escape predators.
Groundhogs live in fields and gardens but can also be found in rural areas. They have a thick coat, weighing between 3 – 15 pounds, and are mostly gray with a brown tail when they are young. They have a long, soft coat those ages at an almost imperceptible rate. Groundhogs spend in the underground in the summer seasons, appearing to feed in the sunrise and sunset.
Why is a groundhog called a woodchuck?
The woodchuck is a mammal native to North America, with the largest population in the eastern United States. The woodchuck’s name derives from Wuchak, an Algonquin tribe that lived in the area before English settlers arrived. They have different names in different parts of the country. Depending on where you are, they are also known as “groundhogs.” In others, they are “woodchucks.” They’re also known as “land beavers” and “whistle pigs as well.
There are many ways to find out if groundhogs are present in your garden. Inspecting your garden at least once a week is the best way to ensure that you catch any invaders early — and prevent them from wreaking havoc in your garden. It’s important to inspect each area of your garden weekly; if you notice any holes or burrows, check them daily until you remove the Groundhog or other animals.
Here are 10 of the best ways to keep groundhogs out of your garden and preserve your vegetable!
31 Best Tips: How to Get Rid Of Groundhogs In Your Yard
Looking for evidence of groundhog activity in your garden? Here are two ways to tell they were there:
Check the ground
If you see a hole about 11 inches wide in your yard, there’s a chance that a groundhog may be lurking nearby. To capture the pest, try placing a trap at the entrance of the hole — if it weighs more than 3 pounds, it’s probably a groundhog; if not, it might be just a rabbit.; Set up traps to capture them and protect your garden from becoming their home.
Tomato and Other Crops
Keep an eye on your tomato plants — if you notice any bites that are big enough, then you know groundhogs are around. You can also check other crops like carrots and corn, which tend to lose their bright green tops if a rodent eats them. Improved: Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night, and I am too tired to fall asleep again.
There are many ways to keep groundhogs from digging into your garden — some are free, and some require a little money.
You can discourage groundhogs from eating your vegetables by regularly harvesting the garden. Whenever an area is harvested, it forces groundhogs to search for new food sources. That means they have to travel to other regions where they can find food on a regular basis constantly.
Scare policies: keeping groundhogs out of the garden
Placing objects around your garden can be an effective way to deter groundhogs. Stick with visual stimuli that a groundhog would find unfamiliar, such as shiny pinwheels and Mylar balloons. Groundhog is a nervous animal and is worried about new effects in its surroundings.
Use Motion-Sensitive Sprinkler
To avoid groundhogs eating plants, you can purchase a motion-sensitive sprinkler. Sprinklers are water devices that will spray anything that comes near them with an unpleasant water stream. One popular device you can buy at various hardware shops is called the Scarecrow and is suitable for protecting your plants from hungry groundhogs.
Ammonia and Talcum Powder: keeping groundhogs out of the vegetable garden
Animals hate the smell of a few things, including ammonia and talcum powder. If you ever encounter a groundhog in your garden, it will likely run away from the smell. However, this can be an expensive and long-term solution. Instead, you can create your own “keep away” sign by placing a rag soaked with ammonia near the Groundhog’s hole.
Red Pepper flakes
Groundhogs are not fans of spicy food, so sprinkling pepper flakes or spraying a mixture of water and chopped peppers near groundhog holes can be an effective way to deter them from coming near your plants. However, the pepper flakes or pepper spray that you use must be reapplied after rainfall as it will wash away.
Blood meal: how to get rid of groundhogs in your yard
A blood meal is a mineral-rich fertilizer and also an excellent repellent for groundhogs. That means that in using blood meal to deter groundhogs, you’ll be protecting your plants and also getting rid of the pesky animals. It’s a win-win situation!
That is a fallacy. While it makes sense to use antifreeze to poison a groundhog (or woodchuck), experts say that the idea that antifreeze is a poison for groundhogs is simply a myth. Groundhogs will happily drink the stuff, but they’re immune to its toxins.
Flooding their den
Groundhogs dislike a wet den! Flooding is a proven method of getting groundhogs out of their homes and looking for drier land to make their home.
Now is the time to gas your groundhogs. The Missouri Department of Conservation recommends using carbon monoxide cartridges at your local farm supply store or home improvement store. These cartridges are effective for one use only, so remember to use them on a single burrow.
Do not use gas cartridges indoors or around buildings. These cartridges contain substances that can ignite and cause explosions. Also, don’t take breaths from the smokes of these cartridges.
Yes, it is legal for Missourians to shoot groundhogs. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, a well-aimed shot from a gun will stun a groundhog and cause it to fall, making it easy to dispatch with a shovel.
Groundhogs are incredibly sensitive to vibrations. If you can’t break down your burrow with a lawnmower, windmill, or other noise-making devices, tries putting vibrating sonic devices around it. For an even faster result, place a wind chime on the edge of your property. Groundhogs will be scared away within minutes.
Manage Cat or Dog
Dogs and cats don’t care about where they urinate, and they leave puddles everywhere. To stop Groundhog from ruining your garden, cover its hovel with dog or cat urine and cat hair.
Use Lime to deter groundhogs from garden
Place some lime at the entrance of a woodchuck hole. Use it to burn the woodchuck’s feet and force it to go elsewhere. You can also use acid as a deterrent to stop woodchuck s from eating your plants.
Censored their food source
Groundhogs are nocturnal creatures that prefer to come out at night. One of the best ways to discourage them from foraging in your garden is to harvest your garden at night. When picking the ripe produce, don’t leave it out overnight.
It is best to pick up your garden’s produce as soon as possible so that groundhogs do not invade it. These pesky animals enjoy green beans, lettuce, cucumbers, and corn. If they are not satisfied with their food, they will leave the garden alone.
The easiest way to keep groundhogs in your garden out and away is to prevent them from coming in the first place; this can be done by using repellents laced with the urine of their predators. The fear of predators, such as wolves, foxes, and coyotes, will deter these animals from entering your garden, and thus keeping them out.
Groundhogs avoid and stay away from things they don’t like. That makes essential oils-based animal repellents a great choice for gardeners looking for a way to keep pesky groundhogs away from their plants and gardens. Repellents can be applied to foliage, stems, flowers, or the ground around plants. Follow label directions.
When it comes to keeping groundhogs out of your garden, many people tend to use homemade solutions. They also come in the form of oils that can be sprayed on plants and crops as they cause no harm to the plants. The oils are also rainproof, so the effect lasts longer. Oil-based repellents are affordable and can be sprayed on plants and crops, which means that they won’t affect the plant in any way.
Take care of the garden
If you keep your garden clean, groundhogs won’t want to live there. They like homes with untamed landscaped, so keeping your garden tidy is the best way to prevent a groundhog from moving in. Some other ways to prevent groundhogs from visiting your garden include cutting down on weeds, mowing regularly, and removing any fallen tree branches that may be lying around.
If you notice that there are signs of groundhogs in your area, place traps around your garden. Use an apple slice on the other end of the cage; check the cage regularly.
It is best to take precautions even before you see groundhogs or any sign of their presence. That is not only for keeping groundhogs out but also for keeping other animals out. We don’t want to kill these animals; we just want to get rid of them.
Use a Fence
Wire fencing should be installed underground, with a depth of 12 inches. If groundhogs see the fence while digging, they will turn around and find another place to burrow. The fences do not need to be very tall, as groundhogs cannot climb over them.
To ensure that your fence is perfectly straight, bend the top and bottom of the barrier to 90-degree angles to the external of your lawn.
Groundhogs are a common nuisance that can damage crops and gardens. If you want to stop groundhogs from tunneling under your fence, it’s best to create an enclosure using chicken wire. Make sure your chicken wire is at least six feet high and that you have posted at least five feet tall. You can prevent groundhogs from tunneling by inserting the fencing into the earth at least a foot deep. Make sure to bend the fencing away from your garden so that they won’t be able to jump over it.
You can also use chicken wire to create a barrier around your garden. It’s easy to install, and it keeps groundhogs from digging beneath the fence. You can also save yourself the trouble of dig a trench by attaching chicken wire to the top of the existing fence.
Catching and relocating groundhogs is an effective and compassionate technique. Humane traps are often set 5- 10 feet from the tunnel and lured with different foods that groundhogs love, such as bread, apples, carrots, and pasta. Then, contact your local Extension Office for recommendations and traps.
Use caution; these wild animals are dangerous! Handle traps with great attention; you may also get caught in the trap. Ensure the safety of the trapped animals by visiting often.
Here are some tips to make your live trapping more successful:
- Before you set the traps, go through each of them carefully and wash each individually with dish soap. Wear gloves to prevent contamination. Groundhogs are acutely sensitive to human scent. If you’re setting a trap near a populated area, also set it where it is not visible from the road — particularly if you live in an area with a high number of groundhogs.
- Don’t set traps on a slant or move them from their original position. When a trap is placed on a slant, it can affect the setting time. Moving the trap is good for you because animals may become suspicious of movement and avoid the trap. It’s also a good idea to brace traps with heavy logs or rocks underneath to prevent the animal from triggering the trap during the night.
- After using the trap, wash it properly. Animals, especially small ones like groundhogs, often empty their bladders when they are trapped and frightened.
Other Successful Technique:
Groundhogs like to live in the ground, so it’s important to prevent them from settling in your garden. The best way to keep them from coming around is to keep mounds of rocks and woodpiles cleared away. Gardeners can also use organic repellents to keep them from settling in gardens. They don’t harm your plants or pets, but you may want to wash off the repellent from fruit and vegetables before eating them.
7 Natural Ways to Repel Groundhogs without Chemicals
Castor oil can be a highly effective way to deter groundhogs from burrowing. However, this is best done when the groundhogs aren’t in their holes; otherwise, they won’t come out and most likely won’t leave. Keep a watchful eye out for when they appear to find food.
If you have groundhogs in your garden, keep them away by scattering Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) around their burrow entrances or exits. You can also sprinkle the salt in a shallow area near the base of the plants they have been eating.
Hair clippings from your regular barber or hairdresser can be placed around the area where the Groundhog lives. The smell of humans can repel or at least irritate the Groundhog. You can use these hairs to scare groundhogs away because the human smell makes them think that a person is nearby, therefore, avoiding the garden.
Filthy Kitty Litter
There are two types of traps for black widows that are used in North America. The first is a live trap. Place the trap directly in the den. The second is a box trap. Place the Formica-covered trap in a spot with a recent spill of kitty litter or other predator scents.
Kitty litter, used in the corner of one den hole, is highly effective at masking the scent of other predators. The cats avoid the left-side den hole because they associate it with danger. Leaving the right-side den hole unoccupied allows them to escape rather than dig a burrow or hide.
A small amount of cayenne pepper placed near groundhog holes will keep the critters out. A yard of product can be put to practical use for several months. Spray vegetable plants, shrubbery, or lawns with a mixture of two teaspoons of cayenne pepper per one quart of water for best results.
Crush quite a few garlic pieces and sprinkle the paste around your yard to discourage groundhogs from digging up your garden. The strong smell will keep them away. Groundhogs are sensitive to garlic and won’t eat it, meaning you don’t have to worry about nosy critters ruining your plants.
Lavender and Other Herbs
To deter groundhogs from digging up your garden, you can plant some lavender around the area. This herb is extremely aromatic and makes them keep away. You’ll also find that the following herbs are equally effective in repelling these pests: sage, lemon balm, basil, thyme, oregano chives, rosemary, and mint,
Beaver vs. Groundhog
Juvenile beavers often look like groundhogs because they are in the same family of animals as squirrels and chipmunks. However, beavers are not rodents and have distinguishing characteristics that help identify them from other family members.
Beaver tracks are wider, and the hind feet are webbed. The Groundhog has individual toes, whereas a beaver builds its homes on the surface to keep predators from entering.
One of the first signs that groundhogs are around is their food source. They eat mostly green plants, fruits, vegetables, and insects. On the other hand, Beavers cut down trees, water towers, wood fences, and wood decking.
Gopher vs. Groundhog
To compare the differences between a pocket gopher and a groundhog, you first need to know what makes them different. Pocket gophers have a long snout that points high in the air, whereas groundhogs have a short snout that comes close to the earth. They also walk on two legs, whereas groundhogs walk on all four paws. Besides, pocket gophers do not hibernate, whereas groundhogs do.
Groundhogs and gophers are in the same family, but their lifestyles are very different. Both animals eat earthworms and insects, but they do it in very different ways. Groundhogs chew their food with their teeth, while gophers crush insects in their cheek pouches before eating them.
Groundhog Health Dangers
Groundhog bites can be very painful and can lead to serious health consequences. It is important to seek medical attention and do not try to treat these wounds on your own.
Tularemia is a rare disease that is especially prevalent among groundhogs. It can be transmitted to humans in many different ways. These symptoms range from minor to potentially dangerous.
This species of rodent is susceptible to rabies. In most cases, Groundhog will show no signs of the disease. If you notice any irrational behavior or unusual aggression, contact your local animal rescue organization immediately for testing.
That is a bacteriological infection spread by the bite of a Groundhog. It can be minor in early periods but can grow into severe signs. If you don’t treat properly, it can cause stiffness, reduced memory, neuropathy, and heart complications.
Benefits of Groundhog
Like most animals, groundhogs can cause some problems, but they’re also useful in the garden. They eat grubs and caterpillars that can be harmful to your vegetable plants. They’ll also aerate the soil and make a great compost pile.
Groundhogs are communal rodents, and they will often share their burrows with other animals. That can be good for groundhogs as it reduces the chances of them being eaten by predators.
Groundhog burrows are home to so many critters. The Groundhog might allow a fox, skunk, or raccoon to use its home, but this means the fox or skunk won’t try to break into your home.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the best repellent or deterrent to stop groundhogs from eating your garden?
Groundhog repellent is the secret you need to keep your garden safe from the most destructive animals. Available in both chemical and natural forms, each repellent has its benefits. Chemical repellents use the urine of groundhog predators to deter them; meanwhile, natural repellents use castor oil, garlic, or hair clippings to keep away these pesky critters.
Do Ultrasonic repellers work protecting the garden from groundhogs?
Ultrasonic repellers are a great way to repel animals from your vegetable garden or house without the use of harmful chemicals. These repellers can be used on various animals such as raccoons, skunks, rats, mice, deer, and even insects.
Although ultrasonic repellers are less expensive than the other two methods, they might not be very effective. You should still install them in your garden if you want to cover all bases and prevent animal damage. Although they are less effective, it’s better to be safe than repentant.
What attracts groundhogs to the lawn?
Groundhogs are attracted to yards with vegetables such as carrots, beans, and corn. If there is a place that grows fruits like apples, cherries, and berries, they will also come over to your yard.
What do groundhogs eat?
One benefit of groundhogs is that they eat pests. They also eat vegetables such as peas, grasses, tomatoes, and carrot tops. Groundhogs are a specific type of animal (rodent) that can destroy your garden if they go out of control eating your plants.
What do woodchucks hate the most?
Groundhogs are a lot like us. They hate it when people step on their feet, and they don’t like the rain.
They do not like the smell of salt, pepper, and garlic. To prevent them from disturbing your vegetable garden, sprinkle salt or garlic across the garden and let it sit there for a few days. Garlic also repels dogs, which will keep them out of your garden.
What does a groundhog sound like?
Groundhogs are famous for their braying and chattering sounds. They also communicate through scent glands and barking and growling.
Will groundhogs leave on their own?
Groundhogs are born blind, hairless, and helpless, but they mature and leave their burrows to look for a mate in only three months. Groundhog mating season lasts from March through April. After the mating season is over, groundhogs return to being solitary creatures.
Will mothballs keep groundhogs away?
Groundhogs are not afraid of mothballs. Even when they are doused in strong ammonia, they don’t run away. Groundhogs can be scared away with stronger deterrents, such as trapping or spraying fire ants (which will smell just like mothballs).
What animal kills groundhogs?
Many predators prey upon groundhogs, including foxes, bobcats, dogs, coyotes, and hawks. As well as predation from above, they are also at risk from humans as motor vehicles hit them on a regular basis.
Will a BB gun kill woodchucks?
You may tempt to shoot them. However, some laws regulate what types of weapons you can use for killing groundhogs, and the BB gun is not one of them. A .177 caliber pellet in the headworks best on rabbits and woodchucks.
Is it right to kill woodchucks?
Hunting licenses are not required to kill a groundhog. A groundhog that is causing damage to one’s home foundation is permitted to be killed. It is important to note that killing a groundhog is permitted if it is causing damages to your property.
Can a groundhog kill a dog?
Groundhogs are nocturnal and shy animals that do not like to initiate any fights. If a groundhog has the chance to run away, it will do so. It will not attack a dog, and it will quickly hide in its burrow.
Does baking soda kill groundhogs?
Regrettably, there are no home remedies to get rid of ants or groundhogs. You can create a trap that will draw them away from your property, but it’s not going to kill them.
Will woodchucks attack humans?
Groundhogs are famous for being mischievous and dangerous. We’re used to groundhogs attacking us, and we have to be careful around them all the time.
Are groundhogs out at night?
Groundhogs are nocturnal (active at night) from late spring to late fall. Most activity occurs at night when groundhogs emerge from their burrows to gather food.
Will Irish Spring soap keep groundhogs away?
The two main ingredients in Irish Spring soap are fat and sodium percarbonate. Both of these ingredients repel groundhogs.
Irish Spring is an effective repellent against groundhogs. A bar of soap should be hung from a post or fence to scare off groundhogs and prevent them from digging up the lawn or eating the plants.
How many woodchucks live in a burrow?
A groundhog can dig up to 700-900 pounds of dirt over one year, and they live in multiple dens that they move around as needed.
How many years does a groundhog live?
The average lifespan of a groundhog is six years. They can live for a very long time in captivity, even up to 14 years.
Do male and female groundhogs shed up?
Both male and female woodchucks have a tendency to live in the same places all over the year. Females have distinctive territories that they use throughout the year. In the late spring and early summer, females will expand their territories to find a mate and establish a new territory.
And that’s all, folks! Your garden is an important place of rest for you and your family. It’s a space where you can relax and enjoy time spent together. Just as important as a great garden is protecting it from pests and animals. You can either take action if you spot signs or, every once in a while, set aside a few hours to protect the garden from the beginning.
Groundhogs wreak havoc when tearing up gardens. These animals dig large holes that can destroy a garden bed. Their tunnels and caves tend to cause foundation breaks, too, because they’re large enough for them to go through. Groundhogs will chew on any wire in their way, as well.
After reading this article, you know the how’s and why’s of keeping groundhogs out of a garden or yard. After all, it’s not enough to know what to do — you need to know why and how to do it.
Now you have a few actionable steps to follow. All you need to do is follow your instincts and quickly deal with any groundhog issues that may arise.
Also, we share an info-graphic and explains how to keep groundhogs out of your garden or yard. If you like this info-graphic, please feel free to share it on your social media with your friends and family.
Have a nice day!