Banishing Groundhogs From Your Garden

Unless you want to be a Groundhog Day host to learn how many more weeks there are of winter, then I would assume that you want to rid your property of groundhogs.

Unfortunately, as there are mixtures like baking soda and confectioner sugar with a dash of water that can rid your property of ants, there are no kitchen solution remedies to get rid of groundhogs. It’s really up to you to be proactive and do some heavy lifting.

Perhaps the best way to get rid of groundhogs is to set traps. You can create lethal traps meant to kill groundhogs. However, guessing that you want to treat the little critters humanely, most people suggest that you trap them alive and then take them some miles away from your home and release them.

What Are Groundhogs

A groundhog.
(Courtesy: JRGold88 at flickr.com)

Also known as woodchucks, groundhogs are small rodents that live in the ground. They can climb trees and swim so they can adapt to just about any environment. Although for the most part, they commonly keep to themselves, they do love vegetable gardens and will no doubt ravish yours if given the opportunity. They love to eat vegetables and vegetable roots. Since they can burrow underground it is not uncommon for them to attack roots causing your plants to die.

Trapping and then releasing them some distance from your home may be the best way to deal with them.

Traps

It is suggested that you do a little research to prepare for capturing groundhogs. For example, there may be some regulations in your state involving the relocation of wildlife. It is also recommended that you wear gloves to avoid your scent from getting on the trap.

You can purchase large cage traps that are designed to capture raccoons. These traps are generally 10-inches by 12-inches by 30-inches. Bait the trap with fruits or vegetables. Many gardeners recommend cantaloupe. Place the bait as far into the trap as possible to entice a groundhog to fully enter the cage. Place a brick on top of the cage to avoid the groundhog from rolling it over as it struggles.

Be sure to camouflage the trap. This can be achieved by placing sticks, dirt and leaves around and inside the cage. Once camouflaged, set the trap and let nature take its course.

Check the trap regularly. It is said that these critters don’t like to be confined. If kept in a trap for a fairly long period of time, they can injure themselves.

When you discover that you’ve caught one, then you should transport it 20-miles or so from your home and then release it. The critters like fields, meadows or wooded areas.

A Fence

If you don’t want to trap them, then consider ways that will prevent them from getting to your garden. One method is to construct a fence around your garden. Keep in mind that groundhogs can climb and burrow. So you want the fence to be high enough so that one can’t climb over and deep enough into the ground so that it can’t burrow under.

It is suggested that you use a wire fence with openings that are no larger than 3-inches. The fence should reach a height of about 3-feet to 4-feet and should go as deep as 2-feet under the ground. Bend down the top of the fence so that it is difficult to climb and create an “L” shape underground.

Make Your Property Less Inviting

To have success in keeping groundhogs away it is probably best to make your property less inviting to them. This can be achieved by:

· Harvesting vegetables as soon as possible.
· Removing brush and piles of rock from the property so they are more exposed.
· Trim out overgrown foliage.
· Remove tree trunks that they can use to grind down their teeth.
· Fill in abandoned burrows with rocks, gravel or a cement cap.
· Sprinkle the plants of the garden with Epsom salts.

Scare Them

Groundhogs are scared of predators like dogs and cats. However, if you don’t have a pet or don’t want one, then there is an alternative of using a Scarecrow motion activated sprinkler. Groundhogs don’t like water. A Scarecrow motion activated sprinkler will burst water on to a groundhog that comes within 1000-feet of it. The splashing will get the groundhog to run away and never come back. It is an ideal way to train groundhogs to stay away from your property

Fumigation

Whenever I think of fumigation as a method of getting rid of groundhogs I immediately think of Bill Murray in Caddy Shack as he tries this to get rid of a groundhog that is tormenting him. If you have seen the movie, then you know that it didn’t end well.

Still, this method is a popular one. Fumigation products use gas cartridges that produce carbon monoxide of they feature aluminum phosphide pellets. Fumigation should take place in the spring (late April or early May) before young groundhogs leave their nests. Just seal the product into the burrows. There may be laws that could limit or even ban the use of this method where you live. So it is suggested that you check with a local conservation officer before you use this tactic.

About Robert Janis

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Written by Robert Janis for LawnEq - Your specialists for Lawn Mower Parts and Small Engine Parts. We offer genuine premium OEM parts for Land Pride, Toro and many more dependable manufacturers.

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