Buy the 2015 Old Farmer's Almanac!


Your rating: None Average: 3.6 of 5 (17 votes)

Woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, can be devastating to a garden and there are few remedies that work. 

How to Identify Woodchucks

The woodchuck or groundhog is a large furry rodent that is brown with a bushy tail, small ears, short legs, and curved claws. It looks a bit like a runaway fur coat as it waddles back to its burrow in fright.

This critter can grow to be about 3 feet long and can weigh up to 14 pounds. They eat everything from flowers to vegetables. Favorite foods include alfalfa, clover, peas, beans, lettuce, and cole crops.

See any deep tunnels in your yard, under your deck, or near your foundation? You may have a woodchuck or groundhog; they dig burrows to live in and the entrances are usually 10 to 12 inches wide with the excavated soil spread around the entrances. There are usually 2 or 3 entrances.

Woodchucks/groundhogs eat mostly during the early morning and afternoon, so try to see when your garden is receiving the most damage. These creatures will also gnaw and claw at fruit trees, so check your trees for any such marks.

How to Get Rid of Woodchucks

  • Get a big dog.
  • Plant a line of garlic near the woodchuck's entrance.
  • Sprinkle blood meal or talcum powder around the perimeter of your garden. You can try using hair clippings as well.
  • The best deterrant is a fence--a small mesh wire fence dug over a foot into the ground as the critters will try to burrow underneath it. Since woodchucks are agile, make sure the fence is at least 3 feet high.
  • Eliminate woodpiles and other places where groundhogs nest.
  • Unfortunately, one extension agent admits, "I don't know of a single remedy other than shooting, clubbing, or trapping.  Set humane traps and release them in a location far from home.

Related Articles


We have a Ground hog who has

By DebB

We have a Ground hog who has built a nest on the edge of our garage in the garden. The garage has a cement floor. I assume it has tunnelled underneath. We have not found an exit other than the one hole but have seen it "grazing" over at the neighbours on either side of us. I don't really want to kill it and would even be willing to just leave it be except that I am worried it might undermine my garage. Talk about dogs, I have two small ones, a Shihpoo and a Maltshi. They are interested, but don't have much affect on the ground hog although they get lots of fun out of barking in its direction. My question narrows down to the effect on the garage.

It is possible in certain

By Almanac Staff

It is possible in certain cases for a groundhog tunnel to undermine a foundation and/or cause cracks. You might want to try repelling the groundhog, to encourage it to find a home elsewhere. You can try sprinkling dried fox or coyote urine (available at garden centers or online) around the hole. Or, try motion-detector sprinklers (also available at garden centers or online) or pinwheels around the entrance. You can also try filling the hole with dirt; each time the animal may reopen it (or one nearby), but might eventually give up and move on. Usually there is at least one other entrance or exit hole, so try to find that one too (tunnels can extend 25 to 40 feet). As a last resort, you can hire an animal pest control expert to live trap it and remove it from your home. (Laws vary in cities and states as to doing this on your own; always use caution when dealing with a wild animal.)

The statement from the

By f

The statement from the extension agent refferred to above needs to get into a different line of business. That person is a like a teacher who hates kids. The compassion is gone for all nature as well as animals.
Pretty sad how we have progressed.

Apparently, you have never

By Tall Adventurer

Apparently, you have never watched enough nature shows to realize just how predatory nature really is.

In addition, "nature" is territorial, and even groundhogs will fight and even kill other groundhogs to protect their property. Groundhogs also will attack if cornered, which can happen by just startling them. When in my yard where my grandchildren play ... not acceptable.

So, I should capture them and dump them where someone else has the problem, or where they have to fight because they are intruding on another hogs territory?

Pretty sad how some think rodents have the same value as human beings.

I just picked up an injured

By Mittmah

I just picked up an injured groundhog a few days ago and it made absolutely no attempt to 'attack'.. smh. You say they are in YOUR yard when in actuality the animals were living there first and you have intruded on their land. I am glad my 4 year old niece is being raised to have compassion for all animals and is not being falsely told by adults that a groundhog or squirrel is going to attack her. What's not acceptable is you killing wildlife and teaching cruelty to children.

I can understand your

By Diamonddoodle on March 7

I can understand your concern. I also dislike killing of any kind. You were very lucky you didn't get bitten. Woodchucks, like other rodents can carry rabies. please get rid of them and do not let your granddaughter anywhere around wild animals. Rabies is most painful and doesn't always end good.

U say fence,dogs,urine

By Donna L

U say fence,dogs,urine ect.Then y my dog have huge holes in her 30x30 dog pen and she just killed one in her pen?????.Now what can i do?ty

What can I use to repel

By Marie Knobel

What can I use to repel ground hogs that is safe for chickens to get into. We eat our hen eggs so I don't want us or the chickens to get sick. Our persistent groundhog found the new location of squash (all types). We do have a 4 foot fence but alas it is not buried.

It is my personal experience


It is my personal experience that there are only 3 things you can do with ground hogs;

#1) you live with them

#2) you shoot them for food-ONLY for food(good eating too!! there is a "how to" in farmer's Almanac)

#3) fence them off.
Fencing them off does not have to be expensive. In the farmer's almanac it says to put the fencing 10'' - 12'' in the ground...I say that is not enough...18" to 24" would be best, and if you are going to put fencing in the ground, it had better be a very strong type of fencing(IE:chain link is best).
Check around at fencing dealers & see if they have any chain link fencing they want to unload. Some times you can get this for free or super cheap.

My personal favorite way to deal with Ground Hogs is to have them for dinner. This keeps the Ground Hog population down, feeds the family & is good for the farm as a whole.

A mesh fence buried a foot

By Almanac Staff

A mesh fence buried a foot deep really is the best solution, but there are other options. Readers have told us that they've had luck with electric fencing. Have you tried the solutions above? Many of them are safe for chickens. Try planting a line of garlic near the entrance. Also, try spreading Grapefruit-sized clumps of dog and/or cat hair throughout planted areas. A dog or two would also help the situation. Best of luck!

Post new comment

Before posting, please review all comments. Due to the volume of questions, Almanac editors can respond only occasionally, as time allows. We also welcome tips from our wonderful Almanac community!

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

2015 Special Edition Garden GuideCooking Fresh with The Old Farmer's AlmanacThe Almanac Monthly Digital MagazineWhat the heck is a Garden Hod?