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 some mothballs down the hole.
- 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.