Tips for Repelling Groundhogs

If you've read the $64 Tomato, you probably shook with laughter reading the parts about “Superchuck.” If you’ve had a groundhog or woodchuck in your yard, you know it is no laughing matter. If you care about your flowers, fruits and vegetables, you need to have ways to repel woodchucks and groundhogs. There are many different methods, from physical or sonic barriers, traps and scent barriers.

To understand which repellents work the best, you first need to understand groundhogs. Knowing their behavior, and food preferences will help you eradicate and repel groundhogs from your garden.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Groundhogs

"We had a groundhog move into the neighborhood and eating everyone's plants to the ground. One of our neighbors purchased your Groundhog Repellent and it was so effective we've all started using it to! It's been working here, thank you."

Mary B.

Groundhogs burrow into the ground, slipping there, hibernating and rearing young. They can move up to 35 cubic feet of soil when digging their burrows. That, in and of itself, can be destructive, depending upon where they decide to put the burrow.

Groundhogs do go into a true hibernation state. That gives gardeners a bit of respite, though the warmer the area where you live, the shorter the hibernation. Additionally, in order to sustain themselves for the long winter, groundhogs will indulge in an eating binge to bulk up. That can be disastrous for gardens at the peak of ripeness!

Groundhogs breed at the age of two. The breeding season starts in March, after hibernation. Baby groundhogs (generally 4-6 per litter) are born after a 28 to 32 day gestation period. They are weaned and ready to wreak havoc on their own at six weeks.

The preferred habitat of groundhogs and woodchucks is in open areas with good line of sight. The destruction of forests has provided much more habitat for groundhogs, allowing for explosive population growth.

Woodchucks are vegetarians, but beyond that, they do not have a discriminating palette. They will eat leaves, soft fruits, vegetables - anything green. Peas, beans, corn, and field crops like clover and alfalfa also make tasty snacks.

They are almost completely resistant to trapping. You can potentially trap a woodchuck in a trap baited with lettuce sprinkled with real vanilla extract. In some states, it is not legal t release a woodchuck anywhere but on your own property, which more or less defeats the purpose of trapping.

Groundhogs and woodchucks are excellent climbers and swimmers. That makes keeping them out via fences difficult.

Repelling and Excluding Groundhogs

You can repel and exclude groundhogs. Here are some of the most effective and humane methods. (A common commercial tactic for getting rid of groundhogs is to fumigate. We don’t find that to be a humane method of control.)

"Finally got rid of our groundhog under the shed. It took awhile but with your encouragement and Groundhog Repellent he's gone!"

Cecil D. GA

Scare with Hair

Groundhogs do not like people, and sometimes the smell of humans is enough to scare them away. You can sprinkle human hair or throw old clothes and shoes around the garden as repellents.

Season to Taste

Sprinkle ground red pepper on plants you would prefer woodchucks not eat. They might take a bite, but they are unlikely to keep eating, as they will not like the taste.

Stink them Out

Groundhogs do not like the smell of human urine. A gross, but highly effective repellent is to collect urine in milk jugs and pour a bit at the entrance to the burrow every few days.

Block Groundhogs with a Fence

You can, sometimes, build a fence that will keep groundhogs out. An above-ground option is to erect a fence that is L-shaped, with the portion along the ground extending one or two feet out away from the garden. You can also erect a fence that extends at least three feet into the ground to keep them from digging around.

Or, you can use I Must Garden Groundhog Repellent

If the thought of saving your own, ahem, repellent is, well, repugnant, consider using I Must Garden’s groundhog repellent. It is a non-toxic and pleasant repellent that will keep groundhogs and woodchucks out of your garden. You simply re-apply once a month or so, and your garden will remain woodchuck-free.

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