With the recent Ground Hogs day celebration it bring to mind the destruction this fury beast can cause to a garden or backyard in a small amount of time. I have has a row of bean ruined in less than half an hour. And even if you do not garden, the ground hog holes can cause damage to buildings and it hurts when you fall in one.
Groundhogs have a large appetite and it’s rumored they never met a plant they didn’t like. Groundhogs will get used to your schedule and plan a “plant attack” late at night or when you’re not home.
Here are a few ideas to help if you have a groundhog infestation problem.
1. Visit your garden frequently. Frequent visits to your vegetable garden at random times of the day will scare the groundhogs… but not totally discourage them. Groundhogs love fresh small cabbage plants! I cover them when they are young.
2. Use scarecrows in your garden. The most successful scarecrows will make noise and move in the wind. This scares the groundhog. And as strange at it sounds a fresh change of clothes for the scarecrow will make a difference too. I also move the scarecrow around the garden.
You can use other items that will move in the wind such as wind chimes, pinwheels, balloons or streamers. These also scare the groundhog.
Motion-activated lights, radios left on near the garden, alarms and sprinklers will also work. Overall groundhogs want to be left alone so if your garden is a scary place, he will try to find an easier meal. But remember, the groundhog is persistent!
3. Use repellents. You can buy commercial repellents or create your own mix to keep groundhogs out of your garden. A homemade mix that works well is 1 tbs. hot sauce mixed into 1-gallon water. You can spray this along the perimeter of the garden and directly onto the plants. Just remember to wash you vegetables well.
4. Build a fence. The fence needs to be three or four feet high. You will also need to bury the fence about 1 foot deep. An alternative to burying the fence is to fold the fence away from the garden at the bottom. Extend the fencing along the surface of the ground for 6 to 12 inches. This will prevent them from being able to dig under the fence. This method also will scare rabbits away. They do not like the feel of the fencing on their feet.
Install a two-wire electric fence to keep groundhogs out of your garden. The bottom wire should be 1 to 4 inches off the ground, and the top wire should be 8 to 9 inches from the ground.
5. Change your gardening methods to raided bed gardens or container gardens. This is easier on the back, more versatile and frankly easier than maintaining a garden fence.
Groundhogs can be a garden menace. They are hard to keep out of the garden once they move in so the best way to keep groundhogs out of you garden and backyard is to use preventative methods.
TIP: one of the times the groundhog is most active is right after it rains. Groundhogs do not drink water; they get it from the plant or take it off plants when they are wet from a rain or heavy dew.