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How To Make Groundhogs Leave Your Property

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Groundhogs, otherwise known as woodchucks, are frequent visitors in yards and gardens in the northern half of the U.S. They may be lovable and furry to look at, but these seemingly innocent woodland creatures pose serious threats to your property. In fact, they will mercilessly munch on your veggies until completely destroying your garden and making holes all over it. 

Imagine preparing your planting beds and carefully adding seedlings or transplants, only to have these ravenous backyard interlopers to wipe out your garden with their voracious appetite! Does that horrible scenario sound familiar to you? Then you should know that there are ways to make these critters leave your home. Facing the groundhog problem? Read on for some useful tips on identifying woodchucks and keeping them out of your sweet home. 

What Exactly Are Woodchucks & How to Detect One?

Groundhogs, also referred to as woodchucks or whistle pigs — are rodents. If every day is Groundhog Day in your backyard, you’ll definitely agree with the statement that these furry creatures are the peskiest garden invaders. Even skunks wreak less havoc compared to these gluttonous pests. 

The worst thing about these monstrous furballs is that they are binge eaters who will have a blast obliterating your garden in the blink of an eye. They are good at climbing, swimming, and... digging burrows that can destroy your entire lawn and garden. Want to know how to detect the presence of groundhogs in your veggie garden? Here are some good indicators:

  • an up to twelve inches wide hole in the ground with piles of dirt around;
  • tomatoes with bites in them lying around;
  • the leafy tops of your carrots viciously eaten.

How to avoid woodchuck invasion and protect your home? Below, you’ll find 5 methods of keeping groundhogs at bay without having to resort to weaponized means.


1. Groundhog Traps 

Now that you’ve identified woodchucks and detected their presence in your garden, it’s time to catch and remove them. Start by locating the pests’ burrows and sealing all of them except one. Then set groundhog traps right next to this burrow with bait inside. When the animal reaches out for the yummies, the door will lock it inside. After that, you can remove the chunky veggie-stealing monster from your area.

Catch-and-release is a powerful and humane method. Safety is paramount here. So, put on sturdy gloves and carry the trap by its handles. Check the traps often to set the frightened whistle pig free as soon as possible.


2. Metal Fencing

Protecting your home from woodchucks does require some skills and practice, but it’s feasible. Don’t even try to fully enclose your garden with plastic netting, for chewing right through it will be as easy as pie for the furry binge eaters. Instead, opt for metal fencing. Bury the bottom edge of the fence a foot below the ground without securing the top 15 inches of the fence to the post. That way, you will prevent these tenacious rodents from both digging under the fence and climbing over it.


3. Offensive Scents

Looking for even safer ways to intimidate groundhogs? Make the most of the smells these pesky marmots hate the most. If you use these scents near their holes, your uninvited ever-munching guests will pack and leave in a flash:

  • garlic: try crushing garlic cloves and spreading the paste around your garden, this is sure to make the animals’ sensitive noses turn away from your veggies in disgust;
  • cayenne pepper: pouring cayenne pepper near the furry beasts’ holes is a nice idea. Additionally, mix two teaspoons of cayenne pepper with four cups of water and spray your plants with this ‘magic potion.’ As a result, woodchucks will refuse to nibble on your veggies. Reapply in case it’s rainy or windy outside;
  • lavender: plant lavender. You’ll enjoy the smell, while your cute-yet-destructive little ‘friends’ will hate it. Oregano, rosemary, and mint are among the alternative scents that your furry home invaders can’t stand;
  • human hair: you’ll be surprised but woodchucks also detest the smell of human (and cat) hair. So, just spread human hair clippings where your furry invaders hang out most often and wait until the pests leave without even saying buh-bye. 


4. Scare ‘em Away

Groundhogs get scared and nervous easily in case new objects appear in their usual environment. So, just place awkward visual stimuli in close proximity to the affected areas. Mylar balloons or beach balls will get the job done. Another method involves the installation of a motion-sensitive sprinkler right where the woodchucks steal your precious veggies. Of course, getting sprayed with a stream of water will keep the pesky tomato eaters at bay. No toxic chemicals, just water and some fear! Additionally, ultrasonic noise and vibrations work great when it comes to scaring woodchucks away. 


5. Prevention

Proper landscape maintenance prevents woodchucks from making themselves at home near your home in the first place. Clear away brush piles, tall grass, overgrown shrubs, woodpiles, and other places where these always-hungry pests hide from predators. That way, you’ll make the groundhogs set out in search of a new, safer home. Also, get rid of dandelions and clover (woodchucks’ favorite lawn weeds). That way, you will increase your chances of making the chunky rodents go away. Last but not least, remove any tree stumps from your garden. This will deprive your uninvited guests from the wood source for grinding their choppers upon. Bad, bad, boring, stinky hooman!


Bottom Line: Opt for Humane Methods

Groundhogs spend most of their time inside their holes. They only show up a few hours during the day to find yummies. When they are on the prowl for goodies, they do their best to stay away from humans (rabies-infected woodchucks are an exception). With that said, make sure you opt for the most humane methods to keep the furry hungry monsters at bay. They do make a nuisance of themselves, but they are hardly ever purposefully aggressive. 








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