Woodchuck Control: How to Identify, Prevent and Get Rid of Woodchucks

Woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, are suburban mammals. They have the reputation of being amongst the most annoying pests in the garden. Whether it is flowers, fruits, or vegetables, among others, they are notorious eaters and can cause significant damages to a wide array of plants. To prevent frustration and to spare the garden from serious infestation, you should know about how to get rid of woodchucks.

This rodent, which has the scientific name of Marmota monax, belong to the same family as squirrels. The body of the adult will have an average weight of 22 to 27 inches. This excludes the tail, which will add 4 to 7 inches on its total length. The weight, on the other hand, can be approximately 5 to 10 pounds. They have short legs, flat head, and stocky body. Their body is covered with black to yellowish-brown fur. Another distinct characteristic of woodchucks is that they have thick claws. Another thing that you will easily notice from woodchucks are the two large teeth on the front. They will not stop growing, providing the woodchucks with the better ability to damage your plants.

Young Woodchuck

Young Woodchuck Looks Out from Inside Log

Woodchuck’s Habitat

Woodchucks can survive in many places, especially in locations where they will have an abundant supply of food. They love to be in open farms and woodlands. These animals are also common in the garden. They create burrows in wooden areas during winter and in agricultural fields or grassy areas during summer. They are also territorial, and hence, they become quite aggressive when other animals inhabit their shelter.

Identifying Woodchuck’s Damage

Plants Affected

Woodchucks are diurnal animals, which means that they are most active during the daytime. They eat the most in the morning and in the afternoon. Their diet consists of insects, eggs, and plants. They eat different parts of the plants. To be specific, some of the most common plants that it affects include alfalfa, dandelion, asters, lettuce, basil, beans, carrots, tomato, mulberry, cucumbers, dahlias, hibiscus, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and clover, among others.

Symptoms

Below are some of the most common signs that will give you an idea of the presence of woodchucks in the garden:

  • Among others, the most common is perhaps the appearance of holes and burrows on the ground. This is where they will seek protection from the weather and their predators. They can create burrows with a length of up to 50 feet and can have several entrances.
  • Gnawing is one of the things that makes woodchucks damaging. Pay attention to any part of the tree that appears to have been chewed. This is common in the bark, fruits, and leaves. Woodchucks can gnaw even outdoor furniture and decks.

Results of Infestation

There are many ways by which woodchucks can cause an infestation in the garden. For instance, their digging activity can affect the physical appearance of the lawn, making it unattractive. This can also restrict the flow of water and essential nutrients on the other parts of the plant because it can damage the roots. Because of their strong teeth, they can gnaw even the hard bark of a tree. The economic losses may be insignificant if the population is small. But when the damage is severe, there are some crops that will most probably end up being unmarketable.

Woodchucks Damage

Their Digging Activity Can Affect the Physical Appearance of the Lawn

How to Get Rid of Woodchucks

Natural and Organic Solutions

Below are some of the best solutions for the prevention and elimination of woodchucks in the garden:

  • Among others, you should make the garden less attractive for woodchucks. Do not give them any reason to be present in the yard. This will be possible by keeping the surroundings clean, making sure that it is free from wood debris and trash, among others that can offer protection for the animal.
  • Fencing is also a good way to get rid of woodchucks. However, keep in mind that they are strong climbers. With this, for the fence to be effective, see to it that the height is at least three feet, which will be hard for them to reach. Also, because they are heavy chewers, see to it that the material for the fence is strong enough.
  • There are also different types of repellents that can be effective in repelling woodchucks. You do not necessarily need to resort to those that contain toxic chemicals. Hot pepper and talcum powder are some of the best choices.
  • A lot of gardeners also consider trapping as a promising method of controlling the population of woodchucks. Before using traps, be familiar with the laws in your place and see to it that you will choose a method that abides with the existing rules and regulations. Choose traps that are humane. When you catch woodchucks, do not kill them. It will be better to release them in an area that is far from your home.
  • It will also be good to take advantage of frightening devices. Scarecrows, for instance, can create the illusion that there is someone guarding the garden, and hence, the woodchucks will stay away from the area. To be more effective, rotate the scarecrow every now and then. Transferring it to a new location will make it more effective in fooling woodchucks.
  • Another thing that you can do is to choose plants that woodchucks do not like. If you are going to plant host traps, keep them far from the garden. Some of the best examples of the plants that they do not eat include alliums, beets, chives, ferns, hyacinth, onion, and oregano, among others.

Chemical Solutions

For a long time now, many people consider the use of chemical pesticides as one of the best ways to get rid of unwanted animals in the garden. They contain ingredients that can paralyze the body of the woodchuck and will cause its death. There are some chemical products that will require professional application to yield the highest level of effectiveness. It is critical to pay attention to the warnings from the manufacturer because these chemicals can be toxic to other animals, humans, and the environment.

Fumigation is one of the quickest ways to get rid of woodchucks. Gaseous pesticides will help in poisoning the woodchuck. Some of the most common ingredients in fumigants include strychnine and methyl bromide. Keep in mind that these ingredients are harmful to humans upon inhalation. It is best to get in touch with professionals to do the job rather than attempting to complete it on your own.

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