How to Stop a Woodchuck Invasion

Cynthia Dermody
Home & Garden

Summer Survival Guide

groundhog control

The face of evil.


You may call them groundhogs. Woodchuck, groundhog, they are both one in the same, and a whole hungry family of them are living somewhere in my yard right now. Still a better name would be gardenhogs. Those chubby squirrels absolutely leveled my flower garden last week.

Flats of impatiens, black-eyed susans, echinacea, hostas, gerbera daisies. Buckets of money. All gone.

The other day, they actually came close to the house and snacked on the herb pot of Italian parsley I had growing nicely. So I moved the pot to the top by the door. Last night the little suckers topped it all off, ruining my plans for herb rubbed grilled pork chops this week. Grrr.

I've been down this road before and there is little hope, I'm afraid. Woodchucks are hard to get rid of. There are several methods to try, most of which I would not recommend:

  • Repellents Sprinkle little granules of stuff that's supposed to be or smell like fox pee (foxes and woodchucks hate eat other) around your plants and the hole they live in (if you can find it). But if there's enough dirt around those areas, the things will just shovel it around and dilute the smell with their big ugly claws.
  • Traps We snared a chuck once. Tip: A groundhog caught unwittingly in a Havaheart is not cute and cuddly. It is a snarling, scary, unusually strong demon beast. No way I was going near that thing with a 20-foot pole. It became a non-issue when the creature managed to flip the cage over and wriggle its way out anyway.
  • Fumigation and shotguns Fumigation refers to little gas cartridges filled with carbon monoxide or other toxic fumes that you're supposed to chuck into the chuck's hole. And guns, well ... Neither of them the humane option, for sure, and not for us. But, oh, do I fantasize at times ...
  • Screaming children This is the method we're trying right now. Every time the kids spot the hogs out back, my son and daughter bee line it after them in their best, loudest monster voices. Those hogs head for the hills. We're hoping they'll soon become so terrified they will move out for good. Think it will work?

How do you keep groundhogs and woodchucks out of your garden? Are there any other humane methods of controlling them?

Read More