You’ve probably seen those cute little groundhogs in your yard and garden. And if you’re like most people, you’ve probably wondered how to get rid of them.
While shooting them with a pellet gun may be the first thing that comes to mind, there are a few humane and natural ways to control these furry creatures. In this article, we’ll explore a few of the options that are available to you.
Groundhogs, or woodchucks, are closely related to squirrels . They can be brown, tan, or gray and typically grow to be 16 to 20 inches long. They also have short, stocky legs and broad heads with small eyes and ears.
What Do Groundhogs Eat?
Groundhogs are primarily herbivores, which means their diet mostly consists of plants. They’ll eat anything, from grass and berries to tree bark and roots. Think clovers, dandelions, garden fruits, vegetables, etc., and they’ll eat them all.
They will also eat insects if they run out of food options.
How to Get Rid of Groundhogs Naturally
If you think you have a groundhog problem, there are a few things (home remedies and more) you can employ to remove them from your yard and garden naturally.
1. Epsom Salt
One of the natural groundhog repellents is Epsom salt. Here’s how it works: all you need to do is sprinkle a little bit of Epsom salt around the areas where you’ve seen the groundhogs, and then they’ll start to lick it up.
Sprinkle it at various corners in your yard and around plants. They hate the taste of it, and eventually they’ll move on. It might take a little while, but it’s worth a try.
And if you’re not too keen on the idea of putting salt around your garden, don’t worry; Epsom salt is not like table salt. It is good for the garden.
2. Kitty Litter and Predator Urine
You may have heard that kitty litter can be used to keep groundhogs away. And it’s true—it is effective in repelling these creatures.
Place some used kitty litter in your backyard near the entrance of the groundhog holes. The pests will smell the kitty litter and decide to go somewhere else.
Just apply it around the perimeter of your garden to deter the groundhogs. They fear predators such as coyotes and foxes. They also hate the smell of human urine.
3. Motion Detector Devices
Another safe and more humane solution to this problem is to use a motion detector device. These gadgets emit a loud noise when the pest approaches, which will scare it away.
And the best part is that they’re really easy to use—just place them near their entrances and wait for the groundhogs to leave.
You can find a wide variety of motion detector devices on the market, so there’s sure to be one that’s right for your needs.
4. Row Covers
These are thin sheets of flexible fabric that you can use to cover your plants to keep the groundhogs out. They work because the groundhogs will be denied access to your crops, so they’ll avoid your garden altogether.
5. Chicken Wire Fences
Chicken wire fences are effective because groundhogs can’t climb them if you make them high enough. Another thing you can do is bury the chicken wire a few inches into the ground so they can’t tunnel under it.
However, make sure you check the fence regularly to make sure there aren’t any gaps where the groundhogs can get through. If there are, then close them up as soon as possible.
You can buy or make a trap yourself. The key is to make sure it’s sturdy and won’t fall over or have an easy escape route; otherwise, the groundhog will just get away.
And don’t forget to bait the trap! I find that a piece of fruit or a small amount of peanut butter work well. Even better, you can purchase professional lures and baits such as Pro-Pest or Tomahawk CH.
The Tomahawk Extra Large Trap is a good groundhog removal tool. Moreover, it is very sturdy and will last a long time.
Place the trap in an area where you’ve seen evidence of the critters, and wait for them to take the bait. You can then decide what you want to do with the ones you’ve caught!
You could also try using a scarecrow to deter groundhogs.
Scarecrows are a tried-and-true method for scaring away pests, and they work especially well on groundhogs.
You can buy them pre-made or make your own out of an old t-shirt, some hay, and a few other odds and ends. Just make sure you place your scarecrow in an area where the groundhogs are likely to see it.
You could also sprinkle vinegar near areas where groundhogs are a nuisance. It will get rid of them because they find the scent of it repulsive.
9. Castor Oil
Put a little bit of castor oil on a cotton ball and place it near the entrance of the burrow. The smell will ward them off, and they will eventually leave.
10. Hair Clippings
When it comes to getting rid of woodchucks, many people recommend using hair clippings. And it makes sense, right? These pests are scared of humans, so if they see someone around their territory, they’re likely to run away.
Ask your friends and family if they’re willing to donate hair. You can also reach out to your local barbershop or salon.
Once you have a good supply of hair clippings, it’s time to start spreading them around the territory of the groundhogs.
Believe it or not, garlic is a natural woodchuck repellent. Just take a few cloves of garlic and crush them. Next, scatter it where the groundhogs are burrowing. It won’t kill them, but it will make them leave.
Garlic repels certain animals because of its strong smell, and groundhogs are no exception.
12. Cayenne Pepper
Here’s how it works: The pepper is so spicy that the smell of it irritates the groundhog, and it wants to get away from it as fast as possible.
So all you have to do is sprinkle some cayenne pepper around the areas where the critters are hanging out, and they’ll be gone in no time.
You can also make a homemade groundhog repellent spray by mixing one tablespoon of hot sauce in a quart of water. Shake well and spray this pepper spray at problem areas.
13. Clean Up Yard
The best way to keep these critters out of your yard is to make sure it’s clean and free of debris.
Groundhogs also like to make their homes in areas that are sheltered, so removing piles of leaves from under trees and junk in the yard will help discourage them from coming around.
14. Talcum Powder
Another groundhog control remedy is to spread talcum powder around the entrances to their burrows. They like to dig holes under sheds, houses, or porches.
Talcum powder works because they don’t like the scent of it and will eventually go somewhere else to live. Reapply the powder every few days, especially if it rains.
15. Agricultural Lime
Agricultural lime will also help deter groundhogs from coming near.
So how do you use it? It’s pretty simple. Just sprinkle it around the edges of your garden and at the entrance of a groundhog burrow.
It will burn their feet when they step on it.
16. Repellent Plants
When it comes to repelling groundhogs, certain plants work perfectly well.
Mint is a big one. These animals can’t stand the smell, so plant some mint around your garden to keep them at bay.
Other groundhog-repellent plants include rosemary, sage, oregano, thyme, basil, and chives. They hate the smell of these plants as well, so planting them in your backyard or around your garden is a good way to keep them away.
17. Bobbex-R Animal Repellent
Another commercial option to try is Bobbex-R. This stuff is an earth-friendly spray that you can use at the entrance to any burrows or holes.
As you can see, there are many natural ways to get rid of pesky groundhogs without killing them. It all starts with making sure you’re not providing them with the things they need to survive and thrive in your backyard.
Try out the methods mentioned above and see what works best for you.