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groundhog / woodchuck control

 
                                    
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Hi, everyone.

I'm new to permaculture--so new, in fact, that so far I've only read about it; I haven't actually planted anything.

I have a groundhog / woodchuck problem. So far, I've successfully used a chicken-wire fence to keep them out of my vegetable patch, but I'm planning to expand the patch and am loath to expand the fence as well. I could, of course, trap them, shoot them, or gas them (the last only with difficulty, as their burrow entrances are somewhere amid many piles of junk in the 1' crawlspace under the barn). But I was inspired by Toby Hemenway's story in "Gaia's Garden" about keeping deer out of his yard using a thorny hedge, and I wonder if anyone here has any experience with similarly benign, low-tech methods of woodchuck control.

I live in Maine, zone 5A/B.

Many thanks,
permanoob
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 8977
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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If you do decide to shoot or trap them, I hope you will eat them ( from a non-wasteful, circle of life sort of philosophy):

http://wildliferecipes.net/game_recipes/Small_game_recipes/Woodchuck_recipes/index.asp

We used to have troubles with armadillos digging into my gardens, but they seem to stay away from the house and garden area now we have a dog who patrols the yard. 
 
Bull norris
Posts: 50
Location: Chanute Kansas
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Great recipes. i trap and eat almost everything .
But if you cant , cheep hot pepper's ,fine ground and dust the holes and runs.
They hate aluminum pie pans hanging from a string . Spinning and banging
 
                                    
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Love it! Thank you, both.

If I shoot them, I will eat them. If I trap them, I will relocate them. Pie pans are a good idea.

Anyone know if they will find their way through a thorny hedge? Or if there are any plants that stink enough to scare them (but not me) off?
 
                      
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I have seen them dig under a concrete shop floor, and chew into a building; I doubt a hedge would do much. My uncle owned an old ice house that was turned into his cabinet shop, and a gopher got into the back room through the concrete floor. I think the floor must have been pretty degraded, but it was concrete. I still can't figure out how he got into that room, but he sure made a mess with the dirt he pulled in.

There are some nastier (but easier) ways to deal with gophers as well. If you can't shoot them or trap them, then post again, and I'll respond with these solutions. They work the first time, but are not humane and could be dangerous if you have kids or dogs. I'm hesitant to recommend them, but gophers can be very destructive and there are times when they have to go ASAP (like if they're digging in an earthen dam).

Anyway, good luck.
 
                                    
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That's some gopher . Groundhogs are bigger than gophers, so I have more hope of keeping them out with a tight hedge than I would gophers. Like gophers, of course, they do tunnel, but my fence is buried 1' underground, and that has kept them out so far.

I was thinking of sinking a 2' wide strip of 1/2" hardware cloth 1' down, leaving 1' aboveground, and planting a thorny bramble along the line of the screen--something that could be woven into a really tight thorny mess a couple of feet tall, like a sort of barbed English hedgerow. Dunno if it would work, but I'm tempted to try. Any ideas re weavable thorny hedge species for Maine zone 5A/5B?
 
                      
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Meant to say ground hog, not gophers, my mistake.
 
                                
Posts: 49
Location: Elmira, ny
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I have lived in places with groundhogs but have not ever had predation on my veggies, and I THINK it's because I use a foliar fertilizer of liquid kelp. I also tend to keep my lawn long; they seem to prefer broadleaf weeds, which I always have plenty of. A groundhog lives under my neighbor's shed, and although it has taken out all of his cabbage babies at one swipie, it has not ever touched my cabbage babies or any of my vegs. I have seen it placidly gnawing on a weed leaf a couple feet from my garden but not coming into it. I have no fence or dog. The only thing I can think of is the foliar spray. I think they must not like the taste and/or smell.

Meadow voles are a whole 'nother story...
 
                          
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I went so far as to cook one once.  It smelled nasty and I didn't eat it.  Maybe if you soaked it in salt water for a few days, ground it and made heavily spiced sausage, then fed it to the dog....

Dan
 
                      
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Huisjen wrote:
I went so far as to cook one once.  It smelled nasty and I didn't eat it.  Maybe if you soaked it in salt water for a few days, ground it and made heavily spiced sausage, then fed it to the dog....

Dan




I remember my grand Father telling me about eating a muskrat once. He trapped for money during WWII, and his dad cooked one up for him, said he "returned it" on the walk home!
 
Bull norris
Posts: 50
Location: Chanute Kansas
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Rats are 17.50 a half in the fine rr in la.
 
Rob Sigg
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Location: PA-Zone 6
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Depending on how much food they have available to them naturally will determine how aggressive they are with your food. If you just used chickenwire, then my guess is they arent that desparate for food or else they would have dug right under. I had really good success with a 2 rows deep of garlic planted very close together, like 3 inches or less. Im not going to say this is a silver bullet but it does work. In fact two of them burrowed under my fence and stopped short of eating my greens, they didnt go past the garlic. It was almost like there as an invisible fence. I live out in the country so they have plenty to eat, so my guess is it wasn't worth their trouble. GL!
 
Christopher Davies
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Someone on Reddit posted this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNMqw_7VcQM

It's of a guy who uses a fake snake to scare off birds from his seedlings. They suggested it might be effective against groundhogs. I'm going to try it soon and I'll post back the result.
 
Kj Koch
Posts: 20
Location: Jersey Shore PA
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I'm putting a rubber snake in the garden when I get home from this camping trip thanks!
 
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