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  • Jacksonville Educational Article of the Month - Tips on warding off groundhogs

Tips on warding off groundhogs

Vegetable garden lovers are not comfortable when they hear the word `groundhogs’. These creatures can turn several months of hard labor and care in a garden into a mess within a matter of few hours. Some homeowners are tired of these rodents as they have found that a huge portion of their vegetable produce has been destroyed in their vegetable gardens. Groundhogs are famous for eating about a couple of pounds of vegetables in a single day. It takes them very little time to wipe out an entire Jacksonville garden.

Groundhogs can also disturb the structure of a backyard, particularly when they start to dig for their burrow or den. The burrows will damage plant roots and make it tough for people to walk through the backyard without slipping into a burrow when it is quite near the surface. Groundhogs also cause damage to various trees and plants by stripping the bark away to hint at the entrance of their burrows. The trees and plants then become vulnerable to diseases.

Keeping the groundhogs away becomes a priority for all Jacksonville homeowners who love their backyards and their vegetable gardens. You have to select a sunny day to start the preparations for driving away the groundhogs from their burrows in the yard of your home. Sunshine enables the groundhogs to come out of their burrows easily. You need about three cups of ammonia mixed in soap water. If ammonia is not available, then you can add about three tablespoons of soap or detergent to water and stir it in. This will resemble sudsy ammonia. You can then pour this mixture into the burrow hole in such a way that the liquid flows deep into the hole of the den. It is advisable that you wear gloves when you do this. Once the liquid is poured, allow sufficient time for the groundhogs to abandon their Florida living place.

To get rid of the groundhogs that are giving you trouble, you need to build a fence first around your yard so that you prevent other groundhogs from entering that area. The fence will have to be dug deep underground and it has to be reasonable high as the groundhogs can climb and tunnel through. Fencing is a humane and a natural option to keep the Florida groundhogs away. People have used mesh fences which have openings that are about an inch wide. Posts can be placed around the yard perimeter about ten feet away from each other. A trench could be dug along the fence line that is at least a foot deep.

Groundhogs like shady and covered areas. You have to remove all types of cover like junk piles, tall grass and weeds. When they are removed, it will work as a deterrent against groundhogs in the garden space.

Before setting a trap, you have to locate the burrows and seal them all after leaving one open for them to run out. This is the place where you have to set the trap. There is generally a locking mechanism at the top of the trap door that you need to push up. Once this is done, you have to push a bar that is shaped like a `U’ up against the trap door. The door can now be lifted up so that the locking mechanism can be released. Guide logs can be used to channel the path of the groundhog to this trap. They will drive the groundhog towards the trap. You can disguise the trap with shrubs and leaves. Once the groundhog tries to remove the bait that you keep inside, the door will lock it inside.

Trapping of groundhogs and their relocation has to be done after checking whether local Jacksonville laws permit that as it is illegal in few places. When you buy the trap for groundhogs, set it about five feet away from their burrow hole and place some apples, bananas, other fruits and lettuce leaves at the back section of the trap. When the groundhog is trapped, wear gloves and remove the cage and keep it on a piece of cardboard so that you can carry it in your vehicle so that you can leave the groundhog somewhere deep in the woods and some miles away from your home.

There are various other natural methods of driving away groundhogs. One of them is the use of Epsom salts. It can be strewn around the burrow holes to deter them. It will require reapplication if there is any sprinkling of water or after a rain shower. Alfalfa planted near the crops that you have planted will lure the groundhogs away. Eggs also turn woodchucks away. Castor oil is another good repellant for groundhogs. A tablespoon full of castor oil mixed in a couple of cups of water can be poured into a spray bottle to be sprayed around the entire Florida garden and the lawn to keep the groundhogs from nibbling on the valuable vegetables in the garden. This can be done once every fortnight to keep them from coming back again to your yard. Groundhogs also do not like the scent of pepper. It could be chili pepper or Cheyenne pepper. It could be sprinkled into the burrow holes. It could also be mixed in water and sprayed across the lawn and the garden.

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