Battling Animals in the Garden – Part II

Baby Groundhog #1 by Chiot’s Run

Besides battling the deer in my garden (see last post), I have rabbits. They could have eaten some of my plants. I haven’t seen any rabbits on my property so far this spring, so that was why I had not blamed them for this early spring eating. Liquid Fence supposedly guards against both rabbits and deer. So I hope they won’t eat what I have sprayed.

Then I have squirrels who have not vacationed over the winter. They may be digging up some of those acorns they planted last fall or some of the bulbs I planted, like crocus bulbs.

Or is it the resident groundhog (Marmota monax) also called a woodchuck that lives on my property who is eating everything? (There is probably a family living with him) Since I am not a Jane Goodall type who can tell one groundhog from another to be able to name them, I cannot discern how many waddling groundhogs are out and about each day. To my eye it seems to work solo.

I often think that what I should do is sit near the groundhog hole and get to know my groundhog or his family and do some great research. I won’t even have to fly to Africa for this serious research that would benefit gardeners if not mankind. Groundhogs have a voracious appetite, eating seemingly everything. Check out the list of plants people have reported eaten by groundhogs.

And my groundhogs don’t have the common name of “hogs” for nothing because they look like they should join millions of Americans going on a diet. Are mine fatter than most because they have such a heady list of things that I plant in my garden to eat? I sometimes worry, since I am constantly adding new perennials to my garden, “Can I be arrested for feeding the wild animals?”

I guess I should count my blessings that I do not have some of the garden pests that other people contend with, animals like raccoons and voles and wild pigs. Still I check every day to see if there is the possibility that other varmints have found my residence and moved in.

Rutgers has a list of plants that deter some of the animal pests as well as insects that come to dine.

There are also other companies that make sprays or traps that can be used to deter or to catch some of the animal pests. Havahart traps are considered humane.Their website gives some information about the different pests to enable you to learn some of the talents of these animals so you can hopefully outsmart them. For example, before telling you what groundhogs eat, they write that “Groundhogs weigh an average of eight pounds and can eat approximately 1/3 of their weight in vegetation each day!” This is good to know. It might help you figure out how many plants you need to plant each year to support your groundhog population:-). It is like feeding your 150 lb teenage son, 50 lbs of food daily. You only think your teenage son eats a lot until you compare him to the groundhog.

If you have solved any of the problems of getting rid of animal pests, please let know. We do know of the fencing option which some of us cannot afford or use in our yards.



2 Replies to “Battling Animals in the Garden – Part II”

  1. Had this same problem, it cleared out 1/2 of my spring flowers one year. After trying everything, I was advised that the testosterone in human male urine will scare them off! Much to my husbands dismay…..a few late night bathroom breaks in the groundhogs hole…..and voila…..gone!!! It worked. Absolutely worth the effort. Good luck.

  2. Dear Garden Lady,
    Consider using Shake-Away organic animal repellents. Shake-Away uses predator scent (in the form of certified organic predator urine granules) to deter pest animals from damaging your yard and garden. Essentially, Shake-Away relies on an animal’s instinctive fear of its predators; an animal will leave an area where it detects a predator is present. Our organic products have been registered with the U.S. EPA and are non-toxic and easy to apply. Also, the granules (unlike liquid products) are resistant to moderate rain and don’t freeze in winter. You don’t need to spray every leaf for our product to work, but rather, because an animal’s sense of smell is so powerful, you simply shake a light application near the areas you wish to protect. Shake-Away has a full line of animal repellents to protect your valuable plants and garden from deer, small critters, cats and more. See our website for more info. Happy gardening!

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