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23 Steps to Get Rid of Groundhogs

By Staff Writer
Share to Pinterest23 Steps to Get Rid of Groundhogs
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Groundhogs, also known as marmots or woodchucks, can damage your lawn or garden. These rodents burrow into the ground to make their dens, eventually weakening the soil and causing damage to foundations, barns, and farm equipment. They're also herbivores, meaning they enjoy munching through your garden. Luckily, it's not too hard to drive groundhogs away, and there are plenty of natural methods that won't hurt the animals or further disrupt your property.

01

Human Hair

Share to Pinteresta groundhog in someone's mailbox
Joe McDonald / Getty Images

While sprinkling human hair around your lawn might sound strange, it's an effective way to get rid of groundhogs. These animals don't like the smell of humans, so your hair repels them. To keep the clippings from blowing away, put some in a mesh bag, and secure it near their den.

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02

Plants and Herbs

Share to Pinterestlavender garden
HannamariaH / Getty Images

Some plants have a strong enough smell to keep groundhogs away. Lavender is an excellent choice to repel these critters, and mint, sage, basil, and lemon work just as well. Adding one or more of these plants to the garden will keep the woodchucks away and make a lovely addition to your green space.

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03

Garlic and Pepper

Share to Pinterestgroundhog burrow
vovashevchuk / Getty Images

In addition to planting herbs, you can deter groundhogs with the smell of garlic and pepper. Because they hate the aroma, crushed garlic mixed with pepper will ensure they leave your garden and never return. Toss the mixture in the groundhogs' burrow, or make a spray and spritz your vegetables to keep them away.

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04

Use a box trap

Share to Pinterestgroundhog box trap
saje / Getty Images

A humane way to remove groundhogs is to trap and release them. These animals aren't often aggressive but may bite if they feel threatened, so wear protective gloves while trapping. It's also vital to wear gloves while setting the trap so you won't transfer your scent. If a groundhog smells you, it won't go near the box.

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05

Create vibrations

Share to Pinterestgroundhog in its burrow
Spartak Dolov / Getty Images

Groundhogs don't like vibrations and will relocate if their home starts to shake. Lawn windmills or a specially made sonic device can scare them away if you place it near their burrow entrance. You can also keep groundhogs from returning by placing vibrating decor around the perimeter of your home.

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06

Use your pet's urine

Share to Pinterestgroundhog stands in the grass
RonOrmanJr / Getty Images

Dogs and cats are a threat to groundhogs, who will move somewhere else if they sense danger. Putting urine or fur near the entrance of their burrow should be enough to drive the groundhogs away. If you don't own a dog or cat, you could always ask a friend or neighbor if they would mind collecting some of their pet's fur.

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07

Epsom Salts

Share to Pinterestgroundhog in the garden
daoleduc / Getty Images

To get rid of groundhogs, sprinkle Epsom salts near their burrow — the smell repels them. If groundhogs eat your plants or invade your garden, place a small plate filled with the salts near their favorite spot, and replace it after every rain. Epsom salts are available and affordable online or at most drugstores.

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08

Castor Oil

Share to Pinterestwoodchucks in the garden
Jean-Paul_Lejeune / Getty Images

Castor oil is another natural way to rid your property of groundhogs. Pour some in and around the burrow to keep the animals from returning. Be careful not to pour the oil while the groundhog is inside its hole. Instead, keep a close eye for when they leave to search for food. You can find castor oil at the grocery store.

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09

Ammonia

Share to Pinteresta groundhog sits behind the fence
2ndLookGraphics / Getty Images

Using ammonia doesn't harm the animals, but the smell will certainly keep them away. This method works best if you soak a rag in ammonia and place it near the burrow entrance. Resoak the rag every few days to keep the smell fresh and the groundhogs from coming back. Ammonia is a commercial cleaning product available everywhere.

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10

Repellents

Share to Pinteresta pair of woodchucks
Rabbitti / Getty Images

Several repellent products help fend off woodchucks. One of the best is organic blood meal, a type of fertilizer. Add blood meal around the perimeter of your garden to keep groundhogs away. These products won't harm animals. Instead, they repel them with a fragrant odor. You can find repellents online or at home and garden stores.

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11

Motion-activated sprinklers

Share to Pinterestwater springer in the garden
panupong1982 / Getty Images

Motion-activated sprinklers are a remarkably effective tool in deterring groundhogs. Activated by movement, these sprinklers produce a sudden burst of water that startles the groundhogs, prompting them to steer clear of your garden. This environmentally-friendly, non-harmful method ensures your garden remains safe from groundhogs, and it doesn't disrupt your landscape or harm the local ecosystem.

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12

Essential oils as groundhog deterrents

Share to Pinterestman spraying grass
welcomia / Getty Images

Utilizing essential oils such as eucalyptus, peppermint, or citrus is a natural and non-invasive method to repel groundhogs. When diluted in water and sprayed around your garden or near groundhog burrows, these potent scents create a barrier that groundhogs tend to avoid. However, it's essential to reapply the oil-water mixture after every rain shower, as rainfall can wash away the oils and diminish their deterrent effect.

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13

Groundhog-proof fencing and netting solutions

Share to Pinterestfence
photonaj / Getty Images

Integrating groundhog-proof fencing or netting around your garden serves as a physical deterrent that prevents groundhogs from entering your premises. These barriers are typically constructed to be resistant to digging or chewing, two primary methods groundhogs use to breach fences. Although installation might require some time and effort, the protection it offers against groundhogs and other garden pests makes it a worthwhile investment.

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14

Reflective objects: Do they work?

Share to PinterestShallow focus of a secret garden showing a ornate mirror.
Nickbeer / Getty Images

Reflective objects like mirrors, aluminum foil, or CD discs, when hung around the garden, can be a deterrent to groundhogs. The shiny surfaces reflect light in unpredictable patterns, which can scare these critters away. However, while some find this method effective, others notice little impact. Therefore, it's best to consider reflective objects as a supplemental strategy rather than a primary groundhog deterrent.

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15

Using cover scents to mask garden smells

Share to PinterestBrazilian woman in her garden, harvesting materials to produce natural perfumery
Amanda Caroline da Silva / Getty Images

One creative and natural strategy for repelling groundhogs is to mask the attractive smells of your garden with stronger, off-putting scents. These can include certain spices, aromatic herbs, or predator urine. By distributing these smells around your garden, groundhogs may become confused or frightened and choose to steer clear of the area, protecting your plants and vegetables in the process.

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16

Bird of prey decoys: A natural deterrent

Share to Pintereste decoy owl
Mark R Coons / Getty Images

Deploying bird-of-prey decoys, like fake owls or hawks, can be an effective psychological deterrent for groundhogs. These animals are naturally fearful of predators, and the presence of what appears to be a bird of prey can keep them at bay. For maximum effect, occasionally move the decoy around to create the illusion of a real predator.

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17

Innovative garden layouts to deter groundhogs

Share to PinterestSuburban backyard vegetable garden
Joanne Dale / Getty Images

Changing your garden layout can act as an effective deterrent. Groundhogs prefer easily navigable terrain, so adding obstacles like gravel paths, raised beds, or densely planted areas can discourage them. Additionally, planting unappetizing plants like geraniums or marigolds around the perimeter of your garden can deter groundhogs from entering.

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18

Commercial groundhog repellents

Share to Pinteresta customer with a shopping basket wanders around a construction hypermarket and examines the range of goods
Traimak_Ivan / Getty Images

Several commercial repellents specifically target groundhogs, containing smells and tastes that are unpleasant to these critters. These products, available online or at garden centers, can be a simple and effective way to protect your garden. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for the most effective application and ensure the product is safe for your specific environment.

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19

Removing the groundhog's food source

Share to Pinterestcarrots

Groundhogs are primarily attracted to gardens because of the abundant food supply. By eliminating their favorite snacks, such as beans, peas, and carrots, you can make your yard less appealing. Consider harvesting your vegetables promptly and regularly to reduce the available food. Remember, a hungry groundhog is more likely to move on in search of a better food source.

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20

Utilizing ammonia as a deterrent

Share to Pinterestammonia

Ammonia's strong scent is repulsive to groundhogs. By soaking rags in ammonia and placing them near the entrance of their burrows, you can deter these critters from returning. Ensure to replace the rags every few days or after heavy rainfall to maintain the potency of the smell. Always handle ammonia with care, using gloves and avoiding direct inhalation.

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21

Setting up scarecrows

Share to Pinterestscarecrow

A classic garden protector, scarecrows can be surprisingly effective against groundhogs. These creatures are naturally wary, and the presence of a human-like figure can deter them from venturing too close. For added effectiveness, change the position of your scarecrow every few days, giving the illusion of movement and activity.

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22

Using radios to create noise disturbances

Share to Pinterestradio in garden

Groundhogs prefer peace and quiet. By placing a battery-operated radio near their burrow and tuning it to a talk station, the constant chatter can be unsettling for them. The unfamiliar human voices can make groundhogs feel threatened, prompting them to find a quieter residence. Ensure the volume is loud enough to penetrate the ground but not so loud as to disturb your neighbors.

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23

Applying talcum powder around burrows

Share to Pinteresttalcum powder

The soft, powdery texture of talcum can be irritating to a groundhog's sensitive nose and paws. Sprinkling a generous amount around the entrance of their burrows can deter them from returning. As an added bonus, talcum powder is harmless to plants, making it a garden-friendly deterrent. Reapply after rain or heavy dew to maintain its effectiveness.

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