Woodchucks and Hostas?

bernd ny zone5July 27, 2009

Dear Hosta forum members,

do you have experience with woodchucks (= groundhogs) eating hostas?

Searching the forum under that topic, past contributions do not hint at woodchucks actually eating hostas. They seem to eat everything else.

Yesterday I saw a fat woodchuck galloping through my backyard. I first thought it was an illusion. We then checked all spaces in my yard carefully, so he must have escaped fast as he rushed in. In the last weeks I redid my hosta beds, bought 20 new (to me) hosta cultivars and just finished planting them. It would be a real shame when this @#$%& remembers to come back and mows everything down.

I thought my actions including 'shovel pruning', my neighbor's air rifle and the new houses in the back got rid of woodchucks in my yard for good for more than 5 years. But 2 weeks ago the half of my fence towards the road got replaced with aluminum pickets which have relatively wide spacing. As a minimum I should apply galvanized wire mesh behind the aluminum fence as a deterrent, 10 inches below ground. Luckily there is no place to hide for him on my 1/2 acre property. Years ago I covered all openings under my deck with chicken wire. Recently I also cleared out any weeds and thickets.

I do not see any damage to any plantings, including my grandson's vegetable garden, and certain perennials favored by woodchucks.

What an experience! Perhaps it was an illusion?

Thanks for comments!

Bernd

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idiothe(4 MN)

We've had them a couple of times. I can't remember exactly if they ate hostas, or just dug them up and dug up and ate everything else and generally made a mess of the gardens.

I killed them - didn't eat them.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 6:18PM
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bernd ny zone5

In the past they ate my vegetable garden, burrowed next to it to live where the food is, and also lived under the deck. They also ate my campanulas. I do not remember that they ate any of the hostas then, which were then all mature. But now I have some tender baby hosta plants, and they might find those appealing to eat. Luckily there are no deer around.

Anyway, I read in one posting that hosta leaves being eaten one year will lead to bushier plants the following year.
Thanks for your reply!
Bernd

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 6:54PM
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gardengirl_nancy(Z5 Midwest)

I've had them a couple of times over the years. One year a cute chubby one would come up on the deck to drink out of the water dish that I have there for "critters". I never found any damage to hostas, flowers, shrubs, nothing. These were cute fuzzy critters who were well behaved. Maybe I was just lucky. Oh and they never bothered the veggie garden, but it is fenced. This year the rabbits are getting in the "fenced" veggie garden and it is driving my husband nuts!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 7:18PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

They ate (tasted) everything in my veggie garden when I lived in Illinois next to a creek. Didn't get to the hostas, because the corn tomatoes and beans were more tasty. Even a bear trap didn't stop them, just left a chunk of fur behind. I was ready to stand guard out there with a baseball bat. He would sit on the other side of a fence and just look at me, not moving after I threw a clod of clay at him.

Then we got transferred to California. Good thing.

-Babka

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 10:19PM
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quicksilver(z6bMA)

Woodchucks in Massachusetts seem to love kale and broccoli. The big cure is a .22 caliber rifle.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 10:25PM
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sidney1515

My husband and I sat in a country restaurant one late afternoon. As we were eating, out came a groundhog stood on his back legs and started to nibble on a large hosta. He moved down the row and seemed to prefer certain ones (and other vegetation) over others.

On the other hand we have groundhogs along a couple fence rows and they have never bothered my hostas. I know they would be in my veggie garden if it wasn't fenced.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 10:51PM
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bernd ny zone5

Thank you very much for your replies. It seems, generally when there is a vegetable garden around they will leave the hostas standing. So far no damage here, but daily checking of the yard is required to catch that one in the very beginning.
Bernd

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 7:19AM
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mary4b(4b WI)

I have tons of woodchucks (sigh), hostas, vegetables, perennials, etc... I think Woodchucks may like hostas, but they definitely aren't the choice meal. Frankly, I'm not sure what they like so much that's out in my grass and the neighbor's Christmas Tree lot... I see them out there more than in my garden. This year, I have a new hole along my garage wall where there are lots of hosta and perennials...they have not touched any of them. If they have, it's so minimal that I can't tell. I think I'm lucky that there's something on this property that they like more than my plants. Oh, I do believe they like arborvitae, as do rabbits.
Right now, we have 5 live traps set up to get the critters out of here. In 10 days, we've caught 3 raccoons and only 2 of the woodchuck. We had at least 6 baby woodchucks running around 3 weeks ago and now I don't see them. Maybe some have not made it, or they've gone off to make their own home.
Man, those raccoons are not easy to get out of a live trap!!!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 10:13AM
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