Woodchucks favorite food

ego45(6bCT)May 11, 2008

Trying to compose the list of W.-damaged or completely killed plants and think that anyone with a same problem should add to the list for the general knowledge of what is in danger if those invaders will be in sight.

Here is my list based on a 2 years experience:


-Campanulla persicofolia,

-Campanula carpatica,



-Salvias (Caradonna and May Night all eaten in a different locations, but Blue Queen hadn't been touched in the same general area),

-Polemoniums (all kinds),


-Tricyrtis (they nibble on a fresh growth, but leave them alone later on and late blooming cultivars had a chance to bloom in a fall, but early blooming ones didn't bloom),



-Roses (young soft shoots only)

Feel free to add, so I'll know what I'm banned from :-((

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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Campanulas are their favorite and I won't grow them because of that. Echinaceas they ate to within an inch of their lives last year. Tomatoes and other veggies. I'm so sorry you are having problems with them in your neck of the woods. Do they have any predators you could invite to the neighborhood? [g]


    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 1:05PM
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OH how awful! I can't believe they ate May Night salvia...wow, they must have been hungry. Between woodchucks, voles, and deer is anything safe?! You must be going through the stages of grief. It really is sickening to lose so much.

I do have a woodchuck story, though, and how one of my sisters made peace with them. She had battled woodchucks for years in her vegetable garden. They ate the veggies, but stayed away from the flower beds, which we were farther away, apparently, from their dens. So, she came up with an idea that worked, even though no one can believe it...she planted a veggie garden for the woodchucks. This was a small garden near the edge of the woods, near where she saw them emerge. She would throw lettuce, bean, arugala, and swiss chard seeds in there whenever she thought of it (maybe a few more but you get the idea...fast, easy growers). And it worked, for the most part. We worried that it would attract more woodchucks but that didn't seem to be the case.

Love thy enemy, anyone?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 3:28PM
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I'vew found they are NOT picky about what they eat!

Get a trap (some places rent them)
Put canned peaches in the trap
Check the trap often....
Once you catch it, bring it to my ex-husbands house and release it!

** If they have been trapped before they are extremely dificult to trap

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 6:12PM
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littleonefb(zone 5, MA)

You can add any kind of sunflower to the list as well.

Actually, any kind of seedling will be quite satisfying to the groundhogs/woodchucks.

If they survive the seedling stage, then the thicker the stems on the plants, the more the woodchuck/groundhog likes it.

On the other hand, I have a worse problem with rabbits and chipmunks. Nothing selective, overall, with them. They like anything and everything.

Squirrels, now have a massive liking to gazanias. They wait till they are just about to bloom, climb in the pots they are in or the beds and chomp away, leaving enough of the stems to continue growing for the next rush of just about to bloom buds. then they start all over again.

One suggestion to keep all of the 4 legged critters from getting everything.

Marigolds and datura.

Where ever a friend or I had large clumpings of marigolds planted, nothing was eaten. The 4 legged eaters don't seem to like the smell of the marigolds and stay away from where they are planted.

So this year we are thinking about edging the gardens with marigolds and see if that cuts down on the damage.

Datura planted in pots also seems to keep the critters away as well. Beware though that the all parts of the plant are poisonous and if you have pets or children that would/could touch or eat the plant it could be toxic to them.

I have found dead chipmunks and young groundhogs dead from eating the datura and it does happen quickly as i have found their bodies with some of the plant still in their mouths.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 6:58PM
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terrene(5b MA)

So sorry to hear about the devastation! It is VERY frustrating dealing with woodchucks. I had an ongoing battle with them at my previous house, where I had much more full sun and had a large veggie garden. Lettuce and all cruciferous vegetables were at the top of their list.

I tried fencing, bird netting, and smoke bombs in their holes. Hands down, the best solution is owning a dog, although all I've had is cats. 2nd best is a gun.

I am a bit worried about the gardens I'm creating this year in the back yard, where there are more critters. The deer have come through for years and nibbled on their favorites - Tulips, phlox, hosta, but so far there hasn't been any serious damage here from critters.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 9:06PM
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Just adding to the list,
-Helenium (?), I guess I now know who to blame for their disappearance 2 years ago.

-Ipomoea batatas,
-trailing petunia (for whatever reason regular petunias were left untouched).

Now when I truly scared by them, what else in annual department they like? Impatients? Coleus? Begonias?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 9:29PM
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mayalena(6 - MetroWest Boston)

Uggg. I am so sorry for you, Ego! I have yet to meet one of these beasties, but I am afraid now...............
I hope they don't like hydrangeas.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 6:40AM
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ctlady_gw(z6 CT)

Not something most people plant, but we had an entire woodchuck family (adults and juveniles) living under our garage at our old house. Their absolute TOP favorite in the veggie garden: the jalapeno peppers. A whole row of them -- gone overnight, peppers and all (still have an image of them in their den under the garage with chips, salsa and of course, margaritas, in paw!) Their second favorite were the haricot verts but they definitely went for the peppers first. Amazingly, they left the sweet green peppers alone.

I never noticed any damage to flowers while they were in residence, but perhaps the veggie garden was large enough and inviting enough that they just didn't bother with the iris -- a large bed of which was equally close to their den entrance!

Good luck getting rid of them! We hired trappers three years running and they only caught a total of two juveniles. These guys are smart...! I still remember, late one afternoon, standing with one of the trappers in the yard looking at the "grazed" veggie garden, listening to him say he'd walked the whole perimeter fence and there was "no way they can get in there... no holes in the fencing, no excavations under it, no sign of disturbed dirt -- there's NO WAY it's woodchucks doing that ..." Then I nudged him, pointed to the woodchuck standing up between two tomatoes right smack in the center of the garden, and said "you were saying...?" We finally concluded that they had excavated a tunnel from under the garage to the middle of the veggie garden and weren't going under/through/around the fence at all -- just popping up inside whenever they needed a fix of jalapenos... :)

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 8:36AM
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moosemac(Z5 NH / Z3-4 ME)

Woodchucks are not picky eaters hence my son named my veggie garden, "The Woodchuck Buffet". After years of battling the critters by keeping a shotgun on the dining room table for quick use, yards and yards of fencing, and various repellent techniques it would appear we have them under control. The solution for the veggie garden was rabbit fencing buried 3Â in the ground and another 5Â above the ground. Of course this did nothing to keep them from eating what few flowering plants I have in the yard, the strawberry patch, raspberries and even asparagus.

Unfortunately the Wild Life Wire must have broadcast an alert to even other type of critter within a 50 mile radius of us because now I have deer jumping the veggie garden fence, porcupines making leaps from a limb of the only tree within 100Â of the veggie garden into the garden, birds of all kinds dive bombing me trying to scare me away from their dinner, beavers chomping down my white birch trees, wild turkeys camping out and dining in the berry patches and an occasional mole in the asparagus patch. My yard is under attack! It may be time for drastic measures!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 9:13AM
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concretenprimroses(4B NH)

Mine loves astrantia. Unfortunately so do I. Also the bleeding heart and violets that are near the astrantia. Last year he ate only one of the echinecea clumps, guess he had a cold and got better. He hasn't yet discovered the smaller varietyof astrantia under the star magnolia. I wish they could be neutered somehow. I can cope with one but when the babies come its bad and they spread further through the neighborhood.
Maybe we could feed them birth control for woodchucks!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 8:40AM
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I feel for you guys. I haven't seen woodchucks here, but remember them from more rural gardens I've had.

Our main wildlife problems are rabbits and voles. The dog is almost useless against voles, although he's caught a few. The rabbits were held in check for several years by the coyotes and fox, but the predators are now in decline because of a type of mange that's decimated the population. There are more cats around now, but I do miss the coyotes. I've seen only one rabbit in the back yard, which is fenced, but if there's one, there are (or soon will be) dozens.

The buried fence is fine for limited areas, but with George's extensive gardens, it would not be practical. I guess I'd get a shotgun if I had woodchucks in my garden, it seems like the only real solution.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 12:11PM
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Last year my woodchuck ate a good portion of one of my chrysanthemums (also my cucumber plants).

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 2:18PM
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paigect(z6a CT)

I'm picturing George out there like Chevy Chase in Caddyshack.

I'm thinking if these rural attacks on gardens are the result of invasive species taking over in the wild, reducing the food supply. Also, of course, decimation of open space/woodlands for development.

George, have you tried dried blood? It keeps rabbits and skunks away from my garden. I just sprinkle it around the plants, not even on top of them. You can buy it at your local nursery. It would take a lot of it to cover all of the garden you have, but I think desperate times call for desperate measures. You have my sympathies.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 8:17PM
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Thus far I haven't had woodchucks in my flower beds, but they tend to be closer to the buildings, and my husband is a good shot . . .

However, they decimate the peas and the broccoli! When the deer get into the veggies, they eat some, but the plants are able to recover, while the woodchucks shred the plants and leave pieces scattered around, at least as much as they eat. Last summer they consumed and did in my broccoli the day before I was set to start cutting and had the unmitigated chutzpah to dig a den under my compost pile in full view. (Needless to say, a woodchuck bomb took care of that guy!

I do use dried blood as a fertilizer in the veggie garden, but not always. I'll have to see if it helps. Human hair and urine don't keep them away.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 6:25PM
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paigect(z6a CT)

Goerge, how goes it? I've been thinking about your plight and hoping you have been successful in eradicating your woodchuck family.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 9:05PM
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Over the weekend bought a Havahart trap.
So far caught 1 squirrel and 2 chipmunks who never gave a woodchuck(s) a chance to try tasty bananas and apples.
They had been released without the bail :-)
How to lure him(them) in without providing free lunch to sqirrels/chipmunks?
What is his favorite food after all? :-))

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 11:10PM
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paigect(z6a CT)

George, why not just throw some lupines, campanula, phlox, etc. in there! :-)

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 7:21AM
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ctlady_gw(z6 CT)

There actually is some advice online to "use whatever the woodchucks are eating most"! (I also saw something about cabbage, lettuce and ... marshmallows, which they supposedly LOVE.) The main thing I saw recommended was to put plenty of whatever it is in there ... they won't go in for "just" a slice of apple. You have to put in 3 or 4 or they won't bother going in for it.

(You also might want to check with your town to make sure you know what you're allowed to do with one once you catch it ... I know in our old town, also in CT, you could not relocate a woodchuck by releasing it somewhere else. Only commercial trappers were allowed to do that. Not sure if that was a town or state law. So maybe check with your town about what you CAN and can't do...)

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 9:42AM
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Last year, I hired a professional to trap and kill the many, many chipmunks that had wrought such devastation in my garden. He did a great job in eliminating them in the problem area near my stone walls and under my deck.

Chipmunks are cute and a certain number is fine. This was an out-of-control population.

Hiring a professional is something I'd recommend. I haven't had any woodchucks in awhile and I'm wondering if the increased predator population of fisher cats and coyotes has helped with that problem.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 9:58AM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

george, i'll never forget reading about a fellow in vt. who 'marked' with his pee the boundaries of his property once a week( or twice; i can't remember exactly)and claimed that this kept them away. he proved it because he said that when he had to go away for a week, the w returned and decimated.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 1:09AM
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Caught another squirrel and one racoon, but woodchuck still ignoring my trap filled with new menu: lettuce, cucumbers, corn and canned peaches for desert.
Well, as a last resort I'm forced to share my favorite marshmallow with this guys.
Will see how this will work, hunt is going on...

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 8:29PM
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capecodder(z6 MA)

I'm going nuts here. I was blaming everything on young rabbits...have been gardening in this yard for 14 years and this is the first year with a rabbit problem. However, this week I lost a 3 foot tall phlox, a hydrangea!!!, and a beautiful delphineum, as well as a bunch of smaller plants (more delphs, california poppies, etc). I fear mr. woodchuck has arrived again, after taking a few years off.
I find in my garden campanula and delphineums are the favorites for the woodchuck. I've also lost 1/2 dozen morning glory plants and I do blame that on the rabbit, but who knows...anyone have any ideas? I have far too many plants to spray them all. I have 4 more gorgeous delphineums and I do so fear for their safety...

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 7:49PM
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I guess woodchucks won.
I salvaged and keep in pot what's left of my favorite white campanula persicofolia and got left with one untouched clump of phlox in a somewhat protected location.
That's it. The rest of the 'edibles' are gone for good. :-((

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 8:59PM
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George...how sad this is. Since woodchucks stay within close proximity of their dens, I assume you can see their burrow openings? Do you have any friends who can shoot or is it possible to hire some hunters? They're easy to spot mornings and afternoons when sunning/eating.

If that fails, perhaps we can visit your garden? My guy is now referred to as Dead Eye Mike around here...lol. (He picked our woodchuck off last month at about 100' through the gardens, shrubs and trees...out the living room window!) It's illegal to trap and release woodchucks in MA but shooting is allowed. However, we can only use an air/pellet gun in our area since real guns can't be used within 500' of homes.

I'd seriously consider putting an ad in Craig's List and see if some people want some target practice!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 6:44AM
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Capecodder...delphiniums???? All parts are poisonous...aren't they affected at all? Maybe they're putting them in a vase in their den...lol.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 7:00AM
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capecodder(z6 MA)

Yes, delphiniums. Apparently not poisonous to them! I can just picture a lovely vase in their den...thanks for the laugh! This morning I discovered more poppies gone. Aggh!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 7:46AM
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How can a HORSE be poisoned by larkspur/delphs but not a tiny woodchuck? Man...these things have mutated into somethin' else lol!

Glad I gave you a little laugh...I'm sure there aren't many when you're meandering around the gardens!

WHERE IS THE SUN???!!! IF it's going to be this gloomy can we at least get some stinkin' rain out of it?? 1/8 inch after a week of nothing but dampness and clouds??

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 8:31AM
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whitegarden(Z5 MA)

I was coveting two beautiful echinaceas that terrene brought me at our plant swap on Sunday and, after reading this thread this morning, went outside to find them eaten to the pot. I didn't even get them in the ground. Aslo the phlox and batchelor's buttons are eaten. INCREDIBLE!!!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 10:07AM
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I read this thread after searching on "woodchuck" and "campanula". I've tried two very different varieties of campanulas, and the woodchucks loved both. Ate the latest one before it got out of the pot and into the ground. (At least that solves the problem of having bought one too many plants for the space!)

They also ate all my verbena this year, and are making ambivalent forays into my black and blue salvia and a lighter blue variety whose name I am forgetting, as well as coral bells. The latter seem to have fared better after I started spraying things with a hot pepper treatment, but I just read in another thread that woodchucks like Jalapenos, so maybe I'm just making the salad into salsa for them.

I think they were less in evidence for a few weeks when I was spreading dried fox urine (I don't want to know how they collect the stuff....must be one of the world's worst jobs....), but I was away for a few weeks, and they're definitely back at the table now. Much as I have an urge to try growing some heirloom tomatoes, it seems like a hopeless task between the woodchucks, rabbits and deer (oh my!)

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 4:12PM
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Excitement is .. I CAUGHT MY WOODCHUCK! In spite of everything I read - it was relatively easy.

I've been battling deer for a couple years now and wondered why, all of a sudden, flowers they never touched before were disappearing until ole Chucky showed himself one afternoon.

Smoke bombed the hole to no avail. He moved near my veggies. Ate the leaves on my broccoli and most of my cabbage.

I pulled up the remaining cabbage, put the cabbage filled trap in the "cabbage patch" to no avail. Next night I added peanut butter to the cabbage and caught a coon.

That night Chucky started on the broccli heads.

Next night I set the trap right in the passage where he comes out of the woods next to my garden. It was a narrow path between potatos that he would walk over to the broccoli. I put broccoli in the trap.

Next day broccoli was gone but no Chucky. He (or something) managed to retrieve it without closing the trap.

I put broccoli under the trip plate (as per directions that came with the Havahart) but I'm assuming that prevented it from going down to release the doors shut.

THEN I set the trap in the afternoon making sure the broccoli was on top of the trip plate. Wham! Within a couple of hours (woodchucks come out to feed in the afternoon) he lay trapped.

Was I lucky? YES!

And in answer to the subject line of these postings..

Woodchuck's favorite food - BROCCOLI :-)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 7:41AM
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Best luck I've had getting rid of woodchucks and groundhogs is to put urine soaked cat litter into their entrances( no #2) -they are relatively clean animals and won't use them again. You have to make sure to get all entrances or they'll just make a new one (closer to the garden of course)
This worked better than predator urine, traps, and anything else I've used -hope it helps (now if i could just keep the tree rats out)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 8:44AM
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I HATE WOODCHUCKS!!!! I'm down to lilies, roses, catmint and hydrangeas because they're the only things my guy hasn't decimated. I thought he wouldn't like coarse foliage so I bought a poppy and globe thistle, but noooooo . . . gone! He also ate tulips, daffodils and ladybells.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 12:53PM
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I was looking for information on how to bait a trap, which has so far failed to catch anything. We have a new garden - started last year, and the critters have eaten asters, coneflowers and winter pansies. We have no veggies, although I'm trying a few tomatoes. We saw a fox take one of the babies a while ago, but they don't seem to go after the adults. I can't get to their hole - it's in a bramble patch on a fairly steep hillside, not far from the garden.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 1:29PM
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I do not know what is coming into my vege garden, ete all the summer squash and greenbeen leaves, alo cucumbers. I am not sure what that is, you can see it tried to dig along the fence to get out, not sure how it gets in, not sour how it gets out. I have very tall house fence with hex wire fence at lower level.

I put in Bonide repell all (whole bottle) still can not stop them.

My rose are all gone as well. My back yard is truly animal kingdom, I feel that I may give up the fight with them.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 10:05PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Sorry to hear you are having trouble with woodchucks. I had a woodchuck one year and it was the most aggravating garden season ever. They can dig under fences and climb over them too. I tried many repellants from wild animal urine etc and none of them worked at all. I got lucky that he just didn't come back the next year. We are almost urban here, so there isn't a lot of habitat for them nearby.

It might be that the only solution for you is to set a trap for them, I'm afraid. But you could ask on the Vegetable or Organic Forums, where this is discussed often. Or do a GW search because I remember there are a lot of threads on this topic. Maybe you will find one idea that you hadn't thought of. Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 6:28AM
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There are woodchucks all around my area in lower Michigan. I have a deer fence which deters woodchucks, but alas, alas, they can climb fences and some do it every summer. (They can't go under, as the fence is dug in a foot deep.) I use a havahart trap, and usually can get rid of them pretty fast. Early in the season, I bait it with broccoli, but once there is ample green stuff growing, that doesn't work. From that point on, I use.......TWINKIES! Somebody told me about them years ago, and the chucks just love them. I had a woodchuck pounding on a sprung trap one year, trying to get in to get the twinkie. It is, of course, illegal to trap them, and illegal to move them to somewhere else. But I do it--they go to a large county park which will remain nameless. I know others around here do the same.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 10:09PM
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