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Name: Thomas Mitchell
Central Ohio (Zone 6a)
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thommesM
May 7, 2020 7:59 AM CST
So I've posted before and heard and read other places that trapping is the best means of control. Here's the back story and I"ll try to keep it brief.

New garden. Raised beds. Planted. Growing well. Destroyed overnight. Gave up for season. Next season, 2' high bamboo pole and plastic mesh fence around each bed. Typical squirrel digging. Ok season. Couple seasons later. Bamboo poles rotting. Figuring there's NO WAY the fence was really doing anything to keep the varmints out of the beds. Woods behind us were clear cut in those two years. Ripped up fence. Beds planted. Garden doing BEST EVER! Destroyed overnight. That was last season. Morale Low; gave up. Put back up metal rod post and netting fence this year. Hoping it keeps groundhogs out.

Here's the question. I'm liking the hoop row coverings. Two of the beds have the hoops and I'm going to add them to the rest. Wondering if bird netting over the hoops would deter the groundhogs enough? I've read that squirrels hate having that stuff on top the soil, and I've used to to reduce the digging in the beds they do, but not sure if the bird netting would be enough to deter the groundhogs?
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oneeyeluke
May 8, 2020 3:58 AM CST
Have you considered doing another hobby, like indoor gardening or rooftop garden? Those groundhogs will speed right through plastic bird netting like its nothing. good luck
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Name: Thomas Mitchell
Central Ohio (Zone 6a)
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thommesM
May 8, 2020 4:13 AM CST
I already do indoor gardening. Smiling Harvest 10 ounces of salad greens every other day. I'll stick with the plastic mesh fencing. For some reason it worked a couple years ago.
Everyone has something they can teach; everyone has something they can learn.

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Name: Elena
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bxncbx
May 8, 2020 5:10 AM CST
I have a friend in upstate NY that has been battling groundhogs for years now. She mostly wins.

First off put the fence back! She has thin metal posts stuck in the ground & bird netting.

Second, don't give up so easily! If they get in figure out how they did it. Then fix the problem area. I've helped her do this and it works. Add more netting or put something to block their path. And they will climb to get in so make sure there is nothing they can climb on near the beds. If there is, add netting to the top.

Third, try hay bale gardening. The groundhogs have never really bothered her hay bales (covered with same fence to keep out deer). She has them stacked 2-3 on top of each other. Added bonus of each bale lasts 2-3 years and becomes compost when done.

I can't say she doesn't lose some plants each year but she still has a good harvest. Just remember, you are smarter than they are! Good luck!
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BigBill
May 8, 2020 6:01 AM CST
You could expend a huge amount of time, money and worry about keeping animals out and you probably will not win with raised beds and ground hogs.
If it was me and I could afford it I would decide just how big of a garden do I really need? Pick out the best spot and erect 3' high chainlink fence around it. I don't believe ground hogs can get over that. As far as squirrels climbing in perhaps a sprinkler on a motion detector might discourage them.
Naturally include a gate for access and maybe this plan would give you the security you seek!?
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Name: Thomas Mitchell
Central Ohio (Zone 6a)
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thommesM
May 8, 2020 7:07 AM CST
bxncbx said:First off put the fence back! She has thin metal posts stuck in the ground & bird netting.
Second, don't give up so easily!
Third, try hay bale gardening.
Good luck!


First, the fencing already is back in place. I still find it really hard to believe that the fence was doing anything, but I had problems before the fence was up, no problems when it was up, and problems when I took it down because I didn't think it was doing anything other than making my life harder by keeping me from reaching the middle of the beds. We'll see if it works within the next week or so. The plastic mesh is quite a bit stronger than bird netting. I also read several years ago that the flimsier the fence is the better so that they cant climb it.

Second, yeah I gave up. Sort of just took everything out of me when I went from best garden ever to gone overnight and most of the plants were started from seed by me. At that point, I didn't have the time to start over with plants and it was getting too hot for leafy greens. I did keep thinking that I needed to start some plants to use as bait and figure out a way to keep the ground hogs from getting into the beds, but I don't think I went back out to the garden until it was time to rake leaves. New season, different attitude.

Hay bale.. well, that would be good and all, but I have these really nice raised beds. I'd rather find a way to use them. If I have to trap and euthanize that's what I'll do, but for now trying to deter them. Their den is in the neighbors yard so nothing I can do to try to get them to move.

Everyone has something they can teach; everyone has something they can learn.

"America is the most grandiose experiment the world has seen, but, I am afraid, it is not going to be a success. "
— Sigmund Freud
Name: Christie
Central Ohio 43016 (Zone 6a)
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cwhitt
May 8, 2020 7:22 AM CST
I have had good luck with Repels-All Animal Repellent.

https://www.gardeners.com/buy/...

Getting ready to plant my green beans and have a bunny out there, so will be using it. The thing is, you need to put it back down after rain.
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Name: Thomas Mitchell
Central Ohio (Zone 6a)
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thommesM
May 8, 2020 8:33 AM CST
Yeah. I've read that the repellents don't work very well. That and the guy from the extension office said they didn't work. However, the product you posted has garlic in it, and I know that ground hogs hate the allium family. In fact that's about the only thing they didn't touch last year. I have some great onions and leeks that overwintered. I will likely try this type of deterrent before trapping. And if all else fails, I'll be growing a ton of black raspberries, leeks, onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Ooops. wonder if gh eat mushrooms. Just started some winecap culture and it's doing incredible.
Everyone has something they can teach; everyone has something they can learn.

"America is the most grandiose experiment the world has seen, but, I am afraid, it is not going to be a success. "
— Sigmund Freud
Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
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bxncbx
May 8, 2020 8:41 AM CST
You're right, it's plastic mesh that she uses and not bird netting. The netting is on the blueberries. Flimsy is good because they are good climbers as well as diggers.

My friend has a mix of raised beds, hay bales and in-ground plants.

The problem with trapping/killing is that eventually more will show up. These guys are solitary and the kids are forced to find a new territory.

They seem to really love Brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts) and potato/sweet potatoes. You might try planting stuff they hate around the stuff they like.

I think she finds (much like with deer) that some years are worse than others. In bad years where there is little food they will do anything to get in your garden. But in years where there is a lot of eat they aren't particularly interested in her garden until late summer/early fall when they are fattening up for winter.

She has the metal rods that the mesh hooks onto. It's really easy for her to unhook one end and get access to the garden. It takes her maybe 5 seconds to get in.

Pictures would help so we could have some idea of how they might be getting in. Weirdly enough they have never dug into my friend's garden which is what I thought would be the first thing they would try.

[Last edited by bxncbx - May 8, 2020 8:42 AM (+)]
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Name: Thomas Mitchell
Central Ohio (Zone 6a)
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thommesM
May 8, 2020 9:13 AM CST
WOW... that's is really strange. My groundhogs must be on a keto diet or something. I soooo forgot that potatoes were another crop the groundhogs didn't touch. Well they touched the plants. If they were in the yard when we walked out, they ran for the potato bed. Other than that they didn't eat the plants or the taters.

As far as a picture, here's a thousand words instead. (It's raining outside and I don't want to get wet! HA) Picture your typical 4x8 raised bed that's say 10" high. I took some gardening stakes, metal covered in plastic, and ran them into the ground inside the bed at the corners and 2' along the length of the bed. I attached netting to the stakes and stapled the bottom of the netting to the wood. That worked for 2 years. I originally used bamboo canes for the stakes but after two years they started rotting. I pulled up the fencing around each bed thinking the mesh couldn't have been helping. D'Oh!

Last year I also started growing plants in grow bags. I wrapped some 5' high metal fencing around one of those that had edamame growing in it, and that crop actually survived the groundhogs but didn't survive the gardener's lack of attention when the drought set in because he was moping about groundhogs and spending time on his boat. This year I have more of the fencing that I'm putting up around a space I plan on growing determinant tomato plants, and also the area that I keep most of the grow bags. I'm determined to win the season but hoping not to lose many games.

Used to have problems with deer eating the black raspberries. Frustrated me to no end. So I planted some berries specifically for them out by the fence line, barbed wire. I explained to them they were welcome to the berries by the fence. They ate those and bless them if they didn't leave my berries untouched. Sad that the virgin woods behind us were clearcut to put up ugly boxes, but I have even more berries now. I still share the berries with the birds and they in turn plant raspberry plants throughout the yard mostly in the worst places possible.

I'm sort of surprised. I just read that groundhogs should be active now. Then again, they were active in December/January when the extension office sent me a response to groundhog control saying that right then they were hibernating. As I read the email, a groundhog walked by the patio door...timing, peeps, timing. So maybe their schedule is all off this year. I haven't seen any walk by the patio.
Everyone has something they can teach; everyone has something they can learn.

"America is the most grandiose experiment the world has seen, but, I am afraid, it is not going to be a success. "
— Sigmund Freud
Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
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bxncbx
May 8, 2020 11:29 AM CST
That gave me a good laugh!

The reason I wanted a picture was to see if there is anything surrounding or near the raised bed? Say a fence or deck or tree or anything else the groundhogs could use as a way to get into the bed?

I know the groundhog ate the sweet potato vines. They love them! My friend made a 3ft tall raised bed for potatoes and fenced it. She also added a trellis for the vines. But it was right up against a fence. The groundhog used the fence to climb up to the trellis and climb down it to eat all the vines. Now she knows to either cover the top or move the trellis so that it isn't next to the fence. But even with them eating the vine she still got a good crop of sweet potatoes since they didn't dig them up. They just didn't get as big as they could have. I will tell her though that they don't like potatoes. Makes sense since they are in the nightshade family.

If you don't mind sharing you could plant an ornamental sweet potato vine for them to eat. I hear those things grow really quickly and don't require a ton of messing with except for water if it doesn't rain much. I think it's great you share your berries with the deer and birds! I try and share my melons with raccoons but they get a bit aggressive sometimes. If I didn't cage the plants they'd eat all the melons!

I think the mild winter and now cold, late Spring has probably messed up a lot of animals. I also worry about the farmers. This recent cold weather must be doing a number on a lot of summer crops. My neighbor has already planted tomatoes. I have a feeling he's not going to get much of a harvest this year. I'm not planting mine out until at least mid-June.

I love grow bags! They make gardening a lot easier for me. My neighbor sets up a big pool each year right near my veggie raised bed. Blocks a lot of sun. But with the grow bags I can move the plants around to get some sun. My tomatoes do better in the bags than in the ground!
Name: Thomas Mitchell
Central Ohio (Zone 6a)
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thommesM
May 8, 2020 12:11 PM CST
I need to take my phone into the garden and take a picture. I thought it was squirrels digging but this has GOT to be a rabbit. HUGE freaking hole in one of my raised beds! But the lettuce remains untouched. Looks like something digging a den not simply burying or looking for a nut.
Everyone has something they can teach; everyone has something they can learn.

"America is the most grandiose experiment the world has seen, but, I am afraid, it is not going to be a success. "
— Sigmund Freud
Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
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bxncbx
May 8, 2020 12:22 PM CST
A rabbit would have eaten the lettuce. I could only grow lettuce in pots when I lived someplace with rabbits.

Not sure what would dig one big hole? Thinking Sure you don't have any cats or small dogs that could have sneaked in under the fence? And don't discount squirrels. They can dig out an entire pot and will do the same thing in a raised bed. Some of them are monsters! I've seen them chase cats!
Name: Thomas Mitchell
Central Ohio (Zone 6a)
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thommesM
May 8, 2020 12:42 PM CST
Yeah. I don't think it's a rabbit because the lettuce is still around. I"ll go out in a few minutes and take some pics. Have to start remembering to take my phone with me to the garden. Just... man... like pretty sure the other end of the hole is in china.
Everyone has something they can teach; everyone has something they can learn.

"America is the most grandiose experiment the world has seen, but, I am afraid, it is not going to be a success. "
— Sigmund Freud
Name: Thomas Mitchell
Central Ohio (Zone 6a)
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thommesM
May 8, 2020 1:56 PM CST
Here are some pictures.

The hole...
Thumb of 2020-05-08/thommesM/5199ea

The close-up of The hole...
Thumb of 2020-05-08/thommesM/3b3f58

The far shot of the bed that contains The hole...
Thumb of 2020-05-08/thommesM/bb376a

Everyone has something they can teach; everyone has something they can learn.

"America is the most grandiose experiment the world has seen, but, I am afraid, it is not going to be a success. "
— Sigmund Freud
[Last edited by thommesM - May 8, 2020 1:58 PM (+)]
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Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
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bxncbx
May 8, 2020 2:33 PM CST
Wow, I look at that and think dog but if the fence hasn't been disturbed I don't see how it is possible. I have no idea what animal could have done that!

Any bored kids in the neighborhood?
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Frillylily
May 8, 2020 2:40 PM CST
We gave up trying to control ours, finally got a live trap, now we bait w melon, and shoot them. They are not endangered or anything like that.

Relocated animals almost always die. It is cruel to relocate them. Most animals are territorial so the others kill them, they can't find water/food/shelter since they are unfamiliar w the area and predator's get them. So we just decided the best thing was to put them down. We don't have any this year so far. They destroy everything.
Name: Thomas Mitchell
Central Ohio (Zone 6a)
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thommesM
May 8, 2020 2:55 PM CST
Yeah it's illegal in Ohio to relocate. If you trap you have to euthanize.

ANd I know! The hole! I've no clue. I want to say rabbit but the lettuce is still ok in the same bed! Whatever has been doing it is doing this all over the garden. Really ANNOYING but I'll take this over eating everything. Only thing I can think of is squirrels. It wasn't there this morning when I walked the garden... it's there now. I think I might set up the goPro to see what's going on. I've seen this in the past, always thought and found it to be bunnies.. nest, but the lettuce. And this same net fence kept the bunnies out of the bed last time the fence was up. We do have stray cats which supposedly actually helps to keep groundhogs away, but I've never known a cat to dig a hole like this.
Everyone has something they can teach; everyone has something they can learn.

"America is the most grandiose experiment the world has seen, but, I am afraid, it is not going to be a success. "
— Sigmund Freud
Name: Christie
Central Ohio 43016 (Zone 6a)
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cwhitt
May 11, 2020 10:34 AM CST
thommesM said:Yeah. I've read that the repellents don't work very well. That and the guy from the extension office said they didn't work. However, the product you posted has garlic in it, and I know that ground hogs hate the allium family. In fact that's about the only thing they didn't touch last year. I have some great onions and leeks that overwintered. I will likely try this type of deterrent before trapping. And if all else fails, I'll be growing a ton of black raspberries, leeks, onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Ooops. wonder if gh eat mushrooms. Just started some winecap culture and it's doing incredible.

If they don't like garlic and onions, have you tried planting chives and garlic chives??

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Name: Christie
Central Ohio 43016 (Zone 6a)
Plays on the water.
Amaryllis Permaculture Sempervivums Roses Bookworm Annuals
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cwhitt
May 11, 2020 10:40 AM CST
That hole looks like a groundhog hole to me.
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