Vegetable Garden and Woodchucks

This fall, before the frost, I cleared an area for a vegetable garden. In the past, I've had trouble with Woodchucks in my flower garden. They eat everything. I'm prepared to put in a chicken-wire fence around the parameter of the vegetable garden to keep them out, but have received may opinions on how deep I need to sink it. I've been told anywhere between 5 and 18 inches. 5 inches would not be so difficult to do. 18 inches would require some major excavation (rocks, roots, etc.). I'd like to know what is necessary for the fence to be effective.
I'd appreciate any direction you could provide.
Thanks,
Stacey
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A few years ago I had several dens of them. What we call (groundhogs). I took the LP tank, regulator and hose off of my gas grill and let it run about 15 min. in each den. I should not brag but I haven't had a one since. I think the LP stays down in the den. I had to do something because they was making dens where I mow with the tractor and was afraid I would end upside down in the creek.
From Mel & Donnie in Bluebird Valley
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The risk of rolling the tractor was probably much lower then the risk of creating a lovely fireball. Sure propane is heavier then air, and sinks into low lying areas, and probably suffocated the ground hogs in the dens and tunnels, but in the process you also created a potentially explosive condition.
There are safer ways to deal with rodents.
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Mel,
Thanks for the suggestion. It's a bit too Caddyshack for me. I know that the woodchucks are living under my porch and I've set out havaheart traps for them, but there are too many around here. I caught 6 last season and more just keep showing up.
Your suggestion might work great in a field, but I don't think it would be the best idea to "gas" my porch. While it might take care of the woodchuck problem, I think I would have difficulty explaining it to my insurance agent.
I appreciate your thoughts though. Thanks,
Stacey

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The same method can be used with a safer gas such as CO2. Borrow a tank from a friend who has one or rent it at your local supplier of CO2 (you might have to go to a bigger city to find a supplier). CO2 is safe, heavier than air, and non-explosive. You can use the remainder of the gas for fizzing drinks, quick-freezing something. You do have to be cautious when using the tank. As the compressed gas expands, the temp drops drastically and can cause frostbite if not handled correctly, as can a fire extinguisher. Gary

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Stacey Malden said:

If you put a row of patio blocks along the bottom of the outside of the fence, you only need to bury it an inch or so. The patio blocks make a nice border/mowing strip as well. Alternatively, you can run the fencing wire out along the ground a foot or so and bury it under mulch. Either approach will keep them from going under the wire.
You might consider building the fence with something more permanent than chicken wire, and then reinforcing the bottom with chicken wire running up 18" (to exclude rabbits) and outward (to discourage digging under).
But you are also going to need some sort of protection at the top of the fence. Woodchucks are the largest members of the squirrel family and are excellent climbers. I've seen them sunning themselves up in trees. They also sometimes climb mulberry trees to feed on the leaves, though they are much more fond of the leaves on sapling mulberries. And they regularly climb fences and perch on the top to feed on mulberry leaves or the tops of sunflower plants. A line or two of electric fence line run above the top of the fence will keep them from climbing over. Alternatively, letting a couple of feet of chicken wire hang loose at the top, bowing outward will discourage them from going over. (As they climb, their weight will bow them back over.) I've used the floppy top at my old place (where we had few woodchucks) and the electric wire here (woodchuck central).
My fence keeps our woodchucks, possums, racoons, fox squirrels and (so far) deer. It also keep out cats and foxes, which means I sometimes develop a vole problem in the garden. (This fall was bad; they ate a large portion of the potatoes I had buried under straw in the garden.)
I might also add that a couple of my neighbors also trap or otherwise 'remove' woodchucks. And I smoke bomb any burrows I find in my yard or in my one next door neighbor's yard.
--
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

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