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.
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
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
There are safer ways to deal with rodents.
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
I appreciate your thoughts though. Thanks,
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.
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
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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