The last 2 weeks have brought two snows to our area, and unfortunately I was at work for both of them. As an ICU nurse, I can’t just walk out on my patients when the snow starts, so on the first snow, I left the hospital and made a 1 1/2 journey home. It normally takes me 25 to 30 minutes. 1 mile from home I was stuck, and had to start out on foot, with my husband picking me up a few minutes later. The second snow, last weekend was even worse. No one on our night shift could get in, so the nurse manager and I worked 24 hours. I have decided I am too old to do this. It took me two days to recover! So…..when Panxsutawney Phil and Chattanooga Chuck both predicted 6 more weeks of winter I was in a foul mood.
We have never had groundhogs or woodchucks as they are also known as, in our yard. Maybe it’s our area, or the fact we have always had outside dogs which can barely tolerate a squirrel. But groundhogs can be a nuisance to many people, and when they come out of hibernation in February, they set their sights on digging burrows in your yard, or waiting for those first vegetables in your garden as a tasty meal. After all, they have a hungry brood to feed after mating and breeding in March. Groundhogs produce their brood of 4-5 babies one month after mating.
There are a few things you can due to discourage ground hogs from taking over your yard and garden.
Groundhogs do not like shining things that reflect sunlight and move in the breeze. On article I read suggested tying Mylar balloons to shrubs around the garden. That doesn’t sound too pleasing to my idea of how my garden should look, but if I was bothered by groundhogs, I guess I would try anything. There are also “animal scaring” balloons you can purchase at garden supply stores. These have faces with big eyes on them. If you come to my back yard you will see old CD disc hanging from fishing line in a few trees. This was my husbands idea of scaring off the crows. I think they worked pretty well, but my granddaughters used a few as pinatas, knocking them down with a garden rake.
Keep Them Out of the Garden
Groundhogs generally will not climb an unstable fence, so install a 3 to 4 foot barrier of a “floppy” fence around your garden.
Humanely chuck a woodchuck out of your yard.
Visit http://www.humanesociety.org/. Click on animals, then select Wild Neighbors, then
woodchucks. Information on permanently removing woodchucks from your yard using humane methods can be found. The idea is to remove their burrows after they have born their young and raised them to be independant.
Ever the optomist, I don’t believe we are in for 6 more weeks. Today’s high temperature is expected to be 51 and as I write this is 42. The sun is shining and the outside is calling me.
the woodchuck picture came from http://www.annerobertson.com/
Information on co-existing with groundhogs came from an article in our local newspaper timesfreepress.com