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Common Household Remedies Request

Goddammit, I spotted my first woodchuck today; threw a rock at it but I missed. So I think it's time to get into fencing mode. Here's the best advice I found:

Install a mesh wire fence, 3 to 4 feet high. Do not attach the wire to the very top of the fence posts. Woodchucks do not like unstable fence. Fold 6 to 12 inches onto the ground to discourage the woodchuck from burrowing under the fence. Fences that are 3 to 4 feet high are easy to step over, so don't bother with a gate.

So, when I search Home Deport on "mesh wire fence" I find these technologies:

  • 14-Gauge Welded Wire
  • 20-Gauge Galvanized Poultry Netting
  • 19-Gauge Galvanized Hardware Cloth

Poultry netting would seem to be the most unstable -- one envisions the woodchuck failing to drag its ungainly body upward -- but is it strong enough? Presumably hardware cloth is not in the running...

NOTE Also, how about row covers? Are woodchucks smart enough to push row covers aside or get under them?

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Submitted by lambert on

They are like the Lannisters of the garden world, devouring everything. If I left out apples for them they would eat them and then invite their friends.

albrt's picture
Submitted by albrt on

"Hardware cloth" is not much like cloth, it is actually pretty stiff and strong, but it is usually more expensive than chickenwire or welded wire.

The chickenwire has the advantage of keeping out smaller critters, but I suspect a full-size woodchuck might be able to push under it, or around it at the joints. The welded wire is easy to work with and lasts longer - I would probably use that.

Submitted by lambert on

... but also bendy, so maybe if I space the supports out it will be free-standing enough to support itself, and at the same time be unstable enough so they dislike it.

Submitted by hipparchia on

a cautionary tale before you spend money...

Woodchucks do not like unstable fence.

yeah, they say this about cats and cat fencing too, but I've tried this, and while most of my cats were a bit perturbed, some of them (4 out of 11) are determined little critters and totally unflappable and kept right on going.

I don't know how much variability there is in the woodchuck population, but I no longer accept dogmatic pronunciations about cat behavior.

Submitted by lambert on

Well, there are stories of woodchucks up in trees. But that said, I don't see woodchucks as graceful climbers.

Anyhow, for now I'm going to tie ribbons of shiny hologram tape onto poles that I already have. They don't like motion, either.

Submitted by ohio on

How about a potato cannon? Whether you're actually able to scare them off is in question, but you're image may be enhanced. Who doesn't look cool with a potato cannon?

Welded wire isn't difficult to install, but you may have to bury it and not just fold it over to stop 'em from re-enacting their version of The Great Escape. You can trench a foot down easily enough, but that means a welded wire fence at least 48" to end up with a 3-foot high fence. And 3' high may be easy for you to step over, but I'd gate it anyway for those times I'm carrying stuff.

The gate doesn't have to be too hard---it can even be a pallet on it's side and leaning on the fence.

You're not going to be able to stop them (unless you do the potato cannon thing) but you can slow them down. And if you give them an easier source of food, a la some apples in the compost bin, they may be more likely to accept the détente and leave the plants you want to protect alone.

Submitted by lambert on

... and it is buried a foot down in a bed of gravel. Unfortunately, it's only 2 feet tall. So I was thinking about adding the top layer of chicken wire (folded out horizontally at the top). I actually do have the makings of an electric fence (which I got during last year's critter paranoia phase) but I can't bear to move the honeysuckle off the fence poles to avoid shorting it out...

I love the potato cannon idea! If only I could have used it on last year's tenants!