Garden Q&A: How to get rid of groundhogs in your yard

For The Baltimore Sun

A groundhog has dug under our shed — again. We have removed many over the years with a non-lethal trap but another one always shows up. Any better ideas?

Groundhogs are especially fond of digging under concrete slabs. Perhaps it substitutes for the large rocks they burrow under in wilder areas. Soaking rags with ammonia and shoving them deep into the hole can be a deterrent. Refill the hole. This time of year, however, there may be young in the burrow, so you may have to wait until summer. Treat and plug all the tunnel entrances you can find; usually there is more than one. Search “groundhogs” on the HGIC website.

I didn’t buy a house because of the invasive plants overrunning the yard. Bamboo was even growing into the woods from the neighbor’s. Was I overreacting?

The work and expense of removing non-native invasive plants depends heavily upon the plants in question. Invasive perennial vines, such as bittersweet or honeysuckle, and shrubs, such as rosa multiflora or bush honeysuckle, usually can be eliminated in one blow by cutting or mowing them and digging and/or treating the stumps. Even running bamboo can be killed by using the correct timing and herbicides. However, when bamboo is growing among other plants, control becomes problematic. It would be nearly impossible to put a plastic-lined trench through the woods to keep the bamboo from reinfesting your lot from the neighbors. The deep trench required would sever tree roots to a damaging degree. On the other hand, if you’re up for the challenge, you would be improving the environment by removing invasive non-native plants and replacing them with natives or benign non-natives. Someone should do it! There are landscape companies that specialize in such work. You can search “invasive plants” and “bamboo” on the HGIC website for controls.

University of Maryland Extension’s Home and Garden Information Center offers free gardening and pest information at Click “Ask Maryland’s Gardening Experts” to send questions and photos.

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