As a garden owner, I often find myself asking the question: do groundhogs eat dahlias? These beautiful flowers add so much color and vibrancy to my garden, and the last thing I want is for them to be devoured by a hungry animal.
Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, are herbivores and have a diverse diet that includes various plants, flowers, and vegetables.
While dahlias are not their preferred food source, groundhogs may eat dahlias if other food options are scarce or if they find the taste appealing.
To protect your dahlias from groundhogs, consider using fencing, repellents, or other deterrent methods.
After some research and personal experience, I’ve come to the conclusion that the answer is yes, groundhogs do eat dahlias. However, there are some nuances to their eating habits that are worth exploring.
Dahlias and Groundhogs
Dahlias are a type of flowering plant that belong to the Asteraceae family. They come in a variety of colors and sizes, making them a popular choice for home gardens.
Unfortunately, they are also a popular choice for groundhogs. Groundhogs are herbivores, which means they primarily eat plant matter.
They have a particular fondness for vegetables and flowers, including dahlias.
When, How, and Why Groundhogs Eat Dahlias
Groundhogs are active during the day, and they typically feed early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
They have strong teeth that are well-suited for chewing through tough plant material, including the stems and leaves of dahlias.
They are also skilled diggers, which means they can easily access the roots of the plant if they so desire.
Groundhogs are attracted to dahlias for a few different reasons.
First, dahlias are a good source of nutrition for them.
They contain a variety of vitamins and minerals that are important for the groundhog’s health.
Additionally, dahlias are often planted in gardens, which means they are easily accessible for the animal.
Finally, groundhogs are known for their sweet tooth, and dahlias have a sweet, nectar-like taste that is irresistible to them.
Implications for Backyard Owners
If you’re a backyard owner who loves dahlias, it’s important to take steps to protect them from groundhogs.
While it’s true that groundhogs are attracted to dahlias, there are ways to deter them from eating your plants.
One option is to use fencing to create a barrier around your garden.
This can help keep groundhogs out, as they are not good climbers.
Another option is to use repellents, such as predator urine or spicy sprays.
These products can be effective at deterring groundhogs, but they may need to be reapplied regularly.
Other Animals That Might Eat Dahlias
While groundhogs are the most common culprit when it comes to eating dahlias, they are not the only animals that might be interested in your flowers.
Other animals that may eat dahlias include deer, rabbits, and squirrels.
If you notice damage to your dahlias that is not consistent with groundhog behavior, it’s worth considering these other animals as potential culprits.
How To Keep Groundhogs Out Of Your Yard!
There are several things that can be done to prevent groundhogs from digging and eating stuff in your backyard. I will list some of the strategies below.
Also, see my recent post if you want a full list of my favorite methods to keep groundhogs and gophers away!
1. Using ultrasonic sound
Groundhogs, like other bigger mammals that may invade your garden, tend to have very good hearing. This means that loud or consistent noises will scare them away or at least shorten their visits.
Check out my full buying guide for these ingenious ultrasonic repeller devices here!
One of my favorite technologies to keep pests away from my backyard is these cool solar-powered ultrasonic sound emitters that you can buy right from Amazon! In my experience, they really work, and the solar panels on top save you the time and money of changing batteries all the time.
They will also work against other rodents like gophers, mice, and rats!
2. Sprinkling natural repellents
Groundhogs may be scared off by using natural scents such as coyote urine or predator scents.
They may also cause them to leave if there is a combination of sounds being played from a radio. The sounds include the sound of barking dogs and coyotes.
You can sprinkle dog hair, cayenne pepper or strong enteric oils and other natural repellents around the garden to keep the groundhogs away.
See my complete list of humane ways to keep groundhogs away from your yard for more tips and tricks!
3. Fencing around the garden
You can also fence around your garden to keep groundhogs from entering the garden. It should be at least 3 feet deep and have a double row of fencing.
Groundhogs are good diggers so it has to go underground or they may find a way into the garden even with the fences in place!
4. Using live traps
You can use a live trap to capture groundhogs and move them to another area. Live trapping is currently the most humane way of groundhog control. Once you have removed all groundhogs from an area, it is important to ensure that they do not come back by using fencing or other barriers to block access.
You can also just buy a live trap, as the sturdy metal ones shown here:
5. Using natural pesticides
There are pesticides or rodent toxins that can be used to kill groundhogs on your property. These may also affect other animals in the area so it is important to ensure that they are only sprayed on the targeted plants.
I do not recommend these, as I prefer more humane ways as described here. Also, anything that kills an animal will also harm humans to some degree, so go for a repellant rather than a toxin if you go the chemical route!
6. Using Scarecrows
You can use a scarecrow in your garden to keep groundhogs away. Groundhogs are afraid of novelty so time-sensitive or motion-activated scarecrows may also be effective in keeping them out of the garden.
7. Using Lights
Groundhogs are not strictly nocturnal animals but they are most active at low light so they do avoid areas with bright lights.
Any blinking light will confuse and scare away groundhogs from your yard, especially if they are motion activated and sudden!
8. Motion-activated sprinklers
Like most animals, groundhogs hate surprises, and they will run away if suddenly sprayed with water. I like this solution because it is humane, simple, effective, and does not require much time to set up.
The Havahart 5277 is a motion-activated sprinkler that is activated by the movement of animals up to 25 feet away and sprays them with a harmless water jet, frightening them off and keeping them at bay.
The included metal stake makes it easy to install in your garden, and the sprinkler can be rotated 180 degrees for maximum coverage.
In conclusion, groundhogs do eat dahlias, but there are ways to protect your plants from their voracious appetites. By understanding the nuances of groundhog eating habits and taking steps to deter them from your garden, you can enjoy the beauty of dahlias without worrying about them being devoured by hungry animals.