Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, are herbivores and have a diverse diet that includes various plants, flowers, and vegetables.
While hydrangeas are not their preferred food source, groundhogs may eat hydrangeas if other food options are scarce or if they find the taste appealing.
To protect your hydrangeas from groundhogs, consider using fencing, repellents, or other deterrent methods.
Hydrangeas are a popular flowering plant known for their large and colorful blooms. They are a favorite of many gardeners, including myself.
Hydrangeas contain cyanogenic glycosides, which can be toxic if ingested in large quantities. Therefore, it’s important to know which animals may eat these plants.
When and How Groundhogs Eat Hydrangeas
Groundhogs are herbivores and typically feed on a variety of plants, including grasses, clovers, and vegetables. However, they may also consume woody plants like hydrangeas.
Groundhogs are known to eat hydrangea leaves, stems, and flowers.
When groundhogs eat hydrangeas, they typically do so in the early morning or late afternoon.
They may climb into the plant to reach the leaves and flowers, or they may simply nibble on the parts of the plant that are within reach.
Groundhogs have strong jaws and teeth that allow them to easily chew through tough plant material.
Why Groundhogs Eat Hydrangeas
Groundhogs may eat hydrangeas for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, they may simply enjoy the taste of the leaves and flowers.
Secondly, if other sources of food are scarce, they may turn to hydrangeas as a food source.
Finally, groundhogs may eat hydrangeas as a way to supplement their diet with nutrients that they may not be getting from other plants.
Implications for Backyard Owners
If you’re a backyard owner and have hydrangeas in your garden, it’s important to be aware of the potential for groundhogs to eat them. While groundhogs may not eat hydrangeas every day, they may turn to them as a food source if other options are not available.
It’s also important to note that groundhogs can cause damage to your garden beyond just eating your plants. They may dig burrows in your yard, which can be unsightly and potentially dangerous if they undermine a structure.
Therefore, it’s important to take steps to deter groundhogs from your garden if you don’t want them there.
Other Animals That Might Eat Hydrangeas
Groundhogs are not the only animals that may eat hydrangeas. Other herbivores, such as deer and rabbits, may also consume these plants.
Additionally, some insects, like aphids and spider mites, may feed on hydrangea leaves and flowers.
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:
To lure the groundhogs in, you can use one of the numerous favorite foods of groundhogs or an optimized extra attractive formula like this one to make the catch even quicker!
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.
Motion-activated lights, sounds, and sprinklers may help prevent groundhogs from entering your yard.
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.
Check out my recent post on the best humane, but effective, tactics against rodents like groundhogs and gophers in your yard!
In conclusion, groundhogs may eat hydrangeas but whether they will do so or not depends on various factors.
If you want to keep your hydrangeas safe, take steps to deter groundhogs and other animals from your garden.
This may include using fencing, repellents, or other techniques.
By doing so, you can help protect your beautiful garden and keep it looking its best all season long!