Animal Control

How Much Damage can a Woodchuck Do? Tips to Protect Your Garden

As we all begin to spend more time in the yard, may notice the presence of unexpected guests. While many love the colorful birds and critters that arrive at the feeder come springtime, some wildlife can pose a nuisance. One of the most common problem wildlife that damages lawns and gardens are moles. Moles form volcano-shaped hills or mounds that can be an eyesore. Moles dig two types of tunnels. Surface tunnels lift the surface upwards, making yards feel “squishy” when walked on. Deep tunnels create the mounds of dirt showing up on your lawn and lead to horizontal travel tunnels. A mole can tunnel 18 feet per hour, so even removing one mole can reduce lawn damage tremendously. Groundhogs or woodchucks are another common offender, particularly around farms or gardens. They eat many commonly grown vegetables and their burrows and tunnels can destroy lawns and undermine irrigation systems. Lastly, skunks are often one of the biggest annoyances on a lawn. Although they don’t create as much damage on a lawn as a mole or groundhog, they are notorious for spraying curious pets who may have gotten too close. Skunks may also burrow under sheds or porches.

Tips to Prevent & Deal with Nuisance Wildlife

The first step is to identify the problem pest. Moles and groundhogs create obvious damage, but identifying squirrels, skunks, or even raccoons may take some more sleuth work.

  • Moles and woodchucks require rigorous trapping to remove from your lawn. As mentioned, a mole can tunnel 18 feet per hour, so even removing one mole can reduce lawn damage tremendously.
  • Keep trash tight: Make sure that your trash bins have tight-fitting lids to keep them from being broken into by raccoons or opossums.
  • Bring pet food bowls inside at night: Pet food (particularly cat food) attracts several nuisance wildlife including skunks and raccoons.
  • Keep squirrels out of bird feeders: For those who enjoy watching the colorful birds who fly to their feeders, consider using deterrents to keep squirrels from feeding. Fiery Feast bird feed blend is treated with hot peppers and after a couple unsavory experiences, squirrels will likely leave the birdseed to the birds.

Protecting your Garden from Problem Pests

  • Block Access: Fencing your garden is one of the most effective ways to keep out unwanted critters. However, groundhogs or voles may still burrow under. Vanguard technicians can also install plastic-coated hardware cloth or dig defense underground to keep out burrowing wildlife.
  • Add some less tasty plants: Certain plants that are disliked by nibbling perpetrators may help to keep them out of your garden. Plant some of these plants, such as boxwoods, daffodils, marigolds, or wormwoods, around the perimeter of your garden.
  • Contain your compost: Open compost piles can attract many different critters and it may lead them to more coveted consumables.


Exclusion is the key to preventing yourself from having the same problem twice. Cracks and crevices beneath decks and sheds can provide shelter for nuisance wildlife. Denying entry to these often overlooked spaces will deter animals from using your home as a shelter and prevent damage to your home. Vanguard recently did a job in Bristol, Rhode Island, where we helped a family whose dog had a run-in with a resident skunk. We provided 7-day skunk trapping and exclusion around their shed and porch to prevent any other animals from setting up camp. Behind shed - before. Original chicken wire. InstallationAfterPreviousNextVanguardinstalled plastic-coated hardware cloth to the bottom edge of the shed and the porch lattice. This prevents animals from burrowing or slipping underneath vulnerable openings. First, we dig a trench that is 6 inches deep and 12 inches wide before laying down the hardware cloth. The cloth is laid a foot wide because the sooner the animal encounters that mesh, the less likely they are to continue to burrow through and gain access into the structure. Then, we adhere the hardware cloth and rebury the trench. Once the hardware cloth is reburied (as seen in photos above), it becomes a subtle protection from any nuisance lawn pest, large or small. We also worked around any major plants that might obstruct the cloth to maintain integrity of their garden. This is great to do in the spring before homeowners mulch and begin to build their garden for the season. This service has a 2-year warranty to keep unwanted wildlife out of your home for summers to come.

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Vanguard Wildlife Solutions Logo
1 Sweet Fern Lane Coventry, RI 02816

Phone: (401) 601-9390