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Do Groundhogs Eat Hostas?

A shady garden filled with hostas is a great shelter in the summer heat. In order to keep it in good condition, it is necessary to treat and protect the plants from various pests. One of them will be discussed in this article.

Groundhogs eat the hosta and can cause irreparable damage. To get rid of groundhogs, use live traps and liquid fencing.

These were quick tips and you will learn how to get rid of these pests in more detail below. Also, be sure to check out the article How to Grow a Hosta Properly.


groundhogs eat hostas

Hosta eaten by groundhogs.

Groundhogs tear off the petioles with their paws, so the cuts are sloppy. After their visit, there are usually no leaves left, they eat everything. They may even dig up the rhizome and chew it up.

Deer eat the leaves of the hosta and do not touch the stems. This is their main difference from groundhogs. A groundhog can eat almost the entire plant, and you may lose it.

groundhogs eat hostas

Hosta leaves eaten by groundhogs.

How do you keep groundhogs from eating hostas?

There are several methods to stop groundhogs from eating your hostas. Let’s talk about each of them in more detail.

Use live trap

Live traps are the best and most humane way to get rid of groundhogs. These traps are long cages. At one end of the cage is a door and at the opposite end is a trigger mechanism that closes the door.

The animal enters the cage, activates the trigger mechanism, and the door closes. As a result, the rodent is not injured in any way.

A variety of foods can be used as bait, but the most effective bait is a cantaloupe. No groundhog can resist such a treat.

Simply slice thin slices of cantaloupe and make a path of them to the end of the cage. Place a large piece on the trigger.

Place the trap where you walk the least. This is to keep the groundhogs from spotting you, because they can show up during the day and your presence will scare them away.

When you catch a rodent, you should take it as far away from your yard as possible (at least a few miles). If you release it too close to the house, the pest may return and you will never catch it again with this trap.

Get a dog

The second effective way to control groundhogs is with dogs.

The natural enemies of these rodents are large predators (bears, wolves, etc.). With the expansion of agricultural land, groundhogs settle there, but predators do not visit these lands often.

In populated areas, dogs have become the main enemy of these pests. Many gardeners claim that they do not even have dogs, but groundhogs do not bother them. This is because their neighbors have dogs.

So if you have a similar problem, get a pet dog. Choose large breeds (such as a German Shepherd) because groundhogs are relatively large creatures, and a small dog won’t be able to handle them. Cats are also not suitable for this purpose.

groundhogs eat hostas

Hosta petioles eaten by groundhogs.

Install a fence

Another good solution is to fence your garden with hostas. This will protect your plants not only from groundhogs, but also from many other animals (deer, rabbits, etc.).

Mesh fencing panels are best for this purpose. They are fairly easy to install and last a long time.

Choose panels that are at least 5-6 feet tall. Also, if you don’t want deer to get into the garden, it should be at least 7 feet high.

Of course, the fence has its disadvantages, one of which is that a groundhog can dig a passage under the fence and still get into the garden.

However, the fence makes it very difficult for these pests to reach the plants. Therefore, it remains quite effective.

Liquid fence


It is a liquid with an unpleasant odor. It works best against deer and rabbits and is also quite effective against groundhogs.

There are many good repellents on the market, choose the best one and spray your hostas. It is important that you do this in dry weather.

After you apply liquid repellent to the hosta, it should dry. Even if the repellent doesn’t smell after it dries, the smell will still be too pungent for animals and they won’t go near your hostas.

If you spray your plants in wet weather, the product won’t stick to the leaves and the first rain will wash it away. But if the product dries on the leaves, you won’t need to renew it more than once a month.

You can also make your own repellent. You can find many recipes on the Internet on how to do this. However, the effectiveness of homemade liquid repellent is lower, and it is also less resistant to precipitation.

What to do if the damage is done?

Do Groundhogs Eat Hostas

If pests have damaged your hostas, you need to create the best possible conditions for recovery.

The first thing to do is shade the plants. Even if they are growing in shade, the extra shade will ease conditions and the hostas may even be able to form some new leaves this season.

Shading can be done with a garden umbrella or shading netting from a garden center. If you use netting, you need to make a framework; this can be four sticks stuck in the ground around the plant.

The second thing you can do is provide moist conditions. Water the damaged hosta occasionally, don’t let the surface dry out more than an inch.

If there are stems or parts of stems left on the surface, do not cut them off. They will photosynthesize and provide the plant with the energy it needs.

You can also give the hosta a little fertilizer. The amount should not be too much since the plant does not have a leaf mass and does not need a lot of fertilizer.

All these steps will allow your hosta to build up its strength for next year. Although, as I mentioned above, there is a good chance that the plants will start to regenerate as early as this year.