The Potager

The Potager

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Hubby wanted to show me something when I got home from work yesterday.
This is a tree in our side yard that we recently cleared. There is something in the tree.
Is that...? Why yes it is. It is a groundhog! In a tree! I've lived here 30 years and have never seen a groundhog climb a tree.
I've since learned that indeed groundhogs will climb trees for three reasons:

  1. It feels threatened by a predator. The major predators of groundhogs that live in our area are foxes, coyotes, bears (I've never seen one, but we do get occasional sightings reported in the local news ), large hawks and dogs. Our yard is fenced in so that leaves out everything but the large hawks, however climbing a tree can't be the best way to avoid a hawk! Our cats roam the yard, but this groundhog was at least as big as our cats, if not bigger! 
  2. To get berries or fruit. This was a pine tree. So that option is eliminated. 
  3. To survey the surrounding area, and to rest while doing it.
I'm guessing it was reason number three. The groundhog didn't seem too upset or frightened. 
Hubby has been sprinkling an animal repellant around the shed to get rid of the skunk living under there. The groundhog also has his burrow entrances around there, so maybe he has had enough with the smell and is moving on, look for a new home. (I wish - the skunk hasn't moved on yet. If the groundhog can stand the smell of the skunk....)
Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, are actually members of the squirrel family, so I guess it is not surprising that they can climb trees. They are also very good swimmers.
I've also learned while researching groundhogs that they really like tomatoes. And they can climb - as in fences. Uh oh.
This morning he was out of the tree and no where to be seen. I don't mind having a groundhog in my yard. We always have had them. They've always eaten out of the compost pile or the woods and left us alone. This year though, Mr. Groundhog has encroached into our garden and is now in our trees. It may be time to get a trap.

                                                       How much wood would a woodchuck chuck
if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
                                                    A woodchuck would chuck all the wood he could
if a woodchuck could chuck wood!

I am linking this up to the Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage,
where you can visit gardeners from all over and see how lovely a garden is in late July.

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