If you find yourself asking “Do groundhogs eat tomatoes?” then the answer is yes, groundhogs may eat the tomatoes in your yard.
Given that they are the ideal combination of fruit and water, the voracious feeders and underground creatures will occasionally devour them as they are naturally perfect for thirst and the fruit’s meat is perfect for food.
If you are concerned about the damage caused to your yard by the groundhogs and want to know more about this issue, then continue reading this guide.
We list all the information about groundhogs, their love for tomatoes, and some vital tips to tackle the problem.
- Do Groundhogs Consume Tomatoes?
- Why Do Groundhogs Enjoy and Eat Tomatoes?
- When Do Groundhogs Eat Tomatoes?
- What Are Some Signs of Groundhogs Eating Tomatoes?
- How To Prevent Groundhogs From Eating Tomatoes?
- – Build a Fence Around Your Garden the Right Way
- – Use Castor Oil
- – Sprinklers That Turn on When They Detect Motion
- – Drive Them Away With Used and Soiled Cat Litter
- – Use Offensive Odors
- – Stockings Made of Nylon Treated With Soap
- – Hot Pepper Spray
- – Planting Tomatoes With Other Species
- – Keep the Garden Neat
- Set up Live Traps
- Gather Your Tomatoes as Soon as Possible
- What Other Animals Are Eating Your Tomatoes?
Do Groundhogs Consume Tomatoes?
Yes, if readily available, groundhogs will consume tomatoes of all states of ripeness. They will avoid eating tomato plant portions, though, as the plant belongs to the nightshade family and is thus poisonous to groundhogs, which is something they are naturally aware of.
The animal, also known as a woodchuck, prefers tomatoes over other fruits and vegetables because they provide water and nutrients in one bite, making it easier for them to survive.
Why Do Groundhogs Enjoy and Eat Tomatoes?
Groundhogs enjoy and eat their fill of tomatoes because of the fruit’s delicious taste and its hydrating qualities. In addition, tomatoes are usually found in places where they forage for food, which makes it easy to pick and eat for the groundhogs.
Tomatoes are only sometimes a favorite among groundhogs. But like other wild animals, they have evolved to live close to people and now eat any crops they can find in backyard gardens or farm fields, including tomatoes. Here are the most common reasons that attract them to the fruit.
– Delicious in Taste
Tomatoes are delicious in addition to being nutrient-dense. A small, ripe tomato has roughly one gram of fiber and 3.5 grams of carbs. Tomatoes are a good source of salt, calcium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, and others.
Phosphorus and other macronutrients are present in some tomato varieties and all these nutritional elements give the animal strength and builds up their body mass.
– Hydrates the Animal
Another essential thing in tomatoes is the source of water. Groundhogs will consume unripe and ripe tomatoes, including green ones, as about 95 percent of these vegetables are made up of water.
Tomatoes, thus, become a tempting fruit to consume since groundhogs obtain most of their water from vegetation. Although these animals will nibble on any tomato, green tomatoes typically have a lower consumption rate due to their acidity and solanine content.
– Plants in the Forage Area
Although it is unlikely that groundhogs will make a special effort to eat your vegetables, there is a significant probability that they will attempt to if they find them in the vicinity where they are foraging.
When Do Groundhogs Eat Tomatoes?
Groundhogs eat tomato plant generally between late summer and early fall to prepare for the winter hibernation phase. Woodchucks must store fat and energy, and they start gaining weight around this period and eat whatever is available. Peas, beans, cabbage, apples, and tomatoes fall within this category, which is vital for groundhogs.
Groundhogs have evolved to live close to people and do well in landscapes that humans control, like other wild animals that live in urban and suburban settings.
Groundhogs, frequently considered a nuisance species, prey on the vegetable garden and agricultural fields by eating vegetation and excavating burrows underneath buildings. They primarily consume grass and the white legume clover in the early spring and summer.
What Are Some Signs of Groundhogs Eating Tomatoes?
Some signs that groundhogs are eating your tomatoes include an untidy and messy garden, teeth marks on half-eaten fruits, and deep underground burrows in your garden.
Groundhogs may leave your tomato plants trampled as well. Because they are larger than other burrowing animals, they will be easier to spot.
Few things in life are more annoying than having your tomatoes disappear before they are ready to be picked. The most common offenders are groundhogs, but they are not the only ones. Hence, it is essential to search for signs that will tell you if these animals are the culprits.
– Untidy and Messy
How food is consumed can give you a first indication of the types of animals that invade your property. Woodchucks are untidy eaters and typically trample the tomato plant while feeding on the plant’s fruits. In most cases, however, they will not bother the plant in any way.
– Teeth Marks
Another interesting sign is the teeth marks left behind on half-eaten fruits. Spot a wide teeth mark at least an inch apart; then you can be sure it is indeed a woodchuck.
– Deep Burrows
Deep burrows can also determine the presence of groundhogs near your property in your lawn or garden. However, be aware that apart from getting into your garden through underground burrows, they are also excellent climbers and they are often found clambering over walls and fences.
How To Prevent Groundhogs From Eating Tomatoes?
To prevent groundhogs from eating your tomatoes, you can try building a fence around your garden, using castor oil, purchasing motion-activated sprinklers, driving them away with soiled cat litter, using offensive odors, or creating a hot pepper spray. These methods will help you eliminate groundhogs from your property.
Here are a few methods to prevent groundhogs from eating your tomatoes.
– Build a Fence Around Your Garden the Right Way
There are two crucial points to remember when attempting to exclude groundhogs using a fence. First, groundhogs can climb fences, and second, they can access the garden from underneath the fence.
Because of this, the fence needs to be sufficiently high so that woodchucks cannot climb it, and it also needs to be installed sufficiently deep so that they cannot dig burrows underneath it. The ideal fence would have a height of at least three feet and be made of heavy-duty poultry wire or mesh woven wire.
In addition, you should slant the lower section of the fence so that it stays away from the garden, burying it at a depth of 12 inches. You should also install an electric wire on the fence.
This style of fencing will prevent and keep other animals from entering the garden and will keep the groundhogs out too. A higher fence will also keep deer away from your garden if you are concerned about it.
– Use Castor Oil
Castor oil is one of the few substances that have the potential to convince groundhogs to leave their burrows and relocate to a different location. Just pour some castor oil into the burrow when the groundhogs are active outside of it at the appropriate time, which will require you to monitor the groundhogs’ behavior.
Because groundhogs are active during the day, it is easy to spot them when they emerge from their burrows if you keep an eye on them.
– Sprinklers That Turn on When They Detect Motion
Motion-activated sprinklers are a convenient and effective way to deter groundhogs and unwanted animals. Sprinklers should be installed close to the tomato plants that need to be protected from groundhogs because it can be challenging to identify all groundhog entry points.
– Drive Them Away With Used and Soiled Cat Litter
Because soiled cat litter smells like cats and ammonia, groundhogs will avoid the predator if they can help it. Put the kitty litter near one of the burrow entrances and leave the other one unblocked for the animals to use as an exit.
– Use Offensive Odors
Aside from the smell of cat litter, groundhogs are sensitive to various other smells. Garlic, onions, thyme, rosemary, lavender, and other odoriferous herbs and plants are some examples of plants that can be used to keep pests away from tomato plants.
You can also help keep pests away from your garden by sprinkling essential oils of tea tree and citronella around the garden’s perimeter.
– Stockings Made of Nylon Treated With Soap
Do you have any extra Irish Spring soap bars lying around? Put it inside a nylon stocking, which can then be hung from a post in your garden.
This is effective at discouraging groundhogs from entering the area. Ensure it is hung relatively low to prevent the groundhog from eating the tomato plants.
– Hot Pepper Spray
Cayenne pepper or a hot pepper spray is an excellent choice for younger plants in the garden. Spraying tender plants with insecticide every few days can help keep squirrels and other animals that eat tomatoes away from your garden.
Groundhogs too can be discouraged to eat ripe tomatoes by using garlic and pepper spray, combining the best of both worlds.
– Planting Tomatoes With Other Species
Use the age-old companion planting method, which entails planting groundhog-avoidant crops like hydrangeas near tomato plants. Other groundhog-resistant plants are garlic, rhubarb, onions, lavender and herbs like sage, rosemary, and dill.
Additionally, the pungent smell of garlic in fend-off sticks makes them very effective as groundhog repellents. Garlic has a pungent odor, which is precisely what groundhogs dislike and a factor as to why they avoid it.
– Keep the Garden Neat
If you keep the garden clean, you will be better able to identify new problems and treat them with castor oil or cat litter. Therefore, keep the grass trimmed, remove any dead leaves or plant matter that may have fallen to the ground, pick up any sticks, and pull any weeds that may have appeared.
Set up Live Traps
Live trap your groundhogs to relocate them without causing the animals any unnecessary stress is challenging; therefore, it is best to delegate this responsibility to trained and experienced professionals.
A team specializing in pest control can also evaluate your property and guide you on how to prevent groundhogs and other animals that are a nuisance from eating your vegetables.
Gather Your Tomatoes as Soon as Possible
Groundhogs and other wild animals such as squirrels eat tomatoes further in their maturation. You can save some of your gardens from being destroyed if you harvest them while they are still young.
Tomatoes that are still green are typically not something that animals will consume. If you time it correctly, you can let the tomatoes finish ripening on the counter inside, away from any potential dangers.
When a tomato has reached what is known as the breaker stage — when it is just beginning to turn pink (or yellow, in the case of yellow tomatoes) — it is the ideal time to harvest it. You should pick your tomatoes at this stage.
What Other Animals Are Eating Your Tomatoes?
Other animals that might be eating your tomatoes and tomato plants include raccoons, chipmunks, squirrels, deer, and rabbits.
Aside from groundhogs, these animals are also notorious for foraging and eating tomatoes grown in a garden, so make sure you keep an eye out for these other creatures.
Do raccoons eat tomatoes? Yes, raccoons do consume tomatoes, although they hardly ever consume a whole fruit. Do chipmunks eat tomatoes? Yes, tomatoes are among the fruit and vegetable plants that chipmunks eat.
Do squirrels eat tomatoes? Sometimes squirrels just consume a portion of a tomato, leaving the remainder behind; other times, they consume the entire fruit. Beans, squash, cucumbers, and eggplant are other squirrel favorites.
Do deer eat tomatoes? Yes, deer eat tomatoes. Additionally, they frequently consume a portion of the plant’s stems and the tomatoes, including ripe and unripe varieties and leaves. Deer can further damage the surrounding foliage and vines and eat the plants.
Do rabbits eat tomatoes? Yes, tomatoes may be eaten by rabbits, and they like the fruits as well as the plants themselves. Herbivores include rabbits, which indicates that they appreciate a wide range of vegetation.
– Do Groundhogs Eat Cucumbers?
Yes, groundhogs eat cucumbers as well as tomatoes due to their water content. As we have established above, groundhogs enjoy eating anything that will also help hydrate them. Aside from tomatoes, cucumbers are also excellent sources of water for these animals.
Will groundhogs eat pepper plants? No, groundhogs typically do not consume pepper plants. How about the answer to the question “Do groundhogs eat lettuce?” Yes, lettuce forms a part of a groundhog’s favorite food.
You now know that groundhogs indeed eat tomatoes.
Let us summarize all that we have learned in this article through the points below.
- Groundhogs eat tomatoes and can reach them by climbing fences and digging deep burrows. They prefer the fruit as it hydrates them and keeps them full and nourished.
- Also known as woodchucks, you typically spot the animal between late summer and early fall before preparing for the winter hibernation phase.
- Spot the presence of groundhogs in your garden by looking out for wide teeth marks on the tomatoes, a lot of mess, and deeply-dug burrows
- Prevent groundhogs from eating your tomatoes by installing a fence, using odor repellents or harvesting the tomatoes on time.
Now that you know that groundhogs can be kept away from your garden, you can take adequate measures to protect your tomatoes.
So pick up the tools and save your painstakingly grown plants from the animal before it is too late!
- Hoya Aldrichii: The Best Practical Care You Wish You Knew Sooner - March 16, 2023
- Begonia Fuchsioides: Learn The Care Tips For Begonias - March 16, 2023
- Begonia Acetosa: The Most Comprehensive Care Guide - March 16, 2023