Have a pest problem

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

Went up to the hosta bed yesterday evening and saw two of the hostas I just planted about 2-3 weeks ago had gaping holes around the roots. Both hostas were just laying loose in the holes. The leaves weren't chewed off, I could not feel a tunnel down inside the holes so I don't *think* it's chipmunks although I have had serious trouble with them the past couple of years. What could be doing this? The established hostas are untouched. The holes were about 5-6 inches across and deep. Something obviously dug them up, but I really could not tell if the roots had been chewed on. Could this be voles??? I never thought we had voles around but now I'm beginning to wonder. What damage will voles do? I set a couple of heavy duty mouse/rat traps near the area loaded with peanut butter in case it is chipmunks. Worked really hard on redoing this area this spring, so now I'm really pissed at the culprit!!!

Doug

That's a pretty big hole for chipmunks. Mine will sometimes dig a small hole next to a newly planted specimen but the hole is only a couple of inches across, used primarily for burying seeds. I do have problems with raccoons digging in freshly disturbed soil. They killed my Indian pink earlier this season by continually digging it up. They've even dug up annuals in large decorative pots. I'm experimenting with grinding fresh black pepper on newly planted stuff this year - a tip from another DG'r. So far, it's worked on both annuals and perennials. Sadly, I didn't start my black pepper experiment until after my Indian pink was toast.

Royal Oak, MI(Zone 6a)

Squirrels are always digging up my newly planted hostas here. And I have a litter of baby raccoons that's been pilfering through my new plants still awaiting homes. They're cute little buggers but making a mess.

Ottawa, ON(Zone 5a)

Squirrels have also done that to mine on occasion.

Royal Oak, MI(Zone 6a)

Squirrels killed my new Thunderbolt =(
And the bunny ate my new Majesty.
Stupid rodents.

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

Well I sure have no shortage of squirrels!!! My hill where the woodland garden is, is mostly oaks and hickories.

Cindy, I too, added black pepper to the upper part of the woodland garden back in early April to help deter deer, but I used whole peppercorns. They were still quite pungent. Thought about that this morning. When I get home I'll throw some around the hosta bed if the cute lil buggers aren't flopping around with a rat trap on their head when I get there!!!

Doug

Thumbnail by postmandug
Ottawa, ON(Zone 5a)

Go to the barber and get some cut hair. Not the hairdresser because hair from them is freshly washed and conditioned and scented. Try spreading it around the plants. And the hostas I have in pots, I have decorative stones around them. Those little rodents don't like the feel of them on their feet.

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

They don't like the feel of lead up their arses either!! Used to use a BB gun, it just stung them, then got out the 22 rifle loaded with shorts as they make hardly any noise and got rid of several a couple years ago. May have to resort to that again!

Ottawa, ON(Zone 5a)

There WAS a thread here a number of years ago. Got taken down because the discussion got pretty hot. But the essence of it was using a rainbarrel or other large barrel, filling half full of water and floating bird seed on the top of the water. Then build a ramp so the pests can get to the birdseed (but not get out of the barrel).

Maine, United States(Zone 5b)

Drowning them just seems horribly cruel.

Norristown, PA(Zone 6b)

My money is on those freakin' squirrels. We are overrun with them this year. I had the same problem with the buggers earlier in the year with my newly planted flower planters on my deck and my newly planted pepper plants. I would come home from work and the plants and dirt would be all over the place and a big hole where they used to be. I would put the plants back and pat the soil back around them and they would dig them up again the next day...... I did a little research and discovered that blood meal will keep them from digging. Bought some and put it around and voila - no more tossed plants. I would think it would work on hostas and not hurt them.

Good luck. I'm with Eleven. Stupid Rodents......

Ottawa, Canada

Have had some success with a product called CRITTER RIDDER, which I've applied around newly planted hostas etc. It's the smell that deters the rodents. Some of my bergenia have been decemated. Something in my neighbourhood is mighty hungry, experimenting with my hostas and a few other plants.

Apparently dog hair is supposed to be a good deterrent as well. I've tried cayenne pepper but not black pepper. I would think that the ground black pepper would be more effective.

Ottawa, ON(Zone 5a)

Noreaster - that's why the thread got pretty hot.

I'm guessing that grinding the black pepper makes it a little more pungent and it's cheaper than throwing whole peppercorns around. I tried cayenne last year but the rain kinda washes it away. Theory is that the critters are attracted to freshly dug dirt. I think the pepper hangs around just long enough til the fresh earth smell dissipates and soil-digging critters aren't as interested. Doesn't seem to work with chipmunks though but they usually dig a hole an inch or two away from a new plant, not pulling the plant from the soil. It is kinda weird to go around the garden at the end of a planting day with my pepper mill. Do you have groundhogs or woodchucks? I've only seen one here a couple of times in 20+ years so I'm not familiar with the damage they do.

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

Very rarely see groundhogs here. Raccoons and possums occasionally

Maine, United States(Zone 5b)

I was thinking ground hog or woodchuck too....I hear they are terribly destructive. I dread ever have one of those come into the yard.

Maine, United States(Zone 5b)

Ann, I can see why that would heat up. I have plenty of chipmunks and squirrels in my yard but for some reason, they've never harmed anything. The chimpunks dig holes which I suppose could aid the voles, but otherwise the worst crime the chipmunks have committed here is to steal all the sluggo. I don't have problems with pests being controlled, I just don't like to think of any animal suffering in death. I even feel bad that it takes slugs a while to die from being sprayed with ammonia.

Ottawa, ON(Zone 5a)

My next door neighbour calls squirrels "rats with designer tails".

"rats with designer tails" - LOL. I've heard squirrels described as "evil, evil, evil". And chipmunks can survive Sluggo? Other than the demise of one coveted plant, it's been quiet so far this year in terms of animal destruction. Even the raccoon population next door is diminished so I'm happy. We do have two roaming cats this year that are staking out the bird feeder so not sure what to do about them. Either they or my resident red tail hawks got a cardinal a couple of days ago and left some feathers in the yard.

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

Well, now I'm beginning to think it was chipmunks. Got home yesterday and both were pulled up again with the corresponding holes. Spread black pepper, cayenne pepper and set traps again with peanut butter. This morning, one was out of the ground AGAIN. Felt down in the hole and found the tunnel. Got the 22 rifle loaded up now. This means war....

A 22 on a chipmunk? At least raccoons provide bigger targets. :)

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

That tests my eyesight and shooting ability!

Always up for a challenge?

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

Gardening is ALWAYS a challenge to me. I was looking thru pics from 2 years ago when we were on the garden tour and some I shot back in May of the woodland garden. Blows me away to see the difference! That's why I take so many pics of the gardens and plants, to have a comparison down the road.

Between all of the rock work and planting, you really have transformed a big chunk of property! Always nice to take before and after pics.

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

Planted a Hinoki Cypress this evening in the Japanese bed. Father's Day present to myself..

Nice! I do like those! They are slow growers but worth the wait. What else do you have in your Japanese bed? I envision some of the Japanese jack-in-the-pulpits to go in there.

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

Two JM's, 'Emperor' and 'Omure yama', couple of Pieris Japonica, Mugo Pine, a few different Japanese Painted Ferns, Hakonechloa 'Albomarginata' and a Juniper bonsai look-alike. I do want to add a few more smaller perennials. I'll post a pic later when I get on my other PC.

Doug

That does sound beautiful. Does the juniper take shade? Did you obtain it as a bonsai?

Perkasie, PA(Zone 6b)

Quote from postmandug :
Planted a Hinoki Cypress this evening in the Japanese bed. Father's Day present to myself..


Oh, woe, that makes me so sad. I planted three about 23 years ago. They became lovely (slender) trees about 5-6 high. Then, one of my daughter's hung-over pals drove over the one I most prized!

(Sorry: not relevant to hostas.)

Sissy - no apologies. I had already started to drift away from topic.

Perkasie, PA(Zone 6b)

@Cindy:

It's always good to mourn with likely sympathizers. :-)

Perkasie, PA(Zone 6b)

@Noreaster et al:

I have discovered an inadvertent method of drowning small critters. One of our outside faucets just drips and sprays no matter what. Some years ago I put a big tub under the faucet to collect what would have otherwise been wasted water (and water in to our basement). To my both dismay and ... well, pleasure is too strong a word ... almost every night a vole climbs in and cannot get out.

I feel sorry for the littlle things, but I also recognize that fewer of them in the yard means less damage to my plants. Also, I think it might be a less awful death than being hunted down - and tortured - by our cats.

Maine, United States(Zone 5b)

Yes, have found a vole in a water bucket, too. But someone on another forum tried intentionallly drowning chipmunks and found that it took all afternoon for them to drown and they had to help them die. Just makes me sad to think of any animal suffering for a long time like that. And yes, cats are pretty brutal with their prey. Dogs will just give a quick shake and break the neck of their prey- cats enjoy "playing" with them first,

Virginia Beach, VA

An oppossum (SP) got into one of my compost bin and found it dead when i was emptying my kitchen compost canister. It was a huge one!!! Had to bagged it and trashed it.

Same thing happened last year where another opposum died inside the barrel.Now i put more weights.

Belle

Perkasie, PA(Zone 6b)

Noreaster: " But someone on another forum tried intentionallly drowning chipmunks and found that it took all afternoon for them to drown and they had to help them die."

That is pretty horrible. God, at least break their necks or ... something.

Virginia Beach, VA

I can not intentionally kill rodents.

Maine, United States(Zone 5b)

I know pests need to be controlled, and I don't have a problem with that....I just wish there were more ways to do it that didn't include prolonged suffering. We use mousetraps in the garage and even those aren't perfect. My husband was really bummed out when he was down there when one was set off and it didn't manage to kill the poor mouse- just maimed him enough to give him a slow death.

Hmmm - drowning chipmunks is something I couldn't do. If one has to eradicate some critters, better to do it quickly to avoid prolonged suffering.

Ottawa, ON(Zone 5a)

The only critters I'd be happy to give a slow death to are the slugs. Dump them in salty water and watch them writhe in agony!

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