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Hostas: Have a pest problem

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postmandug

postmandug
Bardstown, KY
(Zone 6a)

June 6, 2012
6:41 AM

Post #9154356

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
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

June 6, 2012
6:51 AM

Post #9154373

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.

Eleven

Eleven
Royal Oak, MI
(Zone 6a)

June 6, 2012
7:06 AM

Post #9154386

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.

ViolaAnn

ViolaAnn
Ottawa, ON
(Zone 5a)

June 6, 2012
7:09 AM

Post #9154391

Squirrels have also done that to mine on occasion.

Eleven

Eleven
Royal Oak, MI
(Zone 6a)

June 6, 2012
7:26 AM

Post #9154410

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

postmandug

postmandug
Bardstown, KY
(Zone 6a)

June 6, 2012
7:49 AM

Post #9154440

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
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ViolaAnn

ViolaAnn
Ottawa, ON
(Zone 5a)

June 6, 2012
8:20 AM

Post #9154488

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.

postmandug

postmandug
Bardstown, KY
(Zone 6a)

June 6, 2012
8:24 AM

Post #9154493

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!

ViolaAnn

ViolaAnn
Ottawa, ON
(Zone 5a)

June 6, 2012
1:36 PM

Post #9154809

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).
Noreaster
Maine
United States
(Zone 5b)

June 6, 2012
4:49 PM

Post #9155032

Drowning them just seems horribly cruel.
beaux
Norristown, PA
(Zone 6b)

June 6, 2012
5:25 PM

Post #9155072

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...
irawon
Ottawa
Canada

June 6, 2012
6:13 PM

Post #9155136

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.

ViolaAnn

ViolaAnn
Ottawa, ON
(Zone 5a)

June 6, 2012
8:14 PM

Post #9155258

Noreaster - that's why the thread got pretty hot.
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

June 7, 2012
7:49 AM

Post #9155608

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.

postmandug

postmandug
Bardstown, KY
(Zone 6a)

June 7, 2012
8:01 AM

Post #9155621

Very rarely see groundhogs here. Raccoons and possums occasionally
Noreaster
Maine
United States
(Zone 5b)

June 7, 2012
8:18 AM

Post #9155642

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.
Noreaster
Maine
United States
(Zone 5b)

June 7, 2012
8:37 AM

Post #9155660

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.

ViolaAnn

ViolaAnn
Ottawa, ON
(Zone 5a)

June 7, 2012
8:01 PM

Post #9156441

My next door neighbour calls squirrels "rats with designer tails".
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

June 8, 2012
6:01 AM

Post #9156768

"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.

postmandug

postmandug
Bardstown, KY
(Zone 6a)

June 8, 2012
7:08 AM

Post #9156821

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...
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

June 8, 2012
8:06 AM

Post #9156898

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

postmandug

postmandug
Bardstown, KY
(Zone 6a)

June 8, 2012
8:07 AM

Post #9156903

That tests my eyesight and shooting ability!
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

June 8, 2012
8:08 AM

Post #9156906

Always up for a challenge?

postmandug

postmandug
Bardstown, KY
(Zone 6a)

June 8, 2012
8:13 AM

Post #9156908

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.
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

June 8, 2012
6:50 PM

Post #9157607

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.

postmandug

postmandug
Bardstown, KY
(Zone 6a)

June 8, 2012
7:00 PM

Post #9157615

Planted a Hinoki Cypress this evening in the Japanese bed. Father's Day present to myself..
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

June 9, 2012
6:55 AM

Post #9157951

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.

postmandug

postmandug
Bardstown, KY
(Zone 6a)

June 9, 2012
7:12 AM

Post #9157969

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
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

June 9, 2012
8:13 AM

Post #9158036

That does sound beautiful. Does the juniper take shade? Did you obtain it as a bonsai?
sissystars
Perkasie, PA
(Zone 6b)

June 9, 2012
8:42 PM

Post #9158728

postmandug wrote: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.)
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

June 10, 2012
8:11 AM

Post #9159094

Sissy - no apologies. I had already started to drift away from topic.
sissystars
Perkasie, PA
(Zone 6b)

June 29, 2012
7:44 PM

Post #9186914

@Cindy:

It's always good to mourn with likely sympathizers. :-)
sissystars
Perkasie, PA
(Zone 6b)

June 29, 2012
7:49 PM

Post #9186933

@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.
Noreaster
Maine
United States
(Zone 5b)

June 29, 2012
8:26 PM

Post #9186981

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,
bellieg
Virginia Beach, VA

June 30, 2012
6:42 AM

Post #9187247

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
sissystars
Perkasie, PA
(Zone 6b)

June 30, 2012
12:42 PM

Post #9187654

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.
bellieg
Virginia Beach, VA

June 30, 2012
12:56 PM

Post #9187675

I can not intentionally kill rodents.

Noreaster
Maine
United States
(Zone 5b)

June 30, 2012
1:06 PM

Post #9187686

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.
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

July 5, 2012
8:14 AM

Post #9193810

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.

ViolaAnn

ViolaAnn
Ottawa, ON
(Zone 5a)

July 5, 2012
12:21 PM

Post #9194134

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!
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

July 5, 2012
1:25 PM

Post #9194215

OK - I have to amend my quick death statement. I make an exception for Japanese beetles, drowning them in soapy water.
sissystars
Perkasie, PA
(Zone 6b)

July 7, 2012
8:20 PM

Post #9197287

:-) I don't even want to make the slugs and beetles suffer. Now, if we are talking ticks - that is a different matter.

I saw a stink bug trap at the store. Does anyone know if these work? (I do NOT want anymore 'traps' that attract more of the undesired beasties.)
Noreaster
Maine
United States
(Zone 5b)

July 7, 2012
8:41 PM

Post #9197301

Although I hate the damage the slugs do, and not a fan of their slimy bodies, either, there is something almost...endearing about the slow, plodding way they go about it. I do feel bad that I can't give them a quicker death. Ticks- not so endearing! And I hate stink bugs!!!! We are so lucky we don't have the infestation the mid atlantic states have. When I visit my friend in the DC area, they drive me crazy. No idea if the traps work.
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

July 8, 2012
12:42 PM

Post #9197920

I've heard about the stink bugs in the east. There's supposedly some type of trap (homemade?) that involves taping corrugated cardboard to the south side of the house where the bugs would go for shelter. Ticks either get flushed, stomped on or flamed.
Going back to the original post in this thread, I've noticed that the chipmunks are digging bigger holes than normal. Usually they just do shallow holes maybe a couple of inches across. The newer holes are wider and deeper. Current hot weather or a portend of things to come this winter?
Noreaster
Maine
United States
(Zone 5b)

July 8, 2012
1:15 PM

Post #9197946

I like to encase ticks in tape and throw them away. If you use clear package tape you can even preserve it in case you want to identify for disease,etc.

I think I have posted this picture here before. My chipmunks are very industrious. They built a super bunker in the hill in our yard a few years ago. Took only one night for them to eject all these rocks. I removed the rocks and a few days later there was a whole other pile just like the first one. Remarkable!

Thumbnail by Noreaster
Click the image for an enlarged view.

virginiarose

virginiarose
Southeast, VA
(Zone 8a)

July 9, 2012
4:54 AM

Post #9198614

Wow, amazing. They seem to have a lot of energy!
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

July 9, 2012
5:42 AM

Post #9198658

You have some very determined chipmunks! I sometimes have them running through my little GH which has a gravel floor. One of the critters attempted to bury some bird seed in the gravel but only made a slight depression before giving up.
Noreaster
Maine
United States
(Zone 5b)

July 9, 2012
7:02 AM

Post #9198799

I know, and they recommend gravel as a barrier against voles when planting. I'm just glad the chimpunks don't share the voles' appetite for hosta roots.
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

July 9, 2012
4:06 PM

Post #9199487

Did you use a lot of gravel when planting perennials or bulbs?
Noreaster
Maine
United States
(Zone 5b)

July 9, 2012
5:30 PM

Post #9199609

When I had vole damage, I went around all of my more mature hosta and dug moats around the root zone and filled that with gravel. Many others were small enough that I dug up and replanted in wire cages or buried pots. I don't bother with bulbs, which is why the squirrels and chipmunks we have don't really bother me. If I plant anything new, I do plan on lining the hole with gravel first if I can't come up with a cage- that can be kind of a pain.

Those rocks the chipmunks tossed out of their bunker are what is under everything in the yard! I had to add soil start garden and that is the soil the voles love because it's so easy to dig.

This message was edited Jul 10, 2012 9:56 AM
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

July 10, 2012
6:11 AM

Post #9200106

Maybe my clay is a good thing then. :) We had voles when we first moved in but they seem to have mostly disappeared. I see maybe one a year. No more tunnels although we do have den holes that the chipmunks excavate.
Irish710
Mount Dora, FL
(Zone 9a)

July 23, 2012
8:59 PM

Post #9216505

I was here for vole help which I received. Cages and hardware cloth. Being in the discussion process of dispatching rodents, chipmunks, raccoons, and pests.

SISSYSTARS, why didn't you dispatch rock salt or better yet, gravel into the backside of that drunk pest? I'm sure you'd be found NOT guilty by reason of temporary insanity!
sissystars
Perkasie, PA
(Zone 6b)

July 31, 2012
9:56 PM

Post #9225614

"SISSYSTARS, why didn't you dispatch rock salt or better yet, gravel into the backside of that drunk pest? I'm sure you'd be found NOT guilty by reason of temporary insanity!"

I've lost track of the thread, but I'm guessing this is about slugs.++ My local [yet, obnoxious] garden-guy on NPR recommends dropping them in a jar of pennies. Honestly, with the slugs - I just want them gone/dead.

++OOPs: or about voles? The ones I have found have either drowned in my water catcher or been, umm, remodeled by my cats.
sissystars
Perkasie, PA
(Zone 6b)

July 31, 2012
10:01 PM

Post #9225617

@Noreeaster:

Your tick plan is very good.

2 summers ago I found an unusual looking tick on my side/tummy. Stupidly, I just removed and destroyed it. A couple of days later I had this weird and expanding rash-like sore around the bite. Guess what? Yup: Lyme Disease. Now, I was lucky, because of the rash, but many people don't present that way. Much smarter to let the monsters die in the tape and keep them in case you have a problem.

P.S. Many people who get the go-to antibiotic for LD find it awful. Ok; it is. But it is far, far better to be treated than to ignore the disease.
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

August 10, 2012
8:04 AM

Post #9236625

Ach! Chipmunks have decided to dig a new den in the middle of a small garden area up along the foundation. Maybe it's easy digging because of the sand below grade along the foundation. Usually they stay further away from the house since there are rotting railroad ties to burrow into. I had read about the tip using Milorganite to deter them but having none on hand, I made up my own mix of pungent goodies in the kitchen. Minced garlic, ground horseradish, habanero sauce and lemon juice. Poured this mixture down the tunnel and then back-filled with the excavated dirt. Looks like there was a feeble attempt to re-excavate but the critters didn't get very far before giving up. They didn't even try yesterday.

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