critters - cute, funny, and destructive

Damascus, MD(Zone 7a)

I have deer, groundhogs, squirrels, and chipmunks. Luckily, no voles so far. Even birds are eating my plants. Can you believe it! Gardening is a constant battle with critters.

1. Only admiring the flowers.
2. Only sniffing the fragrance (you think?).
3. 'No. I didn't eat your plants."

Thumbnail by donnerville Thumbnail by donnerville Thumbnail by donnerville
Damascus, MD(Zone 7a)

The sedum was damaged. Based on the amount of the damage, I though the rabbit was the culprit. As it turned out, birds did it! I saw two little sparrow-looking birds pecking at the plant. Can you believe it!

Of course, the rabbit is not completely innocent. I saw one munch on my crocosmia, and now the crocosmia is no more.

This message was edited Jun 19, 2012 11:18 AM

Thumbnail by donnerville Thumbnail by donnerville
Damascus, MD(Zone 7a)

Something is destroying my Oxalis. I have been growing this plant for years and this is the first time I have had trouble with something eating it. The corms were dug up and eaten. More than 20 clumps of Oxalis have been destroyed this way in the past week.

I put some chilly powder around the plants and that didn't seem to have worked. I then sprayed them with deer deterrence spray. I will know if that has worked when I get home this Friday.

Any advice? :-(

1. Last Sunday morning
2. Sunday evening
3. Plants without roots

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Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

My oh my, this can kind of ruin all the fun....
That eating of the roots is a classic vole trick.

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

Oh man...sorry....have to keep up with all those critter deterrents and then rotate them Liquid Fence, Rabbit Scram, Irish Spring Soap and garlic...I've found that if I rotate deterrents and keep up with it I don't get that much damage
Voles, I have no idea since I never had to deal with them
My friend had a skunk rip out all her veggie plants to get to the worms in her garden at least she was able to replant them the next day and they survived

Damascus, MD(Zone 7a)

Do voles also dig in flower pots? My Oxalis (in the garden and in pots) were dug up from above the ground. I always thought they only stayed under the ground :-(

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Squirrels are constantly messing with my planters. I swear I find a whole peanut (usually old and rotten) in EVERY SINGLE POT that I ever turn out and work on. I'd like to know which +#%*@ neighbor supplies their 'ammo'

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

I try to put river rock on the top of the soil in all my planters(need to be big enough that they can't move them) that keeps them out and looks prettier than chicken wire

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


I still have the pot of Oxalis you gave me--even though I have removed a pile of corms from it.
It still looks like a nice, full pot.
I will, gladly, give it back to you. I have another pot besides yours growing. So--No biggie!

Deal???? Gita

IF it is squirrels---do any of you believe that IF you feed squirrels (with nuts, seeds, corn, and such)
they will leave YOUR plants and bulbs alone??? Or--is that just a fantasy?????

Damascus, MD(Zone 7a)

LOL!!! Sally, I have a similar experience with one of my planters. I put some lovely petunias in it this spring. They grew beautifully for several weeks and then just died for no reason. I had to pull them out and put something else in the pot. As I was digging and planting, I was perplexed to find a grape in my hand. Then I knew why my plants died. Squirrels killed the roots when they dug into the pot to bury their hoard. Of course if I had not removed the grape, they would have come back to find a raisin :-).

Gita, do you know where the fresh grape came from? My own refrigerator! My husband feeds squirrels and chipmunks with grapes, walnuts, and bird food. That doesn't stop them from eating my plants. At this rate, there may not be any Oxalis left in my garden this year -- after 10 years of growing this plant!!! I may take you up on your offer and get some corms from you later.

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Over the winter I had several hundred pots on our patio, with no overhanging oak trees above. All spring I kept having to weed the oak sprouts out of my pots. The squirrels, of course, planted them.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Me too Jen, rocks in the planters.

Well fed squirrels just have more babies, I feel. Foraging is their hobby and being fed won't stop that.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

I have observed that if you feed squirrels peanuts in the shell--they may eat ONE
--and then bury the rest. I no longer throw out whole peanuts.

When I shell the peanuts and throw some out--they just eat them all.

Burying a GRAPE?????? That is a new one on me!


Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I forgot the rocks on a coleus pot- yup, today, one plant on ground and another all tilted and loose.

Forgot to say, greenthumb that is too funny, but not funny...

Damascus, MD(Zone 7a)

Can anybody tell me what might be living in this hole and what I can do to get ride of it?

This hole is about 2 yards away from the side of the house. The hole itself is about 2" in diameter, much too small for groundhogs. I don't think it is a chipmunk because chipmunks do not leave dirt around and they do not create trenches above the ground. Any idea? I can deal with chipmunks (they are cute :-) ), but I definitely do not want a new variety of rodent in my garden. This may be the one who ate all my oxalis.

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Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


Rats??? They tend to dig and leave a pile of dirt behind--like Ground Hogs.
2" hole would be just right.

I still have a pile of dirt at one corner of my shed that some critter dug under.
I do my usual thing--soak a rag in ammonia and stuff it in the hole. seems to get rid of whoever was digging.
OH, I also threw one of those green, waxy bait cubes down the hole.
Kept checking up on it...then one day saw that it was nibbled on.

A couple days later, I opened my shed, and there was a mouse staggering near death.
I am sure it was not the mouse that dug the hole--it just had "lunch' on the cube.

Because I have the County storm drain right behind my shed, I am not surprised that a rat would come out of it.

I had a horrible dream last night. Groundhogs had dug a cavernous hole--several feet wide and deep--
inside my house and 2 more holes outside the back door...UGH! ????????

Damascus, MD(Zone 7a)

Gita, Sorry for the confusion. The pictures are of the same hole from different angles. If there is another hole somewhere, I have not seen it. I probably shoudl look around to see where the other hole is.

I did not know that rats dug holes into the ground. I always thought they lived in whatever shelters they could find. Hmmmm....

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

whenever I find a hole like that I drop some d-con pellets down it (shhhh don't tell anoyone!)

Central, MD(Zone 7a)


Your hole could be a number of things: chipmunk, mole, ground squirrels..... I like flowAjen's advice and just drop some pellets down it. I can't think of any animals I want in my yard/garden that dig holes.

Damascus, MD(Zone 7a)

Thank you all for the advice. Where do I get the pellets? The Home Depot? I will go check it out.

I have a HARV-A-HART trap. I will set the trap this weekend just to see what I can catch. I am curious :-).

Crozet, VA

Yes, we are curious here too. I had John come over and look at this to see if he could shed some light on it. He said that he was with Gita and a rat being what may have done it. He also laughed out loud, as did I when reading about Gita's drunken mouse. Let us know what you find out Donnerville.


Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

HD carries all kinds of pet poisonings. They would be in the aisle with all the other
garden chemicals and pest products. it is Aisle #1 in our store.

What I use are the green, waxy 1" cubes that are bait. They come several to a package.
The rodents are attracted to it--eat it--and, eventually, die.

Be careful not to put these anywhere in the open--as other animals may get to them.
Not sure whar jen uses--she called them "pelets'. What I am talking about are not pellets.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Donner, I see what you said about your soil, you may have understated how bad it was. Ric

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Discussion on the Garden Pest forum led to this comment- from Donna Mack

you can plant small narcissus like WP Milner throughout your beds, they are not too obtrusive after bloom, leaves go away pretty quick and they REPEL VOLES.

Damascus, MD(Zone 7a)

Thanks, Sally. That's very useful information. Guess spring bulbs will be available pretty soon. I still have not got around to trapping the thing - whatever it is. Must do it soon. The hole looks like it is still being used.

Yes, Ric. Now you see the terrible soil I have been complaining about :-(

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Sally -- do any daffs do that?

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Here's the post:

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

The biggest branch on my young fig is sorta drooping. I am worried that voles are down there snacking on some roots. I stuck a stake in and hit a void down there. I dug up some random daffodils and stuck them in all around the fig....

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


Interesting......Sometimes I am just digging in my beds and hit a "void".....It always shocks me!
First thing I usually think about is Voles.....Could be Chipmunks too--I suppose....

Cannot really remember any plants just keeling over......Hmmmm.....
I have never, actually, seen a Vole in my garden....but I know they are there....

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I only saw actual voles when the cats got them, or I trapped them.
We have seen chipmunks hide in the downspouts- cats never got a chipmunk.

Voles just ate the roots off two big clumps of parsley too.

I have read- this is nasty- put dog waste into the animal burrow. I am tempted. If nothing else, it gets my dog waste buried. I have to do that anyway.

Also tempted to pour some straight ammonia down those little 'vole' holes. I'd rather burn the plants myself than let the critters eat them, when I'm feeling cranky.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

My Brugs are slowly recovering--even if they have lost most of their leaves..
Dr. Seuss is doing the best--and the poor pink NOID, even if it is almost bare of all leaves,
is making some flower buds.

What a horrible summer!!!! Makes me want to give up gardening.

Cukes are doing great--but the leaves are starting to wither....I think this is normal...
Planted a new batch of Cuke seeds yesterday. Says--58 days to harvest.....
That would be about end of October. Hmm---What do i have to lose if we have a warn fall????


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Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

DAY before yesterday there was a mouse sized hole right through one my Orangeglo watermelons. Gee I wonder what did that!!?(LOL)
And two tutti fruiti lupines dissapeard with a little white tail bouncing away in the dark. Yeah well...

annapolis, MD(Zone 7b)

juhur, I know peaches get smaller and sweeter with limited rain fall. Do melons do the same? Maybe the voles are tunneling through watermelons as the ground there must be impossibly hard

Sallyg, I've yet to dig up a vole hole/tunnel and find anything like a vole home or even a vole for that matter!
The feral cats residing in my yard seem uninterested in vole patrol...maybe mom didn't teach them mousing 101. Had a dog that caught moles and voles and mice on a regular basis...purposeful digging!

Spied two sets of twin fawns and moms this am. They are quite small and still have their spots. Two fox looking 'skinny'. no rabbits. Deer are routinely grazing irrigated lawns where usually they stick to the forested edges.

Way fewer birds and butterflies around....

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

The melon was tiny for variety ,but grandma handed me a bite and it was sweet ,she ate the other half anyway .That was an interesting question because until now I did not know that. Evidently they do!

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Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Hope this link opens for you all. It is from the Perry Hall (where I live) patch.
This guy knows his stuff! Di not know who he really is.

It is a bit lengthy--but I do hope you read it all.
It is on how to deal with all the familiar garden/plant Pests.


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