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something is digging up my plants !

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something is digging up my plants !

Post  HOUSTONMOM on 4/19/2013, 10:38 am

I planted my beds earlier this month and finally everything is starting to pop up.For the last week I've been seeing indentations around my plant from the top I thought maybe its because the soil is so loose and its been raining maybe the rain and wind just moved things around .Then yesterday two of my beets that already sprouted and just thinned out were missing with small tracks next to them .That can be a cat, squrral or anything really . The other beds were undisturbed then this morning my arugula was missing a spacing, my parsley that finally just sprouted was completely dug out and left there with a mound of Mel's mix sitting right next to it and a cherry tomato was ripped off and left on the ground uneaten .The strange thing is ,this is the bed right next to my kitchen door mostly herbs dill,parsley, cilantro,lettuce,beets ,green onions and snap peas in the back row .It looks like it walked through the bed that has my cherry tomato dug up the San Marzano tomato that just sprouted and moved on to the herb bed.Just so frustrated not sure what to do I moved here seven months ago and never seen anything crawling around not even squirals i have seen a neighbors cat walking up along the fence but i doubt it eats greens what can this be?
Sorry for rambling and thanks for hearing me out .

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Re: something is digging up my plants !

Post  plantoid on 4/20/2013, 6:45 pm

Perhaps it is baby birds , baby wabbits ...Doc or some other small vegetarian creature enjoying the feast they you have laid on for them ??
Is there any evidence of the stem of the ex plant being there ? If so could it be slugs , snails etc.

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Re: something is digging up my plants !

Post  brainchasm on 4/20/2013, 8:30 pm

I know that feeling!

I had a square with nine spinach plants, all doing well except one that was a bit of a runt.

One day, I go check on things, and that runt spinach plant is pulled out, roots and all, and just laying there next to its hole.

All eight of the other plants are fine, and I haven't seen it happen since. Weirdest thing.

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I think my sunflower plant can take me in a fair fight...it's taller than me, and it keeps giving me dirty looks. Shocked

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Re: something is digging up my plants !

Post  southern gardener on 4/20/2013, 8:38 pm

my guess is birds. They are awful in our garden. We literally have to cover all of our beds until plants get up to a size where the birds can't kill them. I planted tomatoes, probably 8" tall. The next day, they were eaten down to just the main stem, leaves and all pecked off! Corn uprooted, squash, carrots, doesn't matter, they eat/destroy it all Sad

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Re: something is digging up my plants !

Post  brainchasm on 4/20/2013, 8:41 pm

@southern gardener wrote:my guess is birds. They are awful in our garden. We literally have to cover all of our beds until plants get up to a size where the birds can't kill them. I planted tomatoes, probably 8" tall. The next day, they were eaten down to just the main stem, leaves and all pecked off! Corn uprooted, squash, carrots, doesn't matter, they eat/destroy it all Sad
Maybe plant some catnip? Attract the predator appropriate for your pest...

Twisted Evil

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I think my sunflower plant can take me in a fair fight...it's taller than me, and it keeps giving me dirty looks. Shocked

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Re: something is digging up my plants !

Post  HOUSTONMOM on 4/20/2013, 8:56 pm

Thanks for all the replies .Yes for the past few days my little sprouts of lettuce , arugula, and beats have been disappearing and something has been digging up the sprouts and leaving it roots and all. I kept checking on the garden and noticed small birds coming in the evening and sitting making the indentations in the soil and eating the sprouts.That is understandable they are hungry and have an open buffet right in front of them.?What i don't understand is why they dig out the sprouts and leave it there ?how did they manage to dig up the soil and make a mound with no hands?

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Re: something is digging up my plants !

Post  HOUSTONMOM on 4/20/2013, 9:04 pm

Three days ago I had nine beet sprouts in a square yesterday there were seven and now there are six completely gone roots and all .Five lettuce sprouts are gone since sprouting and arugula is starting to go missing.Parsley took forever to come up that's gone too .Guess I'll just have to plant more enough for us and the birds .Can't put cages on my beds because of the taller plants and trellises .Oh well.

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Re: something is digging up my plants !

Post  southern gardener on 4/20/2013, 9:05 pm

Ours scratch like chickens do. Scratch, hop backwards, peck, scratch, hop backwards, repeat until garden is upended! We've just made wire "tops" for our beds out of hardware cloth. They are "stand alone", ie no frames etc and they seem to work well. It's just frustrating to have to cover every single little thing, while others plant and enjoy lol. At least we are finally getting some stuff to grow. We have a square of radishes about 30 days along that are perfect!!

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Re: something is digging up my plants !

Post  brainchasm on 4/20/2013, 9:06 pm

Shiny bits of mylar (think pom poms with metallic plastic) are supposed to scare/annoy birds.

Or, like I said, try to attract more cats. :cat:

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I think my sunflower plant can take me in a fair fight...it's taller than me, and it keeps giving me dirty looks. Shocked

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MyFolia.com - Garden Tracking Community Find more about Weather in Las Vegas, NV

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Re: something is digging up my plants !

Post  HOUSTONMOM on 4/20/2013, 9:10 pm

@southern gardener wrote:my guess is birds. They are awful in our garden. We literally have to cover all of our beds until plants get up to a size where the birds can't kill them. I planted tomatoes, probably 8" tall. The next day, they were eaten down to just the main stem, leaves and all pecked off! Corn uprooted, squash, carrots, doesn't matter, they eat/destroy it all Sad
Yikes so sorry about your tomato plant.Thankfully they haven't reached my bigger tomatoes just knocked a small cherry tomato off the tree wouldn't mind if they actually ate it just knocked it off and left it there grrr.

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Re: something is digging up my plants !

Post  HOUSTONMOM on 4/20/2013, 9:16 pm

@brainchasm wrote:Shiny bits of mylar (think pom poms with metallic plastic) are supposed to scare/annoy birds.

Or, like I said, try to attract more cats. :cat:
Thanks I'll try that my hubby was telling me to get one of those plastic owls to scare birds away.I'm scared of attracting cats and having a bigger problem on my hands .The neighbors cat already climbs and walks along our fence.

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Re: something is digging up my plants !

Post  southern gardener on 4/20/2013, 9:38 pm

@HOUSTONMOM wrote:
@brainchasm wrote:Shiny bits of mylar (think pom poms with metallic plastic) are supposed to scare/annoy birds.

Or, like I said, try to attract more cats. :cat:
Thanks I'll try that my hubby was telling me to get one of those plastic owls to scare birds away.I'm scared of attracting cats and having a bigger problem on my hands .The neighbors cat already climbs and walks along our fence.

The owl idea is one I haven't tried! Gonna get one of those! The mylar didn't work for us either. The birds came into the garden with mylar literally flipping on their heads while pecking my strawberries I covered the berries with chicken wire with mylar hanging down, and they went THROUGH the chicken wire and ate the berries , seedlings, tomatoes etc etc!!! That's when we went with all hardware cloth. I have no idea why the silly birds are so determined to get in there! We have a full acre of property for them to "dine on" and they just seem to be drawn to our garden. Oh well...........

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Re: something is digging up my plants !

Post  plantoid on 4/21/2013, 8:38 am

@HOUSTONMOM wrote:Thanks for all the replies .Yes for the past few days my little sprouts of lettuce , arugula, and beats have been disappearing and something has been digging up the sprouts and leaving it roots and all. I kept checking on the garden and noticed small birds coming in the evening and sitting making the indentations in the soil and eating the sprouts.That is understandable they are hungry and have an open buffet right in front of them.?What i don't understand is why they dig out the sprouts and leave it there ?how did they manage to dig up the soil and make a mound with no hands?

Young shoot plants have high sugar contents and are easily digestable by the birds and animals . Those birds that regurgitate food for the newly hatched chicks are then bane of a gardeners life.
I've seen acres of large patches of young 4 inch tall peas & 9 inch canola plants , that have totally stripped by water fowl , pigeons and crows .

Some folk in the allotment gardens used to swear by running a series of lengths of taught heavy fishing line between 2 x2 2 stake driven inteh ground and then suspending old CD's on them so they moved in the slighetest breeze to scare the birds
It was also a common sight to see that many had used the 3/4 " wide nylon strapping that is used to strap up heavy carboard boxes also pulled taught and fixed to 2 x 2 " stakes so that in a breeze it vibrates and makes a low note buzzing noise.

I tend to use 12 - 15 " lengths of bamboo cane pushed 4 " in the beds every 4" round the perimeter, then wind black cotton round the tops and form a criss cross of a cotton web to keep the birds out . Once the plants are six or so inches tall the sugar content reduces and the birds leave most of them alone save for the pigeons and my peas .

It looks like as usual I'll end up dropping a net over the climbing pea frame till they start producing the pods and then in the main the pigeons will have scarpered into the woods and greater countryside to annoy someone else.

This cottton and cane idea also helps keep toilet minded cats off the beds .
I've not seen a tangled up cat in the beds ( we usd to have four farm cats & one house cat ) in all the years I've used the cotton web idea , for cats feel the thead on their feet and whiskers and decide not go there.

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Re: something is digging up my plants !

Post  macthknife on 8/18/2014, 7:10 am

In my beds, there were small egg sized holes here and there, and the young shoots dug up but not eaten. Wild game camera picked up nothing over the course of several days, even though the damage continued sporadically. My yard has 2' high fencing lined with 1"x2" wire and backs up to woods. I purchased a Contech Scarecrow motion activated sprinkler and from it's activity have figured out that it was grey squirrels digging for seeds. The Scarecrow is doing a great job after 3 days of chasing them off. The final proof was I heard it go off twice in a couple of minute span and when I looked out the window I saw a squirrel hopping down along the top of the fence away from the garden. From reading other people experiences, I know that detecting smaller animals is problematic. I have mine set to cover a 20'x20' area and the sensitivity of the motion detector set to maximum. If the squirrel was to come in from the far side I can't swear that it would be immediately detected. Luckily, because of how my yard is laid out, the squirrels only come from 1 direction and I placed the sprinkler so that they always cross past it on the way to the plots. Whether or not I end up having to trap them or not will depend upon how well the Scarecrow continues to discourage them.

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Re: something is digging up my plants !

Post  macthknife on 8/19/2014, 10:08 am

Update. A squirrel came in from the far side and dug a little bit before it was detected. I am going to order a 2nd unit and get full coverage.

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Re: something is digging up my plants !

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/19/2014, 12:23 pm

Glad to hear someone has found a good solution for a pest. So often our solutions to garden pests slow them down a bit, at best, but could hardly be said to solve a problem.

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Re: something is digging up my plants !

Post  TCgardening on 8/20/2014, 9:11 pm

Sounds like a rabbit problem. They really hit my greens hard last year. Put a 24" plastic fence around the sweet potatoes and problem solved. Used a taller fence on the rest of the garden but probably only needed the 24" type.
Good luck keeping the critters out.

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Re: something is digging up my plants !

Post  sanderson on 8/23/2014, 4:11 am

macthknife, Is the spray of water gentle, not hurting the critter? I probably will have to get one because of a neighbor cat.

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Re: something is digging up my plants !

Post  HLMullaney on 8/23/2014, 10:30 am

What about an armadillo? They can be a big problem here in FL too. They love to dig around looking for grubs and bugs. They do this at night so you wouldn't see them. I don't know what you can do to keep them out except for some chicken wire fencing. They are pretty blind. I had one come right up to me and step on my foot before he knew I was even there! Good luck!

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Re: something is digging up my plants !

Post  GardenGroupie on 8/30/2014, 4:47 pm

I recently discovered that squirrels were digging in my beds and had decided to collect the fall seeds I've been planting. I didn't do a fall garden last year, so there was nothing for them to collect and save for winter eating. 

In an effort to keep them from squeezing under my perimeter fence, I cut up some thorny vines and added a second border. I hate hurting animals, but since yelling won't do it and they are relentless, I don't see another way to keep them out.

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Re: something is digging up my plants !

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/30/2014, 11:57 pm

That doesn't seem like hurting them to me. Sneaking up and whacking them with the thorns would be hurting them.

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Re: something is digging up my plants !

Post  GardenGroupie on 8/31/2014, 9:51 am

@Marc Iverson wrote:That doesn't seem like hurting them to me.  Sneaking up and whacking them with the thorns would be hurting them.  

Hi Marc, yeah, that is a passive way of telling them NO. Alas, it didn't work. This morning I found one of my Kale squares had been messed with. Strange that the devil(s) didn't make a mess. Just one little square this time and the seedling is still there.

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Re: something is digging up my plants !

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