What could be digging in my dirt?

teresapSeptember 3, 2008

I have about 10 AV plants and over the past 6 mo. have noticed that dirt is displaced onto the table below. At first it was one plant--less than a tablespoon was displaced. Later, in a different room, dirt from another AV plant was displaced--about 1/4 cup or more. At first I thought it might be a mouse, but have ruled that out. Now I'm noticing 3 or 4 AV plants have dirt that is on the table below. It happens within 3-4 days of my cleaning up the dirt. I have transplanted some with new dirt, but it still happens. Plant looks healthy and I have not seen any sign of bugs. This is more of a curiosity for me. Any ideas what it could be? Oh, I have several plants in my solarium to choose from, but it only happens to the AV plants.

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Hi Theresa,
First of all are you using dirt to pot your violets instead of a potting mix made of peat, vermicultie and perlite. I would have suspected a mouse also but since you have ruled it out maybe there were some other varmits there to do the job. If so I might suspect it is digging in the pots to bury something like eggs. I would unpot one or two of the suspect plants and take a look at what is going on below the surface. If it is a bug of some type (a spider or house fly) you might just have to use a systemic like Marathon to get rid of them.
Let us know of any further developments.
Fred in NJ

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 11:25AM
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I'm betting on a mouse, having gone through the same thing. I would at least put a trap out and see what happens....


    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 12:04PM
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Thanks for your replies. I am going to do some more investigating and unpot one as suggested. Most of the plants were given to me by someone and I have not repotted them. They do not appear to be growing in potting soil--the soil appears too dense. Those are the pots where a tiny amount of soil is displaced. One reason I don't think it is a mouse is because the soil is sometimes just moved to the side of the hole created, making a small mound which grows a little every day--kind of like an ant would move soil.

I repotted (in potting soil) one of the plants in question a couple of weeks ago and it's the one that had a large amount (1/4 to 1/2 of a cup) "dumped" on the table. That did look like the work of a mouse and I set traps and got two. I see no other signs now of a mouse, but something is still moving the soil, but in small amounts like the others. It could very well be that a mouse was the culprit with the one, but I'm almost certain it's something else with the others. The soil is moved constantly in very small amounts.

I will do some "digging" and keep you posted.

Thanks very much.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 2:47PM
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I have a followup to my original question. I repotted one of the plants and found that something is eating the roots of the plant. It must be something very small, though, because this has been going on for most of the summer. I did not see anything that looked alive in the soil that I replaced.

I am not knowledgeable at all about the needs of AV plants, I just water them, snip off old blooms and any dead leaves and enjoy their beauty.

This has piqued my interest and I am going to do some more research to see if I can find out what is eating at my plants and, also, how to take more appropriate care of them.

I'd appreciate any thoughts or advice.


    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 3:22PM
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I too have had this problem for some time with my AV. I finally turned to the internet for answers and found this thread. We have had a mouse in our house so I suspect he is the culprit. I have set a trap and will let you know how I make out.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 7:40PM
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