Aaggggghhhhh! What's digging in my garden?

jenn(SoCal 9/19)November 8, 2011

I built some beds in the side yard using lasagna layers. Most of it is not planted yet (but will be soon) and the layers are nice and diggable.

The other morning, we found holes and mounds of soil with one plant almost dug up, and dirt flung everywhere.

We don't have a dog, but this NEVER happened when we did. It's behind a locked fence, so it's not a person. It's some critter (not a mole, thank goodness), possibly a skunk or cat, who's probably looking for worms.

Does anyone know of a non-toxic deterrent to discourage this digging?

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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Sounds like oppossums.
I use concrete reinforcing wire laid over my raised beds. No more opposums, skunks, raccoons, or cats.
Renee

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 3:04AM
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deep___roots(ca9/sunset15)

Ha ha I was going to say we could eliminate hosenemesis as a suspect based on her earlier post about not feeling like digging.
Yeah though, I put flat sheets of quarter inch hardware cloth over my raised beds when they're empty to keep cats out (cat poop, yuck!). Sounds like you have racoons or possums. Both of these suckers have hands, but weighted down hardware cloth or concrete reinforcing wire would probably foil them.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 12:54PM
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borderbarb

Ditto for chicken wire or plastic netting, laid flat on soil surface. Have used both to deter varmits from digging for worms and destroying my garden.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 3:26PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

"I was going to say we could eliminate hosenemesis as a suspect based on her earlier post about not feeling like digging."

Very funny, deeproots.

My chickens scratched out the violas I finally managed to plant the other day. Sigh.

Renee

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 3:41PM
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dicot

Not sure why opossums always get the blame in these nocturnal digging threads, I don't believe it's true. Skunks, racoons, cats, or squirrels are more likely culprits. Skunks in particular equate recently dug soil with grub hunting ground and will ravage innocent bystander seedlings in their search for sub-surface food.

Question: I think opossums are digging holes in my roof or yard.

Answer: The damage is not likely to be caused by opossums. Opossums have soft, delicate hands with nails that are easily ripped out. They are not capable of doing a lot of digging. Other animals are more likely to be causing the damage.

Here is a link that might be useful: Oppossum FAQs

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 1:31PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Here it is raccoons that dig big gouges in the soil. Cats make a more surface indentation and they like the soil very dry, and the purpose is for doing their business. Raccons are looking for something.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 3:54PM
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jacqueline9CA

I agree that it is probably raccoons or skunks. Unfortunately, you have built an area that screams "dig here for grubs" to them - sort of like putting up a neon sign that says "Diner"! We had the same problem with a new lawn we put in - I also think they were attracted by the smell of the fertilizer. In our neighborhood raccoons are famous for even rolling back newly planted turf! We put down chicken wire over our newly seeded lawn, the grass grew up through it and you couldn't see it, but no more digging happened. Good Luck!

Jackie

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 1:06PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Thank you for your suggestions. We have seen skunks and racoons in the neighborhood; not recently but we know they're around and come out at night.

Would burlap work? I'm thinking of laying burlap on the bed, cutting a whole for each plant, and covering with mulch.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 10:52AM
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