Wonder what pruned my mum...

lindakimySeptember 13, 2007

I have this flowerbed out beside the driveway. It is problematic because it is shady in spring and then in full sun in summer. I've tried cannas and caladiums and neither worked. So I'm trying to go down the middle. I recently bought a bunch of hardy garden mums and planted them out. They usually soldier on in my other beds and grow from year to year. Well...

Something has nipped off all the flowers on one of the plants. Left them in a circle around the base. Whatever it was didn't actually EAT the flowers...just pruned them off. What do you suppose that was? Rabbit? Alien? What?

I am kind of pleased to find that I've reached a state (of numb?) where this doesn't make me excessively upset. Like it would have earlier in the year. Somehow now I just would like to identify the culprit to see whether there is anything I can do. If not, well...just see if I buy that critter any more mums to munch.

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dellare(7NC)

Oh Linda, it is so funny that you mentioned that you are numb. This is my fourth September here and I have felt numb around this time every year. It's such a struggle every summer to keep things alive in the sand. Hopefully with yearly top dressing it will get easier. Adele

    Bookmark   September 13, 2007 at 9:07PM
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joydveenc7(7a)

I have to laugh too Linda, but with sympathy. Sounds like what the rabbits did to wave petunias the only year I tried to grow them in the ground. They nipped the shoots close to the base and left the ends lying there. Maybe they don't taste as good as they looked or smelled. Sorry about your mums.

If it is rabbits, you could try sages in your flowerbed, like guaranitica or another summer-to-fall blooming type. Rabbits don't eat any of the several kinds in my beds, and I think most would put up with a little early spring shade and still bloom.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2007 at 10:07PM
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brenda_near_eno(Z7a)

Deer eat mine - and they like just the flowers. Fawns will bite stuff off and drop it - they do it to beautyberry in my yard. Others have said it's because fawns are tasting stuff, and then dropping it if they don't like taste. Every leaf has been eaten off my black-and-blue salvias - but they leave the other salvias/sages alone.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2007 at 5:38AM
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Tammy Kennedy

sounds like something kids would do- even animal kids. hubby & k saw a fawn and 3 adults frolicking- no other word for it - the were nipping, flouncing and chasing each other in our back yard the other day. they were just playing like they were all fawns. since there's not much back there for them to eat (yet) i don't mind much. he said he saw one nibble the redbud. but that deer fence will be up full force when i start planting (if we ever get regular rain again) because they ain't nipping my mums!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2007 at 9:41AM
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lindakimy

O.K. This is getting truly weird. This evening I find that several more of the mums have been "pruned" - and, oddly, in a symmetrical pattern! The two in the center of the bed at the back are whole, as are the two at opposite ends in front. The two just back from those are partially nipped. All the others have been cleaned out. Awright....now that's just weird!

Have a look -

And look how cleanly they have been snipped off!

I know there ARE deer in the area - where are they NOT? But I have never seen any inside our fence. Not that they could not jump over but why bother since there is plenty of room outside and there are dogs inside? Also, right in front of this bed is my driveway - a wide expanse of smooth white sand (picture Panama Beach, FL) and there are dog tracks but no deer tracks.

Now rabbits might well be ignored by my prize pooches. They make little noise and the pups can be lazy. But would they be so artistic about their nibbling?

This is bizarre.

And I won't be buying any more mums, thank you very much.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2007 at 7:18PM
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rootdiggernc(Z-7A NC)

That is bizarre! Maybe someone (human) thinks they are doing you a favor and deadheading? Some of the cuts look pretty clean and they're all done on a slant as far as I can tell from the pics.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2007 at 7:25PM
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lindakimy

THAT would be REALLY strange. I live at the end of a long dirt road and there is a locked gate at the end of this driveway. You can't even see my place from the road. As I mentioned, I do have dogs. They are friendly enough to people they know but not really to people they don't. I do have a warning sign up on the gate. I honestly can't think of anyone who would run the risk of cutting my flowers INSIDE my fence. Anybody who knows me is aware that if they get past the dogs, I am a very good shot and I have several weapons handy from which to choose. Anybody who doesn't know me and gives that a try has a screw loose somewhere. In this area you just assume that trespassers will be shot first and questioned later.

But you are right...the cuts are diagonal. Consistently and cleanly. I am absolutely bumfuzzled.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2007 at 7:56PM
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nonews(Zone 7 NC)

I was told that 45 degree cuts were made by rabbits. I'm not sure why they didn't eat the flowers. Could they be the culprits? That is depressing. I have a woodchuck in my yard that will chomp some of my plants - mostly grass. Nancy

    Bookmark   September 14, 2007 at 8:27PM
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lindakimy

Nonews, I think you are probably right. I KNOW there are rabbits in the woods behind that bed. I've seen 'em. And my silly dogs seem to think "live and let live" is an o.k. plan about them. I bet that is who it is.

I'm not going to buy them any more mums. I don't know what to put out there that they won't even snip. They are not eating the mums...just cutting them off. For fun I guess.

Wonder where I could get hold of a big flock of pink plastic flamingos. THAT might be the solution to that stupid flowerbed.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2007 at 9:41PM
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carrie630(z7bNC)

linda - there's a post in the Ornamental Grass forum about buying wooden bamboo sticks (100 for less than a dollar at Walmart) and if you stick them in a circle around your plants, the rabbits won't eat because once they get "pricked", they don't bother with the plant.

I just bought some today because I definitely have a rabbit who visits my garden and has chomped down some blue fescue grasses.

Be careful, though, I pricked myself twice (in the wrist, no less) plugging them in and not seeing a few that I had previously done. Hope that helps.

Carrie

    Bookmark   September 14, 2007 at 10:20PM
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lindakimy

Oh, sweet revenge, huh? Definitely worth a try. I even have some. I haven't checked the bed yet this morning to see if anything is left but I'll take some of the sticks along and surround whatever has survived.

I'm going to keep that in mind for spring, too. I desperately want to grow hollyhocks along the back of my hydrangea bed - right at the edge of the same woods that borders the driveway (just a few hops, skips and jumps away...ahem!). I've had NO luck with hollyhocks because the rabbits always mow down the little ones I put out. Boy, are THEY going to be surprised!

Thanks for the tip!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 8:36AM
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lindakimy

Well...I put out the sharp sticks (bungee sticks, my buddy who was in Vietnam called 'em). And I didn't put them around all the plants - just the ones that still had blooms. This morning they had left the ones with sticks alone and mowed the others off at the ground. So. I'll be investing in more of these "rabbit deterrents" before I put out hollyhocks in spring.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2007 at 7:58PM
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joydveenc7(7a)

That's great news, thanks Carrie and Linda. I can't wait to try it.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 8:26PM
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nonews(Zone 7 NC)

What department would I look for the wood bamboo sticks? Craft? I need some also. Nancy

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 4:15PM
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Tammy Kennedy

i think they're talking about bamboo skewers, right? sometimes the dollar store has them, sometimes the dollar spot at target. probably wallyworld, too. only thing is, they tend to be a summer item since they're used for grilling. i use them for all sorts of things- they're great for crafts- so i stock up when i find them. i just looked up above and someone said they are 100/$1 a walmart. if they aren't skewers, please post what they are. thanks, tam

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 4:37PM
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carrie630(z7bNC)

My husband bought them at Walmart so I don't know what department it was and he CAN'T remember (? huh?) LOL

Anyway, they were called Bamboo Skewers (for barbeque) if that is any help.

Carrie (May go tomorrow for more - will let you know exactly where I find them (if I do) and report it back here).

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 6:59PM
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14gipper

I've seen them at the grocery store too, but they probably cost more there. I'm definitely going to try this little trick.
Dana

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 7:11PM
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catc

This sounds like a something I need to try - the bunnies have been chowing down on my shade plants in the back yard. At the risk of sounding stupid - how high should the skewer protrude from the ground, and do you stick them in vertically or angle them out away from the plant?

    Bookmark   September 21, 2007 at 11:17AM
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lindakimy

You should be able to find them at Walmart where the kitchen gadgets are. They are pretty cheap. Try the dollar store or Big Lots, too.

So here's an update: after a week, the mums I did not booby trap are gone but the ones with the sharp sticks are still there. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Catc, I experimented a bit with how I put the sticks in. One plant even got its own little frontier stockade!! I put sharp sticks in a line all the way around that one. It seems to be effective but not very attractive. Other plants I used only 3 or 4 and tucked them right in among the foliage, just slightly angled outward - practically invisible but still quite effective. As for depth...I tested to see how far I'd have to go with our soft sand before the sticks were more or less stable. Then I allowed them to stand up about as tall as the average of the plant height - not as high as the tallest parts but not lower than the edible goodies. So far, so good.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2007 at 3:41PM
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