Oh oh, Red Alert!

beverlymnz4April 5, 2013

I went to check on my pots and found some squirel or other critter has gotten into the pot and the dug around. The roots have been exposed. It was hosta Red Alert. I brought it in the house to see if it comes back. I will have to think of something to do about this next year. Any one else have problems like these, or ways to avoid them.

Beverly

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Babka NorCal 9b

We have a gazillion squirrels around here. They even get into my hanging containers. When I line up my pots for winter, I lay a piece of hardware cloth over the top to keep the critters out. Once they leaf out I still get some damage, but I can repair that since I check them everyday. I don't think the hostas suffer too much. It just makes a mess.

-Babka

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 12:53PM
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bernd ny zone5(5)

I have one very large pot outside and covered the whole surface with brick type gravel, pieces are half to one inch wide. That slows them down. I will do it to all pots with new arrivals and seedlings once they are outside in a few weeks.
Bernd

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 1:56PM
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bkay2000

I didn't do what Babka suggested, but my squirrel problems have subsided with the new dog that is the demon on hosta destruction.

The squirrel rooting around doesn't seem to bother the bigger ones, but I've lost some little ones that they kept digging up. I found that big rocks in the pot will help. It also acts as a mulch, so be careful of them staying too wet and rotting, as I had that problem, too.

I've found the squirrels are basically lazy. They will dig where it's easy and pots are nice and easy to dig in.

An adaption of Babka's harware cloth idea might be worth pursuing.

bk

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 1:58PM
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beverlymnz4

Yep, some hardware is needed. I'll have to remember now.
Since I store them on their sides I think rocks are out.

Thanks Babka, Bernd and bk. (All B's, interesting)
Beverly

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 2:48PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

and take it back outside.. it is not a houseplant..

ken

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 6:51PM
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Ludi _PA_7a

Those little !@#$%^ were in my pots earlier this week as well. I can sympathize with your frustration, Beverly. :)

Fortunately for me, they only seemed to want to play with the mulch and didn't dig much at all.

But ohhhhhh I see them scurry about and I know they are just up to no good. We can't leave any fabric in the garage or they shred it for nesting material.

The link below is to the old GEICO commercial.

Ludi

Here is a link that might be useful: GEICO Squirrels

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 7:27PM
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hostanista

Those nasty squirrels haven't touched my hostas (yet) but they do eat all my bird seed. I've (so far) thwarted them from eating my tulip bulbs by planting them at least 12" deep, not 6". My neighbour has a solution: a shotgun. I would never be so bold but to each his own, I guess.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 7:33PM
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gogirlterri(5 IL)

I am totally stressed. All of my pots have been abused. The latest is my Cracker Crubs and the pot has beern almost emptied. I have good roots and one teeny eye. I may lose it. My first year of hostas in pots is going very poorly. I don't think any of mine have not been ravaged in some way. Pots have been dumped, the crown area are an empty pit, and here we are in April and no pips are in evidence. I am in deep hosta depression. Can it only be cabin fever?
Theresa

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 7:46PM
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beverlymnz4

Yes, Theresa, its probably too much in between weather. Some of those hostas will come back and we will do better next year.

Too late Ken, the hosta is in and thawing out. I guess I'll just have to start this one early. No, I didn't go dump my pot upside down so I would have an excuse to bring it in and get it going, but since its in now...

Ludisia, just what I thought. Those squirls wait for me to plant something precious, mess it up, and wait for me to get all mad just for kicks. Just like that commercial.

Hostanista, that works - with the tulips? I have got to try that, I love tulips.

Beverly

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 8:01PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Hostanista- You NEED one of these. Me too, if just for the pure entertainment value. I could not stop laughing at this.
You need to watch the whole thing for the different positions!
-Babka

Here is a link that might be useful: Twirlling squirrel on a bird feeder

This post was edited by babka on Fri, Apr 5, 13 at 21:00

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 8:57PM
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don_in_colorado

Squirrels are sociopaths. And sadists. Who probably worship the devil.

Don B.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 10:53PM
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mosswitch

I left my plug trays of seedling hostas outside over the winter, and this spring I discovered that rain had washed out the soil from some of the plants. Poor babies were hanging out with no soil over their roots, but their little eyes were greening up and growing anyway. They went through at least one week of 20 degree weather before I found them and repotted them. Their experience didn't seem to hurt them any tho, they are growing and coming up like gangbusters.

But I have lost some hostas that were in the ground,as I take stock of what is coming up; I think to voles. Squirrels dig them up sometimes when I plant them, but I don't think they want them to eat. They just want to see what I buried in case it is something good. I put chicken wire over the young ones last fall (held down with rocks) and that has seemed to help. The hostas come up through it where they would not be able to come up through hardware cloth.

Something (deer maybe) ate most of the leaves off one of my new heucheras and pulled it out of the ground yesterday. Time for war on critters!

Sandy

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 12:23AM
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MadPlanter1 zone 5

I've had pretty good luck with pine cones in my planters. They're free, and I just put a couple layers around the plants. It has to be at least two or three pines cones deep or they push them out of the way. Stops squirrels and cats from digging, and looks nice, too. Probably wouldn't work with your mini hostas, though.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 5:43AM
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dgregory_so.cntrl.IL_zone6a

Sandy,
I had the same issue this spring and someone suggested that bunnies will nibble on heuchera.

I use an animal repellant product containing hot pepper wax to dissuade the furry critters from snooping around my gardens. It has to be reapplied it every so often, but it helps. Just be really careful to not to get it on your hands. That stuff tends to linger doesn't readily wash off.

The spray might help bkay train her darling demon dog to stay away from the hosta pots. She could spray the animal repellant on the pots and in the general hosta area...I have been reluctant to suggest using it, since "the demon" is her pet and it might appear offensive of something...

Deb

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 10:54AM
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bkay2000

Hey, Deb, I'll try anything that won't hurt her. I just took Ken's advice and sprayed bitter apple spray in her mouth when she got the cushion for the third time. I'd already sprayed the cushions.

I moved the hosta away from the tree where she was accidently knocking them over while chasing the squirrels. Now, I'm adding an electric fence, as she's started jumping over them and accidently knocking them over.

She's either killed or made babies out of half my hosta - and she's still alive. (Have you ever seen a 2" tall queen of the seas?) Of course, that's a good excuse to buy more.

bk

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 11:34AM
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don_in_colorado

On the Bridgewood Gardens website, I recall noticing a product that is in a water soluble form that you're supposed to use when giving your Hosta a drink, and the claim is it makes the Hosta taste like hot chilipeppers. Apply once a year. Repels all mammal pests. That's the claim, anyway. Here it is. I'll attach the link.

Cheers,
Don B.

Here is a link that might be useful: 'Repellex Systemic Tablets'

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 12:11PM
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bkay2000

They would have to be chewing the hosta for that to work, I would think. Squirrels generally don't eat them. They pull them up looking for the nut under them or generally mess them up by digging in the soil. The demon doglet doesn't chew them either. She "kills" them by shaking them like they are prey. Then she chews on the pot.

bk

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 2:33PM
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dgregory_so.cntrl.IL_zone6a

The animal repellant spray would very possibly work then.

They (squirrel and doglet) would get a taste (or whiff) of it while mouthing the plant to pull it or chewing the pot.

Also spray the ground around plants and pots. Those noses will get in the waxy spray when digging or rooting in the area.

I'd think that continued snoot fulls and tastes of hot pepper would eventually turn the offender off, squirrel or pup.

This way you aren't the "bad guy" affronting darling (demon) doglet with the bitter apple stuff. The plant and pots themselves become less appealing.

hth,
Deb

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 3:24PM
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don_in_colorado

Apparently that Repellex stuff makes the Hosta give off a hot pepper scent, enough to offend the animals' sensitive sniffers. Again, that's what is claimed, anyway.

Don B.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 3:48PM
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bkay2000

Wow, with my luck she likes peppers. I had a German Shepherd many years ago that was a chow hound. The phone rang while I was eating chicken tamales that had jalapenos in the masa. She went for it when my back was turned. I thought that would teach her a lesson. No such luck...she loved jalapenos.

bk

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 5:12PM
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don_in_colorado

bkay-LOL!!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 5:21PM
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beverlymnz4

Don, Those Repellex might be worth a try. I think I would use them in combination with some other measures though. Deer and rabbits get used to these things.

bk, I admire your patience.

Beverly

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 5:36PM
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mosswitch

I tried Repellex last year. It didn't seem all that effective, as it takes quite a while for it to get into the plant system and by that time, the deer have eaten them. I didn't find a liquid form, it was tablets that you push into the ground at the root system. And it was hellaciously expensive. The instructions advised use of a spray on repellent until the Repellex took effect. Sheesh.

I think you are probably right about the rabbits, deer are not supposed to like heucheras.

I am going to try the Vicks Vaporub treatment that I posted about on here a couple weeks ago and see if it works. Sure tired of buying expensive repellents that may or may not work, and spraying them again every time it rains.

So far the most effective commercial treatment has been Repells-All, which comes in a granular that you treat the perimeter of the beds, and a liquid that you spray on. The granular is supposed to last 2 months. I used it last year with some success.

The best homemade one was a recipe by I think Don Dean that was posted on the AHS facebook page, but I can't find it now. Maybe I saved it in my favorites It had eggs and hot pepper sauces, that I remember. I added hot pepper sauce to the Repells-All liquid too.

Sandy

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 6:22PM
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mosswitch

I found Don Dean's recipe for deer repellent on here.

Here is a link that might be useful: Don Dean's recipe

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 6:42PM
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don_in_colorado

Yep, Repellex sounds like it's maybe not that good. Sorry, I assumed it was dissolved in water. Guess I should learn how to read more gooder. :p

Don B.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 6:43PM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

What I have is the 90 proof Chinese red pepper ground up....or maybe it is called cayenne pepper. It is the super hot stuff. I got it late last year, and decided not to use it because of the long spell of rain at the end of the season. Now it is time to drag it out. I always wear latex gloves using this pepper. If I were in Louisiana, I could find it locally but around here, no bulk sales of ground cayenne. So, I order it from Amazon.

Just scatter it rather liberally on the soil surface, they get it on their paws and nose/mouth, and the reaction should be quick.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 10:56PM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

I'm going to add this link to a new thread begun by Ludisia.
He tried the cayenne pepper and for two days he's been without squirrels digging in his pots. Link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Proven remedy for squirrel digging

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 12:53AM
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