The Devils in our Gardens

chescobob(z6b SEPA)June 24, 2005

There are many cute furry, etc., things roaming near our gardens. However, when they attack our gardens, they become devils (at least in my little world).

In my woods behind the house, I have bunnies (small but sneaky and always hungry), deer (only 4 sightings in a year), groundhogs (everywhere), and squirrels (the woods include many hickory trees). These are the potential devils.

The little guys stay close to the woods due to foxes, hawks, bald eagles, owls, etc. Even the many turkey vultures and black vultures cast shadows on the ground that scare the little ones. These are good guys.

Some bugs are good while others immediately get the name "devil", such as, devil beetles (japanese).

Here are the proven devils in my gardens:

1. Devil bunnies: At the end of Winter, the devil bunnies ate one of my dwarf nandinas to the ground. Two other dwarf nandinas had their sides sheared off by the devil bunnies. Hah, hah, devil bunnies. Dwarf nandinas grow like weeds and they are all flourishing.

2. Devil beetles: There are a handful of these devils munching on my roses now. I'm going to introduce them to Mr. Seven tomorrow morning.

3. Devil squirrels: They frolic in the hickory trees out back. That's OK. However, they have this need to come into my side and front gardens and dig. There aren't any nuts in there! No big thing but they still are messing with the gardens.

Here are my potential devils:

1. Groundhogs: I see them eating clover and they seem happy with it. I don't have a vegetable garden so they are still cute. They sure did fatten up though in the last 3 months. I saw a mama carrying a baby in her mouth a few weeks ago. I think she was taking the kid over to my neighbor's vegetable garden for on-the-job training.

2. Deer: They stay close to the woods. However, this year, I planted in the back yard. I put in abelias and pieris in an effort to convince them that my gardens had nothing to offer if they are not starving. At least, the web sites I visited say deer will pick other plants before abelia and pieris. So far, they have not messed with my gardens.

What are the devils in your gardens and what have they done?

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Pipersville_Carol(z6 Bucks PA)

The most annoying things in my garden are the devilish weeds.... luckily the critters don't seem to damage much

    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 10:30AM
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lynn_d(Z5 PA)

For the first time in 10 years we have a deer that is mowing down one of the hostas. I really don't mind tho, we have dozens of them and the deer seems to have fixated on just one. The bunnies (I think) have discovered my cone flowers again, for some reason the flowers did fine last year, this year there's nothing left but stems. The groundhogs (we have a bunch of them) were eating the sweet potato vines but they seem to have tired of them lately.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 1:31PM
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Thankfully I have no deer problems. Only bunnies and groundhogs. Have had to resort to hardware cloth circular cages around 2 young viburnums that they chewed down to the ground last fall, but have come back. The ground hog feasts on the clover, and also my catmint blooms, and cone flower leaves. My cats are useless, in this regard, preferring my wild area along the driveway, where shrews and mice abound.

Yesterday late, I startled a falcon, or hawk (?) that was at my feeder area finishing his massacre on what I believe was a mourning dove. Flew off with what was left to eat, leaving a mass of feathers. It's poor mate, I'm sure, was 'mourning' over it's lost spouse last evening, as I was listening to the birds on the front porch swing.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 3:14PM
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The main devil in my yard this year is one resident chipmunk. There is just the one and I did not mind him at first. He was cute and I enjoyed watching him frolic. However, he has begun to frolic a bit too much. He recently derooted a clematis. I would hate to have to kill him but If he continues his destructive ways, I will not be responsible for my actions.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 6:19AM
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geoforce(z7a SE PA)

The Devil Deer are my main enemy.

I can tolerate the invasion of the dumb squirrels who think that anything plastic is designed specifically to be their tooth sharpening post, and feel that the only approved way to bury nuts is in my newly planted seedbeds

I don't really mind the mother skunk who has been a resident landholder under one of my garden decks fartherest from the house, and seldom either see or sniff her presence.

Groundhogs come and go with an occasional tomato lunch or keeping my cat on a better diet by sharing some of his food, but by and large are not problematic.

Since I've stopped growing roses, I've learned that insect damage is generally invisible from across the garden, and some is actually neat to look at like the cute little perfect circular holes in the leaves of my redbuds made by the leafcutter bees.

Deer however are most assuredly unwelcome guests in my garden. As you comment, some plants are beneath the notice of their discriminating tasts unless they are starving. All the deer in our township must be in need of a major aid package because they will eat anything. I suspect that if their population gets a bit denser, they may turn carnivores and have a go at eating my cat. So far, The only plants which seem totally untouched in my garden are digitalis, stachys, and echinacea but these will probably become acceptable as a light salad by next season.


    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 9:01AM
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Kathy46(Z6 Pa)

Raccoons !!! It has been raiding my yard for about 3 weeks now. It already ate all the snails in my pond (20 +) and is now after my fish. It is getting through every barricade I try.
I just called the township about it. I feel so sad but due to an 80 % rabies rate it will be trapped and destroyed. I just hate for this to happen. It's not the raccoons fault but what else can I do ?


    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 9:56AM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

The Japanese Beetles, hands down. Last year the squash bug devils did a number on my pumpkin vines, so no squash or melon this year, except for a couple volunteers in one corner of the yard. Who knows what they will be? Hopefully something tasty or pretty.

The slugs are much less of a problem this year, but I do not know why. Last year they completely destroyed several green bean seedlings.

Something, I assume a rabbit, chewed down several Morning Glory seedlings by my fence. To make matters worse, something digs up the soil in that bed and throws it all over the paver border.

Still, the Japanese Beetles on the raspberries and elderberries are my number 1 devil now.


    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 12:05PM
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Unfortunately, as we continue to doze over these animals' habitats, and put in our precious gardens, the wildlife have to find ways of surviving....I too had a rabbit in my tiny garden and it chewed a few things and flattened some others (used the thick patch of yarrow as a hiding spot)....but nothing was destroyed and the one new plant that they liked, I just put wire mesh around it so it could keep growing.

Now, aliens like Japanese beetles are another story...

As for hawks finding meals at birdfeeders, that's a common example of an 'ecotrap.' You're providing food for songbirds/perching birds and in turn, a hawk simply finds this area of congregating birds an opportunity for his own meal for himself or his nestlings.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 2:01PM
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Deer are my devils. They even eat yucca plants. That's gotta hurt !!!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 5:10PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

I think I'm the devil in my garden.

I don't water enough, I transplant roughly, I tolerate bug attacks, I don't stake early enough, I don't protect plants from all the rabbits......

yikes, it's a wonder anything grows. I like to think of it as survival of the fittest.

But I do coddle favorite plants like phlox and bananas, and if I get a delphinium I promise to fertilize, water and stake..... at least for the first year.

ps. the rabbits are so cute. There are babies all over the place this year. I have two or three plants that are just chewed up nubbins, the rest of the damage is hit or miss.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 10:34PM
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Kathy46(Z6 Pa)

Love the bunnies ! I don't mind if they get some stuff. When they start mowing down entire patches I might have a problem LOL.

I know the hawks have to eat too so don't get too upset when they hunt my bird feeders. I do have enough shrubbery for the birds to hide but one of them invariably gets et.

Squirrels are a total pest here so I don

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 8:22AM
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chescobob(z6b SEPA)

My gardens were attacked by another devil--the bagworm. The devil worms-in-a-bag were hogging down on my Dwarf Globe Blue Spruce. #$@#$$##%%^&%$#@#@@#$!!!. I gave then some Sevin to bathe in last night. Today, I picked off the bags and stomped them.

Death to all devil worms-in-a-bag (aka bagworms).

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 5:36PM
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I feel for ya there chescobob, had 2 infestations of those in the past. At least they haven't been a yearly devil for us, like #^%%$@& JB's!!!!! I'll tell ya a fun and sick thing to do with those bags. After you're done BBQ-ing, have a bag roasting, throw them in the coals!! ;-D

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 8:58PM
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murial(z5 PA)

Rabbits eating whatever isn't caged. They don't like the herbs though.
Chipmonks digging up freshly planted things and my patio pots.
Snakes.....only cause they startle me!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 10:25AM
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bulbs(z6 PA)

The main devils in my garden are Jap. Beetles (esp. like my one rose bush and my hollyhocks), and a rabbit that loves my morning glories. Keep finding them cut off at the bottom after growing a few feet on a trellis - sure hope some stay alive long enuf to bloom this year.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 1:13PM
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TheDogsBalls(Z7 FISHTOWN PA)

The Devil in my garden is an 85lb. American Bulldog named Sweetpea who chases the squirrels along the fence and steps on my turnip and beet greens, and who has also aquired an affinity for fennel.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2005 at 7:54AM
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