Something digging up my plants !!

geoforce(z7a SE PA)July 20, 2005

Over the last 3 weeks, I have had 5 perennials which I planted this season dug out of the ground by something. The plants are not eaten, and, up till now at least, I have been able to replant them and minimize damage, but I can't figure out what is digging them up. One of the plants had been planted for only 2 days, but others for weeks, and one for over 2 months. I find the plants lying beside an excavated hole, which is obviously dug out by a small animal as the contents are not thrown far from the hole edge. The hole is dug to the size of the hole I planted in and all the ammended soil has been removed but apparently is still there.

I suspect squirrels, as the plants are not even nibbled on, but can't figure what they are doing this for.


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Pipersville_Carol(z6 Bucks PA)

Strange. Sounds like something is grabbing them and pulling them out of the ground, but then deciding they aren't tasty enough to eat.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 12:32PM
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I am constanly having holes du in my gardens also. Everyone always tells me it is our neighborhood skunk. But whatever is doing this in my yard does not dig up plants. Just dirt and mulch.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 1:38PM
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geoforce(z7a SE PA)

These aren't pulled out, as the plant is un-nibbled, and the hole is excavated to larger than the plant roots, since I always follow that advice about "$1 plant $10 hole" and ammend a larger volume of soil. Almost all of the ammended soil is removed from the hole.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 2:57PM
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wolfe15136(z6 PA)

My idiot neighbor feeds peanuts to our huge glossy squirrels.

The evil beasts bring the peanuts to my yard, uproot anything recently planted, even in pots(!), and bury their treasure.

They're too lazy to actually dig their own holes, when there is all that nice loose stuff so temptingly convenient.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 3:37PM
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Raccoons are notorious for digging up plants and then just leaving them. we have a couple who visit here every night and they did that with my Casa Blanca lilies.Luckily I replanted them and they bloomed. Do you have an raccoons in your area?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 5:33PM
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It could also be a rabbit preparing a nest for impending babies. They take a few days to prepare a site first digging a hole, then filling the hole with dried grasses and other vegetation and finally lining the whole thing with hair plucked from her own chest and haunches. The nest of an experienced mother is water-proof and tight enough to keep the little ones warm. They usually dig under plants or beside a clump of vegetation to make the hole and a newly human-dug hole seems to be particularly attractive. I am cat-less this year and the neighborhood rabbits have declared my gardens THE nursery site of choice.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 9:03PM
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lynn_d(Z5 PA)

Whoever or whatever has dug up my morning glory vine a dozen times this year! The poor thing is on it's last legs!!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2005 at 10:56AM
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Squirrels most likely.

Every spring I have to patrol after planting to re-plant everything they've excavated.

Squirrels dig to both bury and retrieve food. A squirrel can smell that the ground has been disturbed and most likely assumes something tasty has been hidden there either by himself or a rival squirrel. He digs down to find the (assumed) hidden nut.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2005 at 10:22AM
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blueheron(z6 PA)

I agree with the above. It's probably squirrels. I got so mad one time that I put a little stockade of rose prunings around my newly planted perennials. It works most of the time.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 3:57PM
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I live in central Virginia and this has been happening to me for the past 3 years -- even to the plants on my deck. I have suspected squirrels and raccoons, since they are our most frequent visitors, and some of the pots are on shelves, so the critter must be able to climb. I wonder if there is something in the new potting soil (fertilizers?) that attract the animals. Whatever it is, I have stopped screaming and now just issue a loud ***sighhhhh*** when it happens. Something about sharing the woods with animals -- I'm beginning to get resigned to it.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 8:15PM
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More than likely it's squirrels looking for nuts. I covered my corn planting in chicken wire just to give them time to sprout before they start their excavations. A thick mulch seems to deter them slightly, but only slightly. If it's exposed dirt, they'll go after it in a heartbeat.

It could also be raccoons as they dig for grubs, which are root feeders. If they smell them at the base of a plant - out of the ground it goes.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 5:54PM
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If the plants are dug up at night it is most likely raccoons. Squirrels aren't nocturnal and do their foraging and digging during the day but they mostly stick to freshly planted bulbs not plants.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 9:48AM
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Same problem here....Buy "shake away", spread it today and all day long no visiters! Squirrels in my beds nor possums on fence. Sooo Happy!!
It is safe for our pets too!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 12:15AM
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