Pests Digging Up Perennials

chickadeemelrose(5)April 23, 2010

We have squirrels, voles, and rabbits here. In checking our flower beds today I could see all the leaves eaten off new coneflower plants; two new maidenhair fern roots (just planted) ripped out and just left in the flower bed; and numerous other dug out holes, used to do who knows what (tunnel to England?).

What suggestions do people have for dealing with these varmints? I intend to put a rabbit fence around our potager, of course, vegetables would be too much for the animals to resist. But what about the perennial flower gardens?

Any info to share? Thanks -

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t-bird(Chicago 5/6)

I've been dealing with this as well.

What is the upside of having half my new strawberry plants ripped out?

I get to see my tulips this year! Last year all the buds taken off before bloom. What a heartbreaker - I have about 100! All sorts of colors. I cried each time a new rampage occurred....

So my only advice is overwhelm them with choice....something will be taken - but something left.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 3:39PM
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Thanks for your reply, you have a good sense of humor about it! I guess I will have to develop that too.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 8:22PM
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nycynthias(Z6 NY)

I have used coyote urine with some success in the past, especially since we actually have quite a few coyote in the area (no, I didn't collect it myself, LOL) and the rabbits and other varmints know they're prey animals to the coyotes. I have also noticed that wherever my dogs roam my perennial areas and pee in or near the beds, that definitely seems to keep rabbits, voles, etc. at bay. Also, my big dog eats voles as snacks, so that has been helping.
For unprotected beds, I find that mixing in catmint (my go-to plant for nearly everything!) seems to work really well--especially for keeping deer out, but it seems to work for rabbits also. Can't say about the moles, voles, etc., as they have really calmed down in the past couple of years. Possibly due to big dog's gastronomic endeavors?
I have heard about ultrasonic deterrents, but have never yet tried them. Some gardeners in my area swear by them, but so far, fingers crossed, my issues haven't gotten to the level where I want to spend more money on stuff like that.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 8:25PM
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For me, the barn kitties have done a great job of keeping everything out of the garden...except the deer :)

So far, the deer haven't been much of a problem, as long as I hide the roses behind other plants.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 8:30PM
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Thanks everyone for your input. This afternoon I remembered (duh!)that we have a product I bought, with some skepticism, last summer, it's a stick of gel or whatever that contains "predator scents" that are supposed to keep small animals at bay. I originally bought it because we were put through the ringer by a stubborn skunk and our idiot dog (I love her but she can be an idiot.) I still shake my head when I think of our visiting Danish student and her bedroom full of skunk smell.

Anyway...I am going to try putting it on my raised bed boards and see what happens. I'll let everyone know how it works.

Thanks again for responding. :)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 10:13PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

Gophers are poisoned. This year I will try planting foods that rabbits like in other areas of the yard. I don't mind bunnies as long as they play nice. They seem to like kale (ask me how I know) so I may put that in a location better suited to my needs.

For the gophers I had considered cats but they would likely get eaten by coyotes too quickly. Predator urine did nothing for us. The gophers here will eat just about anything including pine trees (expensive ones) and fruit trees (3 apples, 2 cherry).

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 12:08AM
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I am definitely getting some kale to plant for the rabbits. I have no problem feeding rabbits as long as it's not OUR food. "Decoy plants" work fine for me! Thanks!

Also, just wondering - do bunnies not act nice sometimes? ("as long as they play nice") I mean, was it a joke or do bunnies fight over territory? I'm really curious. They're one of my favorite animals, I even have a rabbit statue in my potager.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 10:30AM
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t-bird(Chicago 5/6)

by playing nice I think the poster meant "not eating my food"

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 11:33AM
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Well...I don't know why I didn't get that. Maybe I've seen too many "dangerous nature" shows.

If I had a key with an embarrassed face I would type it here. Thanks -

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 11:38AM
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