Do squirrels eat sedum???

Skybird - z5, Denver, ColoradoApril 7, 2009

Hi all,

I transplanted a small October Daphne, Sedum sieboldii, and it was coming up absolutely beautifullyand all of a sudden thereÂs nothing there but nubbins! On the other end of the main perennial bed I had a new sedum I put in last summer thatÂs also eaten most of the way down. IÂve had squirrels eat hen & chicks before, so it seems pretty believable that theyÂd eat sedum, but, I also have a pink babyÂs breath which has a fairly wide and large leaf for a Gypsophila, and itÂs been half eaten too. Would a squirrel eat something with a "normal" leaf? Alright! ThatÂs probably a kinda dumb question! A better one might be, is there ANYTHING squirrels DONÂT eat! This is just really weird! The only thing IÂve ever had eaten in the past were the tops on a few of the hen & chicks, and with the warm winter weÂve had this year, it seems like there would be plenty "real" food for them to eat. AndÂas near as I can tell, I only have one squirrel! Most of the neighbors have dogs, so IÂve been enjoying a relative LACK of squirrels at this house. And the one I do see around does come down into the perennial bed to dig and bury things, but IÂve never seen it actually eating anythingÂthat I have growing! And IÂve never had a problem with him/her/it eating anything in the veggie garden! But then, if I SEE the squirrel, it doesnÂt have much time to do or eat anythingÂsince I go running out into the yard with my mini-rake, ranting and raving and swatting and batting at it!!! I think squirrels are cute! But I think my plants are even cuter!!!

So what have you all had squirrels eat in your gardens? Should I assume itÂs the squirrel that making my plants disappear rather than some supernatural force???

Maybe I should just be happy I donÂt have deerÂor bearsÂor rabbitsÂor pocket gophersÂor..........


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david52 Zone 6

I feel your pain. Deer just ate about 50 of my garlic down to a nub, as well as 'tasting' an awful lot of daffodils.

My folks had squirrel issues for years - the things ate or chewed on just about everything that grew in their yard - and someone explained to them (so I'm getting this 2nd hand) that squirrels, in the spring when their thoughts turn to romance, do this to attract mates. I have no idea if it's true.

The deer also eat my ground cover sedum. But they leave the larger stuff alone.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 9:36AM
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Skybird, I can't comment on ALL squirrels in all environments. I will just tell you a little of what transpires outside my window over Madam Squirrel's days and seasons.

She was out most days during the Winter - in piles of snow and cold temperatures. I discovered that my backyard neighbor has birdseed out; altho the next door neighbor gave up doing that long before Winter set in.

Madam Squirrel would make her way down my fence, over the garage and return after awhile to her tree. She sometimes found a little chicken scratch on the fence waiting for her.

During the cold months, she was often on our deck. The compost bucket is out there usually frozen solid during that time of year but with daily additions of apple cores and broccoli stems, and such. Madam Squirrel would pry some tasty peeling out and sit on the deck rail and eat it.

As soon as the snow melted enuf to expose some ground, she was back to her buried walnuts. The compost bucket was visited less and less and I don't even see her venturing over the garage on the way to the neighbor's bird feeder these days. Her walnuts and the squirrels across the road have her attention these days.

I haven't seen her in our compost bucket for well over a month. Would she eat the veggies in the garden or ornamentals in the front yard? I suppose so but the veggie garden is exposed to other tree squirrels at another location. I haven't seen any damage I attribute to squirrels with either gardens.

after about 4 years of having Madam Squirrel's home in 1 of his trees, still uncertain about the ways and by-ways of squirrels.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 11:48AM
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gardenbutt(rocky mt 4-5)

I found this one a curiosity.Since I have sedums, hens and chicks etc.everywhere.A large roof full as a matter of fact.For a while we had over 40 to 50 squirrels snarfing the bird seed.Oddly enough the squirrels have never bothered my gardens.They never dug up my bulbs like so many people talk about having problems with.
The squirrels died out last year for some reason.I get mule deer on the roof who bite the centers out of my hens and chicks, pull up and drop the sedums.
The dang wild turkeys did a big number on my evergreens this year, especially the yews and junipers.They also enjoyed some of my sedums when they were not snow covered. bah dang birds.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 1:10AM
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phloxy_mary(5 Lafayette)

Hello Skybird,
I have Autumn Sedum, and I've never had a problem with the squirrels or rabbits eating them. So far so good. Do you happen to know if I can move them to a different bed? They are crowded in with butterfly bushes, oriental poppies and a few green & white bushes I planted and the bed is too full. I want to move them to my newer xeriscape garden bed - will they survive being moved? Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 12:44PM
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My sedum stalks are getting bare of leaves!! I have looked for aphids and cannot find any. We do have squirrels and rabbits in the area. I have one bed where the plants are fine and this one eaten up. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 3:24PM
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kvenkat(5a Colo)

I read somewhere that squirrels sometimes eat baby sedum shoots or new buds. Rabbits and deer might also. I suspect they like some types of sedums more than others. My Autumn Fire lived in a yard full of both squirrels and rabbits and was never chewed on.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 10:17PM
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Skybird, how about distracting them with other offerings? We have squirrels and a rabbit now, too. They are so busy eating either pine nuts or lamb's quarters, they don't even look at the greens, radishes, carrots, sedums etc.

How about a dish of peanuts, crushed to make them last longer and a planting of lamb's quarters in a couple corners of the yard?

Our bigger dog, Lucy, keeps the critters at bay and the foxes help too. The neighbor's house cat has become an outdoor cat now and he is helping quite a lot!

Time for a cat?


    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 8:16PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi Jennifer,

This is a couple year old thread! I haven't had any more significant trouble since that year, '09.

I have to say, tho, that your recommended diversionary tactics would probably not work too well--in my experience! When I moved into the place I lived before this house, less than two miles from here, I found that a whole bunch of very cute and entertaining little squirrels came with the house! I hadn't had squirrels for YEARS before that--no established trees--and I was absolutely loving watching them! Started feeding them on the patio so I could watch them real close! More squirrels came! Then I started feeding the birds! Uh-oh! The squirrels ate the stuff I put out for them---and then ate the stuff I put out for the birds! Sometimes they STARTED with the stuff I put out for the birds, and then ate the stuff I put out for them!!! My first solution was to move the squirrel food and the bird food further apart! The squirrels laughed at me!!! I finally stopped putting out the squirrel food and tried to PROTECT the bird food. That stuff is expensive! Too late! I had LOTS of squirrels by then, and they were NOT going away! I spent the next eight years trying to outwit the squirrels! I LOST! I moved!

So as far as I'm concerned, anything you do to make the squirrels think they're welcome is a really bad thing to do! And, crushed or not, a squirrel is gonna scarf down a dish full of peanuts in about five minutes. They are VERY good at eating! ;-)

I'm lucky here that most of the neighbors have dogs, and I only occasionally have a squirrel show up! They do come to bury things in my perennial beds along the back fence, mostly over winter, and while I don't usually see them, there's no doubt that they come because every spring I find a couple scrub oaks coming up along with the perennials! I've found other "trees and stuff" coming up out there too on occasion--definitely not planted by me! I don't remember anymore what species it was, but I found some other kind of oak coming up out there one year and dug it up and gave it away at a swap! Find peanuts buried out there too! I do still feed the birds, but I mostly only feed safflower and thistle anymore, which the squirrels don't like, and when I do have black oil sunflower out there, if I even see one on the fence looking at the bird feeders I'm out there in a flash with my 6' garden stake--suggesting it leave! They sometimes show up when I have suet out there in winter too, but I have a Blackbird Dispersal System hooked up in winter to keep the blackbirds at bay, and it works pretty well at "dispersing" the squirrels too!

And no cats for me anymore, unfortunately! In the last 4 or 5 years I've developed an allergy to them! After being god mother to the first, and mother to the second of the two feral kitties we adopted while I was at Paulino's, I can't get anywhere near them anymore!

If you have a rabbit, I'm kind of surprised they don't pig out on things like lettuce and carrot tops, but your critter situation probably does help a lot--and, being out in the boonies, they probably have enough grazing land that they go for the easy pickin's!

But thanks for the thought! :-)

TERRI, I have seen upright sedums that were totally infested with aphids a couple times, but aphids, while they can make the leaves/plants look REALLY bad, they don't actually eat the whole leaves--just sorta suck on them! So aphids are definitely not what did the damage. I've never had rabbits, so I don't know if they like sedum or not, but I am almost positive it was the squirrels that were eating my stuff when I started this thread in '09. As near as I can tell, squirrels are completely random in what they choose to dine on. The year they got mine it was the same as what you described, plants on one end gobbled up, and that same thing on the other end left completely alone. The end of my yard where they/it tends to show up (AND bury things) is the end where they can most easily access my yard without drawing the attention of the neighbor dogs--so that could possibly be why they decided to "eat there" in '09. Will never know for sure! If it is a squirrel that's eating your sedum, there's really not much you can do about it but hope it decides to go looking for greener--or better stocked--pastures! In my experience, chances are that it/they will move on and leave your plants along. If it's a rabbit that's chowing down, you should be able to protect the plants with something like 1" chicken wire, securely fastened down to the soil so they can't get under the wire--tho that would undoubtedly detract from the appearance of your garden!!! But from what I've seen, when they find something they like, rabbits will keep coming back until it's gone! (When I was at Paulino's we had rabbits in the perennial growing fields! They'd eat whole flats of the different Dianthus all the way down to the roots!)

Let us know if you figure out for sure what it is, and how your plants are doing! and, welcome to RMG!


    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 1:34AM
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