What sorts of varmints travel in your gardens?

ryseryse_2004March 17, 2014

We are in IL and hoping to move this summer to TN. Here we have lots of snakes but none are poisonous (hmm- we are 30 min. from Iowa where they have poisonous species -- guess they can't swim across the Mississippi.) For some reason, we don't have poison ivy but plenty of poison hemlock. Japanese beetles completely decimated my hibiscus/Rose of Sharon and apple trees last year.

Deer here are plentiful but don't bother my gardens. We have two labs but even at night the deer don't come munching. Also, rabbits seem to leave my gardens alone. Lots of moles and voles but don't see any damage. What will I have to look out for?

We are hoping to buy in a rural area with acreage. Do I have to be concerned about wild pigs? Coyotes? Bears?

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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Voles - awful little things that will eat up your plants like they are at a buffet. They are particularly attracted to expensive or well-loved plants.

Moles - dig little tunnels everywhere and make your yard look like a mess. They build tunnels that the voles use to get near your valuable plants.

Groundhogs - ever lost a leg in one of their large holes? Ever got a tractor stuck in one?

Deer - will eat at everything even if they don't actually finish their meal. They love yanking small plants out of the ground and leaving them for you to find just after you examine the serious damage they've done to one of your trees.

Snakes - don't usually bother too much, just scare you to death when you don't see them until you almost step on them.

Wild turkeys - love building nests in flowerbeds and in mulched areas around trees. They'll dig and make a real mess. I still feel sick when I run over one of their nests with babies, when I don't see them in time.

The list could go on and on, but those are the ones I run into most frequently.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 12:09AM
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OK, we have all of those here and maybe the deer don't bother my gardens because our acreage is surrounded by corn/soybean fields. The dogs keep most animals away during the day.

Just wondered if there are any problems with TN gardening that we are not used to in northern IL.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 10:57AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

West and middle Tennessee has armadillos. I've heard they were supposed to be here in east Tennessee soon. I don't know how much of a problem they are compared to say groundhogs.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 11:24AM
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We have rabbits- lots of them

We have skunks, possums and raccoons, but they usually leave gardens alone. Your trash cans are a completely different matter and will be considered fair game!

We have lots of snakes- most are not poisonous and harmless, but we do have rattlesnakes, and if your property is close to water at all, you may see copperheads and water moccasins. (I'm giving myself the shudders just typing this out. HATE SNAKES.)

I have maybe seen two armadillos in my entire life and I was born and raised in Middle TN.

Your main gardening problem that you won't have in IL is RED CLAY. Composting is your friend!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 12:09PM
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topsiebeezelbub(z7 Al)

Yes, occasionally black bears wander through, foxes, coyotes, opossums, raccoons, raptor birds (owls, hawks), giant ugly rats, cute cotton rats, snakes...and I live smack downtown! Keep your pets safely in a fenced area, preferably with a lid on it! We don't get deer downtown. No pigs. Armadillos and voles will go away if you get rid of the grubs they eat with milky spore. I love all the critters.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 1:18AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

No, Voles don't eat grubs! Milky spore attack grubs (Moles' food source) and are unlikely to have any effect on the vole population. Voles are what eat your plants, so milky spore probably won't do much for your garden. Moles damage yards by digging tunnels, so milky spore may be useful for them.

BTW, Topsiebeezelbub, what city do you live in with all those critters downtown?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 8:59PM
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I'm having an issue with Moles... so far (yesterday morning) i've used 2 gallons of soapy water with hot sauce in it. mothballs and juicy fruit.

anyone have any better ideas? i have pets so no poison.... and rather not buy traps.
thanks for the help

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 2:32AM
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fivemurfs(6.5 TN)

We live in one of the most mole infested areas in Nashville and they are particularly active this year. The only way to get rid of them is to use mole traps. And if you have a dog that is helpful also. They run at noon. Sometimes you can see them move and you can scoop them out with a shovel. Then you have to decide. Is it really humane to release the mole so he can dig up your neighbor's yard? The other option is to kill them. I'm pretty sure that this breeds a race of super moles. If you have the time and the know how, you can make mole skin gloves. Their hide is a nice shade of gray and very, very soft.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 10:04PM
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