What is uprooting my little trees?
I live in Conquest, near Syracuse, sort of. I am on five acres of fields that were recently in crops. I have an acre fenced with 6 foot chain link for my four Siberian huskies. They have 24/7 opportunity to leave the acre and enter, through a doggie door, their kennel room. The room is finished and insulated and is actually one fourth of my garage. The dogs can come and go as they please between their kennel room and the acre.
A week ago I planted about 12 small trees inside the acre. They were Arbor Day bare root tiny saplings last spring. They ranged in height from 6 to 18 inches, and all were healthy. They had spent the summer in individual pots and all had great root systems.
Last spring I had several nice greaniums in six inch pots. They were left on the garage floor overnight after purchase. In the morning I found two plants removed from the pots and part of the roots had disappeared--eaten?? The plants were several inches from the pots and I don't believe a mouse was strong enough to have uprooted and moved them.
During the spring and summer my dogs have killed, inside their fence or inside their kennel, several mice, a huge rat, and a cat-sized rodent who had hamster like teeth, a rich reddish brown plet, and a ratty tail. I have no idea what it was. Mice and rats can probably sneak into the garage but I don't know how the mystery animal could have gotten in. I suppose it might have squeezed under or climbed the fence. Anyway, these are suspect invaders.
Now, about my trees. they were planted in two locations, about 50 feet apart. The location just outside the doggie door has had three trees uprooted during the night. The digging didn't scatter the dirt as far as the dogs' digging would do. I also don't think it is the dogs because only one location is being disturbed. The roots of the trees appear to have been partially eaten. The trees were moved a few feet from the holes. Two of the tallest trees have been cut in half. The bark on the pencil sized trunks has been gnawed off in a perfect band around the trunks. I had inserted thin bamboo stakes into the ground at each tree so I wouldn't mow any trees by accident. Two stakes were removed and broken into many sections about 6 to 10 inches long. Some pieces had been split lenghtwise.
I don't see anything that points to my dogs doing the damage. When they wake in the morning they show moderate interest in the uprooted trees and they do pee on them. They are heavy sleepers when they are settled into their crates inside the kennel but I find it a mystery that they could sleep through some rodent entering the acre and doing the damage. Siberians have an extremely strong prey drive and if one of them noticed a small animal inside their acre they would catch and kill it.
Does anyone have an idea of what creature is doing this?