The Garden Helper

Helping Gardeners Grow Their Dreams since 1997.

No-dash-here, you've found The Real Garden Helper! Gardening on the Web since 1997

Something is digging up everything I plant!

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by ErinWantsAGarden on May 30, 2006 01:40 PM
Ok help me out here if you can...
Something is digging up everything I am planting. This is very frustrating for several reasons. First of all, we live on about 1 1/2 acres of wooded area. There are only a very few spots in my yard that even get much sun. The area that I chose to plant some rose bushes and a hibiscus bush is one of those areas. Secondly, our ground is clay, which presents its own set of problems when planting anything. We replace most of the clay we dig out with a good potting soil so that the plants have a chance to take root at least. I hesitated for several years to even try to plant anything in my yard because the first time I did it and was successful in getting growth on a rose bush, it bloomed once and I got to see the pretty little bloom, and the next morning it had been eaten whole! This happened several years in a row, we got one little glimpse of the bloom and then it was gone. I gave up. The ONLY thing that grows successfully and without being bothered are the lillies that I dug up from the side of the road and tossed in the backyard out of desperation. They are pretty but I would like some diversity in my plants!
This year I thought I was prepared. I was told to put moth balls around my plants and that would deter the deer. So this is what I did. Everything looked pretty decent when I went in for the evening but the next morning I went out to admire my work and lo and behold everything had been dug up from the roots and tossed a foot to the side! This happened two nights in a row before I had mercy on the plants and put them in containers and distributed them among my friends and family so they wouldn't die.
So, I guess my question is - What in the world is doing this to my plants and is there anything at all I can do to stop them from it? Am I just doomed to have nothing but tiger lillies in my yard forever or until I move to a different place?
Thank you in advance to anyone that can solve this mystery for me!
by joclyn on May 30, 2006 03:09 PM
it could be deer, ground hogs, dogs, rabbits, skunks, raccoons, opposum...any number of animals (are there bear in your area?).

i can't think of anything that would eat roses. (i don't know if deer like them or not). there might be some plants that skunks might be interested in...and they're big enough to do some serious damage to even a good sized plant.

i would talk to your local extension office as well as some of the more knowledgeable nurseries in your area for suggestions on what to plant.

oh, squirrels love bulbs...especially crocus (i planted 30 of them the first year i was in my house...not a one came up - i watched, helplessly, each day as new holes appeared in the bed they were planted in.

they like tulips too.

to protect bulbs, you can put some large-squared mesh or grating on top of the ground in the area that the bulbs are...those little buggers won't be able to get to them through the stuff and the spaces are large enough that the flower can grow right through them. i've also heard the oyster shells work too.

rabbits like certain flowers too...that same year as the crocus fiasco, i planted lobelia, i think it was, and they came up really nicely...were just starting to bloom. again, i watched helplessly as, each day, another one, two or three of the tops disappeared...i'd only planted 18 of them...
by AndyFan35 on June 01, 2006 05:02 AM
I had that same problem last year. Someone told me it was probably Armadillo. Since I see evidence of a lot of digging going on (bigger holes than what squirrels leave behind) I can believe that. Unfortunately, I don't know of a way to stop the buggers.

* * * *
by porter57 on June 05, 2006 03:51 AM
dont think she has armadilloes yet(although i have spotted em as far north as cuba missouri)
perhaps you have grubs in the soil and the plants just happen to be in the way?
by clawgirl on June 09, 2006 03:13 AM
I've had reasonable success by planting garlic in the same beds as the rest of my bulbs and flowers, and by using a garlic spray on the plant leaves...certainly can't hurt to try....
by Longy on June 10, 2006 07:37 AM
No matter where you are Erin. The plants that will grow well in your area, with minimal disturbance from native animals, are the plants that are indigenous to that area. They have survived pretty much everything conceivable to get where they are, so they are the plants best suited to your problem.
So, i had a bit of a look and came up with this page from this site. it has a comprehensive list of plants which are indiginous to Indiana.

Now if you take a look, some will not be suitable, because they prefer a sandy soil where yours is clay, or like full sun or whatever. So you need to research a little deeper. There are a squillion native plant nurseries listed on this site too. So hopefully you can get info on which plants are best for your soils from some of them.

You may not be able to grow roses without fencing them in. Though they like full sun so were never going to thrive anyway. Or a hydrangea. Or a vegie patch that's unprotected, but that's a price we pay for living in the country. However, the soil prep you need to do to get an indiginous garden in your patch of earth could be minimal, so no more buying potting soil.
I suggest you look into these plants, mass plant them to allow for some losses and see how you go.

* * * *
The secret is the soil.
by char75803 on June 11, 2006 04:27 AM
This may or may not help but, I have some lillies growing in my front yard, and at first the squirrels were digging all over them. But we also had mole tunnels all in our yard, so I put the little pinwheels all in my yard to run the moles off and put a few around my flower garden and not only did it run the moles off, it also seemed to keep the squirrels from digging in my flowers. Surprising solution to my problem! Hope this helps.
by mountaingirl1 on August 03, 2006 02:26 AM
I came across your post and want to share with you, what we found concerning our dug up yours they were tossed aside. Nearly everything we planted from annuals to shrubs.
We stopped using blood meal and osmocote. Now we only use mushroom compost and a generic 10-10-10 fertilizer. No more dug up plants.
An arborist told us that the animals like anything organic, like bone meal, blood meal, osmocote, fish fertilizers, miricle gro, etc.
The animals do not seem to bother established plants when we use osmocote, but we have discontinued using it. Besides the generic 10-10-10 is far less expensive!
by mountaingirl1 on August 03, 2006 02:33 AM
Just re-read your post...the deer LOVE rose blooms and are able to snip them off with out bothering the rest of the plant. (Pansies, hybiscus and hosta are other favorites)
I suggest deer-off (walmart or home depot), or making a concoction of rotted eggs and hot sauces. The deer-off is a little pricey, but really works and seems to keep them away for nearly the whole season, even with rain. Careful, it is really difficult to remove from your hands.
by Tomacco on August 19, 2006 04:02 AM
Mountaingirl1, I have never heard of deer-off but I'm definitely going to get some for my hosta and star gazer lilies. Within days of putting in large hosta transplants, they were neatly & methodically sheared off by deer. The only ones untouched were the elephant hosta.

As far as the star gazers, a few pre-bloomers were completely gone in a gulp. Not sure if I can stomach mixing rotted eggs and hot sauce but worth a try! I've thought about putting out disk deoderisers but it's hard to find something not fruity or breezy. Don't get me started on the nice work the local rabbit did on my impatiens. Geez Louise!

Thanks for the tip!


* * * *

That coffee was so strong, it swallowed the cream...
by mountaingirl1 on August 22, 2006 01:25 PM
You do not mix up the ROTTEN eggs and hot sauce, you mix fresh eggs & hot sauce and put in an old gallon jug in the sun...or are you putting me on?
by Tomacco on August 25, 2006 05:59 AM
mountaingirl1, I am so sorry I misunderstood your suggestion of "making a concoction of rotted eggs and hot sauces." I should have realised there was an intuitive step in that process.

Forgive me?


Active Garden Forum

Search The Garden Helper: