Garden Adversity

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Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

externmed wrote:

Sometimes smoke bombs will work for woodchucks in their holes, usually takes serveral tries.

If I really have to get one, Campanula "Elizabeth" in a sufficiently large have-a-heart seems to work 80%+.  About $7.00 for the plant and nothing left once it's spent several hours in a trap with a woodchuck.

Charles MA USA

Charles, I have tried the smoke bombs before... one needs to know the entrances to their burrow (if there is more than one), to seal all but one ahead of time, make sure the critter is inside, and light the bomb and cover with some heavy chunks of sod to contain the smoke.  Unfortunately they nest in an area with brush piles that is not easy to access or contain, and of recent, they burrow under my garden shed without any good way of getting at the varmints.  It is yet another project, to excavate around my shed circumferance, and install heavy wire mesh, and backfill.  Maybe I should try your large Havahart trap idea, with the sacrificial Elizabeth Campanula.
http://woodchuck-x.com/smokebomb.htm

Just visited the Havahart website, has anyone tried the Critter Ridder animal repellent?
http://www.havahart.com/store/animal-repellents/3146
http://www.havahart.com/

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Schier
Schier's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-02-16

McDonough wrote:

Sometimes garden adversity happens in small and memorable ways.

  But why is it they always seem to target the best thing one's growing?  :(

Mark I know, almost any varmint seems to pick on the best thing, the thing that you've tried hardest to grow etc.  I've had too many "heartbreaking" mornings in my little greenhouse, almost unable to believe my eyes. It can't be gone, where the **** is it???
But yes it's gone.  I've been doing the screen thing over the seedlings, kind of a pain in the neck but it works, so screening it is.

Faith S.   Gardening in central Alberta climate, from min. -44 c to max. 36+ C. ( not often! ) Avg. annual precip. ~ 48 cm  Altitude ~ 820 m. Have "frying pan gardens" up around the house, and also some woodland areas down the pa

Jeddeloh
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-05-02

Well, I live in the slug capitol of the world.  Red, black, grey, multicolored, introduced, native we have them all.  As to  the native banana slug which, according to the naturalists, doesn't eat living plants just decaying matter, well, I must have a special breed of banana slug because I can assure you they do eat living plants.  Now that we don't have a dog I'm going to use both the iron phosphate bait and the metaldehyde bait this year. And if it takes out a coyote or two that's all to the good.  I have an indoor/outdoor cat and we always worry about her becoming dinner. 

And moles.  I hate moles.  They always unearth a plant you really care about, not something destined for the compost heap.  We used to have a former barn cat who was really good at catching moles- she knocked off five babies in one day-but she died last spring.  Our remaining cat has a sweet disposition but isn't much for "moleing".  And because of the coyote problem any future cats need to be indoor only.  I can't tell you how many "missing cat" flyers I see around the neighborhood......My hands are both very small and not that strong so setting traps really isn't an option for me. My husband doesn't seem to be willing to do this for me and my neighbor is now a former trapper (really the guy used to work as a fur trapper)  Mostly I just curse...

For anyone who wants to try trapping their stray cats my neighbor did say to make sure you get a fair sized trap.  Cats don't like to crawl into small traps.

Jan
Jan

Jan Jeddeloh, Portland, Oregon, USA, Zone 8.  Rainy winters (40 inches or 1 meter) and pleasant dry summers which don't start until July most years!

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

This is my new standard seed sowing procedure; all flats or pots must be covered with some sort of protection from digging varmints. This "hardware cloth" is not terribly expensive at a hardware store, it is easily snipped with a pair of wire snips, and easily bent over the flats to hold them in place.  The one thing to look out for is the germinating seedlings popping through the wire mesh and making it difficult to remove the mesh without damaging seedlings.  Typically I watch for germination, and when it occurs, loosen the wire mesh piece and create a sort of teepee or arched "hoop house" effect over the flat... still keeps the squirrels out yet allows the seedlings to grow without getting tangled in the mesh.

Jan, I feel your pain, the slug issue in the Pacific Northwest is not to be underestimated; it was a huge eye-opener when I lived in the Seattle, Washington area.  And yes, banana slugs ate plants like there was no tomorrow.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

Good idea Mark - I do very much the same thing for certain seed (umbellifers, hellebores and so on) which seem really attractive to various varmints. I also constructed a seed frame from wire mesh. I had thought one of our greenhouses would be mouse proof for germinating seed pots but they always manage to find a way in! The biggest problem we have had is with flowering size hellebores in the greenhouse - the young flower buds at ground level are chewed off by mice very early on in October before you think of putting down any bait. This happens to a lesser extent in the garden too and is a good reason to cut away the old hellebore foliage early on in the winter so there is no cover for mice. Cats would definitely be good!

Dr. Timothy John Ingram
Faversham, Kent, UK
I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.
 

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

I have cats - or rather the neighbours have cats in my garden but the cats are doing more harm than goo. They always dig resting places in the bed and make droppings everywhere but I can't say the number of rodents drops!

Besides, the cats don't eat slugs :(

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

TStuart
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-05-06

Quote:

Just visited the Havahart website, has anyone tried the Critter Ridder animal repellent?

The active ingredients of Critter Ridder come from black pepper and chili peppers. Seems like one can test it without visiting the garden center.

A very good repellent for many animals is castor oil. The EPA lists it as effective with dogs, cats, moles, deer, rabbits, and squirrels. This info sheet lists other plant oil repellents, most of them for insects:
http://www.epa.gov/oppbppd1/biopesticides/ingredients/factsheets/factsheet_plant-oils.htm

In commercial formulations castor oil is encapsulated in dry granules. One product is MoleMax. Their claims extend to voles, gophers, armadillos and skunks. Anyone suffering from armadillo invasions?

Tom Stuart
Croton Falls, New York

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Thanks for that EPA link, Tom.  I never would have thought of mustard, and it sure seems like a lot of pant oils deter cats and dogs.

And welcome to the forum!  We hope to see more of you and your gardens, here.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

TStuart wrote:

The active ingredients of Critter Ridder come from black pepper and chili peppers. Seems like one can test it without visiting the garden center.

A very good repellent for many animals is castor oil. The EPA lists it as effective with dogs, cats, moles, deer, rabbits, and squirrels. This info sheet lists other plant oil repellents, most of them for insects:
http://www.epa.gov/oppbppd1/biopesticides/ingredients/factsheets/factsheet_plant-oils.htm

In commercial formulations castor oil is encapsulated in dry granules. One product is MoleMax. Their claims extend to voles, gophers, armadillos and skunks. Anyone suffering from armadillo invasions?

Hello Tom, good to see you on NARGS Forum!  Very interesting information and link, I'll need to explore options more.  Regarding Critter Ridder being derived from black pepper & chili pepper, then I have already tried similar treatment.  With my Epimedium seedling beds currently very attractive to squirrel digging, I tried generous sprinkling with black and hot red pepper. Then I would observe from my dining room window while working on my laptop, and watched as multiple squirrels were busy, busy, busy digging their infernal holes everywhere, completely undeterred by the pepper; in fact, they seemed to enjoy the extra seasoning in their bland diet ;)  I did similar treatment around my garden shed that had a family of woodchucks (gophers) living under it, and the heavy dousing of hot red pepper seemed to do the trick, they didn't like it, and after repeated reapplications of pepper, they seemed to have moved away from that exact location, although I would still spot them in the yard and garden, so they didn't go far.

The problem with the pepper, particularly red pepper, it is extremely expensive (on a per pound basis) if bought at a grocery store.  I would have to find a source for buying it in bulk.  The other problem is that the effectiveness of pepper is quickly diminished when exposed to rain for any lengthy period.

I hadn't heard of MoleMax, but looked it up.  Reading the user reviews of the products on Amazon.com can be revealing... besides the typical spectrum of feedback from complainers to "happy campers", some respondants gave substantive reports of using the product over a number of years, giving credible body of evidence that in the long run this particular product was not effective for them, and it became very expensive, to a point where they decided not to use the product anymore.

But I value these leads and tips, and will explore options in much greater detail, as ammunition in vermin warfare in 2012.  Meanwhile, back to squirrels, I plan on trying a new tactic, and that is to trap them in winter when perhaps they are more vulnerable.  The squirrels remain active all winter (unlike chipmunks), and will probably be easy to trap with some enticing morsels of food.  If I could deplete the local squirrels population in my immediate area well before spring, maybe there would be less breeding going on, thus fewer squirrels to contend with next spring.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Peter George
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-09-03

Squirrels, like many other 'critters' that bother gardens and gardeners, won't be affected by trapping them in the winter. They breed like crazy, and they will fill any territory that is available. If you had a 100 acre property, you could reduce their population sufficiently IF you trapped them for the entire fall winter and spring seasons over the entire property, but with a small property such as yours, it won't work. You might consider raising owls. They LOVE squirrels.

Peter George, Petersham, MA (north central MA, close to the NH/VT borders), zones 5b and 6 around the property.

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