En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Problems with beheaded non-native Gerbera daisies in Cooperstown, NY

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - May 31, 2009

From: Cooperstown, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests
Title: Problems with beheaded non-native Gerbera daisies in Cooperstown, NY
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I planted my gerberas in my perennial bed - as usual. Something is beheading them and leaving the blooms along side the plant. Some of the bloom is eaten but most of it is right there. I have tried a rodent repellent mostly made up of black pepper oil. I have also tried cayenne sprinkled directly all over the flower and leaves. We have lots of birds, squirrels and woodchucks. What can I do to eliminate or at least repel whatever is doing the damage? Thanks.

ANSWER:

Do you have deer in the area? This sounds more like deer "tasting" to see if they like it. Apparently they don't, if they don't eat the whole bloom.  Doesn't really make any difference, we truly have no magic wand to keep critters from grazing on your plants. The birds are probably not guilty in this case, as that is not their usual fare. Squirrels are generally more fond of large seeds (especially sunflower seed put out for the birds), nuts and grains.

We don't have woodchucks in Texas (or groundhogs, as they are sometimes called) so we had to go looking for information. The woodchuck is mostly herbivorous, primarily eating wild grasses, other vegetation, berries and agricultural crops. However, they also eat grubs, grasshoppers, insects and snails, which is beneficial to the gardener. Clearing of forests for urban development (like building your house, for instance) has provided them with more suitable habitat. 

Rabbits? Well, gee, what's not to like about little fluffy bunnies? Lots, we guess, as you'll see in this article from PennState Cooperative Extension, Monroe County, PA, by Laurel Bishow, Penn State Master Gardener, Rabbit Resistant Plants.

A very comprehensive article with lots of links is this one from About.com: Landscaping Organic Pest Control for Insect and Rodent Garden Pests. It also has information on repelling deer. 

Conclusion? We don't have any. We don't know what is eating your Gerbera jamesonii, which is, by the way non-native to North America, but rather to South America, Africa and Asia.  If that is the only thing that is being eaten, it may just be that they will have to be sacrificed. What lengths you go to, with traps, netting, sprays, etc., will depend more on how badly you want to keep those particular plants. 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

How to tell the difference between native and non-native thistles
March 13, 2013 - It's thistle time already. There are many plants in the aster family with thistle in their common name. Are "real" thistles only those in the genus Cirsium, or are there others as well? We are tryi...
view the full question and answer

Flowering problems with Mexican Plum and Mimosa in Austin, TX
March 18, 2010 - Greetings, My Prunus mexicana (Mexican Plum) did not produce flowers before its leaves. Can you tell me why? I was hoping to have some fruit this year. Also, as of this morning March 13. My...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Podocarpus macrophyllus in Ft Worth TX
November 12, 2011 - I know this question does not pertain to a native plant but I've spent too much time not finding an answer to my question. I have many mature Podocarpus macrophyllus bushes at my house I purchased in...
view the full question and answer

Nativity of Myrospermum sousanum
June 13, 2007 - I bought a Myrospermum sousanum (Arroyo Sweetwood) at the Antique Rose Emporium in San Antonio. I see where it is listed as a Texas native on several web sites, but I could not find a reference on the...
view the full question and answer

Identity of rubbery-looking tree with long green thorns
March 21, 2012 - I am trying to identify a tree that has a green rubbery look with long, sharp, green thorns. This tree is on my property in Conroe, TX and the soil type is Gladwater clay frequently flooded.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center