En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Thursday - August 04, 2011

From: Manchester, NH
Region: Northeast
Topic: Pests
Title: Varmints disturbing plants in NH
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I planted herbs and perennials, then put paper down and bark. At first an animal just disturbed the paper around the plants, exposing it. Today two plants are dug up and are completely gone. No sign of what was there. I am suspicious that it is either a squirrel, possibly a skunk but have not smelled one. Can you tell me what I can do to prevent varmints from disturbing my plants???

ANSWER:

Unfortunately, it is impossible for us to know exactly what is rooting around in your garden and why, but we can give you a little advice on how to deal with the situation.

First of all you will have to figure out what type of varmint is digging around and why.  Is it something like a skunk digging for grubs?  Is it a squirrel burying nuts or looking for ones he thinks you may have covered with your plants? Or is it a groundhog just enjoying a midnight snack? Although you do not mention what type of paper (and is it in layers or shredded?) you used under the bark mulch, it is unlikely that either is what the animal is after.

You'll have to figure out whether the critter is going for the plant or the insects in the ground but when all is said and done, you have to realize that you are trying to create a garden where these varmints do their "grocery shopping".  All you can really do is plant enough to share with them or introduce a "night watchman" that they consider a predator (a dog?) to scare them off.  That scenario could escalate and become much like that cinematic classic "Caddyshack"!

 

More Pests Questions

Flying insects attacking yucca flacida in Wilmington NC
June 11, 2010 - How do I treat flying insects from eating the flowers on my Yucca Flaccida shrub.
view the full question and answer

Pests on American Beautyberry from Austin
June 25, 2012 - Something is eating the leaves of my American Beautyberry shrubs. One is almost stripped of leaves on the upper branches. I have looked and can't see any insects or caterpillars. I have also looke...
view the full question and answer

Cotton plant for yard in Plano
July 27, 2008 - I wish to plant a specimen cotton plant in my yard - will it grow in Plano, Texas, do you have any tips for maintaining them, and will they survive freezing temperatures?
view the full question and answer

Japanese beetles in Port Monmouth, NJ
April 08, 2009 - I have searched your web-site in the hopes of not repeating or bothering you with a question not in your field. I am hoping you can help me. I live in Port Monmouth, New Jersey. Last year many of my ...
view the full question and answer

Something eating Monarda didyma in Washington DC
June 30, 2011 - Please Help, I have a couple of Bee Balm, Jacob Cline, plants, whose leave are being eaten, by what I do not know. None of the nurseries around here seem to have ever heard of this happening to this p...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center