Gardening woes, plants being eaten or destroyed, maybe crows?

Discussion in 'Fruit and Veg Gardening' started by markm75, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. markm75

    markm75 New Seed

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    This is the first year i've ran into this issue.. my garden is a 40x 25 foot area in SW Pennsylvania, usa.. with a 4-6 inch wood barrier around the base and a gate.. i also have smaller chicken wire sticking up above this to further combat rabbits. (this is a suburb, non rural setting too)

    I planted a large area of green beans.. some corn.. and a bunch of pepper plants, broccoli etc..

    One day i came out to see my fresh bean plants ripped from the ground.. broccoli seemingly chewed off to the core or gone completely.. some of my corn cut in half and gone.. and pepper plants broke in half at the base or gone completely.. i was and still am infuriated.. never running into this before.

    Every morning i see two huge crows hovering around and near the garden, and at least a few times in the garden, so i'm pretty sure they are the cause.

    I thought maybe i'd sprinkle DE on all the plants to make them taste bad, but this didnt help.

    At this point all i can think of is rigging up a mosquito netting above key areas, though its too expensive to cover everything everywhere.. i put aluminum foil pans to bang out there, but it hasnt helped much.. the netting is about $10 for 6x10 alone.

    Anyone have any thoughts.. does this sound like the action of crows?

    Thanks in advance
     
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  3. Jerry Sullivan

    Jerry Sullivan Garden Experimenter Plants Contributor

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    My first guess is raccoons. While crows may pick at the remains, the raccoons are better at uprooting and general distraction. Footprints? Loose soil will tell some of the forensics of the incident.

    Jerry
     
  4. DeepWoods

    DeepWoods In Flower

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    As Jerry noted..maybe coons. It could be squirrels also. Look for prints, signs of scratching, etc.
    Purchase a cheap game camera and install it observing your garden to catch the culprit.
     
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  5. markm75

    markm75 New Seed

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    Not sure i've ever seen racoons around our area.. we do have squirrels that might be able to get through.. but they've been around for years and not bothered.. the crows are new and hang out on an adjacent roof daily each morning, 2 of them.

    I do have a Cctv camera i could string up to there, its just hard, the software i have on my dvr doesnt do well at snapping with motion, it basically does it each time a fly goes by, but might be worth a try to figure this out.
     
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  6. mart

    mart Hardy Maple

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    That actually does not sound typical of either coons or crows here ! Of course where they are located may make a difference ! Coons usually do not hit corn until the ears are ready to pick, We usually lose maybe 10 ears or so. Crows will eat anything including road kill but I have never lost any vegetables to crows and we have a lot of them !!
     
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  7. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

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    How about sprinkling dried blood? Or coyote urine?
     
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  8. eileen

    eileen Resident Taxonomist Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    "Moles are much maligned, delicate creatures that improve the soil, eat many pest insects, and get blamed for damage they do not cause. At one time, they were prized for their velvety fur, and a farmer angered by mole activity could count on being able to sell the pelt for a good price. Although moleskin is no longer in vogue, killing moles is still popular. A better strategy is to try to tolerate them. In the long run, they are beneficial to the garden.

    Moles eat many pestiferous beetle larvae, or grubs, and other insects, though they may also eat earthworms and centipedes and occasionally a small amount of vegetable matter, especially if it has been softened by water. The Townsend mole, found in the Northwest, eats more vegetation than do the other common mole species (there are seven in the U.S.), but a mole will starve to death if offered only plant food.

    Gardeners most often object to the sight of mole tunnels or mole hills, perhaps fearing permanent damage to plant roots. In fact, the only real damage caused by moles is indirect, a result of their shallow tunnels lifting the soil and allowing plant roots to dry out. The best immediate response is to press back the soil with your foot and to water the area thoroughly to keep the roots moist as they re-anchor themselves in the soil.

    Mole runways may be used by rodents such as voles, white-footed mice, and common house mice, which eat seeds, bulbs, and roots, and do cause direct damage to the garden and home fruit orchard. But these vegetarians generally have small home ranges, and a mole rarely stays in the same area for any length of time. Once it has eaten the local soil insects, it moves on."

    Taken from "Vegetable Gardener"

    I myself had moles in my garden and all I did was to stamp heavily on the mole hills so that the tunnels collapsed and soon afterwards the moles moved off elsewhere.
     
  9. markm75

    markm75 New Seed

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    I figured i'd upload some shots as well here.. i set up a 720p cctv for now, i may switch to a 1080 one if it doesnt reveal much.. not sure the angle is the best.. upper side of the garden is where i have tomatoes, had broccoli and cauliflower.. peppers are upper left as well.. then coming down in the middle i have zucchini and to the right of the zuc. is corn (cant see it from this angle).. then coming closer to cam, beans, onions etc.

    Again.. not only were the beans eaten off (leaves), but, some of the freshly sprouted ones were completely uprooted, laying on the top of the soil.. i did notice one spot that looked like disrupted soil back when i first noticed this.. at this point this is days later, though one more pepper plant did get broken in half, another completely eaten off..

    This all could be as simple as the gate in the lower left leaving too much of a gap (1"), enough that rabbits (and we have tons) got in, but would rabbits eat off corn like this and break peppers, seems odd.. and didnt have this issue last year or years prior.. time will tell.

    bean1.jpg brocolli.jpg corn1.jpg corn2.jpg cam1.jpg
     
  10. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

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    Definitely a mystery markm. Good luck in identifying the culprit.

    @eileen after reading your resource on moles, I wound up wishing I had one! What I have are VOLES and they are very greedy little sons of guns!
     
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  11. Growingpains

    Growingpains In Flower

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    Would Voles do damage such as this?
    Squirrels can do damage, but never do in our's.
    Are all the humans in your suburb decent folks?
    Sometimes kids will mess with a garden.
    I sure hope you solve this dilemma.:mad:
     
  12. hummerbum

    hummerbum In Flower

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    Boy I would be so upset!!! My goodness Markm I sure hope that your camera catches the vermite!!!!
     
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  13. Growingpains

    Growingpains In Flower

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    MarkM, our Postman says Raccoons will climb over any fence and tear up a garden, and eat half or all.
     
  14. markm75

    markm75 New Seed

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    Just an update.. i've had a hard time getting my camera software to trigger motion and take a snapshot.. maybe because the culprit is so small.

    Also.. the other day i noticed something moving under the plastic in my garden.. i thought maybe a mouse or mole (my kids said they saw a mouse out there before).. i lifted the plastic and it was gone.. the other end of the garden i swear the same thing was happening.

    So on one of the first nights with the camera i planted fresh broccoli near the camera.. nothing was captured, but when i went outside, 3 of the plants had all the leaves eaten off.

    So for the remaining 3 i put a black slotted pot tray over them.. figuring that should stop it.

    Today i went out, days later.. the 3 plants leaves are gone.. the rectangular pot holder unmoved.. the only way in might be for something 2" tall to squeeze under it.. it was pretty snug.

    So frazzled at this point.. would mice really eat broccoli leaves, as well as bean leaves and peppers.. and if so.. i'm not sure how to combat this one. Most of my beans that were growing have been destroyed. The beets are unharmed.. the corn is mostly gone too.
     
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  15. eileen

    eileen Resident Taxonomist Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    I'm sorry to say that mice will eat whatever they find Mark - Carrots; Peas; Apples; Bananas; Broccoli; Sweet potato, Cauliflower and many more as well as seeds and insects. They can squeeze into the smallest of spaces which doesn't help.
     
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  16. Growingpains

    Growingpains In Flower

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    It does sound like mice. Hmmmmmmm:suspicious:
     
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