cwayland
Full Member
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:32 pm
Location: Charlotte, NC

I have had to contend with deer and rabbits. So far, no groundhogs in 10 years. I know this can change at any moment. We used to have a opossum that lived in the forsythia but it never did noticeable damage to the garden. The squirrels used to be bad but they have gone elsewhere for some reason.

User avatar
TheWaterbug
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1068
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 9:15 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Someone girdled my sunflower!!!!!

Reviving last year's thread about "my" gophers, I was out examining my garden this morning, and I could hear one chomping the roots of my Brussels sprouts. As I listened I could see the top of the plant "shivering" as he chewed and scraped.

I also see large mounds of loose earth between the plants in the broccoli and cauliflower rows adjacent.

So this could be why my Brussels sprout plants were so short this year; the gopher(s) may have been eating the roots the whole time. The other two Brassicae didn't get impacted, but that may be because they're against the wall and the Brussels sprouts are nearer the rest of the garden, e.g. the Brussels sprouts are the first line of defense.

As with last year, I've been putting it off for far too long. I think the trap is going to come out this week.
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11387
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Someone girdled my sunflower!!!!!

I'm glad I don't have gophers or mongoose. I do have mice, I bait them when I see one. I haven't seen one for awhile and I'm glad I don't have to deal with any bodies, at least for the moment.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Someone girdled my sunflower!!!!!

Last year for some reason no groundhog was in evidence and a lot of things survived that usually don't. This year she is around all the time already. AND we have rabbits, that I hadn't seen before. And of course the usual crew of squirrels, raccoons, possum (I agree the possum doesn't really seem to do much damage in the garden that I can tell, but I think it will get in compost pile if given opportunity). I am putting hot caps on everything, just to keep it from being eaten.

Another nice thing about my bed in the front lawn. With cars whizzing by all the time, the critters don't come out there!
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
LA47
Green Thumb
Posts: 404
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:55 pm
Location: Idaho

Re: Someone girdled my sunflower!!!!!

Careful RBG! You may jinks yourself. They don't like the vibrations made by the moving cars BUT we've seen many rock chucks and squrrels on the road and critters will go where ever there is food if they are hungry or the young and stupid. :eek:
High Altitude Gardener zone 4B or 5A

UtahJarhead
Newly Registered
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2013 4:03 pm
Location: Northern UT

Re: Someone girdled my sunflower!!!!!

I understand your reluctance to kill the animals. The animals themselves are very voracious eaters when it comes to your crops as you've obviously discovered. Like someone else already said, yes you are killing them, but it is a very very humane death for them.

You may want to consider a 'honeypot'. Honey attracts some animals, such as Pooh Bears. The term is also used in the IT Industry as a computer designed to attract the criminal element of the internet for study and things like that... make it an easy target.

I don't know if this is even feasible, but perhaps grow a few small plants that are the gophers' favorite foods and grow them specifically as a sacrificial lamb, aka.. HONEYPOT! Get their favorite foods as bait for your honeypot and trap the [golly gee willickers] out of them.
US Marine
Molon Labe
Cub Scout Leader that teaches about plants
Grower of Brown and Wilting Plants

sepeters
Senior Member
Posts: 266
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:24 pm
Location: AZ, zone 9

Re: Someone girdled my sunflower!!!!!

If you know anyone with a dachshund the dog would happily dispatch any varmints on your property. My mini doxie has been known to kill gophers, moles, ground squirrels, and mice. He's cute as a button, loves to cuddle, even likes cats. But if there's a burrowing critter around he will sniff it out, dig it up and (9x/10) kill it. He never eats them, just kills 'em and leaves them on the patio. Then barks for treats. He once brought a live mole into my brother's house and all of us women and the children went into hysterics. He got in trouble and has never done it since, but anytime I take him somewhere there's a burrower he is instantly on the scent.

User avatar
TheWaterbug
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1068
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 9:15 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Someone girdled my sunflower!!!!!

TheWaterbug wrote:As with last year, I've been putting it off for far too long. I think the trap is going to come out this week.
Grrr. They ate a row of soybeans and 1.5 rows of snap peas last week, so the trap came out on Thursday.

I caught 3 within 24 hours, and then a 4th on Friday. Two large and two small ones. No catches and no new dirt mounds over the weekend, so either I got the whole family or the rest moved next door.

The second one I caught was kinda gross; he actually bit the trigger wire when he set it off, and so he ended up clenching down on it as he expired. I opened the trap, but I couldn't shake him out because was still clenching the wire.

I had to manhandle his dead body, pry open his mouth, and pull him off the wire :shock:

I was terrified he was going to wake up and start struggling, like they do in the movies. :shock: :shock:
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Re: Someone girdled my sunflower!!!!!

TheWaterbug wrote:
TheWaterbug wrote:As with last year, I've been putting it off for far too long. I think the trap is going to come out this week.
Grrr. They ate a row of soybeans and 1.5 rows of snap peas last week, so the trap came out on Thursday.

I caught 3 within 24 hours, and then a 4th on Friday. Two large and two small ones. No catches and no new dirt mounds over the weekend, so either I got the whole family or the rest moved next door.

The second one I caught was kinda gross; he actually bit the trigger wire when he set it off, and so he ended up clenching down on it as he expired. I opened the trap, but I couldn't shake him out because was still clenching the wire.

I had to manhandle his dead body, pry open his mouth, and pull him off the wire :shock:
Congratulations on the successful defense of your food supply. [grim satisfaction on your account] Do you plan to keep the trap in place, in case other gophers try to move into this now-vacant niche?

I hope you were wearing nitrile (lab) gloves as a safety precaution. Not that a dead animal can bite you, but it could have fleas or other parasites looking for their next host: you. The gloves will inhibit said parasites from claiming you as their next source of food. And, should there be a reflexive movement, the glove will help protect your fingers, esp. true if there's a "gross" situation going on.

Now comes the *really* graphic question: how did you dispose of the bodies? Hot compost pile? Into plastic bags, thence into the garbage? Raw-fed neighbor dog who enjoys eating "whole-prey model" unusual herbivores?

We've kill-trapped a couple of rats in the yard and put them into plastic bags and thence into the garbage, but that's because the compost runs too cold to break them down. And I wouldn't offer these rats even to a snake. :evil: These rats are just vile, filthy roof-rat types.

Cynthia H.

User avatar
TheWaterbug
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1068
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 9:15 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Someone girdled my sunflower!!!!!

I wasn't wearing any gloves, but I did wash my hands immediately afterwards.

I just tossed the carcasses into the corner of the yard. The people who walk their dogs on the trail usually keep a pretty good handle on them, and this was in the far corner of yard, 50' from the trail.

My neighbors dogs are always fenced in, and they have their own gophers to dig after anyway :)

The gophers broke down pretty quickly anyway. We have lots of birds of prey around, as well as the ever-present peafowl. By the Saturday two of the bodies were completely gone, and the first large one was hollowed out and completely full of bugs. Circle of life.

The traps (I bought another one, anticipating a prolonged battle) are still deployed, but I think the tunnels they're in are pretty old. If/when I see a fresh mound I'll move them.
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”