The Q&A Archives: Something Eating My Tomatoes

Question: I believe moles are eating my tomato plants, mainly the fruit. What can I do to keep them away?

Answer: Moles are probably not the culprit. Likely tomato tasters include birds (mockingbirds are especially notorious), varmints like oppossums and racoons (they usually steal the whole fruit, not just take a bite and leave it on the plant), squirrels, and turtles (they can only reach the very lowest fruit).

Examine your fruit including where on the plant the damage is seen. I suspect bird pecks are the likely cause but a close examination may indicate otherwise. If birds are the problem, netting to exclude them and scare tactics are the most common remedies. Some gardeners claim that red painted ornaments placed in the bush prior to fruit ripening work by giving the birds the idea that "those red things aren't worth messing with". Try it and see if it works for you. Just remember, you have to do it before they get a real taste!

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