Irises forum: Foliage and rhizome damage

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Lincoln, NE
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Moby
Jun 9, 2012 5:49 PM CST
I'm having a really strange problem in the garden this year. In the last few weeks I've had lily stems chewed at the base to the point that they fall over. Now something is tearing up iris foliage too. What could be doing this?
Thumb of 2012-06-09/Moby/79c70d
Teeth marks and the rooted side of the rhizome chewed
Thumb of 2012-06-09/Moby/169aef Thumb of 2012-06-09/Moby/ef0c8d
Where are we going, and why am I in this hand-basket?
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Jun 9, 2012 7:19 PM CST
Wow, you have me stumped. Rabbits usually don't bother my iris this time of the year, some years in the middle of winter they will chew on the leaves above the snow. Looks to be a pretty big bite mark. I don't know if squirls would eat them? Or gophers? Good luck finding the culpret.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Lincoln, NE
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Moby
Jun 9, 2012 8:27 PM CST
You, me and a lot of other people are stumped. The only other things I can offer is that there are no tunnels so no evidence of those type rodents, but do have raccoons, possums and squirrels. Pics of lily stem damage and weird hourglass-shaped urine damage in the lawn can be seen here The thread "Bark Stripped??" in Lilies forum



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Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
Jun 10, 2012 4:34 AM CST
Well, one thing you have to keep in mind is that you might have more then one critter doing the dammage. Those seem to be large urine spots. Maybe a stray dog is marking territory. If the grass was dead, I'd say it might be a mole, but you say it's just burned, and not dead. Have you tried contacting any of the university or county extention people? They might be able to help. Here we have a really good radio show called "Garden Talk" on Friday around noon. They often have good resource people that you can call in, or e-mail questions. It's on Wisconsin Public Radio, and you can get the information about programs on line. Good luck! Tom
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great

caitlinsgarden
Jun 10, 2012 4:38 AM CST
I have chewed foliage also but not the rhizome damage. We do have a lot of critters in our yard; whatever it is, it is nowhere near as damaging as borers!
Lincoln, NE
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Moby
Jun 10, 2012 6:22 AM CST
Yeah, that's another little nasty that I have to deal with from time to time.
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Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

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PollyK
Jun 10, 2012 8:24 AM CST
Did you find any poop? If you didn't find poop, it's probably not a rabbit, as they just sit there and poop. I bet it's a woodchuck. And then you probably won't find poop. If you do find poop, post a picture, my husband is a poop identifier. (Too much poop talk?, LOL).

But seriously, I bet it's a woodchuck.
Lincoln, NE
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Moby
Jun 10, 2012 12:12 PM CST
We do see coon and possum poop once in a while, but not so much since DH has been trapping them. We're on the western edge of woodchuck distribution. I did see a couple poops but they were tiny! Maybe half the length and width of your pinky and very seedy. I'll take a pic if I see it again. It's been so dry that there aren't any tracks.

The only thing different this year is that I'm using soybean mulch which does have stray soybeans in it. I've chased a squirrel out of the garden several times. Maybe he's psychotic... Last year they did a good job of tearing up my sunflowers.

I've found about a dozen chewed lilies now. This one was too far gone to save by the time I noticed it.
Thumb of 2012-06-10/Moby/e1ebbf

Here is a bite take out of a tree
Thumb of 2012-06-10/Moby/2d1cb5

A couple more lilies with just the buds eaten ~ over 2' tall. Foliage is untouched.
Thumb of 2012-06-10/Moby/c5e70b
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Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
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tveguy3
Jun 10, 2012 12:29 PM CST
No deer tracks? If things are dry deer will eat tree bark. What about porcupines?
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Susan
Southeast NE (Zone 5b)
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stilldew
Jun 10, 2012 1:36 PM CST
Strange. Not seeing it here and there are lots of coons in the park that visit my yard. Also possom. Not many squirrels with my 3 cats and no trees, so that would be my guess. Weird food for a squirrel. My big problem is buds aborting on both lilies and daylilies. I'm thinking tinker is right that it's caused by the solar flares and increased radiation. Maybe that's what drove your squirrel crazy too?
Name: Brian
Mendocino county, California (Zone 8b)
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Chickensonmars
Jun 10, 2012 1:52 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing
Wated! Seeds of species Hippeastrum, Lilium and Narcissus. Contact me anytime.

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Lincoln, NE
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Moby
Jun 10, 2012 2:32 PM CST
Why not?? That seems as likely as answer as anything.

I live right in the middle of the city, so deer and other exotics to town are unlikely. A wildlife camera would be nice but I'm not going to blow 100 bucks over what is probably a psychotic ninja squirrel.
Where are we going, and why am I in this hand-basket?
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
Jun 10, 2012 5:28 PM CST
Maybe a live trap with a variety of tasty morsels in it?
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Lincoln, NE
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Miniature Gardening Butterflies
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Moby
Jun 10, 2012 7:54 PM CST
Going to set the trap tonight and not sure what to put in it, but think I'll try an apple for a change of pace.
Where are we going, and why am I in this hand-basket?
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
Jun 10, 2012 8:10 PM CST
Marshmellows work good for Raccoons, or esle a can of cat food that's been cracked open, but not fully opened, and wired to the base of the cage.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Mary Ann
Kentucky
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Hostas Hummingbirder Daylilies Birds
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Muddymitts
Jun 10, 2012 9:00 PM CST
Dry cat food works very well. If it's Possum or Racoon, they'll be enticed.
Thoughts become things -- choose the good ones. ([url=www.tut.com]www.tut.com[/url])
Name: Jan
Hustisford, WI
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Daylilies Dog Lover Irises Region: United States of America
Region: Wisconsin
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philljm
Jun 11, 2012 8:26 PM CST
Let us know what you catch. I lost some daylily buds & blossoms - and also had a scape that was dead (from when it bloomed before it was shipped to me) and that was chewed. My neighbor also lost the blossoms on her lilies at the same time.

But I put rabbit fencing around my garden, and the last one to bloom didn't get eaten. In my yard I am guessing bunnies or woodchuck, I don't think it;s a ninja squirrel. On the other hand, I DID put beer out to catch any slugs - perhaps my squirrels were drunk, and not ninjas! ~Jan

Now if I could figure out what was eating my poor baby bee balms!
Lincoln, NE
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Miniature Gardening Butterflies
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Moby
Jun 12, 2012 8:09 AM CST
Nothing worse than a drunk ninja Hilarious!
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Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
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CindiKS
Jun 12, 2012 12:43 PM CST
I left a whole flat of vegetable plants out one night and something came and ate every one of them. . Even the hot peppers. I had potato eyes set out to dry and they disappeared. The next night, it ate a 3' shantung maple tree that I had just bought. The next night, we set a trap. We caught a big PACKRAT! I had been blaming deer for the damage on the lily stems, but since we caught the rat, I've had no more damage. I haven't caught any more rodents in the traps, either.
Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.
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Lincoln, NE
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Miniature Gardening Butterflies
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Moby
Jun 12, 2012 7:52 PM CST
Eeeww! What did you use for bait?
Where are we going, and why am I in this hand-basket?
[Last edited by Moby - Jun 12, 2012 7:53 PM (+)]
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