Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum: Are you losing chicks?

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Name: Tim Stoehr
Canby, Oregon (Zone 8b)
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tcstoehr
Apr 30, 2016 10:20 AM CST
Do you suffer from chick loss? Ask your doctor if Chickasyn is right for you. But seriously folks...
I'm losing chicks here and there, seems like every morning I can find some. I don't remember this happening last year, but I didn't have semps last year in Spring.
I know birds can be a problem and I'm sure there is bird activity in the area. But I often find the chicks laying right in place virtually undisturbed, but dead.
I often find a dead or severed spot in the stolon that resulted in the chick withering. Here's an example.

Thumb of 2016-04-30/tcstoehr/093e8b

This looks fresh but in general I only find them after the affected spot has dried up. Like these:

Thumb of 2016-04-30/tcstoehr/81e13e

Does this sort of thing happen to you?

Looks to me like a bug chewed on it.
I doubt slugs cuz they would much prefer the tastier, tender foliage.
I don't think it's rot cuz the stolons are generally out in the open air.

This leaves me with some questions;
1) Do bugs chew on semp stolons?
2) Do semps cull their own chicks if they think they've started too many. (like bamboo does)
[Last edited by tcstoehr - Apr 30, 2016 10:52 AM (+)]
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Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
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gg5
Apr 30, 2016 12:03 PM CST
It does look like bug activity, don't know which ones though...also do you have birds visiting the semps? It could be them while seeking for the bugs I tip my hat to you.
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling
Name: Tim Stoehr
Canby, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Region: Pacific Northwest Vegetable Grower Cactus and Succulents Sedums Bee Lover
Region: Oregon Dragonflies Keeper of Poultry Cat Lover Composter Apples
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tcstoehr
Apr 30, 2016 1:41 PM CST
I think it is bug activity. I just went out to examine 'Larissa' where two of the previously pictured stolons came from. I reached down and gently nudged a couple of chicks and two slid right out. They looked completely normal and undisturbed but were actually severed down near the core where birds couldn't get at them. Cutworm maybe? I think maybe Pill Bugs are doing it, despite their reputation.

Thumb of 2016-04-30/tcstoehr/8b67e4

Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
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goldfinch4
Apr 30, 2016 3:33 PM CST

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That's a bummer. I've had birds tear them off, but then they're pulled away from the hen.
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Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
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gg5
Apr 30, 2016 4:17 PM CST
Tim I just googled it, and it looks like they can do damage! Here is the good ole beer in a can method. Whatever you try I would attempt something non-toxic to the environment before something stronger...Good luck
http://www.howdogardener.com/pillbug-control.html
I tip my hat to you.
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling
Name: Tim Stoehr
Canby, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Region: Pacific Northwest Vegetable Grower Cactus and Succulents Sedums Bee Lover
Region: Oregon Dragonflies Keeper of Poultry Cat Lover Composter Apples
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tcstoehr
Apr 30, 2016 8:15 PM CST
Beer works for pill bugs too? Is there anything beer can't do? Hilarious!
I think I'll try it... if it works on either slugs or bug then it's a win. Big Grin
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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valleylynn
Apr 30, 2016 8:25 PM CST

Moderator

Let us know how this turns out Tim.
Name: Margo
Ohio (Zone 5a)
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ravenpickers
May 7, 2016 2:16 AM CST
Tim, do you plant them, when they are that small? I take a toothpick and make a hole straight down. Then sink them just slightly below the soil line. Lightly push dirt around them. When I do this, I don't pull any leaves off of the stem. Unconventional, I know, but with the chick being that tiny, it will draw strength from those leaves, until it makes roots. Sometimes they take, and sometimes they don't, but it beats tossing them. You would be surprised at the teeniest pieces that will take sometimes.
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
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gg5
May 7, 2016 6:17 PM CST
Margo yes I do the same thing, I also shade them with a flat rock, piece of slate or something!! That way they don't burn up in the hot sun! Its funny I just assumed we all plant those babies up Whistling Glad you said something! I tip my hat to you.
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling
Name: Tim Stoehr
Canby, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Region: Pacific Northwest Vegetable Grower Cactus and Succulents Sedums Bee Lover
Region: Oregon Dragonflies Keeper of Poultry Cat Lover Composter Apples
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tcstoehr
May 7, 2016 9:13 PM CST
I don't plant them. I suppose I could but why bother. There's so many extras you can't plant them all, unless you build artwork out of them or something. I'll leave that to the artists.
Name: Tim Stoehr
Canby, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Region: Pacific Northwest Vegetable Grower Cactus and Succulents Sedums Bee Lover
Region: Oregon Dragonflies Keeper of Poultry Cat Lover Composter Apples
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tcstoehr
May 20, 2016 5:36 PM CST
The war on stolons continues. It seems to be moving slowly from one plant to another in the same general area.
I was thinking some subterranean creature might be poking thru the surface and nibbling.

Here' the latest victim. Notice the severed stolon and conspicuous bite-marks right there.
Thumb of 2016-05-20/tcstoehr/226b3c

This is the first problem on this plant after some problems with the neighboring plant, which in turn had occurred after it's neighbor had been attacked.
Seems like the perp is moving from one plant to the next, biding his time.
No slug slime trails of any sort.
I remember having bite-marks like this a long time ago and found a very large pill bug right next to a bite-mark one night.

Here's another picture from a couple inches away. Maybe the culprit has been working his mischief on this plant for some time now.
Thumb of 2016-05-20/tcstoehr/844ce6

The damage is always low on the plant, just about ground level. The severed stolons are always ground runners.
Cutworm?

Now that I think about it, I have in the past noticed this sort of bite-mark here and there but it seemed like no big deal. During chick season it becomes a problem.

Time for another late-night flashlight party. Grumbling

[Last edited by tcstoehr - May 20, 2016 6:00 PM (+)]
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Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
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webesemps
May 20, 2016 6:03 PM CST
I see, Tim...more reason to spend more time with the semps...
[Last edited by webesemps - May 20, 2016 6:11 PM (+)]
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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
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valleylynn
May 20, 2016 6:15 PM CST

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Tim it's not the pill bugs. Either slugs, they don't always leave a visible slim trail, or your suggested cut worms, or may even small rodents like voles?
Poor babies. Tim maybe you should set up a sleeping cot and watch over them tonight?
Or get some of Jo Ann's ducks. Hurray!
Name: Tim Stoehr
Canby, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Region: Pacific Northwest Vegetable Grower Cactus and Succulents Sedums Bee Lover
Region: Oregon Dragonflies Keeper of Poultry Cat Lover Composter Apples
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tcstoehr
May 20, 2016 6:27 PM CST
valleylynn said:Tim maybe you should set up a sleeping cot and watch over them tonight?


I seriously don't even know if you're joking or not.
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Sedums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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gg5
May 20, 2016 6:37 PM CST
Tim mine were being chewed and it was some type of green caterpillar looking thing, don't know if that's a cutworm but I did take it off the semps and all was fine after that. Good luck! Hope it doesn't rain this evening I tip my hat to you.
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
May 20, 2016 7:16 PM CST

Moderator

Tim, after all Chris was getting up in the middle of the night to find what was digging up her semps. She found the culprit. Big Grin
Name: Tim Stoehr
Canby, Oregon (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Region: Pacific Northwest Vegetable Grower Cactus and Succulents Sedums Bee Lover
Region: Oregon Dragonflies Keeper of Poultry Cat Lover Composter Apples
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tcstoehr
May 20, 2016 11:09 PM CST
Well... I may have found the culprit. I just went out with my flashlight and went exactly to the scene of the crime, and right there I found a sizable millipede. Yes, I know, those things that hide among the leaf litter and eat dead and decaying organic matter. However, this fellow was sitting up on top of my gravel and not hiding in the soil or leaf litter. It was shamelessly out in the open, right next to live leaves. Needless to say he is no longer with us so I will keep my eyes peeled going forward. And tonight... I shall sleep.
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Sedums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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gg5
May 21, 2016 12:37 AM CST
Good job Tim! Way to look out for your babies! Rolling on the floor laughing
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling
Name: Terri Stanley
Doddridge Co. WV (Zone 6a)
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TerriStanley
May 21, 2016 6:20 AM CST
Way to go, Tim,
Sunset zone 36
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Name: Margo
Ohio (Zone 5a)
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ravenpickers
May 21, 2016 11:14 AM CST
Hurray! Hurray! Hurray! Good job, Tim!!!

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