Ask a Question forum: Something is Chomping on my Marigolds and Coleus

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Name: Kristina
New Hampshire (Zone 5b)
KristinaMarie05
Jul 13, 2016 12:16 PM CST
I'm new here and I'm thrilled that this board looks to active because I am at a loss with this little issue. At the beginning of the season, I planted some coleus. Was going along great until something decided to chomp them down to the stems. The coleus in the front and side of my garden (I have an attached porch on the house that is surrounded on 3 sides by a garden) have been chewed down. The coleus in the back looks great. Alright... well, I figured it was deer since I've seen a couple in the neighborhood. I bought a couple of zinnias and some marigolds to place around the garden where my coleus were being chomped. I read that marigolds and zinnias were deer repellents, so why not? I came out the other morning and all of the leaves on my marigolds were chewed off! The flower was left intact, but the leaves are gonzo. I've attached a picture so people can see. I've also had my basil chewed apart and the leaves kinda chomped on on my zinnia (though, not as badly as the marigolds). I have seen zero slugs or snails (suggestion I saw in another forum) and I've noticed that the mulch (we use rubber mulch to keep bugs at bay) at the base of these plants appears to have been disturbed, so I'm thinking it's an animal and not an insect. Any ideas as to what it is and how I can keep my plants from being eaten??
Thumb of 2016-07-13/KristinaMarie05/4d29cd

Name: Christine
Saugerties, NY zone 5a
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Christine
Jul 13, 2016 1:24 PM CST
Welcome! My first thought is rabbits, others will have more advice for you....
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jul 13, 2016 1:35 PM CST
The same question was posted earlier in the pests and diseases forum - for continuity here's the thread:

The thread "What is Chewing on my Coleus and Marigolds?!" in Pests and Diseases forum
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Jul 13, 2016 4:15 PM CST
Hi Kristina. Welcome to NGA!

I would also think "critters, not bugs". Whatever was eaten, vanished. If it were bugs or slugs, I would expect to have seen many leaves with holes, over a period of days.

If you have a roll of some fencing that would keep rabbits out, you might try putting that out first. If you see burrowing under it, it's small critters. If it's trampled flat, its deer or moose or elephants.

I'm guessing that deer would have mangled the flowers more and uprooted some. But something as small as a rabbit could go under the blooms and bite off the leaves from below.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Jul 13, 2016 5:08 PM CST
I agree it is probably rabbits. You can get a roll of rabbit fencing at Lowe's for $25. It's easy to cut and make into large circles, then I just pegged it down around my plants with tent pegs. I used the leftovers for tomato cages, which also were great.

Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Kristina
New Hampshire (Zone 5b)
KristinaMarie05
Jul 14, 2016 8:06 AM CST
Thank you all for your thoughts and ideas! I am going to give the rabbit fencing a try and see if that works. Though, I did like RickCorey's suggestion that it might be elephants... lol. Any elephant fencing out there? Smiling We've never seen rabbits in the area, but I suppose it's worth a try. Are there any rabbits that are nocturnal? I only ask because we have a summer cottage down on Cape Cod and there are rabbits there like there are squirrels here. They're always out during the day and are all over the place!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 14, 2016 12:43 PM CST
I read a claim on the Internet that Bhut Jolokoi peppers are used in India (or somewhere) "to keep elephants out of gardens". Allegedly they rub the peppers on fences, and then the elephants won;t push the fences over.

I might not trust the Internet, but I do trust experimentation. I have not any elephants in MY garden since I bought some Bhut powder from CycadJungle!

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