problem chipmunks - Knowledgebase Question

Shirley, Ma
Question by leslielou
July 8, 2010
For 30 years never had a problem with chipmunks chewing the stems of lillies. Has anyone else experienced this problem this year? They are chewing every lily stem. Also, does anyone know why they are doing this now? We have placed cages around the few remaining lillies. Help!!!!


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Answer from NGA
July 8, 2010

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Caging is the best defense I can think of so I hope your remaining lilies survive the attack. I'm perplexed, though. Chipmunks and rabbits won't eat lilies - they are poisonous, but that won't stop them from nibbling through the stems. Once they figure out they've bitten into lilies, they move on. If more than a few of your lilies have been attacked, I wonder if you are dealing with wildlife or with something more like a population of cutworms? These pests encircle the stem of a plant and gnaw right through it. One way to keep this from happening is to stick a couple of toothpicks or small sticks into the ground, all around the stems. If the cutworms cannot completely encircle the stem, they can't cut it off at ground level. I think it's worth a try.

If it ends up being chipmunks or other 4 legged critters thats doing the damage, it might be comforting to remember that in some years there are population explosions and competion for food and other years are rather quiet and sublime. Let's hope the population moves on to other gardens in the future!

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