Roses forum: How much is that doggie in the garden?

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Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
Apr 6, 2018 9:11 AM CST
I went shopping for potting soil and manure yesterday at a local store that is not a big box store. There was a really cute terrier lounging around wearing a vest that announced he was a therapy petting dog. I was in the middle of six other things, so I did not pet him. I did, however, suggest to the checkout people that the store take up a rent-a-dog program for gopher and other small animal control.

The checkout clerk and they young woman who helped me find some wonderfully fragrant stocks (I need to go back and stock up on more...) nodded, smiled, and said "What a great idea. We should tell that to our store manager at the next meeting." And suddenly I thought, "Wow, this could be really cool... It might really happen.."

I'm not really sure how it would work; but if anyone knows anything about keeping dogs and how much time they would need to spend in a fenced garden to keep away gophers and other wildlife, I'd be happy to know.

In case anyone cares, the tally for roses stripped of new foliage with damaged canes this year is:
-- Hybrid Tea roses (Leanne Rimes, Ascot, Big Purple (2x) Selfridges, Moonstone, Prairie Star, Neil Diamond, Melody Parfume, 9 so far -- it's all but two of the HT roses in my garden over the winter.)
-- Floribundas (Angel Face, Sunsprite, 2. Europeana, Colorific, and Cherry Parfait have been unaffected.)
-- David Austin roses (None of about fifty)
-- Rugosa Scabrosa outside fence (1)
-- Other Kordes roses (None)

I cannot tell for sure whether the animal in question is a squirrel, a raccoon, or a coati, but I spotted six newly broken canes in the garden this morning...

So... I'd appreciate any ideas people might have on how to implement a rent-a-dog program. I'm most interested in how to qualify a dog for it.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Frank Mosher
Nova Scotia, Canada (Zone 6a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds Roses Clematis Lilies Peonies
Region: Canadian Photo Contest Winner: 2017 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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fwmosher
Apr 6, 2018 9:54 AM CST
Steve812: Do you have any of these?

"Arizona's other deer, the Coues, is a subspecies of the white-tailed deer. Coues deer are most common in Arizona's southeastern mountains, but range up on to the Mogollon Rim and into the White Mountains. They are most abundant in areas of predictable summer precipitation."

With respect to "Coati", you are certainly in a better position to comment than I am, but according to the literature, they generally prefer crustaceans and small live animals v.s. plants.

What I have trouble understanding in your posting, repeatedly, is the possibility of squirrels and/or racoons being the cause of your broken rose branches, etc. Rule it out of your mind. Neither of these "critters" do either, where you are, or where I am.

Have a closer look for tracks, and if there aren't any, put a thin layer of soil down to see if some appear.
It just seems that you are always having trouble with your roses, from some "unkown critter" and as a fellow "nut case rose grower", I certainly empathize-BUT, by now you should have been able to figure out what the problem is? Set a "racoon" trap if you think they are the problem? Keep me posted! Cheers!
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
Apr 7, 2018 9:15 AM CST
I am, indeed, having a lot of trouble with critters eating certain roses. Having lots of hungry wildlife goes with the territory... living near hundreds of square miles of national parkland in a space where my nearest neighbor has ten acres of untouched land. Except for the challenges of raising hybrid tea roses and garden vegetables, and the rare bear intrusions, it is mostly charming. ( To say that I should have learned to avoid critter trouble here is like telling someone who lives in Los Angeles that by now you should have learned how to avoid traffic problems.)

As for the broken branches I know that deer do not pull the branches of roses to the ground to eat them. And over the last 3 weeks I have observed a total of more than a dozen separate cases of broken branches on four separate occasions.There was even one case where a branch was pulled toward the ground, got stuck on a rose thorn, and stayed in place without breaking. A deer would be incapable of doing that. I'm pretty sure it's not deer in this case because many of the roses they chose are protected by fresh Gain dryer sheets. I agree that tracks would help, but it seems foolish to dismiss other evidence simply because we have no experience to corroborate it.

There are cases where I've seen broken canes near a fence that I know are a result of deer breaking canes by jumping over the fence. But in this case the canes in question are not on roses near the fence, not in the line of a jumping deer, and not generally the highest canes on the rose. Furthermore, they are bent in different directions on the same rose. They are being pulled to the ground either on purpose or by accident.

One of the reasons I don't know which animal is doing it is because the nature of the damage changes from moment to moment. I am completely certain that the following animals have nibbled on my roses from either above or below : deer, rabbits, javelina, pocket gophers. (I will also say that this experience is completely different from what I had growing roses in Texas or New Jersey.) Each animal has characteristic damage characteristic. The broken cane characteristic is new this year and not typical of the damage done by the above animals in the past.

I am completely certain that coatis or raccoons have eaten apples off my trees. We also have snails, squirrels and ground squirrels. Given that deer do not break rose canes,, rabbits cannot climb rose canes, pocket gophers generally like to stay underground, and javelina are excluded from the garden by a fence, I wonder which animal you believe to be responsible?


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When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
[Last edited by Steve812 - Apr 7, 2018 3:21 PM (+)]
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Name: Lilli
Copenhagen, Denmark, EU
Irises Roses Bulbs Hellebores Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Seed Starter Winter Sowing Bee Lover Dog Lover Region: Europe
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IrisLilli
Apr 7, 2018 9:43 AM CST
Steve, you need a wildlife/trail camera! Not only might it identify your new rose-bending critter(s) but with all the wildlife in your garden it could prove to be extremely interesting! (Especially if you shared your findings on a certain rose forum... ahem. Whistling )
You don't know if it will grow until you try!
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Apr 7, 2018 11:42 AM CST
Could the roses be being trampled by feral hogs, or are you deprived of their presence? No, hogs would do far more damage; I vote for the wildlife camera!
Porkpal
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
Apr 7, 2018 12:48 PM CST
You are totally correct, Liy & porkpal about wildlife photography. I need to see what I can do about that.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Plays in the sandbox Greenhouse Sempervivums
Bromeliad Adeniums Avid Green Pages Reviewer Brugmansias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals
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plantmanager
Apr 7, 2018 12:52 PM CST
Yes, Steve, get a gamecam! We have one and I regularly see coyotes, deer, rabbits, javelinas and an occasional fox or bear. It helps because I've moved it around, and found areas that don't seem to attract the animals. I've recently planted Hostas in one of those areas. I'm waiting to see if they'll find the new buffet. I only have one rose, and deer munched on it, but didn't take much.
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Frank Mosher
Nova Scotia, Canada (Zone 6a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds Roses Clematis Lilies Peonies
Region: Canadian Photo Contest Winner: 2017 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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fwmosher
Apr 7, 2018 1:14 PM CST
Steve, can we rule out snow? Snow on rose bushes, if it freezes, could easily account for the broken branches mid-way down the canes, as you know. Don't know if you got any snow this past Winter. Give me a mailing address, I'll send you some scheduled to hit us tonight! LOL. The Game Camera is a good idea, around $100. up here, should be cheaper where you are. Cheers!
Name: David Tillyer
New York City
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BigAppleRoseGuy
Apr 7, 2018 2:18 PM CST
My 6-year-old poodle-mix can clear 30 or 40 geese off a beach in about 2 minutes. She whizzes around manically and the geese honk and hiss and lift off in a cloud. If I could get her to go after gophers, we'd have a deal.

I almost die every time she starts her rants. She's around 17 pounds and if the geese sat and thought about it for a second (not their strong point) they could rip her to shreds. We try to avoid those encounters for that reason.

David
Name: Frank Mosher
Nova Scotia, Canada (Zone 6a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds Roses Clematis Lilies Peonies
Region: Canadian Photo Contest Winner: 2017 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
fwmosher
Apr 7, 2018 2:28 PM CST
David: Rent her out!!! Cheers! PS. Sorry about the Canadian Geese! LOL.
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
Apr 7, 2018 3:06 PM CST
I wonder what a first class round trip ticket for a 17 lb terrier is between NYC to PHX goes for these days?

I've been told that Corgis are smart and can be relentless, terrorizing dogs three or four times their size. I wonder if that's a good place to start?
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Frank Mosher
Nova Scotia, Canada (Zone 6a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds Roses Clematis Lilies Peonies
Region: Canadian Photo Contest Winner: 2017 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
fwmosher
Apr 7, 2018 3:38 PM CST
Be careful to not book United for the doggie flight! LOL.
Name: Lilli
Copenhagen, Denmark, EU
Irises Roses Bulbs Hellebores Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Seed Starter Winter Sowing Bee Lover Dog Lover Region: Europe
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IrisLilli
Apr 8, 2018 7:38 AM CST
Traditionally, terriers and terrier-like dogs were bred to keep down rodent populations, mostly rats. So that's where I would start looking for a good gopher dog. Our dog is a great hunter of all things great and small and he does a really good job at killing mice, voles and rats - but he's so big he'll destroy an entire bed if he starts digging for whatever he's trying to catch. D'Oh! Hilarious! So I'll definitely recommend something smaller. Big Grin
You don't know if it will grow until you try!
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
Apr 8, 2018 9:28 AM CST
Great advice, thank you Lilli. Thank You!

In the early years of building the garden I spent a lot of time excavating and destroying tunnels beneath it. But the pocket gophers are vigorous burrowers. And I suspect that there is a kind of chemical marker that makes the most prominent tunnels tempting places to re-excavate. So closed tunnels tend to be reopened. I have recently begun flushing cayenne pepper and Liquid Fence into gopher holes, and it does seem to decrease the level of activity a bit.

I do need a new approach for thwarting the newest above-ground browsers. Around two vulnerable HT roses I've erected wire cloth cylindrical cages. They are light enough to be pushed over by deer. They have no bottoms. A dextrous climbing creature could go over the top if they were very smart. A rabbit could easily burrow beneath. So how these barriers are breeched will help me in identifying the problem. Maybe, too, it will delay damage until new growth has hardened off, and it might be instrumental in saving two plants...

Although I'd still prefer to avoid the trouble of keeping one, the idea of using a dog to deter a large collection of furry animals from browsing my garden is growing more interesting to me.

When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Lilli
Copenhagen, Denmark, EU
Irises Roses Bulbs Hellebores Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Seed Starter Winter Sowing Bee Lover Dog Lover Region: Europe
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IrisLilli
Apr 9, 2018 5:44 AM CST
Well, rules in the US might differ from those in Europe, but here there are people who breed 'ratters' and take them to exterminate rats, mostly on farms.

If you search Youtube for 'ratting' you'll get lots of hits like this one (but don't look if you do not like seeing rats being killed!!!):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

...and I also managed to find a video which recommends good breeds for hunting rats and other rodents:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

You don't know if it will grow until you try!
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
Apr 9, 2018 8:25 AM CST
I was able to view the second video and got some good ideas. Four breeds of terriers (Lakeland, W Highland White, Jack Russell, and Yorkshire) and a mini schnauzer look like good candidates for this job.

The dachshund video was funny. If I were to need a dog to simply bark at mice, rats, and squirrels, I guess that's the go-to breed.

Thanks for the tips. Thank You!
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Apr 9, 2018 8:32 AM CST
Jack Russells are very busy mischievous dogs - warning!
Porkpal
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
Apr 9, 2018 8:40 AM CST
Thanks for the warning. It can be irritating to trade one minor, occasional problem for a larger and more persistent one.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Lilli
Copenhagen, Denmark, EU
Irises Roses Bulbs Hellebores Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Seed Starter Winter Sowing Bee Lover Dog Lover Region: Europe
Image
IrisLilli
Apr 12, 2018 7:28 AM CST
I agree with Porkpal on the JRs. They may be small but they are energetic and intelligent dogs and like all working dogs need to be kept busy doing something constructive or they will find ways to 'entertain' themselves. I would not recommend them to anyone who is not prepared to spend a lot of time on training and working with them. On the up-side, if the owner is prepared to put in the time and effort JRs can learn pretty much anything you want to teach them.

So if you can borrow one I think that would be the better choice. Thumbs up
You don't know if it will grow until you try!
Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Plant and/or Seed Trader Permaculture Roses Ponds Peonies
Lilies Irises Daylilies Dog Lover Beekeeper Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CindiKS
Apr 12, 2018 9:25 AM CST
Steve, my labradors do an excellent job of clearing wildlife out of the flower beds, and not digging excessively. Not only that, they will bark, but not approach, when they find a snake. It's a very unique warning bark. I think rabbits or coyotes might be your pest. I've watched rabbits stand up on hind legs to chew off succulent rose canes. We have a trail camera or two, and they are extremely helpful. I've seen them as low as $45 lately. You really don't need a high resolution camera on it. Look at Amazon.
It's frustrating to deal with animals, I know. You might post on Craigslist with an offer to trade a six pack of beer for use of a proven rodent killing dog. I see some wild requests on there for help, and I know from experience you can find people that way. Our city isn't that big, and we live out a ways, and I am able to safely sell stuff and find helpers.
Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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