Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Aloe 'Crosby's Prolific' and a rogue squirrel

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Name: UrbanWild
Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Kentucky - borderline of 6a & 6b
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UrbanWild
Apr 8, 2018 7:16 PM CST
Out of the 9 squirrels we have, one is a rogue and a bit of a marauder. I bribe them with bird feeders and extra seed. After all of the damage to crocus, semps, etc the last two summers, I am giving up on crocus and letting them go. The damage has been extensive. But it does not end there.

With hummingbirds on the way (none here yet but close) and a total loss on salvias I attempted to overwinter, I needed something which might help attract hummers. I bought a small assortment of Echeveria (based off of really positive interactions last year), a hanging basket of snapdragon, and a truly awesome 1 gallon pot of Aloe 'Crosby's Prolific' with 6 bloom spikes only just now starting to open. Two days ago during a warm day I put them all on the porch near the humminbird sugar feeders. I returned home 3 hours later to see two of the flower stalks chewed off but left under the pot. I am not looking forward to making the rest of the aloe and all the echeverias into squirrel salad.

So I was wondering if anyone has had similar experiences. I am also wondering if I could get away with making a spray of powdered hot pepper, water and bit of detergent. Does anyone know if ground hot pepper delivered to the tissues of echeverias or aloes would damage the plants?
Always looking for interesting plants for pollinators and food! Bonus points for highly, and pleasantly scented plants.

"Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, nihil deerit." [“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”] -- Marcus Tullius Cicero in Ad Familiares IX, 4, to Varro. 46 BCE
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Apr 8, 2018 9:48 PM CST

Moderator

Yes, I have had similar experiences. Smiling I tried hot pepper oil this past fall when the ground squirrels were going after newly planted succulents in the park. It had no effect that I could tell (those plants are now history). Maybe you could use a purified product like mace or something, but don't expect the homemade pepper spray to keep the squirrels at bay. I don't think hot pepper powder would be particularly harmful to your succulents, though. Don't start with any kind of powder that might have salt in it (some powdered products are seasoned) because the salt is not healthy for your plants. Otherwise go for it if you want.

If you want to discourage squirrel activity in the garden, I'd start by discontinuing the bribery, because that's just encouraging them to stop by regularly and look for food. They may lose interest in your new aloe after the fresh buds are out of reach, or maybe this year's blooms are gone... but hopefully they are not as interested in the leaves, so your plant gets a chance to try again next year. Those are good hummingbird flowers. Smiling

Not all plants are equally tasty to the squirrels here... they will nibble one plant down to a nub and leave the next one untouched. So it's not necessarily a given that they will go after all of your succulents in the same manner, if that helps. Shrug! Sometimes they are actually rather picky.
Name: 'CareBear'

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Stush2019
Apr 9, 2018 8:35 AM CST
I too had problems with squirrels or their clan chipmunks. What I read was Crown Imperials (Fritillaria imperialis) repels them with their smell. Their quite expensive but some other Fritillaria are cheaper. Don't know if they'll work the same or not. Crown Imperials are very smelly. I have them planted all along with my tulips and daffodils. After several years, they work. Not digging up the bulbs and eating them.
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
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lauriebasler
Apr 9, 2018 8:49 PM CST
Stush, would you mind if I post your reply in a bulb forum for someone having this issue, in your name of course?

Guess what, I bet there are a bunch of us all wanting to see your daffodiles and tulips now. Smiling Smiling Smiling
Name: 'CareBear'

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Stush2019
Apr 10, 2018 8:58 AM CST
Sure, I don't mind at all. Too bad I only got a few tulips and daffodils left but at least they come back and not eaten. The Crown Imperials are impressive to see. I have to hold my nose to photograph them. Much worse than the Stapelias. That's something they don't mention in the catalogs. All parts even the leaves.
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Apr 10, 2018 9:36 AM CST
When I leave a dish of water out for the squirrels, I see a lot less plant damage. Change it often enough so that mosquito larvae can't become adults. Our yard is full of squirrels.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
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☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: UrbanWild
Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Kentucky - borderline of 6a & 6b
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UrbanWild
Apr 10, 2018 7:29 PM CST
Baja_Costero said: If you want to discourage squirrel activity in the garden, I'd start by discontinuing the bribery, because that's just encouraging them to stop by regularly and look for food. They may lose interest in your new aloe after the fresh buds are out of reach, or maybe this year's blooms are gone... but hopefully they are not as interested in the leaves, so your plant gets a chance to try again next year. Those are good hummingbird flowers. Smiling


The seeds/nuts are always present from all the bird feeders. Even with trays, the 60 or so mourning doves are sloppy eaters so there will always be that part of the draw.
Also, any of the plants will be in reach. Even the roof of the carriage house is part of the travel path for the squirrels who cross the alley. Pretty much every porch and the entire yard are within reach of these acrobats. Blinking


Always looking for interesting plants for pollinators and food! Bonus points for highly, and pleasantly scented plants.

"Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, nihil deerit." [“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”] -- Marcus Tullius Cicero in Ad Familiares IX, 4, to Varro. 46 BCE
[Last edited by UrbanWild - Apr 10, 2018 8:12 PM (+)]
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Name: UrbanWild
Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Kentucky - borderline of 6a & 6b
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UrbanWild
Apr 10, 2018 8:11 PM CST
purpleinopp said:When I leave a dish of water out for the squirrels, I see a lot less plant damage. Change it often enough so that mosquito larvae can't become adults. Our yard is full of squirrels.


We do have water dishes of various styles in several areas, under various amounts of cover, differing light regimes, different heights, etc. Like you, we change water frequently for the same reason. Smiling
Man do I HATE mosquitoes! Grumbling

Always looking for interesting plants for pollinators and food! Bonus points for highly, and pleasantly scented plants.

"Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, nihil deerit." [“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”] -- Marcus Tullius Cicero in Ad Familiares IX, 4, to Varro. 46 BCE
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Apr 11, 2018 7:14 AM CST
Me too!! I would spend so much more time outside if not for them. Have you considered that the bird feeders are part of the issue?
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: 'CareBear'

Sempervivums Hostas Dog Lover Irises Amaryllis Cactus and Succulents
Region: Pennsylvania
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Stush2019
Apr 12, 2018 8:05 AM CST
I use mosquito dunks and they work. I also have bats around my house at night and I heard every bat eats about 2000 mosquitoes a night. They live in the woods behind my house. My neighbor used to get them in his house but I never had that problem even with my old garage at the end of the yard. I think my house is too noisy. They hate sound. My wife loves birds and we feed them. I hate the squirrels because they invade my garage and store the bird seed there. I thought of poison but I just can't bare myself to kill anything. Not even the groundhog from hell.
Name: UrbanWild
Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Kentucky - borderline of 6a & 6b
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Butterflies
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UrbanWild
Apr 17, 2018 12:41 AM CST
Yes, the feeders are a draw. But I am not giving up my birds due to a rogue squirrel.

We also have bats, but mainly Eptisecus fuscus (big brown bats). They typically go for bigger prey.

Thus far squirrels have not entered any of the structures. Even when temporarily storing large bags of seed under an overhand at the edge of the yard, they did not dig into the bags.
Always looking for interesting plants for pollinators and food! Bonus points for highly, and pleasantly scented plants.

"Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, nihil deerit." [“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”] -- Marcus Tullius Cicero in Ad Familiares IX, 4, to Varro. 46 BCE
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
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Jai_Ganesha
Apr 17, 2018 6:56 AM CST
Can you squirrel-proof your bird feeders?
Keep going!
Name: UrbanWild
Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Kentucky - borderline of 6a & 6b
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Butterflies
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UrbanWild
Apr 17, 2018 8:14 PM CST
Yes, the feeders are a draw. But I am not giving up my birds due to a rogue squirrel.

We also have bats, but mainly Eptisecus fuscus (big brown bats). They typically go for bigger prey.

Thus far squirrels have not entered any of the structures. Even when temporarily storing large bags of seed under an overhand at the edge of the yard, they did not dig into the bags.
Always looking for interesting plants for pollinators and food! Bonus points for highly, and pleasantly scented plants.

"Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, nihil deerit." [“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”] -- Marcus Tullius Cicero in Ad Familiares IX, 4, to Varro. 46 BCE
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias Gardens in Buckets
Region: Pennsylvania Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Jai_Ganesha
Apr 17, 2018 8:15 PM CST
That's not what I asked. Read more carefully.
Keep going!
Name: UrbanWild
Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Kentucky - borderline of 6a & 6b
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Butterflies
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UrbanWild
Apr 17, 2018 8:27 PM CST
Thats not what I answered. Had you read more carefully, you'd have noticed an oddly timed, repeated post. Perhaps care should be something for which we all should strive.

I would have to replace the entire fleet of feeders (there are many). Additionally, we do like squirrels and like having them around.
Always looking for interesting plants for pollinators and food! Bonus points for highly, and pleasantly scented plants.

"Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, nihil deerit." [“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”] -- Marcus Tullius Cicero in Ad Familiares IX, 4, to Varro. 46 BCE
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias Gardens in Buckets
Region: Pennsylvania Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Jai_Ganesha
Apr 18, 2018 5:43 AM CST
You can't have it both ways. Sticking tongue out
Keep going!
Name: 'CareBear'

Sempervivums Hostas Dog Lover Irises Amaryllis Cactus and Succulents
Region: Pennsylvania
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Stush2019
Apr 18, 2018 7:39 AM CST
Some of the big box stores sells some ideas to squirrel proof your feeders but squirrels are very smart and can climb and jump and do all sorts of tricks to get to your feeders. Myself, I used a large clear bowl with a hole in center just above the feeder. Kept the rain out and did work to keep the squirrels at bay but lost it due to a storm. Wind damage.
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias Gardens in Buckets
Region: Pennsylvania Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Jai_Ganesha
Apr 18, 2018 8:02 AM CST
Yep. @UrbanWild lives in/near Louisville, where squirrels are possessed by demons. I lived there for years which is why I asked whether the feeders can be squirrel-proofed. Sometimes they can't (especially if they are near a house or tree from which the squirrels can jump).
Keep going!
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Hamwild
Apr 18, 2018 2:32 PM CST
I use baffles on my feeder poles. And the squirrels get their own dish to eat out of on the ground. That's what works for me. *Blush*
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
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purpleinopp
Apr 18, 2018 3:45 PM CST
This sounds like a cultivated squirrel, not a rogue one. LOL!
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.

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