Daylilies forum: Disaster has struck my seedling bed

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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Apr 30, 2018 4:24 PM CST
Well being gone for a few days had a high cost. It was like the critters got an email alerting them to the opportunity.
I was so eager to get back and see what had bloomed and what had put up new scapes, but most of all I wanted to get back to my seedling bed.
How my heart dropped when I saw it . Dug from one end to the other by some hateful, spiteful, lowdown, no good, etc. #!%$ varmints.
Name tags, scattered, buried, and broken. Plants dug up and tossed about so no identifying where they should be or what they are anymore. Row after row will now be named "unknown" seedlings. Oh I still have the majority of them intact with names, but the season is early and already major damage has been done. I should have set the trap before I left, but I was in a hurry and the damage done up until now had been negligible.
I think most of the plants I have found so far can be saved, they just will not have the cross information available.
A note to myself, do not rely on 6 inch vinyl name tags with seedlings, the critters will destroy them. I was just reading another thread about using pvc pipe and putting the vinyl name tags inside, that would be better...if you still had plants left to go with the markers!!!!
The good thing was all my named cultivars down in the bog had cages around them so they were left undisturbed. There was major damage done all around them and to the paths, a lot of reworking to be done again down there now. I may have to just limit the number of seedling crosses I do from now on to just the few I can grow in my protected beds.
Name: Ginny G
Central Iowa (Zone 5a)
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Legalily
Apr 30, 2018 4:32 PM CST
Oh Larry that's awful Group hug Group hug Sad Sad Sad Not sure what varmints you have, but have you ever tried putting out the Milorganite and also hitting them up with Cayenne pepper? It works for the raccoons in my yard and the deer and bunnies are behaving so far - knock on wood Crossing Fingers! Crossing Fingers! Crossing Fingers!
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Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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touchofsky
Apr 30, 2018 4:52 PM CST
What do you think it was that did the damage, Larry?
Name: Stan
Florida Panhandle (Defuniak Sp (Zone 8b)
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GaNinFl
Apr 30, 2018 5:19 PM CST
Larry, I sure hate hearing that. Seems that you've been dealing with this for some number of years now. I hate to see you have to cut back but understand the need to protect from that happening.
Stan
(Georgia Native in Florida)
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Name: Tina
Greenup, Ky (Zone 6b)
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beenthere
Apr 30, 2018 5:34 PM CST
Ouch! So sorry. We have wicked dogs, or I would not have a plant left.
Name: Tim
West Chicago, IL (Zone 5a)
Daylilies Native Plants and Wildflowers Vegetable Grower
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Lyshack
Apr 30, 2018 6:47 PM CST
Heartbreaking, Larry. Makes me feel awful just imagining if I came home to that. I'm sorry that happened to you. Best wishes with the damage control, and maybe consider buying a hungry bobcat ??? Sad
Name: Nancy
Bowling Green Kentucky (Zone 6b)
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alilyfan
Apr 30, 2018 6:56 PM CST
I'm so Sorry! How DO those critters know? We have deer around, but so far, knock on wood, the only thing they have eaten was some tulips back when I was growing them
Name: Diana
Southeast Missouri (Zone 6a)
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DraDiana
Apr 30, 2018 7:06 PM CST
Oh, no! I wonder what it was? It made me think of the big fat woodchuck I saw by my mailbox this am. It wouldn't last more than a few minutes inside my fence with the dogs. They earn their dog food, and they are good buddies, too. If I didn't have the woven wire fence, I would be growing nothing but native plants and daffodils.
Losing the seedling cross information is quite a setback. Group hug
Name: Deborah
midstate South Carolina (Zone 8a)
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Deebie
Apr 30, 2018 7:52 PM CST
Group hug Group hug Larry. So sorry about the damage. It's got to be frustrating dealing with critters that do so much damage in such a short period of time.
Name: Mary
Crown Point, Indiana (Zone 5b)
josieskid
Apr 30, 2018 7:58 PM CST
Larry, so sorry to hear such a heartbreaking story! I myself have spent the last few months constructing a steel, wire, and pvc cage for my 400 plus baby seedlings. Just the thought of them facing all the critters around here makes me cringe. Judging by what I see on my trail cam, I will still bait the trap, though.
Name: Roger & Karen
Birmingham, Al (Zone 7a)
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Diggerofdirt
Apr 30, 2018 8:05 PM CST
Group hug so so sorry. :
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Name: Diana
Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b)
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ShakespearesGarden
Apr 30, 2018 8:32 PM CST
Ouch Larry! I'm so sorry. I'm not sure could calmly describe my reaction. Your story is a warning to me to plan well as I am preparing to plant out my first actual crop of seedlings. Mind the critters and the tags... Mind the critters and the tags!

I have lost a couple of tags and, so far, just one daylily to critters (almost certain it was squirrels). Never on the scale of what just happened to your seedling bed...

Sighing! darn critters...
Scout's motto: Be Prepared...
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Apr 30, 2018 8:40 PM CST
How do the varmints know when you're going to be absent? That scenario has happened to me multiple times! Sorry. It's not fun at all to see your work destroyed.
Donald
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Apr 30, 2018 10:54 PM CST
Larry - Well if that doesn't ruin the exciting start of a good growing season, I don't know what does! Hopefully you will be able to protect the rest of the plants.

What do you think it was? A wild hog? An armadillo? A large vole? A possum?

Your story and disappointment reminds me of my destruction last year from Hurricane Irma. Unfortunately, I was unable to save all the named daylilies I lost. I am still discovering more that I didn't realize were part of the destruction. I am glad that you will hopefully be able to save most of your uprooted daylilies.

May I suggest an idea .... plant something in the bed with your daylilies that discourages sniffing critters. Or add some containers in the bed with mint plants. I have heard most critters don't like the strong smell of spearmint or peppermint. Apparently it doesn't taste very good to them either. But do NOT grow mint in the ground. It can be very invasive. I grow it in containers right next to my raised beds of daylilies and other plants. I also grow marigolds in with my daylilies. A lot of critters don't like marigolds either.

I hope your daylilies aren't bothered again this growing season! Thumbs up
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[Last edited by beckygardener - Apr 30, 2018 10:54 PM (+)]
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Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
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kousa
May 1, 2018 5:15 AM CST
I am so sorry to hear of the mess and destruction that happened to your seedlings bed. I second what Becky said. For me, onion and garlic keep the rabbits and most squirrels away.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
May 1, 2018 9:34 AM CST
Well, it was a raccoon or raccoons that did the damage this time in my garden. I caught the varmint last night in my trap.
This is a small example of the damage cause by one of these critters when they go though your daylilies looking for worms.

Thumb of 2018-05-01/Seedfork/dbc083

Name: Judy
Louisiana (Zone 9b)
Region: Louisiana Daylilies Tropicals Region: Gulf Coast Hybridizer Seller of Garden Stuff
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judydu2
May 1, 2018 10:48 AM CST
Seedfork said:Well, it was a raccoon or raccoons that did the damage this time in my garden.


It looks like you were visited by feral hogs.
I suppose a female armadillo with her babies could have also done that much earth turning, but it wasn't a raccoon that did your damage.
You may have caught a raccoon in your trap but raccoons don't tear up dirt like what you are showing in your photo.
Name: Ginny G
Central Iowa (Zone 5a)
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Legalily
May 1, 2018 11:22 AM CST
And I thought our raccoons were bad. Hope you can fix it. Crossing Fingers!
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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
May 1, 2018 11:37 AM CST
@judydu2,
No wild hog damage here, I am familiar with that, a common site down at the old lake we had.
Maybe Alabama raccoons are more efficient with their digging than Louisiana raccoons. This is not my first year to deal with raccoons, they have been a pest here for years. I have caught possums before also, but they are not as destructive as armadillos and raccoons. Now it is possible that this was not the only one in my garden, it is possible that there were also armadillos mixed in with this band of desperadoes but this one has been tried and convicted and sentenced.
I will say that the photo shows a lot of damage, and in a sense that is a little deceptive. That is typical of the damage done throughout parts of my garden, but my garden soil is not typical. There is practically no dirt in that photo, my garden is made up of mostly pine straw, oak leaves and grass clippings, and other organic matter. So even a raccoon is capable of doing huge amounts of damage when digging in that, especially when young seedlings are planted and have not yet achieved large enough size to send down roots deep enough to hold them in place. After a few years that will all become soil, but by then I have mulched and added more organic material and have to raise the plants up higher. I guess after a few more years I will be a decrepit old man and will have to give up that type of gardening.
The alibi the raccoon gave of being an innocent bystander who was just passing through did not convince the jury! He did try to put the blame on those nasty Armadillos however.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
May 1, 2018 11:39 AM CST
We have had feral hog damage that looked just like that. Fortunately for us they only come by our property a few times a year.
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