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Old September 26, 2019   #1
oakley
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Default Bigger that a Bread Box Pest

2019 deck toms destroyed.jpg
Back in early August we had days of rainy/wet weather. No need to water or check
with a flashlight (leaving for work before sunrise and home after dark)
Must have happened a day or two before discovery. Mahem. Destroyed pots everywhere.
Plants chewed off at the base and stripped of leaves.

Will remain a mystery since nothing makes sense. I know a raccoon can climb a deck.
(this is 10 feet above the forest floor and fenced/gated).
We have a couple chipmunks but they scoot quickly with the slightest sound. Possum?
Doubt a flock of turkeys would do this. Deer don't fly.

Possibly pup #2 startled something and he destroyed some of the pot spreading but
some vegetarian critter had a hearty meal before. (pup #1 is a good hunter but will
tip-toe over a twig on the deck...she needs big land for a hunt).

Fortunately the rest of the plants are fine but about three dozen micros are toast.
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Old September 26, 2019   #2
oakley
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Happened again a couple weeks later.
Tomato and a pepper plant with leaves eaten.
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Old September 26, 2019   #3
Labradors2
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A hoard of cutworms?

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Old September 26, 2019   #4
KarenO
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I think raccoons most likely. Devils.
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Old September 26, 2019   #5
oakley
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Racoon makes the most sense though I've not seen one here. With a dog door
to the deck it is a minor deterrent, not rodent proof. Full grown plants just setting
fruit were clearly chewed off at the base. Only caught one cutworn this whole season. 2-3 last season. (I do look for them when home on a Sunday).

Looked at a motion activated camera...but not ready to go there this season.
That will just tell me who is to blame.

Should have kept growing dwarf sunflowers all season as that seems to be the
tastiest veg for most. Odd the head lettuce was not touched but some of the trial
kales and chard were hit hard.
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Old September 27, 2019   #6
MissS
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Although raccoons can cause all kinds of damage they are not foliage browsers, they would be going after the fruit. It looks more like the kind of damage that the deer cause in my yard but how would they be getting up there? They are brazen and do come up on to my deck but then it is only 2' high.
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Old September 27, 2019   #7
brownrexx
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Maybe not a wild animal. Could a neighbor's dog have come up the steps at night and wrecked your plants?
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Old September 27, 2019   #8
TC_Manhattan
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If you have stairs to your deck, it could be a groundhog.

We had one frequent the deck and even peer in at the deck door as if
he wanted in..
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Old September 27, 2019   #9
brownrexx
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Yes, a ground hog would do that type of damage and many people do not know this but they do climb trees.
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Old September 27, 2019   #10
oakley
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That end of the deck is gated/locked and has hardware cloth. 1/2 inch steel mesh.
Installed when pup #2 was tiny.
I'm guessing a nocturnal vegetarian that had the time to chew while pups were
sleeping. Then 'whoever' was startled by pup flying out the deck dog door....some
animals 'freeze' when confronted so crazy pup #2 went nuts. (?)

I'm sure we have exceptions to all animal diets. I have 15 or so plants on the other
side of the house, driveway blacktop cherry tom snackers and peppers. 3 of those
self watering planters and 10 gallon pots. Not touched.

The deck plants are my dwarf un-released and micro experiments.
(I have saved seed from all plants so no disaster loss, just ripe fruit for our table)
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Old September 29, 2019   #11
JRinPA
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Just spitballing for fun at your expense, here.

No scat I assume? You could lay down trays of sand around pots to lift prints...but of course cats will make it a litter box. I despise spy cams but that is probably the way to go.

Groundhogs do climbs bushes and trees. I've seen them up 6 ft in mulberry bushes. A young one practically climbed over my head once when I sitting near its tree/hole, watching other holes across the fields.

Some of the pics look like hornworm damage, tomato and pepper leaves eaten.

The big mess looks like a dog and a raccoon (nighttime), maybe dog and groundhog (daytime), but you would have heard the scrap? A cat up there probably would have jumped off before the dogs could get there. Maybe a couple raccoons, ended up arguing?

Have there been any reports of escaped koala bear's from nearby zoos? Might have been naturalized for an American diet.
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Old September 29, 2019   #12
Nan_PA_6b
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Deer can jump 8'. Especially if there's a hill nearby they can jump from.
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