Whole zucchini leaves gone?

desertgirlMay 19, 2008

One of my black beauty squash plants was plucked bald last night! Whatever it was chewed the stalks off at about 2-3" above the ground...what was an entire 2x2' bushy plant launching into the primetime is now a smallish rosette with a bunch of bare stalks!! The squash plant just inches away from the poor bald one is fine, even has a 3" untouched zucchini on it.

Any ideas about what this leaf stealer could be? I didn't see any debris left over, just missing leaves. Would rabbits or chipmunks do that kind of damage?? They're pretty much the only critter that could get into the garden, besides insects and birds. Last year I had a packrat that was sharing my veggies with me, but it never defoliated any of my plants. I'm on the defense now, just not sure against what...though I'm learning it will probably be futile, I'd like to attempt to prepare!

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RuthieG__TX(z8 TX)

Now of course any thing is possible but I would guess something larger...Do you have deer in your area...that is just the kind of eating that they do..

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 4:53PM
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tcstoehr

I'm with ruthieg. When you see whole leaves missing and stems remaining, the prime suspect is deer. Guilty until proven innocent.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 5:14PM
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desertgirl

Yeah, I would totally agree with you. This doesn't seem like any of the rodent damage I've dealt with before. However, we don't have deer, raccoons, wood chucks, or even full-sized squirrels. We do have an animal called javelina, but they have absolutely no way of getting into the garden, and if they had, the whole space would be destroyed!

This morning I had a brief thought of vandalism, but that seems like a strange way to vandalize! Just in case, I think I'll lock the garden gate tonight.

I'll keep my eyes open, and hope that my poor, bare-headed zucchini is a strange, isolated incident. I wonder if the zuc will recover--at least it gave me 3 delicious zucchini before its untimely defoliation.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 6:02PM
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desertgirl

More leaves were missing this morning, and I noticed some branches of a tomato plant were gone too. Tonight I'll set up some live traps, and if it continues to nibble its way through my garden, I'll get some bird netting--don't know if that will help or not. The type of damage done does seem like something a larger animal would do, but its not possibly a deer.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 7:16PM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

Just curious... Where do you live that you think you don't have deer?

Sue

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 11:03PM
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desertgirl

I live in Tucson. Unlike other parts of the country, the deer here DO NOT tolerate developed areas well--even tasty little veggie gardens. If I lived on a couple acres here, maybe I'd be lucky enough to see deer, but not in my subdivision w/ homes on a 1/4 acre.

My zucchini eater is a rascally rabbit--its just hanging out in the raised beds, munching away--I was stealth last night and caught him. Looks like I'll have to fortify my gates to keep bunnies out.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 1:19PM
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desertgirl

Turns out my "rabbit" was a large packrat. I set up a live trap baited with some of the delicious squash it was stealing, and caught one packrat Saturday night, only a few hours after setting the trap. Squash was still disappearing over the weekend, so I set up the live trap again last night, and caught a huge packrat. I ended up dropping them off in at a river park 5 miles away. Feel bad about moving them, feel guilty about their potential to be someone else's problem now, but no way I can outright kill them.

How does everyone else deal with rodents in the garden? I imagine it has to be a fairly common problem. I'm going to set out the live trap every couple of evenings to catch what I can. Poison is out because I have dogs that wander into the garden. The dogs are shedding, I was thinking I could use dog hair in the garden and that might discourage rodents--plus the dog hair may provide some mulch benefits?? I read about the bucket trick, and not sure I'm into drowning the beasties.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 4:13PM
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valleygrrl(9 SoCal)

Well, I've got zucchini leaf-eaters as well. Unfortunately, it's my dogs! They love to munch on any squash leaf -- I'm not sure what is so tasty about those leaves but they sure love it.

My only recourse is to have chicken wire around my raised beds if I want to have any squash this summer.

Darn those furkids! ;-)

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 7:01PM
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htimsgem

I'm glad I'm not the only one. My dog loves it when we go out to the garden, so he can happily munch on the zucchini leaves. Fortunately, he doesn't like the actual zucchini so much!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 12:35PM
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paulamejia_gmail_com

I am starting my fist garden and 2 of my zucchini plants are completely gone in the last couple of nights, just a tiny portion of the stalk was left, not even a single leaf on them. I live in Hawaii so we do not have dear or other big mammals. This morning I also saw they got one of my cilantros. The only thing I can think is rats, but I cannot use poison since there are about 7 stray cats in the neighborhood (are all these cats sleeping while those rats eat my zucchini leaves?) how do I stop the rats from eating my plants?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 1:13PM
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