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Cross-post - what is doing this damage to my pepper plant(s)?

Posted by ajsmama 5b (NW CT) (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 31, 14 at 13:11

Something is digging near one of my plants, and chomping branches off without eating them. Please see thread on Hot Pepper forum.

I don't know what to do - I can afford to sacrifice this one plant, I have 7 others of that variety, but I have seen some chomped/broken branches farther down the row, and if I discourage it from digging in this area (which I actually am hoping - I put a wire hoop in) I'm afraid it will just move down the row. Or worse, kill this plant and then move on to the others - a serial pepper killer!

Here is a link that might be useful: Thread on Pepper forum

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Cross-post - what is doing this damage to my pepper plant(s)?

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 31, 14 at 19:06

Have seen that from chipmunks, rabbits, voles, squirrels, and rats.


RE: Cross-post - what is doing this damage to my pepper plant(s)?

Thanks - someone on Pepper Forum said skunks leave a neat hole like that (no dirt thrown around). I want to set a trap but DH doesn't want to catch a skunk again (caught 1 last year when trying to catch squirrels in strawberries), and said a trap/bait might attract something else not necessarily the culprit.

So I took a 9 gauge wire hoop and stuck one end in where I filled in the hole, the other going outside the bed into the aisle hoping it will discourage digging. I'll see today if the critter just moved down the length of the bed.

Not sure what it was about that one spot that something wanted to dig there 2 days in a row.

RE: Cross-post - what is doing this damage to my pepper plant(s)?

There is probably a big night crawler down there. Fill some jars halfway with 50:50 household ammonia and water and leave them out there at night. I think it's a skunk, too, and you don't want it to habituate in your garden. They are spooked by ammonia fumes for sure, it's worked for me.

RE: Cross-post - what is doing this damage to my pepper plant(s)?

Oh, thanks for the ammonia idea! I definitely have to go for deterrent since DH doesn't want to set a trap and attract more/other creatures, and capture the wrong one. How long does the ammonia last? Does it need to be refreshed every day? Bummer it's going to rain for the next 5 days so it might get diluted. I'll post back and let you know if the hoop worked.

Funny thing is it's just this 1 spot, and I haven't seen any worms at all, certainly if there were worms in the beds there would likely be more than 1 and I have 120ft of wooden-framed beds in the 65ft tunnel, plus another 60x4 ft mounded deep bed of the same compost in the middle. The compost is so old (finished) that I don't think there's anything for a worm to eat. No cutworms or grubs either (maybe next year), this manure had been covered with landscape fabric for a few years.

RE: Cross-post - what is doing this damage to my pepper plant(s)?

I haven't been out today since it was raining but I forgot to say I also put a rock where the hole had been dug, that seems to have discouraged the pest and I didn't see any holes anywhere else. I removed the wire but left the rock in the bed.

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