No doubt about it…critter damage in the landscape is becoming a bigger problem every year.And there are all kinds of repellents you can use to try to help keep those critters moving on to your neighbor’s yard.But before you apply the repellents, you need to figure out which critter is causing the damage.
Here’s a great example of critter damage…for the past several weeks, this area has been covered with as much as 12 inches of snow.But now that the snow has melted, we can see extreme damage on this sumac.So, here’s where we need to become critter detectives!
Now with all the deer damage going on in the area, that’s a good first guess.But deer damage is generally a pull and strip, and this has chew marks.There are no deer tracks – as matter of fact, no tracks period.And see those Japanese yews next door?Deer food, and they weren’t touched.So we’ll rule out deer damage.
Now, look closer at the damages.Chew marks and these clean cuts on the ends of the branches indicate a critter with incisors that can bite off stems like someone pruned them with a pair of pruners.Voles, spelled v-o-l-e-s will chew on stems, especially under the snow, but their damage is at ground level.So, its not voles.Squirrels “maybe”, but there generally aren’t any squirrels in this garden.Groundhogs are still hibernating, so that leaves one more critter.And if you keep looking, there is one important piece of evidence to convict the culprit.Look right there…those pellets are from rabbits…rabbit feces.Our culprit is the rabbit, and they will chew on the bark and eat whole stems both above and below snow levels.
So, we’ll use some Liquid Fence and Deer / Rabbit Scram to help keep the rabbits from causing further damage on our sumac.Good detective work, huh?CSI has nothing on me.