....our everlasting thanks.
(Sorry about that but I really wanted to get your attention)
Something is rooting around in our mulch and digging in our beds and,
in the process, uprooting new plantings and those with shallow roots
and we *really*
want to stop it.
Here are the clues/observations:
It happens at night. If we leave before it gets light, we return home
and notice plants laying on their sides. Sometimes, the mulch/dirt is
just pulled away from one side of the roots. Sometimes, as in the case
of a couple of nice Selaginella we planted this season, it's not even
noticeable that it's now sitting *on*
the ground rather than with its
roots in a hole *in*
the ground until you get down and check.
Whatever is doing this isn't interested in the plants. The roots and
leaves aren't touched. The plants are just the collateral damage of a
hunt for something in the mulch / dirt.
It's not deers. We live in a wooded lot in North Carolina and we have
had more experience with deers than we want to remember. We've had
deers pull a "deer resistant" plant out of its hole only to remember,
"Hey! I don't like this!" and drop it back on the ground. But there's
always a sign they've tasted it. And one of the beds -- with a lot of
hostas in it -- is completely enclosed with a deer netting that is
secured to posts and staked into the ground. On a couple of occasions
when a branch has fallen on the netting and ripped it from the post and
deer have been able to get a head in, they've munched nearby leaves but
not done this kind of disruption to the mulch.
And the mulch *is*
disrupted -- it looks like something is rooting
around in it for something. It's something in the mulch. This has
nothing to do with the plant -- it's happened with hostas, a rosemary
plant, summer snapdragons, etc., etc., etc. Only the established
plants are safe.
Since this looking for something in the mulch is happening at night, I
assume whatever it is has a powerful sense of smell that it relies on.
So, after replanting a couple of plants and cursing this critter, I
thought, "I got something for your powerful sense of smell!" I bought
the cheapest big tin of ground black pepper I could find and sprinkled
a mess of it around the edges of some of the most frequently uprooted
plants -- can black pepper hurt plants? -- and along the edge of that
bed with the netting.
So, any thoughts? More importantly, any suggestions on deterring it?