I'm in Southeastern Virginia.
Went out this morning and something destroyed one of my tomato plants. It was cut off on the main stem, just above ground level. There were two main side shoots and these to had been cut off. One of the side shoots was cut off, but the upper half of it was "scraped" away revealing the hollow tube inside. So picture cutting a drinking straw on a long lengthwise diagonal and you've got it. I'm thinking, upper part scraped away, Rodent?
I know we have a groundhog, and I know we have a Rabbit. I have Eggplant and Pattypan Squash and all the leaves were eaten off them soon after planting. They've grown back and I think will be OK if nothing else gets to them.
I had one other tomato have the same thing happen early on, and I bought a replacement. I kept the original and it too has grown back - enough so that I replanted it. It too had the main branch "chewed" off.
The only odd thing this time was that there was a bit of "goo" - basically looked like bug guts or "poo" from a bug (though had white in places so could be bird poo that just happened to land there).
Is this probably a varmint, or are there insects that do this kind of damage? I know there are cutworms but I thought this is too big for that - this is over the top of a standard tomato cage already.
I've looked at a couple of websites - but what's wrong with these people - none of them have pictures (of course I didn't provide one either!). Insects I can spray for. Varmints I have to go buy some fencing, and I'm not crazy about that. I think I'm going to have to leave the dogs out more.
TIA for any help. Steve