Container Gardening

Holes in Dirt of Potted Plants

Diane Cole added on March 28, 2017 | Answered

I'm having a major problem with holes & just overall disturbance of the soil of my potted plants when I moved them outside. I can't seem to catch it in the act so I'm not sure what it is. I had same problem last year & had a high volume of chipmunks, so I assume they were part of the problem, but I also noticed I have a brown thrush that's always flitting around in the leaves & did catch it a time or two in the dirt of the plants. Do you think it's a repeat of last year? I haven't seen the chipmunks yet but know they're there because of holes in the ground. Suggestions? I've tried cayenne pepper, raising plants higher, and rocks, but they always find a way to it. Have seen chipmunks before getting to the plants higher up as well. I refuse to kill them & don't think I could catch & release successfully & of course no way to relocate birds. Sadly stopped bird feeders couple years ago but still hang around. Love having them, just not the destruction. Sorry so long, but desperately looking for help! Thanks. Hopefully you can see it in pics. Hole larger than golfball and disturbed dirt all around rosemary plant.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on March 28, 2017

Many kinds of animals can cause this type of damage, but the most likely culprits are the ones you've seen around. Chipmunks could definitely be responsible.

Scent-based repellants available at gardening stores can work temporarily, but animals will get used to them after a few weeks so you'd have to rotate between a few options. These work for mammals but not birds.

Here are some articles that might help:

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