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Field Rats / Mice

September 2012

QuestionI have deer or rodents eating my hosta, lantana, etc. What is the best way to get rid of them? I live in the woods of Bella Vista and have lots of wildlife around here, i.e., groundhogs, rabbits, deer, squirrels, fox, etc. I have lived here many, many years but this is the first year I have encountered this problem. Please help me save my plants!


AnswerDeer and animal problems are worse this year that ever! The dry weather has taken away much of their natural food source, and they are moving into yards and gardens that are being maintained. In your neck of the woods, I am surprised this is a new occurrence. Many of our gardeners up there are plagued with deer annually. Several options exist—deer fencing, electric fencing, and repellants. We do have a list of deer resistant plants on our website at: but the deer haven’t read it, and occasionally eat plants on the list, if they are desperate enough.

March 2012

QuestionOne morning, after blooming for 4 weeks, all my pansy blooms disappeared...2 days later, all the stalks were gone. What kind of critter eats pansies? They were in a window box, that I have planted pansies in the last 4 years, where they lasted throughout the season. Also our horsetail (they are tall spikes of green with bands around them every inch or so) disappeared this winter, after surviving the last 2 winters outside. Could a creature have eaten these?


AnswerSince they are in a window box, I would have to assume squirrels or rats. Pansies can be eaten by deer, rabbits, squirrels and rats. Once they get the taste for them, they tend to revisit them annually. If the plants are eaten at night, I would bet rats did it, while squirrels would be more likely to eat during the day. You can put out a trap and see what you get. The horsetail (Equisetum) is a highly invasive plant. I can’t imagine it being eaten nor do I think it is gone. Give it time to green up this spring and my bet is it will return.


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