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Critters decimating garden: Mice and rats?

 
Mischa Mandel-Giegerich
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Hey all, I have a pretty simple question that, after some research on the internet, seems like it might have a complicated answer. I'm looking for clarification. I have two raised beds I built for a client and they're just being absolutely devastated by critters. I'm thinking it's raccoons (I've found footprints nearby and I'm thinking they're the only ones that could tear down bird netting like I've found it) and possibly rats and mice because I've found the bird netting undisturbed but the plants are still being eaten. I've decided to build a "swinging door" type cage over the top and I'm considering using 1/4" hardware cloth. A buddy I work with says that'll keep even mice out but when I look it up online there are all sorts of conflicting ideas. Some people say rats and mice can chew right through it or that small mice are still able to squeeze through the holes. Does anyone have a more definitive answer on this? Thanks in advance!
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Hi, Mischa...Could you tell us what type of damage and which particular plants? You have probably ruled out bug damage? We had chipmunks one year eating ripe tomatoes and it took forever to figure it out.
 
Mischa Mandel-Giegerich
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Hiya! Thanks for the reply. Whatever it is seems to be particularly interested in the leafy green parts of the plants. Particularly the chard and kale. They seem interested in the squash and cucumber leaves as well. I don't think it's bugs because of the fact that the netting was ripped down and the soil stakes were everywhere and because whatever gets in seems to be interested in digging around in the soil (for bugs?) particularly along the edges of the beds, where the soil meets the wood.
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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...bumping up your question to see if anyone else has some ideas.
 
C. Letellier
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Location: Greybull WY north central WY zone 4 bordering on 3
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Rooting around in the soil sounds like raccoons or skunks.(feral pigs also on the list but likely you would have mentioned hoof prints) Personally I just start hard core trapping till I get enough stuff set to catch the problem. Barrel traps let me catch cats etc without hurting them while I can terminate the problems when they are caught.

 
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