Paging Elmer Fudd...

Hi, all,

Lovely day here today, sunny and weather in the 60s. Went out to the garden to look at things and found that my yearlings were… gone.

Closer inspection and mulch removal showed that they had been chewed down to about an inch of the ground; one yearling, the only non-spreading one, was completely pulled up off its roots.

So, okay, I need to keep ferrets again, and I need a greenhouse big enough to keep potted plants for at least a year. These I can do. But is there much hope of the others surviving? Should I pot them up and bring them in? And is there any hope at all for the one that was gnawed off its roots?


Oh dear, sounds really bad. If your seedlings have been reduced to the level below the cotyledonae it would be a miracle if they survived.

Do you know the culprit? My husband did work on prevention of damage by wood mice (Apodemus silvaticus) in agriculture. It turned out, that damage can be prevented by divertionary feeding. So, what about some little boxes with some nice dinner…

I hope the best for your seedlings.

Good luck Ulrike

Around the end of November, the same wasskley wabbit got all my rooted cuttings that I stuck in September. I’m keeping them til spring. Some have already sent up tiny new shoots. I put a charming 4 foot chickenwire fence around them, as if my place didn’t already look like Dogpatch.


The culprit was local jackrabbits. We’ve never had them here before this year, but this year we have tons of them. Found definite tooth-marks on some.


Yeah, I know about gardens that look like Dogpatch, mine does too!

Kept my cuttings in the greenhouse and they’re doing fine. Trouble is, what I’ve got is a little lean-to greenhouse that sits on the porch right outside my front door. Really convenient, works great, but tiny! I think this summer I’ll get a stand-alone one to overwinter things…


I love your suggestion of a ferret-I used to work in a 2 acre nursery that kept their stock on the ground, and never had any damage. The manager warned all new hires to watch out for the ferret that was kept for snake prevention, because when he(she?) jumped out of a 15gal when you where picking it up, you about had a heart attack. And I never saw a mouse, rat, or ground squirrel.(But we did find a large rattlesnake once) When the nursery moved about 3 miles down the road, sans ferret, we had to bait constantly for mice, rats and ground squirrels because of all the damage, and then all the hawks disappeared. I never really thought about this until your comment. This is just what I need. The coyotes keep getting the cats, just when I get attached to them. How are ferrets with gophers? …and I really sympathize, I lost all my seedlings last yr to fruit rats and ground squirrels-all my planted out roses are in screen cages-under and above ground. I also came up with small chicken wire cages for my cuttings, new plants, and the 6 seedlings that came up in the late fall. All new seedlings will go promptly into cages this yr.


Talking about ferrets… I have a little ferret. She’s lovely. In the hot weather here she’s moulting so I put some of her hair around some seedling and now the wild rabbits and walabies don’t go near them. I also have rabbits (pet) and I have never seen a more dramatic response than when Rosie (the ferret) was taken for a walk on her lead around the rabbit cage… they sniffed noses and then exploded… there were bunnies flying in all directions trying to get away from her. I had my cuttings of Felicite et Perpetue pulled out the other day though… now I have to work out how to keep my chooks and ducks out of the area… if it isn’t one thing… it’s another :slight_smile: I forsee an end to free ranging around here. I have seedlings in cages, in fences, on stands, indoors… and something always works out how to get them… even inside (kids!!!) not all of them… just the ones I’m really watching :frowning: despite having two dogs, 2 cats, and a ferret on guard :frowning: Possums are the worst. The animals are scared of possums (and so they should be) and the possums love the roses… diversional feeding just attracts more to the area. Am very pleased with the effect of ‘Eau de Ferret’ on the rabbits though :slight_smile:

I used to breed Fancy English Budgies. I had them when I moved here. They were the result of several years of selective breeding. Someone’s pet Ferret got loose and destroyed them all in one night. I didn’t have the heart to start all over. I have no fondness for Ferrets and I’m all for laws that prevent them from becoming naturalized. They can be very destructive.

What’s wrong with a nice Terrier?

This from Wikipedia

Regulation on ferrets as pets

  • Australia It is illegal to keep ferrets as pets in Queensland or the Northern Territory; in the ACT and Victoria a license is required.

  • Brazil They are only allowed if they are given a microchip identification tag and sterilized.

  • Iceland Selling, distributing, breeding and keeping ferrets is illegal in Iceland.

  • New Zealand It has been illegal to sell, distribute or breed ferrets in New Zealand since 2002.

  • Portugal It is illegal to keep ferrets as pets in Portugal. Ferrets can only be used for hunting purposes and can only be kept with a government permit.

  • United States Ferrets were once banned in many US states, but most of these laws were rescinded in the 1980s and 90s as they became popular pets. Ferrets are still illegal in California under Fish and Game Code Section 2118[45] and the California Code of Regulations.[46] Additionally, “Ferrets are strictly prohibited as pets under Hawaii law because they are potential carriers of the rabies virus”;[47] the territory of Puerto Rico has a similar law.[48] Ferrets are also restricted by individual cities, such as, Washington, DC and New York City.[48] They are also prohibited on many military bases.[48] A permit to own a ferret is needed in other areas, including Rhode Island.[49] Illinois and Georgia do not require a permit to merely possess a ferret, but a permit is required to breed ferrets.[50][51] It was once illegal to own ferrets in Dallas, Texas,[52] but the current Dallas City Code for Animals includes regulations for the vaccination of ferrets.[53] Pet ferrets are legal in Wisconsin, but an import permit from the state department of agriculture is required to bring one into the state.[54]


Ferrets and I have a very long history (which you can find out about by googling my name and ferret together if you are so inclined). I’ve had over 400 of them back in the day.

As for keeping them out in the garden, I wouldn’t in this climate. But I have found that all I need to do to keep rabbits and prairie dogs at bay is to spread used litter around the place.

There are no prairie dogs where I live now, and there weren’t any rabbits until this summer. I stopped keeping ferrets many years ago because a bad back prevented me from keeping up with them; but I could sure use some to provide their unique mix of fertilizer/rabbit repellent now!


Interesting to note that so many people have problems with rodents, etc. I also have possums, but they go for the stuff I dump into the compost pile. I am aware of the problems with keeping a ferret-I have had tenants who have owned ferrets, but they all seemed quite clean, lively, but really well behaved. At the nursery, the resident ferret, who was an escaped pet, other than scaring people by its’ sudden appearance (obviously disliked having his current choice of shade being sold) was otherwise apparently the perfect rodent control. I already have a lop (cutest rabbit ever) who has the run of one area of the house, but he does nothing to deter other rodents. So, yes, a nice little rat terrier would be probably the best-but the coyotes also attack anything smaller than a border collie.

I guess it’s like all things… responsibility is the key… I’d never keep them loose in the garden… and mine is tethered on a lead in the yard when it goes for walks. It’s cage is substantial and escape-proof… even for a ferret :slight_smile: If you could bottle the smell I reckon you’d be on a winner LOL

I guess it’s like all things…


Responsibility is the key to everything, yes, I agree. But, getting back to the main problem, is there anything at all I can do to save the yearlings that have already been chewed up? :slight_smile:

I had ones with main stems 3mm thick, well after the cotyledon stage, form shoots when they were broken off…

My guess is most will rebound without additional effort, assuming new growth can progress isn’t damaged again somehow.

When I root rose cuttings in the fall outside, I take clear plastic soda or juice bottles and cut the bottoms off and use them as miniature cloches over the cuttings. I root the cuttings in semi shade and keep the cap tops on the bottles til mid spring (in central Virginia here).

This fall, I noticed some of my smaller rose plants were being nibbled off so I took some of my used cut off bottles and inserted them over the small plant, leaving the cap off. This not only gave them a little warmth and protection from wind but also protection from rabbits. This might work for the most promising survivors rather than moving them at this stage. Set the bottom edge of bottle firmly into the ground around the plant. Smaller water bottles might also do the trick for seedlings.

Good luck; enjoy your posts!


Ah! Soda bottles! I’ve got lots of those, that I use for rooting cuttings in the summer. I’ll give them a try on the smaller yearlings.



I had a similar issue last Spring when I discovered that some potted roses I had put in a mulch trench had been gnawed to pieces by voles. Some of the roses were grafted roses and had been gnawed off right at the graft, effectively separating the grafted rose from the rootstock…so…those were basically just goners. However, I had some own-root seedlings and other roses that were gnawed off right below the soil line where the juncture of roots started. Those I kept in the pots and just buried lower in the pot to put some budeyes below the soil line. Every single one of those eventually rebounded and seemed to be growing quite strong within a few months.

Fortunately, this year all my roses are planted in the ground (raised beds with stone edging), so I don’t expect to run in to the same issue this Spring. The voles don’t seem to like to crawl over the stone edging to get up into the bed and then try to dig back down in the soil. Or, at least they didn’t last year with the roses that had been planted. We’ll see…

Good luck with yours!


An update: I dug up one of the worst-chewed roses, potted it up and brought it into the greenhouse, where it’s doing fine.

Because I am such a sucker, I also brought in what remained of 2007-5, which was chewed off its roots completely. The ground is frozen and I can’t find the roots, so I don’t know what condition they’re in. But, like I said, I’m a sucker, and even though I knew the top growth was doomed, I brought it in the house and stuck it in a jar of water.

Today I noticed it was breaking…

Well… I clipped off the top two-thirds of growth (about 5 inches or so), stuck the bottom third in rooting hormone and set it in a pot. Yeah, it’ll probably die. But it had such unusual color (leaves only, so far) and thorn pattern for its parentage that I can’t give up on it just yet. You never know…


I wonder when the admins will realize that there is hentai ads on this page, lol…

(it’s the post by “gun”)