If you are an avid gardener, you will quickly notice if something has disturbed your plants. The problem can often be in identifying what is causing the disruption, because there are so many potential suspects out there. So, in order to get to the bottom of it you will need to do some investigating of your own. This post will outline some steps that you can take that will help you figure out what has been disturbing your precious plants.
Eliminate Suspects The first thing to do is remove as many suspects as you can from your investigation. For example, if the damage to your plant life is only on leaves, you can eliminate a lot of potential pests. Sap suckers would not cause that type of damage, as they suck up sap directly from the plant. That means you can drop aphids and mites as suspects.
Inspect The Damage It is important that you properly assess the damaged areas, so that you know what to look out for.
Possums If you are missing large chunks - or even entire flowers - of plants then you can be safe in assuming it is a large animal that has been in your garden. This usually points to possums, which are omnivorous and would not think twice about taking a bite or two out of your flowers. The best way to find out is to listen at night for possum movements, screeches and hisses. If it is a possum, you can try to deter them with over the counter possum sprays, but you will need to be diligent with your application.
Rats Another suspect to consider is a classic pest - the rat. A telltale sign of a rat making its way into your garden is by looking at what plants are targeted. Rats love starch, so will naturally nibble on bulbs, stems and ripe fruit. If you think you have rats, the best course of action is to use rat baits. However, if you have household pets you need to ensure they do not ingest the poison. If you are concerned about this, try to place the poison in a long piece of plastic that a dog or cat could not fit in, but a rat could.
Birds Birds are another common pest in your garden that can wreak havoc on your plants. They will rip at your flowers, berries and fruits with their beaks and leave a substantial mess. There are two schools of thought when it comes to protecting against birds - repellents and physical barriers (netting).