What's eating my tomatoes?


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Old 08-14-12, 05:46 PM
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What's eating my tomatoes?

Something is destroying my tomatoes. Any idea what it is by this picture? Anyone have tried and true methods of stopping it without killing whatever is doing the damage?

Thanks!

 
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Old 08-14-12, 06:25 PM
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It has 4 incisors, so it could be a raccoon or an opossum. No harm in dispatching either as far as ecology goes.
 
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Old 08-14-12, 08:18 PM
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Any footprints in the dirt? How far off the ground is this? I had a hole pecked in one of my cantaloupe last year, and I assumed it was a Flicker or woodpecker of some type. Spoiled my biggest and best one, of course. grrrrrr!
 
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Old 08-15-12, 01:28 AM
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Thanks, ya'll. I've been suspecting a racoon or opossum but haven't seen any around...that doesn't mean they aren't there though.

This is about 4 or 5 feet off the ground. No tracks or poop I can find but the area is pretty well mulched.

Whatever it is isn't interested in my squash or cucumbers....but probably was responsible for taking nearly all my peaches a few months ago...


Argh!
 
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Old 08-15-12, 03:18 AM
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You've got peaches in Virginia? Odd that far north. Regarding the peaches, though, how far out in the boonies do you live? Close neighbors? Reason I ask, is my apples got hit up to about 6' off the ground......bear. Gotta be drunk by now with all that juice fermenting in his belly. Ever seen a drunk bear? Really funny. Their poop is in a little pile and will have bird seen in it
 
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Old 08-15-12, 03:37 AM
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Larry, a friend of mine bought a place near the airport [about 20 miles from me] Flat land for the most part and he has several peach trees. I was surprised when he said he gets a fair amount of fruit off of them.

I've been concentrating on keeping the deer out of my garden and forgot about my 3 fruit trees... the deer got all the apples and pears
 
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Old 08-15-12, 04:24 AM
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Larry, I'm in zone 5/6. Until recently I had a peach tree in my yard. It had been a great producer for years before becoming diseased.

Last Saturday we went to a local orchard and picked peaches.
 
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Old 08-15-12, 08:48 AM
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We're zone 7 - only one zone north of GA.

We live in your typical suburban neighborhood. Lots of houses and small/medium trees but maybe 10 miles from some forest and the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We've never had bear in the neighborhood but you hear about them close by once every year or two. We do get deer but I've never seen them that close to the house before. Alternatively, 15 miles the other way and you get into densely populated city.

This peach tree was brand new this past early spring. It's maybe 4 feet tall and is a Elberta Peach. I was watching the fruit closely because it only had 12 peaches growing since it was so small. I got excited to harvest the fruit - they had one or two more days to go on the tree to ripen and then GONE. No evidence other than a few broken branches. Not even a pit left behind. A neighbor across the street with larger trees - maybe 10 or 12 feet tall told me the same thing.

I guess I'm lucky that I did get one peach off the tree that ripened before the others. It was delicious and I'm looking forward to next year when I can hopefully get another one or two.

Is there something that works to deter raccoon? I'd be nice to get another few tomatoes this summer.

Also, is there any safety issue with raccoon prowling around my garden? I know raccoon are common carriers or rabies. If they maybe bit/punctured a tomato or other fruit/vegetable that a human ended up eating, is there any danger?

Thanks!
 
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Old 08-15-12, 09:30 AM
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Racoons are very smart and agile. Climbing is not that much of a problem.

The cages around the tomatoes provided the perfect way to get access the the tomatoes.

One night, I heard some noises behind my home that has a patio and a near-by elevated deck. I turned on the floodlights from downstairs and saw two juvenile coons (one on the shepherds hook supporting a bird feeder and and one about 6' up on a 6x6 post support for the patio) and an adult coon supervising the learning experience. While I was looking out from the lower level my wife was in the kitchen looking through a sliding door and saw a juvenile on the 8' high elevated deck. The city said there is little to do and just keep any food source well protected, so my bird seed is now stored in metal cans and not plastic. A week or two later, two of the juveniles returned and they were looking and staring through the lower slider at my two 15# cats.

They are a nuisance and very difficult to eliminate . - We are in an older (30 year old townhouse/quad) suburban area in large metro area (2,500,000 population). Our other nuisance is the deer is the deer eating the young tomatoes, but Irish Spring soap hanging from above solves that problem. Adjacent suburbs outside of us hire professional hunters to thin out the deer herd, but it is a costly challenge. Now our only real problem is the seasonal bears that occasionally (every couple of years) destroy bird feeders. - We bought the townhouse because of the site (30' pines) and location (1/4 miles from one freeway and 1/2 mile from another) and close to the 2 large metro areas.

The critters are worth the nuisance.

Dick
 
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Old 08-15-12, 09:41 AM
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Last summer, the squirrels were eating my tomatoes. This year, no one is (except us, of course).

Larry, I also used to have a peach tree.
 
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Old 08-15-12, 09:55 AM
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Racoon and Possums are night critters. I have possums run across my privacy fence at night. My two dogs have killed at least three of them. They never have went after my tomatoes. Maybe racoons - I don't have racoons. When my tomatoes are turning red I have had problems with birds. The tomatoes give the animal fluid. So they are thirsty. Not sure if putting a water source (water bucket) near by would help or not. As far as peaches - most definitely squirrels. My guy friend stood guard with his pellet gun and shot one after another. He shot one, went to the ground, fox came out of the woods picked it up and ran back into the woods. Next one - fox came out again. So he didn't have to pick up any dead squirrels - he shot four of them and got his entire peach tree crop.
 
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Old 08-15-12, 09:59 AM
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Put a full cage around the tomatoes and across the top. Or put out a trapping cage and capture the critter alive, and release out to nature in another area.
 
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Old 09-13-12, 03:41 AM
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You haven't lived until you've eaten a juicy Niagara peach. Or a central Ontario strawberry for that matter.

One of the only things we don't grow up here is citrus
 
 

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