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Sat Jul 9, 2016, 04:13 PM

A Rudbeckia Thief?

This spring I ordered six beautiful "Prairie Sun" rudbeckia (black-eyed susans) from WFF for a full-sun area of the back garden. Planted them and they settled in beautifully, put their roots down, and just started to send up flower scapes.

Cut some Thursday, they last beautifully in an arrangement.

This morning I went out and found that two of the plants were gone. Just... gone. Zapped by a disintegration ray?

The dirt was barely disturbed (and we have adobe clay in the soil in that area, so if they'd been yanked up I think there'd have been signs), but there was no remnant of the plant, not even a stump or roots, as far as I could tell.

We have (as far as I know) no deer in the area. Houses are very close together and there's a stone wall 5' or better at the back.

What would eat a whole, flowering rudbeckia plant?

Anyone know?

bewilderedly,
Bright

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Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
Reply A Rudbeckia Thief? (Original post)
TygrBright Jul 2016 OP
NJCher Jul 2016 #1
TygrBright Jul 2016 #2
japple Jul 2016 #3
TygrBright Jul 2016 #4
japple Jul 2016 #5
CottonBear Jul 2016 #6

Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Sat Jul 9, 2016, 08:14 PM

1. scapes/shoots?

I've been gardening for four decades and have never seen anything like that. I grow a lot of black-eyed Susan, too, and also in clay soil.

Well, once I did see a plant removal like what you describe, but it was a human taking the plant.

You say the roots had settled in and were sending off "scapes." Is that the same as shoots? And if so, I gather no root material at all was left in the soil.


Cher

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Response to NJCher (Reply #1)

Sat Jul 9, 2016, 09:03 PM

2. Correct, no root material remaining.

But also almost no disturbance of the soil...

Flower-carrying stems I call scapes. The two plants that are gone had many of them. The remaining four are in a slightly less well-irrigated area and haven't thrown out so many, yet.

The only thing I know of that reliably eats them is rabbits, but rabbits usually nibble some on all the plants, not systematically devour only two in their entirety.

I just dunno.... I can't really see anyone sneaking into our yard to carefully uproot and steal a coupla plants, either, but what do I know?

baffledly,
Bright

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Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Sun Jul 10, 2016, 11:38 AM

3. Aliens might have collected them to decorate the mothership!

Last edited Sun Jul 10, 2016, 05:12 PM - Edit history (1)

We grow a lot of black-eyed susans and I can't imagine what could have happened to them that wouldn't leave the soil disturbed. I thought about moles, but they probably couldn't tunnel under that adobe clay--they can't tunnel in our hardpan red clay soil here. Mice or voles? It is a mystery. Hope you solve it.

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Response to japple (Reply #3)

Sun Jul 10, 2016, 01:11 PM

4. Thanks. At this point, I'm about ready to agree with you.

Except that I'm thinking "alien intelligences came to earth and the first life-forms they encountered were bunnies, so that's what they plopped themselves into."

paranoiacally,
Bright

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Response to TygrBright (Reply #4)

Sun Jul 10, 2016, 05:11 PM

5. Heh heh!!! Bunnies can be so destructive. Cute as can be, but

they do like to do their landscaping chores in the wee hours. That must be what happened.

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Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Tue Jul 12, 2016, 11:06 PM

6. Moles & voles, etc. devour plants from underground.

I recently saw a plant moving around in an herb garden. There was no wind or rain. Only one plant in a group of similar plants was moving. I couldn't see a rodent or an armadillo. Then, as I looked closer, I realized that some creature was eating the roots! The whole plant was shaking.

My mom had entire plants consumed from below in her garden.

Deer usually don't pull up the plant by the roots. Bunnies & rodents gnaw and nibble but leave the roots.

However, It could be people. They steal plants from local botanical gardens & suburban landscapes and also potted plants from front porches in my area.

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