Animals Eating My Tomato Plants

What animal could be eating our tomato plants? We thought it was a groundhog, but now I am not sure. The plants are eaten off at the top so there is just a stem and no leaves. Could it be a rabbit? What do they usually eat? How do we protect the plants that we have? Any information would help. Thanks.

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Hardiness Zone: 5a

By Linda Delcamp from Brighton, MI

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July 25, 20101 found this helpful
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It's probably deer. At least that's what it was in our case. We've had some luck using Bobbex, a repellent you apply to each plant. It won't keep the deer out of the garden, but they'll decide that your tomato plants are not something they'd like to eat. Follow the directions carefully.

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July 27, 20100 found this helpful
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Have you checked the plants for tomato hornworms? These large caterpillars (get to the size of your finger!) are very hard to see because they look like a curled tomato leaf. They can strip a plant of leaves in a short time. They'll also eat the fruit.

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If you see dark green caterpillar poop under the plant, then look for the caterpillars. Squash any you find, unless they have what looks like grains of rice sticking out of their backs. If they have that, they have larva of a parasitic wasp growing in them and will die soon of natural causes. In that case, just move the caterpillar somewhere far from your tomatoes and let it live long enough to produce more natural predators!
Here's some pics:
www.google.com/images?q=tomato+hornworm&oe=utf-8...

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June 25, 20130 found this helpful
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I've had this happen, not only to tomatoes, but also to seedlings of other plants I recently transplanted into the ground (and let me tell you it is maddeningly after going through the trouble of babying seeds to grow!). It took me a long time to figure it out, but I finally caught the caterpillars doing this.

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It's hard to see but the green caterpillars that so damaged my tomato plants were the exact same color green, and it was also as thick or thicker than the stem of the plant, so it was well camouflaged! There is insecticide spray you can buy - one I believe is called Sevin (Seven?) that'll take care of every kind of bug.

Also, you can buy a powder called BT, which kills the caterpillar. But, I don't like buying or using those chemicals, and I don't like killing the pests, so right now my latest test is using 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper and 1 tsp dish soap diluted in a spray bottle of water. I found this after extensive searching on the Internet. I just started it so cannot call it successful yet.

Also, to keep slugs and snails away, I moved one of my parsley plants over near the plants that were being eaten most - supposedly the slugs are repelled by parsley.

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June 26, 20130 found this helpful
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When we set out our tomato plants, an animal ate 6 of them to the ground. Also nibbled on the green beans. I searched Thriftyfun to find out what to do and found the tip about hanging Irish Spring Original Scent Soap around the garden.

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I made some little bags and my husband made some wire stakes to hang them on. Out of each bar of soap, I put about 1/5 of the bar into each bag and hung them at the beginning and end of several rows around the garden. It is low enough that it is not in the way of plowing and it has worked really well. We have a beautiful garden. No more munching on the plants and no more deer tracks in the garden.

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April 15, 20150 found this helpful
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I had the problem with my newly transplanted tomato plants. The leaves were all pulled from the plants. I went out the next morning to check on the plants, and caught the culprit in the middle of the crime! It was a black colored bird, with a yellow beak.

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I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to birds, so I don't know what kind of bird it was. All I saw was this vicious bird ripping my tomato plant leaves from the stalk! I have since erected a rabbit-proof fence (prep for the future) and a net over the top of the fence.

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July 16, 20150 found this helpful
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Ah, I never even thought it could be a bird but after reading that post now I feel differently. Last year the deer went to town on my tomato plants in my NJ garden and they left their fertilizer everywhere. This year some of the tops of my tomatoes- leaves primarily, have been eaten. I didn't notice any deer fertilizer anywhere though which is good. I saved large Costco sized onion and potato mesh bags and covered every plant. So far, so good. The plants are still able to expand, receive sunlight and will hopefully keep the animals away. Thanks for all your tips!

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Anonymous
June 4, 20160 found this helpful
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I just had this happen to me and it is a groundhog I saw the bugger he ate 12 of my new plants. I am now trapping and relocating the family I discovered after they have decimated my entire garden

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5 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

Something has been in my garden eating green tomatoes and some leaves and leaving a green scat that kinda looks like miniature corn on the cob or pine cones.

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August 28, 20190 found this helpful

Looks like deer or bunny poop. They did a number on my tomatoes this year.

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I was lazy this year and did not plant marigolds around them, which usually works.

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August 28, 20190 found this helpful

Vole- a small rodent that loves a garden! Also a Hornworm-they are large and they eat through the fruit,vine,leaves and all!They have natural things you can buy or make to help protect your garden!

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August 28, 20190 found this helpful

It could be a tomato hornworm.

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August 29, 20190 found this helpful

You have a rodent in your garden that is eating and feasting on your tomates. This is very hard to get rid of unless you put out some sort of trap to trap it. This could even be a wild rabbit or another type of animals such as a deer.

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August 10, 2011

I have beautiful tomatoes on the vines in my garden, but something is eating all the inside of the tomato and leaves the rest. Some say it is deer, but I don't think so. Could it be more of a rodent? They even ate the inside of my pumpkin. Please, I need help soon.

By Cecile

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August 12, 20110 found this helpful

My daughter gave me one of her Zikinnie and there was a inch long white worm in it it was eating the insides out so I would say worms.

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August 12, 20110 found this helpful

Turtles will eat the bottoms of your tomatoes and the insides. So they look fine from above but when you reach under them to pick it is like 'ewwww!'... but I don't know that they eat pumpkins.

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July 20, 2011

Something is eating the tomatoes at the bottom of my plants in my garden in southeast Pennsylvania. What could it be? A rat? squirrels? rabbits?

By Sam

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July 22, 20110 found this helpful

Have you checked it for tomato worms? They will at up all the leaves and leave the stems. You could try putting some sevin dust on it to deter whatever it is. Good luck.

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July 26, 2014

This is a page about protecting tomatoes from birds. Eventually most gardeners become tired of sharing their tomatoes with the local bird population.

Protecting Tomatoes

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

June 15, 2010

I have planted my tomatoes twice during the past week. Each time some animal has cut the tops off about 4 inches above the ground. What is doing this and what can I do about it?

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