What could have eaten my cucumber seedlings?
What could have eaten my cucumber seedlings? I planted eight and i only have two left.
Liz Stanley, Horticulture Community Education Assistant
There are a number of possible culprits, some of which work at night. Here are some possibilities and how you can avoid them going forward.
Cutworms. These species have four categories: surface, climbing, army or subterranean. They can be hard to ID from one another. Climbing and surface cutworms can be scouted at night with a flashlight and hand-picked from the plants and the soil. Protect young plants by placing collars around stems, pushing them at least an inch into the soil, or wrapping the stems with aluminum foil. Collars can be made of cat food cans, cut up milk jugs, soda bottles, etc. More control options are outlined in the underlined fact sheet.
Slugs. If the leaves have been rasped away or have small holes, these might be the culprit. Slugs are also active at night and on cloudy days. The recent rain has created a moist habitat which they like. More control options in this publication on Slugs & Snails.
Woodchucks. These mammals feed at dusk and in the early morning. They can destroy an entire garden in one session of feeding.