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by Joe Hoffman
(Penn Yan, NY)
Q. I have some pests eating my cherry tomatoes. They completely consume orange and red cherries, and chew a little out of green ones. I think it might be rabbits or chipmunks. My fence keeps larger animals out, but I have seen small rabbits and chipmunks in my garden. Any suggestions? It does not seem like they are going after the bigger varieties of tomato, only the cherries.
A. Yep, small mammals like to munch on cherry tomatoes!
The culprit could be squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, mice, rats, moles, or voles.
One of the best deterrents is an animal repellent called PlantSkydd Repellent. It is available as both ready-to-use or in a shaker container. PlantSkydd is non-toxic. It is made with predator phermones and actually keeps the critters from even entering your garden. Apply it every 3-4 months during the growing season or after a heavy rain.
If you strongly suspect squirrels, apply squirrel repellent.
Don't rule out birds, either -- one of the most guilty groups of tomato feasters. Birds often eat tomatoes because they're thirsty. Keep them away with a bird bath. You can also drape tomato plants with bird netting.
Good luck and happy gardening!
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