Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Rats, I Guess I Need To Try Something New

Some years ago I started hanging small pots on the fence where I could see them out of the family room window. In the central valley of California small pots dry out quickly and taking the drought into consideration I opted for succulents as an easy to care for choice. I like the look of senecio rowleyanus, or string of pearls, and sedum morganianum, burro tail plant. The hanging strands made a big impact and they grew well for a couple of years. Then at some point I started finding lengths of stems that were missing leaves and big pieces of stems lying on the ground under the pots. It took me a while to figure out the culprits...rats were eating the juicy fleshy leaves.

Hanging on the strands was making them break off.

While the roof rats that are a fact of life here gross me out I am hesitant to poison them given the local raptors who would be the secondary recipients of the poison if they ate the rats. So I have ranted about them and been upset and just kept replanting the severed pieces. For some reason it has taken me over a year to step back and realize the rats don't seem to be attracted to all the succulents...it is mostly the ones that drape. So I am trying something new. All the fence pots are being replanted with crassula ovata, jade plant, and a few other seemingly less attractive succulents which thus far have not been snacked on by the rats. It is worth a try and we shall see if they just move on to the new offerings when their preferred choices are not available or if I have figured out one way to have my containers and not poison innocent raptors.  And in any case, where the leaves have been nibbled off, new strands will eventually form. Just like these already are...


Anonymous said...

I sure know all about trying something new. I love string of pearls, and I'm sorry your rats are eating it. It smells so good in the greenhouse where I overwinter mine. It doesn't bloom here in the summer.

Kathy said...

I hope it works for you!