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I have/had 5 thistle plants, this spring 2 of them suddenly stopped growing and one died, the other is making a tentative comeback... I dug up the dead one to see if I could find anything obviously wrong with it and part of the root was destroyed and there was a perfectly round hole slightly smaller than a US half dollar next to it. I dug up the hole a couple feet to see if I could find the creature but I didn't see anything... The creature has re-tunneled and has made a new entrance/exit hole. What kind of animal would do this and is there some way to make my garden less appealing to whatever it is?
 

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Sounds like gophers or moles.<br><br>
You can try setting traps to kill them. We have found this to be the most effective. It takes awhile and you really have to keep up on checking the traps and re-setting the ones they snap when they push dirt over them! We had one gopher jam a potato into a trap and then proceeded to eat all the potatoes on one plant!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: They are smart little buggers!<br><br>
Using a hose to drown them doesn't work very well and is a waste of water. Smoke bombs to gas 'em is pretty ineffective, as well, since their tunnel system is generally wide and there are always air shafts you won't find to plug. They don't always eat poisons and, if they do, then the other local wildlife is at risk if they should consume the dead rodent. Poisons should never be used.<br><br>
I recommend using the traps. There are several on the market (check your local farm supply store). We've tried The Black Hole brand without success. Our best kill rate has been with the Old Reliable by MacAbee (I think that's the spelling!). It kills quickly and thoroughly. Easy to use.<br><br>
Good luck!
 
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