I’ve got a couple plants in my garden that have been decimated by… Something. I’m hoping someone can help me identify what that something might be.In doing a very limited amount of research, I discovered it could be slugs or snails but I have seen absolutely none of these things, nor any other pests.

So far “it” has hit my tomato plant with a vengeance, reducing it to a solitary stem overnight and a dead pile of roots within a week. It has also hit my honeydew and marigold. I’ve included photos of those. Also included will be a photo of my recently planted hydrangea which has leaf browning and may be a related issue.

**Edit to add location and photos ** Northern Indiana. Honeydew Marigold Hydrangea

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    You said you would be including pictures of the damage done but they are not currently visible. Might you have forgotten? Anything that is causing mechanical damage of such apparent enormity would be attributable to animal activity in and around your garden. I personally have CCTV cameras covering a lot of my small British urban garden, originally set up to detect human intruders but very often the visitors to my garden have been hedgehogs, a fox or two, mice, a squirrel and one rat over the 4 years they have been in place. These days CCTV costs very little to install and can operate 24/7.
    – Nikki
    May 26, 2023 at 23:16
  • @Nikki Thank you for the comment… I completely forgot to add the photos!
    – L.B.
    May 27, 2023 at 2:32
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    To survey for slugs and snails: Put a board in the garden. Go out and flip it over mid-day to late afternoon. Or go out at night with a flashlight.
    – Ecnerwal
    May 27, 2023 at 20:16

2 Answers 2


If they are slugs or snails you would have seen them since they will be around. Depending on where you are there can be deer, squirrels, rabbits that will eat up your leaves or plants. If you have a camera with night vision you may be able to pin point the issue

  • This is definitely a helpful answer. I do appreciate it! I have started to notice similar damage to some of my plants in the house and I am not seeing any bugs around those.
    – L.B.
    May 30, 2023 at 15:27

The first two pictures show very infant plants. Those are usually protected around here from the cold but also from dogs, snail etc by cutting a two liter soda bottle asunder and inserting the upper half over the seedling.

The browning I imagine is unrelated. My two hypothesis' are lack of Potassium or fungal infection.

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