Something has eaten some flower roots
Something has eaten the roots of a few of our flowering plants like cone flowers, moon flower, and zinnias. We're wondering if it might be voles, but maybe it's something else. Other specimens of these same plants are healthy so we think the conditions are right for them, but an underground critter liked their roots. Please give me any feedback you can. If it is voles, how do you recommend eradicating them?
Anne Arundel County Maryland
If you see tunnel openings about the size of a quarter in your flower bed, then the culprit is a vole. Here is help with controlling them: http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/voles
If you do not see tunnel entrances or find them when you dig around the flowers, then it is probably not voles and the only other animal that would conceivably eat roots would be a chipmunk--which makes an even bigger hole and tunnel.
If you do not see any holes or tunnels, something else is killed the roots. We would suspect Southern blight, a fungal disease which is rampant this year because of weather conditions. It kills roots. Here is information with help: http://extension.umd.edu/learn/southern-blight The white "balls" are about the size of poppy seeds.