Q: I have impatiens planted in a half-barrel. They have begun falling over, just like they were bitten at ground level. Could squirrels do this?
A: Squirrels or chipmunks are not the likely culprits. It sound to me like you have either cutworms in the soil or, more likely, a soil dwelling fungus. If the plants are beaten down by rain or wind, the stem may crack where it comes out of the ground. Rhizoctonia fungus, which is present in all soils, can then enter and begin destroying the stem. The best cure for this is to avoid physical damage to the impatiens and to allow the soil to dry on the surface between waterings.