What is eating my rhododendron?

jolynn_2009(6B)March 11, 2013

I have two indigenous rhododendrons. On of them is fine, but the other one, just a few steps away, is being eaten by something. Does anyone know what it might be?

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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Do you have deer? The two leaves you show look like bites from a browsing deer to me...

Climbing cutworms will consume a significant portion of one leaf here, but more often the side to mid rib, not the end and not quite similar patterns on two leaves :)

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:57AM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

I agree that it looks like deer damage. Deer only have one set of teeth and hence rip leaves when they eat them. I had to put up an 8' fence to keep deer from eating my rhododendrons. It is common for one to be eaten and the next to be left. They are more attracted to some. Also, some are closer to their browse path. If they like them and they are close to their browse path, they will continue to browse on a leaf or 2 each day until something better comes along this spring. There are sprays which work for a while. Before I put up my deer fence, I used deer netting each winter. I could take it off in the spring when the buds were opening. Otherwise the buds grow through the netting and trap it on the plant.

Here is a link that might be useful: Preventing Deer Damage

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 11:27AM
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Definitely looks like deer damage. We have that problem here in the suburbs of Buffalo, and they are quite a nuisance. They do not generally like the evergreen rhodos I have noticed, but will sometimes give an Azalea a good clipping, maybe the leaves are more manageable, not sure. They usually don't do it again though. One year an entire Azalea was eaten, but that hasnt happened since, and we have planted three new ones. I have also had them mow down a viburnum, and hydrangea, but we suspect that could have been bunnies also (they are the real enemy, cute or not). I have used Plantskyyd deer repellent, and it is very, very good. It is a blood based, organic product, and it smells and looks terrible, but hey, its winter, who cares?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 4:34PM
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thank you all so much. Maybe now that the other plants are starting to grow they won't have to eat my rhodo's

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 5:02PM
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