what animal eats lily flowers and leaves?

linnea56(z5 IL)June 5, 2007

What eats lily foliage and flowers? I though all parts were poisonous. I was watching an asiatic come up and noticed over time that something was nipping off half of the leaves facing the front. We have lots of rabbits and squirrels but they usually go for my annuals. No deer here. Raccoons, possums; but I never see them in the raised beds.

But I figured it would soon be tall enough that I needn't worry. Yesterday I saw that the whole top was now bitten off; all the buds! Fortunately I have a lot more; this one was in a more exposed location.

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hld6(z7 MD)

We have a LOT of rabbits and squirrels (racoons, oppossum, etc.,) in my neighborhood and in my experience most mammals leave the foliage alone (prefering to eat the bulbs).

Were your lilies eaten as they came up from the ground, (i.e., up to 4-5 inches tall)? If so, you may have slugs. They can eat the whole top off of a lily in very short order. They need cover and so tend to get lilies planted with other dense companion plants (hosta, scilla) or when there is unshredded leaf mulch around.

I was busy with a community planting project this spring and didn't spread slug bait around my L. Regale (planted among scilla) and slugs munched up several of them. Once the lily gets tall enough slugs don't bother them. It seems that while they were busy munching up some of the lilies others were able to get tall enough to "escape". So, thankfully, I still have some this season. This Fall the scilla are getting dug up. They're a pretty spring flower but they spread to aggressively, and densely, to be planted with my lilies.

-Helen

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 10:59AM
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baboo

I live in Maine and we have LOTS of deer but they haven't been a problem because I also have two large dogs. Growing tulips has always been a problem but I figured it was moles, voles, etc. etc. However, this year something ate all the tulips and then even ate day lily foliage and now whatever it is has eaten my lilies. These are elder lilies- rubrum, casablanca, etc.- with very sturdy large stems which were about 3 feet tall already. One day fine, but over the next few days they were chomped down. I have some problem with the lily beetle, but could this be deer? Also eating my 1 year old kniphofia, etc. but I have never had my lilies mauled. Have I just been lucky and THIS is reality? If it is deer, any suggestions for prevention, or would I be better off just planting more deer resistant plants. But I do love lilies and had just planted 30 asiatic and orienpet lilies last fall. Any guidance is appreciated.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 9:45PM
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mamoo_z5(z5IN)

Rabbits love lily leaves & buds. I have watched them get some of mine. They also will eat daylily foliage to the ground. They love tulip foliage & buds.
This is new to me as of last year, Rabbits in my yard now love Clematis stems. What shocked me was they chewed through the hard dry low stems & left the new soft growth of the stems alone. I could not believe they would go for the hard over the soft. I have had Clematis for 10 years & last year was the beginning of the Clematis eating.
I had to cage 9 Clematis with chicken wire to save the Clematis.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 11:42PM
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lam702

In my yard, its woodchucks and deer. I have some new lilies that are about 3 ft tall, and the tops have been all eaten off. Due to the height, I suspect deer are the problem. Normally, I use deer-away or a product like it, but I guess I got careless and didn't spray them because nothing was eating them up until now. Deer repellent won't repel the woodchucks though, not much will. Since the tops of my lilies were eaten, I assume I won't get flowers this year. Any chance they might grow new buds and flower anyway? Since they're new, I was hoping to get a few flowers to see what they look like.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2007 at 8:43AM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

I don't think it's rabbits, unless they are 2 feet tall! Or slugs (same reason). It's just the tops beheaded. I do have slug bait out anyway. These lilies were already tall. Today, coming home after a trip, I saw some 3 feet tall ones were now missing their tops! No deer here, but we do have racoons: do they eat lilies?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 11:40PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

All the rubrums are now missing their tops! And the cuts/bites are way off the ground.
There's nothing nearby for a rabbit to brace itself against: I'm picturing one climbing the leaves like a ladder! I have blood meal (used it around the tulips) but I've never been able to tell if it's working.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 11:00PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

Bumping this in case some one has some advice for me. The lily bud losses are greater each day.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2007 at 12:32AM
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hld6(z7 MD)

Are you sure you don't have deer? They've been pushed into many areas that they used to avoid. I would think if you had bugs that you would see them and if it were smaller mammals they would be eating your plant lower down. Though, as hpny2 noted, it could be woodchucks. They are much bigger than rabbits and eat all kinds of stuff.

You can get green coated chicken wire to surround you raised bed and see if that stops it. (That will distinguish between bug or mammal.) It's not beautiful, but it's not as unattractive as you might think, since it's hard to see from a distance with foliage behind it. It would have to be pretty tall to deter deer but a shorter (say 2.5') height would stop woodchucks.

Short of getting a dog (for the woodchucks and deer) and a cat (for the moles, voles, chipmunks, rabbits, etc.,) - both with high prey drives, I don't know what else to suggest. It must be frustrating.

Good Luck!

-Helen

    Bookmark   June 20, 2007 at 2:24PM
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torontark

i came home today to have family dinner and my mother had the exact same problem about which linnea56 posted - i did a search on google and this topic came up. after reading the responses i am still at a loss as to what it could be. all the buds of the lilies have been chewed/bitten off and even stranger all the buds are lying on the ground next to the lilies. it is *definitely* not deer as they live in a very developed suburb and are not close to any forest. neighbours have suggested that it may be rabbits, but again it is hard to imagine a rabbit being able to get up that high to bite off the buds.

regardless of what IS doing it (given our location it is most likely a small mammal of some sort) does anyone have any recommendations for keeping whatever it may be away from the lillies? thank you in advance!

Mark.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 9:30PM
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daniellalell

same thing happened to me, but not with my lilies..it was my sunflowers, and only my sunflowers. as soon as they hit 2 feet, the tops were chopped off and laying on the ground next to the stem..all i could do was look around and say "b*st*rds"!!!!! lol. If it is groundhogs, rabbits or sqirrels you should use "Rabbit and Groundhog Out" works on squirrels too. I think my mom said they make stuff for deer too. It's 100% natural and doesn't wash off easily. I got mine from a nursery, but it has a website addy on the bottle. www.deerout.com You should only need to apply once a month, unless you get alot of rain. This stuff works really well. good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: www.deerout.com

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 11:29PM
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duluthinbloomz4

Chipmonks can climb lily stalks and will eat the buds - they're looking for water. They usually won't sheer the whole top off though, just eat the buds one by one and leave the debris on the ground. (I discovered this two seasons ago actually watching them do it and have since left them a tray of water out of the way and along their run. Haven't lost a lily to chipmonks since, nor any to deer since discovering Liquid Fence.)

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 9:40AM
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shazam_z3

Deer and rabbits/hares will eat lilies, and anything else. Although lilies are poisonous, if food supplies are low they will eat them since they are desperate for food.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 12:14PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

I do have a pan of water out in the garden. I noticed a few years ago that something was biting the green tomatoes, presumably from thirst. So now I put the pan of water out a few weeks before ripening. MAybe this is helping the lilies now too; I didn't have it out yet when I first posted. I don't think the rabbits could be desperate for food right now; there's a virtual buffet out there. I put out a lot of sweet potato vines this year; they have been trimming those daily. The ones I put in pots are really full and lush, the ones in the ground nibbled to near extinction.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 12:22PM
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shazam_z3

Actually I find summer to be one of the worst times for lagomorph problems. The soft growth they prefer is starting to harden; many plants are now unpalatable to them due to toxins and other chemicals they generate to protect themselves; they don't as a general rule eat domesticated grasses (when you see them in a yard, they're eating the weeds); and the little leverets from the spring are now juveniles and need to forage on their own too.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 4:19PM
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sunnytop

Absolutely rabbits can do the job. I transplanted stargazer lily 3 times when I moved. Each time the 1 foot tall lily was sheered to the ground and totally consumed overnight. Even with rabbit fence they managed to squeeze in. We had rabbits galore in our new location which ate everything in site. They did the same thing to a 15 inch high euchinacea which rabbits aren't suppose to even like. This year my cat has had a chance to scout the neighborhood and I have had no rabbit damage at all.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 2:32AM
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lynsigalet_hotmail_com

Hi! Last spring I planted a variety of lily plants. When do they start to show above ground or did the deer eat the bulbs? Your reply is much appreciated.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 1:18AM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

What is your horticultural zone, Lyn? In general on these forum, it's useful to know before recommending something. You'll see most of us put it right after our names so it will show up whenever we post.

Here in zone 5, it's too soon for them to show above ground. I doubt the deer would have eaten the bulbs, but many animals might eat the emerging foliage.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 3:19PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

I have lots of squirrels in my yard, and I have actually seen a squirrel eat one of my stargazer lilies. I don't know if it was interested in the leaves because I chased it before it could do anymore damage. I have some tiger lilies in the back and they eat the first shoots off them. For that reason, I enclosed my prized lilies, and I put out nuts for the squirrels so they stay away from my plants. First two feeders were filled last week.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 4:17AM
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ladyrose65

I've been using pepper and cinnamon. That's been keeping all the critter's away. I got some vegetables growing out back. I hear the deer at night. They have not touched them.

Chipmunks are a big problem. They usually come out when it's warmer here.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 6:35PM
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