What’s Eating Your Plants — And What to Do About It

Garden pests in the garden
Deer, rabbits, groundhogs, voles — how do you know what’s eating your plants? There are several ways to tell.

Deer may be the most common culprits when it comes to destroying your perennials, shrubs and trees, but they aren’t the only offenders. Rabbits, groundhogs, squirrels, voles and more could be to blame. Identifying what’s eating your plants is the first step in controlling the problem. Here are clues to look for:

Type of Leaf Damage. If your plants are left with raggedy edges, deer are the likely cause. They have no upper incisors and tear the leaves as they eat. By contrast, woodchucks, rabbits and others make a clean cut when they munch.

Type of Bark Damage. When deer rub their antlers on a tree, they leave telltale vertical scrapes. Rabbits and squirrels will chew the bark, especially during the winter.

Height of Damage. Deer browsing can occur anywhere from ground level to about 6’ up. Most other browsing animals work close to the ground.

Holes and Burrows. Voles are notorious for digging a maze of runways just below the surface of the ground. If you spot those, you’ll know what you’re dealing with. Other garden pests may burrow underground, but are more discreet about it. Groundhogs in particular like to hide their “front door” by burrowing near tall grass, weeds or brush piles.

Tracks and Scat. Make note of any animal tracks or droppings you find near your plants, and then check the Internet or a field guide to identify them.

Once you know what’s eating your plants, you can determine whether to order Bobbex Deer Repellent or Bobbex-R Rabbit and Small Animal Repellent. In addition to using the right product, application strategies may vary somewhat depending on which varmint you’re dealing with.

You’ll find more help determining what pest is gnawing on your plants and what to do about it on our website: https://www.bobbex.com/bobbex-faq/#1492685983892-2b605fef-b098.

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