The Q&A Archives: hosta damage

Question: last year my hostas were eaten very badly...what do you suggest I use to prevent this from happening this year?

Answer: You may have to put on your detective cap to discover what might be attacking your hostas. Deer do eat them but they generally leave the main stem attached to the plant. They put the leaf in their mouth and clench their teeth - almost the way you would pull the flesh off of an artichoke leaf. In the deer's case, they pull off the outer parts of the leaf but the middle stem usually remains attached to the plant. If deer are snacking on the leaves, the only control will be to cage the plants in chicken wire. Ditto for bunnies. They tend to munch the entire leaf, main stem and all. Slugs will damage hosta leaves but they leave a slime trail and generally only leave holes or take ragged bites out of leaves. They rarely consume entire plants in a single evening. But, if you suspect slugs, try one of the iron based baits (Sluggo or Escar-go). If you cage your hostas for a few months, the deer or the bunnies will go elsewhere to feed and may even forget you have beautiful hostas in your yard. I wish you the best of luck with your garden!

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