Ask a Question forum: What's chewing on my hosta root?!

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Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Jun 20, 2015 12:28 PM CST
At least, I'm assuming that's the hosta root, but it looks a little big for a new (3 weeks) planting, but I don't know for sure. The arrow points to what looks like part of the same root, except it's entirely separated and just laying there.

Thumb of 2015-06-20/Brinybay/c7b779

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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 20, 2015 8:47 PM CST
Well, hostas are perennials and that 'new' plant you bought is most likely a division from a bigger plant, Greg. So that bigger root came from the mama plant probably.

Something definitely had a bite out of it where the white stuff is showing. No way really to tell, unless you can see tooth marks with a magnifying glass? Bunny or squirrel, mouse or deer? (no deer would eat the leaves) Unless you actually see the critter, it doesn't really matter.

But I'd get those roots covered up with soil again, put some mulch over top and sprinkle something like cayenne pepper around the plant to discourage whoever it was from returning for another snack. Also if you haven't already, put out a little bit of slug bait around those new hostas. Slugs and snails just love them.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Jun 20, 2015 11:27 PM CST
dyzzypyxxy said:Well, hostas are perennials and that 'new' plant you bought is most likely a division from a bigger plant, Greg. So that bigger root came from the mama plant probably.

Something definitely had a bite out of it ... Bunny ... Unless you actually see the critter, it doesn't really matter.

But I'd get those roots covered up with soil again, put some mulch over top and sprinkle something like cayenne pepper around the plant to discourage whoever it was from returning for another snack. Also if you haven't already, put out a little bit of slug bait around those new hostas. Slugs and snails just love them.


BUNNY! I saw one out in that area just a few days ago! And here I was all excited and was yelling for my wife to come look at the wild bunny but she couldn't get there in time! Thanks for the tips on repellents, will hot sauce work? I didn't know bunnies liked hostas so much, thought it was just carrots and other veggies. I honestly haven't seen any slugs around, no tail-tell slime trails. Could be due to the fact that a pair of wild ducks come by now and then? I saw them wandering around the place a couple weeks ago.
Thumb of 2015-06-21/Brinybay/020f56
"Love the people who treat you right and forget the ones who don't." - Chiune Sugihara
[Last edited by Brinybay - Jun 20, 2015 11:29 PM (+)]
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Name: J.c. S.
Kansas (Zone 6b)
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StaticAsh
Jun 20, 2015 11:39 PM CST
Ha! Great pic of your bunny! Thumbs up

And yeah be forewarned, rabbits (at least around here) will eat nearly anything.
I've actually had them eat mature yucca leaves (and a ton of other things I thought they would never eat) before. Grumbling
[Last edited by StaticAsh - Jun 20, 2015 11:40 PM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 21, 2015 6:21 AM CST
I'm not a hosta expert although I grow a number of them, but it looks more like a rhizome than a root to me. Regardless, underground damage to hostas around here is by voles. They can burrow under a hosta and eat away all the roots so that you can lift up a "hosta pancake", the top part of the plant lifts right off the ground with nothing left to anchor it. I Googled to see if there were any pictures on the web of hosta rhizomes and found this one (scroll down the page to the picture), which coincidentally has been decimated by voles:

https://www.bridgewoodgardens.com/cart/pages.php?pageid=45

We have many rabbits around here and they sit right by the hostas but I've never had any damage below the ground from them. They may eat the leaves occasionally but I'm never sure if that's bunnies or deer. There's a couple of pics of vole damage to a hosta from Missouri Botanical Garden:

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/Portals/0/Gardening/G...
http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/Portals/0/Gardening/G...

There are more pictures on the page these are from:
http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/you...

The hosta in the pic is more advanced than I usually see, I usually see this as the plants are just starting to emerge in spring and the leaves are just starting to grow, hence the "hosta pancake" effect. I set the plants back on the ground and they will usually regrow their root system but they are seriously set back for some time.
Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Jun 21, 2015 9:55 AM CST
[quote="sooby"]I'm not a hosta expert although I grow a number of them, but it looks more like a rhizome than a root to me. Regardless, underground damage to hostas around here is by voles. They can burrow under a hosta and eat away all the roots so that you can lift up a "hosta pancake", the top part of the plant lifts right off the ground with nothing left to anchor it. I Googled to see if there were any pictures on the web of hosta rhizomes and found this one (scroll down the page to the picture), which coincidentally has been decimated by voles:

https://www.bridgewoodgardens.com/cart/pages.php?pageid=45

We have many rabbits around here and they sit right by the hostas but I've never had any damage below the ground from them. They may eat the leaves occasionally but I'm never sure if that's bunnies or deer. There's a couple of pics of vole damage to a hosta from Missouri Botanical Garden:

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/Portals/0/Gardening/G...
]http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/Portals/0/Gardening/G...

Thanks for all that. I suspect there may be a vole around here. I've had trouble with moles in the past, but not on this side of the property. While I really would prefer to co-exist with most wildlife (exception is rats, they're pure vermin), there's a limit. Moles and voles I would rather they just went away. I'm not averse to lethal methods if I have to and they're effective, but from my experience with moles, the only thing that seemed to have some impact were castor-oil based products.
"Love the people who treat you right and forget the ones who don't." - Chiune Sugihara

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