Ask a Question forum: hostas vs deer

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lovethedirt
May 26, 2016 4:36 PM CST
My hostas were absolutely big and beautiful this spring (albeit a late spring), but it took about two weeks for the deer to figure out lunch was served. Now, they look like celery stalks. My question is if I cut the stalks down, will the hostas 'grow' new leaves? I'm going to try something new to repel deer if so...thanks for the information.
Name: Karen
NM , AZ (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
May 26, 2016 5:42 PM CST
I don't grow hostas yet, but the deer think my garden is a breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet. I'm trying Irish Spring soap broken into pieces and tied on or near my plants. Supposedly they hate the smell. I'm also trying garlic and cayenne. Let me know if you find anything that works, and I hope your hostas will regrow again.
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[Last edited by plantmanager - May 26, 2016 7:47 PM (+)]
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Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
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NJBob
May 26, 2016 6:29 PM CST
They should come back they are tough plants and can go through a lot.
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
May 26, 2016 9:05 PM CST
I think they will regrow but repelling the deer is the only way to save them long term. Deer are browsers. That means they take one bite and move on. You must have a pretty good size herd. Also, once they find food in one spot, they will continue to look in that spot for food. Your Hostas might be doomed! Have you tried a scarecrow rainbird? I keep the deer out of my veggie garden with one but the deer never got into the habit of eating in that area in the first place. My roses, on the other hand, are stripped bare.

I found a youtube video testing it but can't find the link on this silly little tablet. Anyway, they work. The only suggestion I would make is that to hold the Scarcrow still, I had to plant it in a plastic pot buried in the ground and full of gravel. It has such a violent startup that it was literally throwing itself out of the ground.

Daisy
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
May 26, 2016 10:42 PM CST
Daisy, if you turn down the pressure on the hose supplying your Scarecrow sprinkler, it won't get quite so excited when it starts up.

They're the greatest for keeping critters away, as long as you can keep the surrounding foliage from waving in the breeze and setting them off every 2 minutes.

My cat used to get sprayed regularly when I'd put it out to scare the raccoons, too. Now, I only use it outside the fence to protect my lychee tree, and she never goes outside the fence.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
May 27, 2016 5:07 PM CST
Mine catches me on a regular basis. Makes picking my vegetables so much more exciting.
Minnesota and Alaska (Zone 3a)
freezengirl
May 27, 2016 8:00 PM CST
I live out in the country with a lot of deer in and around my gardens. I rarely have issues with them bothering my plants I believe it is because I always inter-plant plants that they dislike with the plants they go for. My favorites in this climate are Nepeta, Artestisum, or any plants with strong smells, lambs ears, mints and so forth. Bulbs like tulips which the deer consider a delicacy are always planted either surrounded by daffodils or inter-mingled. To protect my rose beds (when I had them) I would have my husband take the dog for a walk about and have them both 'make their mark' not an issue in the country.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
May 27, 2016 8:14 PM CST
We strayed a little off-topic here, the OP was asking if she should cut down the stalks and if the hostas would grow more leaves. The answer is, first don't cut off the stalks - if there's any green on them, they are still nourishing the plant a bit. Whether the plants will put up more leaves depends upon you keeping the deer from eating them as they appear. Now that they know where the hostas are, they will come back and nibble any new growth before it has a chance.

Definitely put some fertilizer around them (preferably stinky to deter the deer) and keep them watered for a few weeks to see if any new growth shows up. Try a scent deterrent - lots of different ones are available online and at the local nursery or garden center. But if you're really serious about your garden, the Scarecrow motion detector sprinkler is the answer, for long term deer deterring.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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