Roses forum: Squirrels Do NOT Eat Rose Foliage...

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Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
Apr 8, 2018 5:27 PM CST
Thumb of 2018-04-08/Steve812/a03915
Thumb of 2018-04-08/Steve812/376742

Or do they? Two shots culled from a ten second long Arlo video.
Special thanks to the squirrel for showing up when the lighting was good...

The rose in question used to be Stephen's Big Purple.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
[Last edited by Steve812 - Apr 8, 2018 5:35 PM (+)]
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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Apr 8, 2018 5:34 PM CST
How did you decide to blame squirrels? Wildlife camera needed.
Porkpal
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Apr 8, 2018 9:46 PM CST
Steve ... I do know that your pack rats will eat roses. According to some of the research I did this winter, they do like woody plants.
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Apr 9, 2018 1:50 PM CST
Leave rose apples on the ground they also eat those, if they get hungry.
I have found chewed ones under trees a long way away from the roses.
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
Apr 11, 2018 8:34 AM CST
Lyn,
We do have a lot of pack rats here. Do they actually climb up the canes of roses? I guess I need to move my wildlife camera to observe one of the taller roses...
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
RoseBlush1
Apr 11, 2018 10:17 AM CST
Steve ....

YES they climb roses ! During the winter months, in my garden, they ate every shoot on all of my roses and only left the main canes.

Initially, I thought what I was seeing was deer damage, but I've got all of my deer fencing up to 8' tall, now, and I was still seeing damage every morning.

After they finished eating ALL of the shoots, they started taking down the major canes.

There is NO way a deer can get into my house pad garden. The roses out in front of the house are well protected by deer fencing and the dang rats climbed the fencing to get down into the roses.

The roses will be fine. All it meant for my garden is that the canes are more exposed to the elements and I am seeing more winter damage. I've had to do a harder prune than in the past.

Those small shoots / canes / branches actually provide protection for the main canes and buffer the impact of cold winds and frost. They do not store many nutrients for the plant, those are in the main canes. When those main canes are winter damaged for any reason, it does stress the rose.

However, if the rose is healthy going into winter, it can recover and still be a vigorous plant as long as there is no additional pruning during the winter months.

With the main canes of the roses almost striped, the woodrats went on to eat other things in the garden.

Nature has pruned roses by the teeth of animals for a long time ... Big Grin

I have found that the rats are not eating the new growth, so I am guessing it is more of a winter feeding habit. I can't find anything on line that tells me that they change their eating habits with the seasons, but it only makes sense.

One of the things I read early on is that they do love woody plants ... Sighing!
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
Apr 11, 2018 11:38 AM CST
One of the observations about the damage in my own garden is that while I can show - using the photos above - that squirrels are fond of the freshest new foliage, on the roses with broken canes the newest basal foliage - foliage associated with new canes seems - seems to be left untouched. It is as if, as you say, the pack rats are doing a pruning service for me. This kind of damage does not please me, but it also does not drive me to distraction. Having every new leaf nibbled from a freshly planted rose does.

We are far enough along in spring that it seems to me most of my the roses inside the fence will survive the pressures of multiple nibbling furry creatures. At least so long as I am spraying Liquid Fence regularly. Not sure any outside the fence will do so. So I'll plant more salvias, agastache, penstemon, yuccas, and daturas there. And hope for the best...

One other observation. The squirrel seems to have stopped nibbling at two roses in sight of a camera. I believe the camera has a red light that turns on when it is activated. My belief is that this spooks the squirrel. I've never thought of a camera as a piece of equipment for repelling garden pests. It's interesting how even in this case the mere observation of an event can change its outcome. Echoes of quantum physics...
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.

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