When you learn that a hungry garden animal or bug has decimated your Hostas, it can be heartbreaking after all the efforts you have put into them. It’s enough to make you want to throw a fit of rage like a young child and fall to the ground!
Is a groundhog eating plants in your garden, or is it some other critters? Depending on where you live, you can find several critters, including large game-like deer and ground-dwelling pests like rabbits, rats, groundhogs, and squirrels, who are all keen on eating your Hosta garden.
Which pest is your top suspect, given the many pests vying to take a piece of your Hosta plants? In our guide, you can learn more about what do groundhogs eat. By the end, you’ll better understand what’s eating Hostas plants in your yard. You’ll also see how to use groundhog-resistant plants such as Baby’s Breath or Butterfly Weed. (Read Can You Burn Mulch)
Symptoms of Groundhogs Eating Hostas
The cuts are messy because groundhogs tear off the petioles with their paws. Usually, groundhog damage won’t leave you any leaves after their visit since they dig and eat everything. They might even eat the rhizome after digging it up and will kill the plant in the ground.
Deer only eat the Hosta leaves; they never touch the stems. Their most significant distinction from groundhogs is this. The plant may be lost if a groundhog manages to eat practically the entire thing.
How Do You Stop Groundhogs Eating Hostas?
Groundhogs eating your Hostas can be prevented using several different methods. Let’s talk more in-depth about each of them.
Use a live trap
The most humane and effective way to remove groundhogs is with live traps. Long cage traps have a door at one end of the cage, and a trigger mechanism closes the door at the other end.
- The animal enters, opens the cage door, and closes the trigger mechanism.
- Cantaloupe is the best bait, as groundhogs can’t resist this fruit.
- Put the trap where you walk least. This prevents groundhogs from seeing you during the day, which would scare them away.
- Take the rodent as far away from your yard as you can after you catch it (at least a few miles).
Keep a dog
Dogs can control groundhogs in a second successful way. These rodents’ natural enemies are giant carnivores and groundhogs.
Dogs are these pests’ principal foes in urban areas. Gardeners without dogs say groundhogs don’t disturb them as their neighbor has dogs, which is enough to keep them away. If you have a similar issue, get a dog, and stick to larger breeds. (Read Can Grass Seed Freeze)
Install a fence
Hostas can be used as garden fence. This protects plants from groundhogs and other animals. Mesh fence panels work best as they are durable and easy to install.
Panels should be at least 5-6 feet tall, yet if you need a deer fence, make them at least 7 feet high. Note groundhogs can dig under the fence to enter the garden. So, burying the base and a fence can prevent pests from reaching your plants.
Use Liquid Fence
A liquid fence for animals is a foul-smelling liquid. Deer, rabbits, and groundhogs are the primary targets, although it also works on other pests with which you may have a similar problem.
Spray your Hostas with the best repellent available in dry weather. Even when it dries, the repellent smells too strong for animals to approach your Hostas.
Note: The product won’t stay on your plants when it rains, yet if it dries on the leaves, you can reapply it once a month.
Do Squirrels & Chipmunks Eat Hostas?
Many homeowners and gardeners find these cheeky pests frustrating where Hostas grow. Chipmunks and squirrels can climb, and with tremendous jumping skills, it’s nearly impossible to keep them away from your garden.
What portions of Hostas do squirrels and chipmunks eat?
Squirrels delve below the ground and eat juicy roots for nourishment and moisture. The food squirrels eat them with most of their daily water needs. This is why your garden has half-eaten produce and plants.
Chipmunks prefer the leaves of your Hosta. Hostas aren’t their favorite food, but if they’re hungry and have few options, they’ll eat Hosta shrubs. Note that pests like these or rabbits will eat grass if you seed your lawn soil in the spring. (Learn How To Save A Dying Norfolk Island Pine)
How to Stop Squirrels and Chipmunks from Eating A Hosta
Because squirrels and chipmunks are similar, deterrent methods work for both. The sense of smell in squirrels and chipmunks is excellent. Its strength can keep them away from your Hostas. Strong scents might keep these pests away from your garden.
Many gardeners merely hang Irish Spring Soap in several areas around their yard. Sprinkle chili, cayenne, hot pepper spray, or ground garlic to deodorize Hostas and help keep groundhogs and rabbits away.
Another technique is to grow a sacrificial garden for local animals. This strategy entails planting fruit trees and natural plants to benefit the local animals. This strategy may attract creatures that will find your other lovely Hostas. Sacrificial garden away from Hosta plants.
Do Deer Eat Hostas?
Because of their ability to destroy a well-kept garden in one night, deer have become a familiar garden foe. Deer invades gardens at nightfall and work their way through the tasty foliage all night. Deer eat dirty. They tear and pull at branches and stems, tearing leaves off.
You may tell if deer have raided your Hostas by broken stems and no foliage. Your Hosta bush will be recognized. As they make their way through your garden, deer, like rabbits, leave droppings. These hoof prints will prove that deer stole your Hostas.
How to Keep Deer Away
Deer are hard to keep away from the garden; if they want in, they’ll find a way in, which is why home gardeners dislike deer.
Try erecting a fence around your garden’s perimeter. Your fence must be 7 feet tall because deer can jump over barriers. Some gardeners can get away from walls 6 feet tall. But, they slanted the fence outward, making it more challenging for deer to cross.
There are more options besides fortifying your garden. Use deer repellent around the garden perimeter to keep deer out. You can spray your Hostas with commercial products from Amazon or local nurseries. Hang soap bars on rope around the garden. Deer, like squirrels, can smell soap a mile away.
Most wild deer equate soap’s scent with humans, making them particularly cautious when they catch a breath in your garden. They usually shift to a safer grazing location. Human hair clippings in the garden have the same effect as soap bars. Likewise, the smell of humans will keep deer away and protect your Hostas plants.
Like other methods, wet weather means you’ll need a reapplication of your deterrent to keep pesky wildlife away.
Will Voles and Rodents Eat Hosta Plants?
Voles, rats, and mice are garden pests.
Due to their size and propensity to prowl your garden at night, these sly rodents are hard to see. They quickly scan your plants for tender and juicy Hostas leaves and roots. When rats, mice, or voles have attacked your new plants, it’s easy to tell. They’ll eat the foliage and flowers, leaving ragged edges and missing pieces.
They’ll also eat the plant’s rhizome (roots), which is juicy.
How to stop Voles and rodents eating Hostas?
As previously said, we must focus on preventing rodents from accessing the root system to safeguard your Hostas from them. We can handle a few nibbled leaves but not lose your plant.
Enclosing your Hostas in chicken wire fencing is the best way to prevent voles, rats, and mice from accessing the Hosta roots or rhizomes. Rodents have sharp teeth and may eat through plastic and wooden fence materials, so the fence must be made of wire. (Learn Why Are My Sunflower Leaves Turning Yellow)
Do Slugs eat Hostas?
At night, slugs create enormous, asymmetrical holes in the foliage. Take a flashlight outside at night to watch these pests in action. You can reach out and take them by hand as soon as you see them. Throw them away after putting them in a pail of soapy water.
Slugs like shade and moist conditions, yet your Hostas like sun, so keep them away from shade areas and water your perennials in the morning. To keep slugs away from Hostas, you can use coffee grounds. Spread a 2-inch layer of compost around the Hosta plant, incorporating coffee grounds.
Epsom salts can also be used to keep slugs away from your Hostas. Epsom salt should be used to create a ring around your Hosta plant. Hostas can, thankfully, recover from a slug injury. After some time, the damaged leaves fall off, and new growth will appear.
Do Pill Bugs eat Hostas?
Pill bugs decimate whole plants if you don’t notice them early on. Destroy the breeding and hiding places to keep Pill bug populations under control. Get rid of piles of mulch, grass clippings, and leaves.
One can use Diatomaceous Earth to keep Pill Bugs away from Hostas. One can also spray Neem Oil on Hostas to keep Pill bugs away.
Cutworms on Hostas
On the fleshy leaves of Hosta, cutworms eat big, uneven holes. The holes are typically surrounded by veins due to the Hosta veins.
In the early spring, variegated cutworms start eating Hostas. They start to move around at night or on overcast days.
Get rid of the debris in the garden to keep Cutworms at bay because they hide in the leaf litter.
Control Cutworms on Hostas
To find the brown cutworms, rake the afflicted plants. You must pay close attention since they blend in well with the mulch when you do this.
Throw them into a pail of soapy water to mechanically control them after picking them off by hand.
On Cutworms, several slug baits appear to work. For molluscicide that can control Cutworms, carefully read the package.
Foliar Nematodes on Hostas
On Hosta leaves, microscopic roundworms called foliar nematodes reside, feed on Hostas, and grow and reproduce.
The plant’s roots are where these nematodes start their journey in the soil. The pests then use the vascular system to reach the leaves.
In June, you can observe yellow striations or islands on the leaves. Such yellow dots eventually turn brown. This suggests that the parasites are consuming foliage.
They feed on the leaves and quickly reproduce, eventually causing the leaves to fall off. In the leaf litter, the pests thrive and attack the new growth.
Hostas Foliar Nematode Control
Take off any yellow or brown leaves on your Hostas plants in the fall. Throw these leaves away instead of putting them in the compost.
When pruning the garden plants, observe the correct cultural customs.
Keep the leaves from getting moist. To avoid this, use a drip line or soaker hose.