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Old 08-04-2009, 09:39 PM
Location: NJ
2,520 posts, read 5,394,804 times
Reputation: 1368


My wife planted several sunflower plants. Within a couple days something began to eat all the leaves as well as the yellow flower petals. Needless to say the plants are now all dead. What animals could be eating these? I have noticed a groundhog and a possum walking through our neighbor's yard a few times. Do these animals eat sunflower leaves? We have other flowers directly next to the sunflowers and they are untouched. I tried a spray that has a scent that is supposed to deter animals but it made no difference. Just attracted some flies for a couple days.
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Old 08-05-2009, 05:57 AM
5,014 posts, read 10,001,935 times
Reputation: 3351
I bet it's slugs. I have tried numerous times growing sunflowers, and I can only get them to grow if I routinely put an organic slug deterrent down around them. Slugs are awful, they will eat the plant down to the roots. They have eaten all my petunias and zinnias this year, too. Another flower they love is marigolds. Some flowers they don't touch at all. Do you see any kind of silvery/shiny spots on what's left of the plants?
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Old 08-05-2009, 01:56 PM
Location: Florida (SW)
35,347 posts, read 13,732,948 times
Reputation: 45087
my sunflowers have been attacked by squirrels who climb the stalk and start to eat the immature flower for the seeds....they also bite the stalk in half to get the flowers if the plant wont support their weight......I havent seen them eat the leaves.....they have destroyed more than 8 of my plants.
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Old 08-05-2009, 04:04 PM
1,142 posts, read 1,862,204 times
Reputation: 443
I bet it is squirrels and also we have skunks and racoons who eat the seed and will climp for the plant. I never plant any sunflowers because I have MANY comming up everywhere and I let them do so . The birds drop them everywhere from the feeders
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Old 08-05-2009, 04:42 PM
Location: Central New Jersey
238 posts, read 777,227 times
Reputation: 92
My husband and I had to fence our property because deer were biting off the buds of most of our flowering plants.
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Old 06-20-2010, 09:15 AM
4 posts, read 40,854 times
Reputation: 24
I just saw the culprit that was destoying my sunflowers. I noticed a couple weeks ago that the 4-5 foot non mature stalks were bent in half, half way up and originally thought it was from the heavy rains knocking them over. Well, I walked out today and saw a "HUGE" fat 20+ lb groundhog running away. That sucker bent down 4 and completely chewed through the base of the biggest one like a beaver, because it couldn't bend it over to get the leaves.

This was the first year I planted them and without a fence I would say those are a no go in the future.
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Old 06-20-2010, 09:53 AM
15,989 posts, read 11,126,950 times
Reputation: 8272
I'll bet it's may beetles. Go out tonite with a flashlight and check, they only feed at night.
- had the same situation.a few years ago with my teddy bear sunflowers- then I started digging around the base of the flowers while digging out some weeds, and there were literally hundreds of them dug into the soil nearby.
This year the slugs ate them all before the beetles even had a chance

edited to add: i used to catch the little buggers by the handfuls and drown them in a cup of water- i can tell you that they can tread water really well, at least some of them were still kicking the next morning

Last edited by uggabugga; 06-20-2010 at 10:40 AM..
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Old 06-20-2010, 11:28 AM
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
32,057 posts, read 26,122,206 times
Reputation: 38591
that is the grossest picture I have ever seen!!!!

I too have lost sunflowers to deer. But I'll keep trying all the various remedies I see on this forum Why are we so stubborn? cause we love gardening I guess.
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Old 06-20-2010, 07:50 PM
15,989 posts, read 11,126,950 times
Reputation: 8272
Yeah it is pretty gross. But digging up and drowning all those hungry beetles ended up saving the remaining sunflowers so it was worth the trouble, imo.
I agree with you that we sometimes put a rather ridiculous amount of money and labor into gardening, tho. If most home gardeners were to sell you, for instance, a tomato that actually reflected the time and labor that went onto producing it, you'd never pay what they were asking for it..
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Old 06-20-2010, 08:09 PM
Location: Two Rivers, Wisconsin
8,898 posts, read 7,920,756 times
Reputation: 11049
Hmmm, interesting reading! I've had a few marigolds where all that is left is the flower plus my neighbor has all the leaves off her columbines, too and my money is on the slugs!
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