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Last year something thing ate my roses. Not just nibbled round the edges, but all the buds were chopped off clean, and the leaves gone or seriously demolished from the bud stalks down the stem.

It was all wet and sluggy last year so I thought it would be OK now. I just got back after 3 weeks away and it's happened again - but not so bad - yet. I thought that having placed a membrane and bark underneath the plants would have put slugs off.

Then I looked at Briggsy's post and wondered if it could be caterpillars - There aren't any to be seen though. I've had a careful look, and can't see slugs, aphids or anything else on the plants.

Not sure what to do next.

Are they tall roses and eaten all the way up? I mean could it be a pheasant or large bird reaching up from ground level or does the damage extend higher than that? 

Caterpillars could have been and gone in three weeks of course, or it might just have been a leaf cutter bee.


Thats interesting Waterbutts, thanks. Phesants do breed nearby, and the damage is sort of pheasant height. One of the roses is much taller - and the tops of that one are OK, but whatever it is, got the tall stuff last year too, and I haven't seen a pheasant for a while.

I never thought of caterpillars coming and going, I sort of imagined them moving in and staying there. I didn't see any bent leaves where caterpillars hatch from.

I hope it wasn't a bee. I don't mind declaring war on caterpillars, but I'd like to be nice to bees.

I'm keeping a careful watch now.

Could it be deer ?  Not sure if they eat roses but they're quite partial to most things !


My sister has one that eats all her plants !




We do get deer, but haven't seen them in a while. The buds are taken off so cleanly that's a possibility. I thought the deer were lovely when they were hanging out in the  jungle at the bottom of the garden. I'm not going to be so keen if they eat my roses!

We challenged some friends (and their small boy) to a giant pumpkin growing competition a couple of years ago, and won because slugs got their first planting, and deer ate the second. We grew enough to keep the kid occupied at halloween

Visitors at the moment are a green woodpecker (with very large juvenile), and a homing pigeon.



It sounds like deer. I've had a bad problem with them.

It could it be Sawfly, otherwise known as 'the rose skeletonizer' they munch away like termites until all you have left are the stalks!   try googling Endelomyia aethiops. They are very tiny and are camouflaged so you don't always see them.


These are some of my roses that the deer ate when we were away. They had been eaten in the garden so I dug them up and put them on the kitchen terrace in pots to rescue them as they were getting very poorly. At least the deer left a dropping so the mystery was solved. It doesn't come on the terrace when we are here, but there was a house sitter.


 It ate leaves and buds but not the old and going over flowers.


Thanks Meomye, I had a look on the web and it's not sawfly - they leaves are not damaged - they are just gone! I think BizzieLizzie and Chris7 have it - It does look like deer.

The leaves and buds/new roses are just gone. There is a lot of tender juicy new growth on some plants with nothing amiss, so it suspect some deer came just once and haven't been back for seconds.

There is some small scale insect damage on other leaves, but that's really minor and not like the main demolition job.

The rose bed is on the terrace so I suspect if we're home they'd have to be very bold to come up there. People partying outside is gogin to dissuade them too.

Actually, if they'd only eat the weeds I wouldn't mind growing some roses just for them!


A couple of days ago I had an aaaaaah moment when a small deer skipped down the drive, under the kitchen window and off down to the bottom of the garden. The next day I had a Grrrr! moment when I noticed my latest (gorgeous) roses (and buds) had been neatly beheaded.

It's definitely deer.


The deer has redeemed himself. We saw him eating bindweed .

Last year my wife and I  remade our rose garden from scratch as our Golden Wedding present to each other. It was beautiful but now some of the bushes are nearly dead. It is mostly enclosed so we have put gates on the entrances to keep out the deer but the bushes are still being eaten by something, from the top down, mainly leaves but some stalks too.One website suggested egg spray but we chose all our roses for fragrance and the smell of rotting eggs would keep us away, not only the deer. We should be so grateful for any help.


Deer cannot redeem themselves until they've learnt to eat ground elder, horsetail AND bindweed in sufficient quantities such that they all three become threatened species!


How tall is your fencing?  Have you seen how high deer can leap?


The fencing is 7 feet at its lowest with arches at intervals for easy access but we have temporarily blocked off the entrances. It seems to have made no difference. Our deer are roe deer. They visit most days, mainly in the evening but not exclusively. Any help would be much appreciated as we have poured effort, love and money into this project and the damage is most upsetting.

Singing Gardener

No idea if it works but I've just sprayed "Grazers" on my vegetable garden and greenhouse plants. It claims to be organic and to deter deer, rabbits and mice from eating the plants. My problem is voles rather then deer and it's too early to tell whether it is working but nothing has been eaten which was sprayed. (I do have traps in the greenhouse as well though).

Thank you for that. I'll try to get some and give it a try. We are feeling pretty despondent about the roses although we love seeing the deer, such graceful creatures.

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