Asked May 11, 2015, 6:17 PM EDT

My Hydrangea bush is 3 years old, and the leaves and the beginning blooms were just coming out. The deer knocked down my fence, trampled it and ate every leaf on the bush (was about 4 feet wide) Will it come back or is it finished and needs replacement? Should I add fertilizer now to help? May 11

Beaufort County South Carolina horticulture

1 Response

Hi there!

Those darn deer always ruin a good garden party, don't they? I'd say to leave the plant in place, let it do its thing, and see if it'll put new growth on.

According to Clemson's HGIC fact sheet on Hydrangea (http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/landscape/shrubs/hgic1067.html), "Bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) responds to several light applications of fertilizer during the growing season. A general-purpose fertilizer, such as 10-10-10 applied at a rate of 2 cups per 100 square feet in March, May and July is suggested. It is not necessary to remove the mulch when fertilizing, but water soon after application to help dissolve the fertilizer and send it into the soil."

Good luck!