What's eating my Sunflowers?

Asked July 1, 2018, 11:43 AM EDT

I have a few sunflowers that were doing well, but just now I looked at them and something seems to be eating them. The thing is, it doesn't seem like it's a bug pest. There are many whole leaves, with the stems seemingly fine, gone all over the plants. Whole leaves just gone leaving stems all over the plant, almost cut away. The leaves that are left seem healthy enough, no stipples or nibbles or any sign of a smaller pest. A few have chunks out of them, but it doesn't seem like normal bug eating. The undersides of the leaves look pristine. The plants are down by the road in a fairly urban/suburban area just a few blocks from downtown Bethesda. We do see deer sometimes come up a block or so away from Little Creek and the bike path, but the only time I've seen deer up this far, in my 21 years living here, is in winter when they seem more desperate for food. Any thoughts to what it may be? And if yes, what I can do about it?

Montgomery County Maryland wildlife deer pest - other

3 Responses

From what you describe, it sounds like deer browsing. Deer can be seen in suburban areas from time to time, and they may be found feeding at any time of the year, day or night. Your options would be to use repellants, scare devices, or fencing to protect your plants. Additional information about deer management can be found on the following pages of our website:

https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/deer

http://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/articles/FS810-A_UsingCommDeerReps.pdf

ckc

I think you’re right. As strange as it seems being in downtown Bethesda, the deer do visit. Here’s a picture my daughter took when she came home late one evening from work.