E-mail - What To Do if Plants Partially Eaten

I got an E-mail from someone asking what to do: they had their plants eaten by something.  Since the plants were about an inch tall with 1-2 leaves left, I would say it is deer or more likely rabbits.  Deer tend to leave about a foot of most plants they eat.

The first thing you need to do is put a fence around the plants.  I have not known many people to have long term success with things like coyote pee or other sprays.  The problem is every time it rains they get diluted.  Feel free to try things like hot pepper spray from HTGSuply.com, but you will have to spray your plants every few days and after every rain.  If you have a few plants you can put stakes around all of them using chicken wire.  If you have an area that is less than 3-4 feet in diameter, I have found that deer will not jump into that. 
As for the plant, you want to baby the plants as much as possible, water them daily, and give them a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen.  I like Buddha grow myself. Nitrogen promotes plant growth.  Do not over do it!  Some people get the idea more is better, as I have stated previously, you want the best or optimal amount, too much nitrogen will lead to spindly weak plants that are susceptible to disease and will flower poorly or at all.

If your plants flower in mid-late summer, as soon as your plants start growing again, you will want to make sure the plants get phosphorus to promote flowering.  If you are growing a spring flowering plant, you might not get flowers until fall when the days shorten.  No matter what, you won’t get as large a yield as you would have if your plants had not been eaten, but you will get something for your troubles.

Good growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers

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