What Animals Are Eating Your Blueberry Plants? (How to Stop Them)
You’re not the only one waiting for your blueberries to ripen on your homegrown bushes. Many pesky animals patiently await the opportunity to steal your precious blueberries.
What Animals Eat Blueberry Plants?
ANSWER: Many animals would delight in sneaking into your garden and feasting on your beautiful blueberries. Garden pests like:
- squirrels (to name a few).
We’ll investigate each of these suspects in detail below. We’ll explore how to identify them by the evidence they leave at the crime scene. And most importantly, we’ll examine methods for preventing future raids.
So embrace your inner Sherlock Holmes because we have a case to solve – the issue of your missing blueberries!
Do Deer Eat Blueberry Bushes?
First up on the suspects’ list is the majestic deer.
But don’t let their innocent appearance fool you. Deer are one of the most loathed garden pests for homeowners.
They are tenacious eaters, and a small herd of them can wipe out an entire garden in a single night.
Yes, that’s right – if your blueberry bushes disappear overnight, deer could be the culprits.
Ripe fruit and vegetables are a deer’s favorite – including blueberries, juicy green leaves, and tender new shoots.
Even though they look dainty, deer are not neat eaters. They tear and shred leaves from branches, leaving a trail of destruction. It’s almost as if a tornado has swept through the garden.
They will also leave hoof prints in soft soil and droppings as a present for the tasty meal they just indulged in.
How to Stop Deer from Eating Blueberry Bushes
Stopping deer from raiding your garden is no easy feat. Home gardeners have been in a constant tussle with deer, doing anything to keep them away from our crops.
The reason they are so hard to keep out is their agility. Deer are exceptional at jumping and can clear standard-sized fences in a single bound. To keep deer out of your garden, you would have to wall your garden inside 10-12 feet high barriers, which is understandably not very aesthetically appealing.
The good news is there are some organic ways to form a barrier.
Try spreading human hair clippings or bars of soap around your garden. The scent of soap and human hair scares the deer as they associate it with danger. And they will hopefully move on to feed in safer pastures.
There are commercial products available on Amazon that will help to form a perimeter, which come in the form of deer-repellent sprays or granules you spread around your garden.
Are Squirrels Eating My Blueberries?
Squirrels are a complete nuisance to home gardeners.
They are extremely smart little animals with the skills and talents that allow them to maneuver under, around, and over any obstacles.
If you have noticed squirrels bouncing around your house and yard, they have likely discovered your blueberry bushes.
Vegetables and fruits are a big part of squirrels’ water source, so they will eat whatever ticks their boxes in water and nutritional value. Unfortunately, blueberries tick all the right boxes for squirrels. Once they discover your blueberry bushes, they will continue checking for ripened berries every night.
The typical calling cards of squirrels are missing blueberries, with some half-eaten and discarded on the ground. They will also snack on the leaves and tender new growth.
How to Stop Squirrels Eating Your Blueberries
Ironically one of the best ways to keep squirrels from eating your blueberries is to feed them through a sacrificial garden.
It sounds counter-intuitive. However, squirrels are simply looking to survive. If you provide a steady food and water source, you can deter them from eating your crops and keep them happy and full.
This concept is not new and was developed in the 1970s by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren.
If you decide to follow this path, we recommend stationing the food and water source far away from your vegetables and fruit crops. This way, they won’t be enticed to explore other options to satiate their seemingly bottomless stomachs.
Do Rabbits Eat Blueberry Bushes?
Next up on the suspects’ list is the adorable rabbit.
A rabbit’s appetite is relentless and can cause a lot of damage to your garden – including blueberry bushes.
Wherever there are tender and fresh leaves and fruits, you can be guaranteed a rabbit will not be far away. They are a widespread pest for home gardeners and are extremely hard to keep out due to their ability to jump and dig.
One obvious giveaway that rabbits are sneaking into your blueberry bushes is most of the low-hanging berries and leaves will be missing. Rabbits are lazy and won’t trouble themselves with higher-up fruit. Instead, they’ll move on to the next food source at an easily accessible height.
You will also find their tell-tale round droppings around your garden and entrances to their burrows.
How to Prevent Rabbits from Eating Your Blueberries
Rabbits are ground-dwelling animals and are relatively easier to keep away from your plants. Installing rabbit cages around your blueberry patches will help to keep them out.
Another natural deterrent you can use to keep rabbits away is sprinkling some organic powders on the ground around your plants. You can use chili, talcum powder, and red pepper powder. The goal is for the rabbits to sniff the unappealing substances and move from your garden to greener pastures.
Some gardeners have reported that spreading human hair clippings around their plants has helped to keep rabbits away. When rabbits smell the human scent on the ground, it makes them nervous, and they move to safer areas (hopefully away from your garden).
Do Birds Eat Blueberries?
Yes – most definitely, yes!
Birds will perch above your berry patch and wait until you are out of sight before diving down and picking any ripe berries.
You would think the solution is simple – install bird netting. However, we’ve had first-hand experience with black Indian myna birds testing our nets for weak spots before lifting the catch with their beaks and sneaking underneath.
How to Stop Birds from Eating Your Blueberries
Scaring the birds away from your juicy blueberry bushes is the most effective form of protection in our experience.
Installing visual obstacles is one form of scare tactic you can employ. Old compact discs or DVDs tied to a string around your plants will make the hungry birds cautious.
Alternatively, owl statues at strategic points around the garden will also help to keep birds away. Just make sure to move the figures around every few weeks to give the impression that they are alive and still a threat.
Do Groundhogs Eat Blueberry Bushes?
Groundhogs are high up on the suspect’s list for your missing blueberries. They love to snack on ripe berries and will do anything to get to them.
They are excellent climbers and climb onto nearby obstacles to reach ripened blueberries. Alternatively, they will use their brute strength to pull the branches down if they can’t get the berries. Or even shake the bush to dislodge the berries.
You’ll know when a groundhog has been through your blueberry bushes because your garden will be in chaos. Like deer, groundhogs are not the neatest of eaters. They will bulldoze your plants to get to the fruits that are out of reach.
How to Prevent Groundhogs from Eat your Tomatoes
Groundhogs are difficult to control. They are terrific burrowers, which means fences will not defend against these troublesome creatures.
They are also quite strong, so keeping things out of their reach will be tricky since they’ll drag them down to their level.
Some gardeners swear that a sprinkling of Epsom salts at the entrance of their burrow will do the trick. While other gardeners say, castor oil has worked for them.
You can also try spreading human hair clippings around your plants to discourage them from approaching your tomatoes.
What Animals Eat Blueberries Plants – Closing Comments
Blueberries are a delicious snack that is favored by many common garden pests.
Identifying the culprits for your missing blueberries is not easy, but not impossible. By studying the evidence left behind at the crime scene, you can confidently narrow down the list of possible suspects.
Once you have identified your prime suspect, implement our suggested preventative measures to ensure they don’t strike again!
- Permaculture. (2022, September 12). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture