What's Eating My New Iceberg Roses

by Jim
(Yorba Linda, Ca)

QUESTION

I just re-landscaped my entire back yard removing old growth and old rose bushes that had been planted years before we moved in 13 years ago.

We live in Orange County where the weather is a constant 72% most of the year.

We elected to go with White Iceberg roses. (40 in total) We put in new soil with lavender in between the roses to give the ground some color.

Two days after completing the project, I went out front to see that the first rose planted in the front, in a bed raised by a wall, was completely eaten down to it's stems.

I put out snail bait and bought another rose. The next day, it was eaten and the bait looked un-touched?
The third day, I went to Osh and put together a chicken coop wire rig that wrapped around the hedge behind the rose bush thinking something that was living in that bush had to be eating the rose.

I secured the chicken wire on metal bars and hammered it into the ground, down to the soil line.
Nothing from that bush was going to be able to reach my roses without coming out from behind cover. The next morning, to my surprise, the rose was eaten down again!

I have no idea what is eating it or why it had never eaten any of the other roses I had in my garden for over 10 years. What is even more baffling is the fact that it is only this one rose in front is being eaten. The other 39 are all fine and un-touched?

I am thinking of giving up on a rose bush for this area and just going with lavender. What do you think?
What could be eating my rose? The root are intact so it is not a mole or gopher and we do not have deer in the area. We do have an occasional skunk, but why would it just eat the one bush?

Your thoughts please?

Thanks,

Jim

ANSWER
Hello Jim,
I do think it's an animal. Could be a rabbit or the skunk. If I were you, I would go out very early in the morning. You might catch the culprit in the act.
I don't know why your old roses weren't eaten, but it could be that this animal is new to your neighborhood.

Once the animal has taken a liking to a rose, it will come back for more. I recommend you scatter some mothballs, yes, mothballs around the ground. Wet them down a bit so the release real good odors.
A gardener in Arizona who was bothered by Javelines is using mothballs with great success.

It might just work on other animals. So go out and buy a bunch of mothballs to see if it works.
And please, get back here to report how how it's working.
Lots of gardeners are bothered with critters eating their rose bushes.
Mothballs is the best tip I have had in years.
Annelie

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