Are squirrels hurting or helping my rhododendron?

by Pamela

I have a rhododendron in my backyard, next to or around several pine trees. I have seen squirrels grabbing clusters of leaves off the rhodi bush, they are coming back time and time again, like 7-10 times !!! I know they are using it to make their nests. I am wondering are they harming my plant or are they actually helping it by pruning it ?

  5 answers
  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Dec 10, 2018

    Hi Pamela,

    Could be either,

    If the leaves are green and are being removed by the squirrels they are up to no good and damaging your rhodo. The leaves are needed for photosynthesis.

    If it is in the dormant state, the leaves become dry and are expected to drop, so they are available for other uses.

    Best to you.

    • Pamela Pamela on Dec 10, 2018

      Thanks, for answering.. The leaves are still green , but dropping in the cold weather...I guess I will have to wait until next year to find out.

    • See 1 previous
    • Lynn Sorrell Lynn Sorrell on Dec 10, 2018

      Yes Mother Nature works things out. Do as Naomi says they like burlap, I've heard of putting the items in area where they are collecting so they'll take that instead(maybe) I think they might use the leaves as source of food during hibernation(not all squirrels hibernate)when they cannot get out to get food in heavy snows & in spring the buds for babies in nest.

  • Barbara Lloyd Barbara Lloyd on Dec 10, 2018

    Probably neither. Squirrels have no interest in them.

    • See 2 previous
    • Pamela Pamela on Dec 10, 2018

      Thanks for answering..I have no problem with the squirrels eating the buds or bark , thank goodness!!! A few people mentioned leaving scrap material out for them, I think I will try it, might be fun to watch !

  • Give the squirrels something to nest with. Scraps of fabric, cut up old dish towels, etc. If they are nesting they will grab it. So will the birds so be prepared.

  • Oliva Oliva on Dec 10, 2018

    Spray your rhododendrens with Liquid Fence Concentrate to keep squirrels away, or spray with garlic spray. Squirrels will gain entry to your attic if not discouraged. Trim any branches near your home, and note that they are capable of easily scaling textured brick.

    • See 1 previous
    • Oliva Oliva on Dec 11, 2018

      Hi, Pamela,

      You can also purchase hot pepper sauce spray to deter squirrels.

      The predator urines have mixed reviews, so I'd try a small sized bottle, first.