What's eating my raspberry bushes

by Michele
(Shelburne, MA, USA)

Any idea what might be stripping my raspberry plants bare? All the leaves have been eaten off, never had this problem before. The plant looks like a tomato plant does after a green horned tomato worm gets to it. Help!

Comments for What's eating my raspberry bushes

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Jul 10, 2012
I can relate
by: Steph

I have tried 2 years in a row now to grow a rasberry bush, and before it even gets the chance to grow an inch, the leaves disappear and dont come back. Does anyone know what kind of critter may be the culprit here? And how do we prevent this fron happening??

Aug 07, 2012
My Best Response from experience.
by: Anonymous

Squirrels or bears. Look at the footprint. It could also be chimpmunks, at worst skunks. What I do is stick those 10 inch skewers around each plant, time consuming, but well worth it. You can buy at hardware store. They are nothing more than a 10" tootpick. It does work for little critters, they don't get hurt, they just stay away. Also a fence and some garlic spray without the oil, water base. They smell confuses them. You can spray it all around. Next find out what they like to eat and put it out far away from your garden and they will leave your raspberries alone. They are just hungry. My friend lost his whole raspberry crop to a bear this summer. If it is a bear, you will surely know it.

Oct 02, 2012
by: Anonymous in Colorado

But there are no footprints! My raspberry bushes are in my back yard with a 6 foot fence all the way around. Every day I go out and look and more leaves are gone. I haven't seen any critters, large or small anywhere near them so maybe it is happening in the middle of the night? I have 4 large dogs so I don't think even critters that climb or burrow would be back there eating anything and like I said, no footprints. The bushes are fenced off so the dogs aren't getting in there either.

Oct 03, 2012
Who's that eating my raspberry leaves?
by: Huey

Could a little rabbit get through the fence maybe?

What about checking for beetles, slugs, grasshoppers, and even little miniature bugs? Use a magnifying glass in the daylight and really check. At night go out with a torch and see if there's anything around, big or tiny on or near your plants.

I'm curious myself, so hope you find the thieves.

Oct 03, 2012
missing leaves
by: Anonymous in Colorado

Well it isn't a rabbit, because they are eaten all the way to the top of 4 and 5 foot canes. Each leaf and the end of the cane is bitten off completey. No slugs or snails at 7000 ft in dry Colorado. Small animals would eat around the bottom and that isn't how it's done, individual branches have each leaf cleanly bitten off, no partial leaves eaten and no leaves on the ground. No visible critters at all during the day, thinking tonight I will have to go outside with a flashlight and see what there is out there. Wish I had an infrared surveillance camera, don't fancy sneaking around at night in 40 degree temps trying to figure out what's out there, lol.

Aug 14, 2013
Same thing here in north central New Mexico in mid August
by: Paul G

One day I'm watering and admiring some young healthy raspberry bushes, the next day I let out a gasp when I find that every single leaf had been ruthlessly consumed, and the tops of all the green canes cut down, just like yours. So sad to see it.

Whatever it was also took out some of the leaves on neighboring bean plants.

I'm also in a high dry climate of Taos, at 7000 ft.

Only thing I can think of is rabbits (my bushes are low), or a new black and white moth I've seen flying around the last 2 days. Never saw it before. So, there may be some correlation. I saw it flying around during the day, but no sign of any caterpillars.

Aug 14, 2013
I think my problem was a skunk
by: Anonymous

Shortly after I posted on this last year my dogs cornered a skunk in the backyard! Luckily no one got sprayed, my husband grabbed the dogs and pulled them away and the skunk scooted under the fence! I blocked up all the small holes under the fence and have had no problems this summer at all.

May 06, 2015
12 years but verry smart...!!!
by: Anonymous


May 09, 2015
rasberry leaves
by: Anonymous

The man that cuts my grass cut all the leaves off of my second year raspberry plants with his string trimmer.What do I do now?

Jun 14, 2015
OMG! My raspberries were attacked!
by: Shaleena

We have deer, raccoons, porcupines, squirrels, rabbits, that could have done this. Don't the thorns bother them? They have tons of blackberry bushes right there. I have wisteria loaded with leaves, why the raspberries? I have mine in very large black garbage cans. I was experimenting with being able to control, fertilizing, watering, pruning, and not have them spread all over the ground. I just wanted to try and cultivate them with some control in a small area. I guess I will have to put wire fencing around each one. I was stunned anything would eat something with thorns.

Jun 14, 2015
Raspberries are the sweetest
by: Cici

Pests go for the sweetest plants, so whatever else is growing nearby, such as blackberries, if the raspberry leaves or berries are sweeter, they are the ones that will get eaten first!

Jun 20, 2015
raspberry plant completely mowed down.
by: Anonymous

I have rabbits, squirrels, skunks, possums,and rodents in the vicinity,all of which I suspect could eat the leaves but my entire plants were eaten right to the ground.The odd thing is that this year,there are about a dozen feral cats all around the area which control all of the other pests. I am stumped

Jul 17, 2015
Im About To Grow Raspberries
by: Anonymous

Im going to grow raspberries.Can someone please tell me how to do it? I also want to grow strawberries and blackberries.If someone can help thats much appreciated.

Jul 17, 2015
Something to try
by: Anonymous

Could try growing nettles with the raspberries as a deterrent. If you have cats plant some catmint among them to encourage more visits by cats and marking of territory.

Jul 24, 2015
dug up raspberry bushes
by: Anonymous

We just planted two raspberry bushes 2 days ago..they were fine yesterday. Today they were completely dug out of the ground. Not ate. Just dug up, the one was completely moved. I see no footprints of any sort. I don't even see claw marks. ?? Any idea's. We have deer, squirrels, chipmunks and raccoons. I have never seen a skunk or bear...yet.

Jul 21, 2016
Animal eating raspberries
by: Anonymous

No one has mentioned turkeys! Wild turkeys can jump up in the air and eat the raspberries. They have been doing it to my bushes. My dog died and I desperately need a dog! we are trying a wire fence with the nylon netting on top of the fence! Hope it works!

Oct 23, 2016
Bet it's porcupine
by: Anonymous

We suddenly have a local porcupine and now attributte last spring and current raspberry cane and leaf destruction to it. Thinking two strand low electric fence of the sort we use to keep raccoons out of the sweet corn. From VT

Mar 08, 2017
New Brunswick
by: Leonard

I've been growing raspberries for years and it is a constant struggle with porcupines .We get 1/10th of what we should They come in the middle of the night and eat the new leaves or cut the cane off . I've live trapped , tried irish spring soap Trying pepper spray this year . If it doesn't work electric fence

Jun 15, 2017
Tops of plants gone
by: Gil

I live in NW PA and see most of my raspberry plants with the top leaves missing, same as CO and NM. Could it be deer? The plants are about 4'
tall and most of the damage
is around the periphery of the
raspberry patch.

Jul 26, 2017
How about the actual branches?
by: T

Hi, I live in CO too and have many bears/deer in my area. I would think that the bears would wait until the berries are ripe prior to consuming the leaves...

My problem though is not the leaves; something is eating the actual branches - stripping them of their (spiny) bark! -- They are not touching the leaves... And, they seem to only attack the branches that have raspberries growing on them... The branches without any berries are left to live...

Any pearls of wisdom?


Oct 23, 2017
Eaten raspberry bushes
by: Bob

I had dear trouble one year, but a double fence has fixed that, so that could help some of you.

First things first, identify the culprit! It would certainly pay to install some sort of security, like a surveillance camera, they are cheap enough. Or perhaps put a dog, and kennel out near raspberries and hope it would deter culprits.

May 28, 2018
Neighbor has a pig!
by: Anonymous

Sounds like pigs could eat raspberry bushes. My neighbor lets her full grown (not pot bellied) pig out of her pen & lets her roam without a leash.
Should I be worried?
How do I protect my raspberries, rhubarb & new trees?

May 31, 2018
Pigs and raspberries
by: Summer

Lock the neighbor in the pig pen? Seriously, it's not fair if the pig roams onto your place. Hope it won't touch the raspberries!

Jun 30, 2018
Porcupine ate my raspberries
by: Anonymous

For the past 3 years something has been trampling my raspberry patch and eating the stems, breaking them at about 1 foot high, eating the leaves and generally demolishing them . I thought it was deer but when I went out in the middle of the night just now there was a very fat porcupine chomping away. He was in no hurry to leave but did after I shined the flashlight on him.

Jul 22, 2020
by: Anonymous

3rd year in a row, extensive damage to raspberry canes from porcupines. They climb the fence, plop in, pull canes dow mn to eat the tops off.

May 08, 2021
Rasberry canes
by: CathyAnonymous

My rasberry canes are being eaten and broken off by some animal/animals. We have porcupines her as they have destroyed other trees. What can I use to deter them.

Jun 19, 2021
Getting my canes too
by: Anonymous

I’m also in Colorado, 6000 feet, raspberries look like horn worms have eaten the top half, also gone after random plants in the veg garden. I’m guessing raccoons but why just the top half? Could be bear but the patch isn’t trampled and there are no berries yet. There are easier places to get food. All plants under stress from heat and dry but that doesn’t explain location. At least I’m not the only one facing this. If I find the culprit I’ll post here

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