Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

What Animal Would Eat Rhubarb Out of the Garden?

...
Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Rhubarb stalks contain oxalic acid, which is toxic when eaten in large amounts. Most animals avoid rhubarb, but hungry animals will eat almost anything. Use a process of elimination to identify the animal eating your rhubarb and then take action to protect young, tender stalks.

Insect Pests

Rhubarb doesn't have a lot of insect pests, but the two most common ones are rhubarb curculio, or rusty snout beetle, and slugs. Black spots on the stems of the plants indicate rhubarb curcolio; jagged holes indicate slug or snail activity. Control the beetles with rotenone or pick them off by hand. Set out slug traps if slugs are destroying the rhubarb.

  • Rhubarb stalks contain oxalic acid, which is toxic when eaten in large amounts.
  • Most animals avoid rhubarb, but hungry animals will eat almost anything.

Furry Friends

Deer are the most likely grazers and will eat rhubarb down to the ground. They generally only bother the rhubarb in the early spring, when other food sources are scarce. Raccoons may also occasionally eat rhubarb. Cows and sheep will graze on wild rhubarb in fields, but in a home landscape, this shouldn't be a problem.

Control

The simplest way to keep marauding deer and raccoons out of the rhubarb is to build a wooden frame that fits over the rhubarb plant. Cover the frame with 1/2 inch chicken wire. Secure the frame at the base with landscaping pins so the deer can't knock it over. Other options include commercial deer repellents or scare tactics, like motion-sensing lights. A protective family dog can also deter pests.

  • Deer are the most likely grazers and will eat rhubarb down to the ground.
  • The simplest way to keep marauding deer and raccoons out of the rhubarb is to build a wooden frame that fits over the rhubarb plant.

Toxicity

Symptoms of rhubarb poisoning in grazing animals include diarrhea, depression, trembling, and drinking and urinating more frequently. Animals are rarely poisoned by consuming small amounts of leaves, but in large amounts, rhubarb leaves can cause kidney failure and even death. Ensure that young children and household pets don't consume the leaves.

Related Articles

How to Grow Rhubarb
How to Grow Rhubarb
How to Use Dog Hair to Keep Rabbits Out of Your Garden
How to Use Dog Hair to Keep Rabbits Out of Your Garden
Will Deer Eat Tomato Plants?
Will Deer Eat Tomato Plants?
Do Deer Eat Zinnias or Gerber Daisies?
Do Deer Eat Zinnias or Gerber Daisies?
How to Transplant Allium
How to Transplant Allium
How to Keep Chipmunks Away From My Tomato Plants
How to Keep Chipmunks Away From My Tomato Plants
Are Basil Plants Poisonous to Cats?
Are Basil Plants Poisonous to Cats?
Are Raspberry Plants Poisonous to Dogs?
Are Raspberry Plants Poisonous to Dogs?
Hostas Care & Feeding
Hostas Care & Feeding
How to Plant Asparagus Roots
How to Plant Asparagus Roots
Are There Other Plants That Look Like Rhubarb?
Are There Other Plants That Look Like Rhubarb?
Flowers That Rabbits Don't Eat
Flowers That Rabbits Don't Eat
What Is Eating My Hostas?
What Is Eating My Hostas?
The Average Height of Vegetable Plants
The Average Height of Vegetable Plants
Common Pests for Collard Greens
Common Pests for Collard Greens
What Insects Attack Tomato Plants?
What Insects Attack Tomato Plants?
How to Plant Rhubarb in Containers
How to Plant Rhubarb in Containers
When Should You Pick Rhubarb?
When Should You Pick Rhubarb?
Care for Foxglove Plants
Care for Foxglove Plants
Garden Guides
×