Friday, December 11, 2009

Help! Rabbits Eating Everything! Help!

Please help me. Need practical advice. Rabbits have eaten most of a red chokeberry, and nibbled liberally on several viburnum. Do I chicken wire every shrub 4' high? The 2' snow drifts are giving them ample leverage to reach the branches of young 2-3' tall shrubs. Each shrub cost $30-$50 (multiply that by 8 for beaucoup pain). I've tried hot pepper wax, dry cow blood, and liquid fence. Will they hit the ninebarks and dogwoods next?

15 comments:

Michelle said...

Sorry, I don't have any good advice; just wanted to say I feel your pain. My hubby put up a fence around our veggies after the bunnies ate the first crops. For the ornamental things in the rest of the yard, I have chosen to veer towards plants that the bunnies don't eat. I think the local predators knocked down the bunny population for us, too. Good luck.

our friend Ben said...

Aaaarrgghhh, Benjamin! We don't have rabbit issues here. Not sure if it's because of the cats or because we and our neighbors all have dogs, but whatever the case, I've never had to protect a trunk (even on my baby fruit trees). But yes, in your case I'd put hardware cloth cylinders around every trunk, be it never so ugly and cumbersome. Come spring, you can take them off and enjoy your shrubs again instead of looking at girdled, dead, expensive kindling.

fairegarden said...

Yes, chicken wire, or bird netting helps too. How about frost cloth? A twofer.

Frances

Barbee' said...

A few years ago they ate my young Dogwood trees down to 1" nubs! We used circles of chicken wire pinned to the ground with U shaped pins we made by cutting up a roll of wire. We anchored them good, because I knew a hungry bunny would just push them over. Didn't look good, but they sprouted back and the trees are still out there - so far.

Les said...

Have you tried any of those predator urine based repellents?

mothernaturesgarden said...

You know how animals mark their territory?

Gary said...

Fence it, fence it, if you love it.. Fence it !!! I don't have the rabbit problem but I do have a really bad case of "DEER" and after trying everything it was fencing that has saved the plants. So from the last leaf drop to spring I have a garden of cages (LOL). - G

Benjamin Vogt said...

Thank you all, my dearest fellow garden bloggers. More chicken wie and fix pee it is. AND NOT MY OWN PEE (though that is the last option before the shotgun). Lots of shoveling to do around plants, fence buying, and staking.

janie said...

.410 works good.

Just kidding.

There is some stuff called 'Liquid Fence' that is an excellent deer repellent. It is also said to repel bunnies. It is not cheap, but would be worth a try to me. I have a dog, and several cats outdoors(we feed them, but they don't want petting, so we don't), so we don't have bunny problems. Possums, yes, and skunks too. I would almost rather have bunnies.

I was thinking that you could make a pepper spray, and try spraying the lower portions of your shrubs with that. It would be cost effective, if it works. Do bunnies like their shrubs hot and spicy, do you know?

James Golden said...

If you're a meat eater, your own pee works, and it's a lot cheaper than critter pee.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Feed rabbits! Give them something instead of your shrubs. Cook for them! Stop, what am I saying? They will bring families!

Randy Emmitt said...

I'd go with fencing. Our animals keep away the rabbits. Fencing is cheap and your best bet.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Janie--everythign you mention I've tried for two years and they don't work. I don't understand, either. This why I don't grow veggies: if I get attached to perennials that I don't eat, what will happen to the plants I do eat and count on for meals?
James--I'll fly you out here if you'll help me.
Tatyna--Don't want a colony here!
Randy--Tomorrow, after Vikings football, is chicken wire time.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

My problem with Liquid Fence is that I don't reapply it. I don't grow many shrubs, but planted a few this summer. I'll have to check to see if the rabbits are eating them.

Rose C. said...

I came across your post a while ago when I was having my own rabbit problem. They were eating me out of house and garden. A landscaper friend turned me onto a spray called defence that he uses, and so far, it's been amazing—way more effective than the homemade concoctions I used. I've tried Liquid Fence as well, but Defence lasts longer. So far, no rabbits this season!