Saturday, February 7, 2009

D**N F***ing !#%#%&^ RABBITS!!!!!!!

I've invested pretty substantially in shrubs. I don't want an all perennial garden that looks like crap (flat and blah) until July.

But the rabbits are eating everything beneath 12-18", and since most of my shrubs are 2-3 feet tall at most in their young lives, I'm losing at least a whole growing season, if not more, with dozens and dozens of nicely clipped off stems. And buds on those stems. (And just how lopsided or top heavy will these shrubs now grow?)

Dogwood. Chokeberry. Clethra. Viburnum. And, most pissing-me-off-the-mostest, the 'Trost's Dwarf' weeping white birch. I'd say 75% of this very very small tree / shrub are gone. The thing has a few longer stems up top, about 2' off the ground, but every stem beneath is GONE. Like 20 stems. GONE. Do you know how hard it is to find this shrub? How cool it is? How pricey it is? That, amazingly, I got it for $1 at a RICULOUS plant sale while visiting my mom last summer because someone upstairs liked me at that moment?

Pepper spray appears not to be working. Suggestions?????????? Does anything withstand snow / rain / cold for longer than a day? Liquid Fence? Plantskydd?

I thought I'd enjoy the 65 degrees today. Nope.


Sarah O. said...

I am more fortunate than you, in that I can enjoy rabbits from October to March, and then pick up with the hate in April. I know the only thing that works for us is chickenwire fencing. We make loops of fencing about 12 to 18" high and circle it around the plant. It is not attractive, but the perennials hide them a bit. The bunnies sometimes stand on their hind legs to nibble the branches beyond the "fence," but at least they can't munch it down to nothing. And of course, it's only really practical for small shrubs, since you can't really fence a 6 foot diameter shrub. This is probably not helpful at all, but what really is, when you're up against fiends from the Leporidae family? GOOD LUCK.

James Golden said...

Are you sure it's not a groundhog? I have rabbits and they don't do that to me, but groundhogs do. I sympathize, having had deer eat down my garden.

Unknown said...

A dog? I don't have problems with rabbits or anything else, but I'm quite sure the Attack Donkey from Mars is not responsible for deterring rabbits, just coyotes and deer.

Les said...

I've got some recipes for rabbit. It won't prevent the damage, but it will make you feel better.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the damage to your shrubs. My dogs have been a good deterent to rabbits in the garden.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Sarah O.--I don't think I could stand fencing, for a number of reasons (work, ugliness). I may hire local feral cats. We have a few now and again, partciularly late at night scratching on the welcome mat.
James--I guess I've only seen rabbits around, but have not seen them eating my shrubs. Wouldn't groundhogs leave other evidence, or am I misinformed? Holes?
Jodi--Oh, I probably like dogs less than rabbits, alas. I'm in trouble.
Les--I'd be willing to eat rabbit--never had it before. Hmmm.
PG--I'd let my cats out to do the job, if it weren't for the large hawks we have perching on trees nearby. VERY large hawks.

Piondröm said...

We have the same problem in our garden here in Sweden.
For some years ago the rabits eat and get veru big damage on our shrubs and trees.
Nowdays we allways get a fens aroud every singel plant on the winter, it is much work but it works for us.

Anonymous said...

I, too, was going to suggest a dog...until I read your response above to Jodi. Rabbits fear Stanley (and the stories I could tell, at least when I first moved in, are a bit gruesome).

Good luck.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Pam--I don't like hearing dogs howling at each other, unaatended, at 1am as I'm trying to sleep, so wouldn't wish it on me worst enemy. I woory about new neighbors and if they'll have a dog that'll bark it's head off on the other side of the fence as I garden, thus ruining the experience. Will they leave it outside all day while their at work so it won't poop in the house? BARK BARK BARK BANG.

Kylee Baumle said...

Ben, I feel your pain. Those %&*#%*^$ rabbits live here, too. Two years ago, it was my dwarf fothergilla. Right down to the ground. I was sure it was a goner, but incredibly, it came back.

Hubby puts half-barrels around the smaller things now, that he gets from work. (A full plastic barrel that he cuts in half and both halves have their closed end cut off.)

We have cats, which keep the rabbits away in the warmer days, but in the dead of winter, they tend to stay inside the garage or pool house and the rabbits go to town.

The worst thing is...the buggers don't even eat stuff. It's like they're deliberate vandals.

Kylee Baumle said...

Oh...forgot to mention that one spring we had deer and I happened to get lucky enough to find PlantSkydd for 75% off at Meijer. This stuff DOES withstand rain. We sprayed it on our wood fence and several months later, it was still there. It does stain the wood (it's blood, after all), but that eventually went away and we sprayed it on the outside of the fencing anyway, so no big deal.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Kylee--I've finally been trying their pellets, also supposed to last for many months, and so far nothing has been touched. I really don't want to create artifical barriers, so I hope this stuff works come spring with all that yummy new growth.