July 2018

Cute Critters, But . . .

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Photo by Diana L. Ferrari

An inquisitive bunny sits up to smell – and perhaps nibble – the flowers.

Rabbits are cute critters but they certainly can, and frequently do, create havoc in a garden. A gardener may need to be proactive in deterring these small mammals from gnawing on tender and not-so-tender plants.

Hmmm . . . I could hardly believe my eyes. When gazing out of our kitchen window I spied a rabbit munching intensely on our beloved rose bushes. I’ve scattered diced Irish Spring soap under plantings for a strong-scented deterrent but it only works for a short time. Clapping my hands, shouting and banging kitchen utensils together doesn’t faze “Bugs Bunny” a bit. So, now I no longer make a spectacle of myself.

As with most rodents and even deer, fencing is one of the best ways to prevent rabbits from getting into one’s garden. You can protect individual young plants by creating mini fences, encircling them around your young trees, shrubs or vegetable plants. Use mesh, such as chicken wire, with no more than a half-inch opening. For more mature plants, you’ll need to build a fence at least two-feet high, buried five or six inches deep.

Keep in mind that rabbits like to nest and may choose to locate in comfy shrubbery. Remove low-lying branches from shrubs. Thin out or remove dense vegetation.

P. Allen Smith has the following to say about blood meal: “At the farm we often use blood meal to deter rabbits from having a feast or making a home in the gardens. Rabbits are plant-eaters, so the scent of blood meal will usually send them running. Blood meal is high in nitrogen and will need to be re-applied every 7 to 14 days.”

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