We're having a lot of trouble with rabbits eating all our plants. Any ideas? Thanks.
You may need to employ a variety of tactics to achieve success. If it repels rabbits, it should also deter gopher and woodchucks. Here are several ideas:
1. Fences: This is really the only foolproof method for protecting your garden from rabbits. Fencing should be 4 ft tall and extend at least 6 inches into the ground. Use metal wire with an inch mesh and you will keep them out.
2. Bloodmeal or bonemeal: This gives rabbits the impression hungry predators may be lurking nearby. Sprinkle this on top of the soil or fill cheesecloth bags and hang them from trees and shrubs.
3. Hair: Collect discarded human or pet hair and spread it around the perimeter of susceptible plants. Again, rabbits become leery that hungry predators may be in the vicinity.
4. Mason jars: Some gardeners swear that placing Mason jars in 3 foot intervals around the perimeter of your garden will keep rabbits out.
5. Vinegar and corncobs: Soak corncob halves in vinegar for 24 hours and place them around the garden. Save the leftover vinegar and resoak the corncobs every two weeks to keep rabbits at bay.
6. Powdered fox urine: This stuff may not sound very appealing to work with, but exploiting the rabbit's natural fear of the fox is a good strategy. Find this at your local garden center.
7. Tree guards: These are available in home and garden centers, but are easy to make yourself using foil, or window screen. Wrap the trunks of susceptible trees to a height of at least 2 ft above the deepest level of normal snowfall.
8. Try planting Mexican marigolds or garlic.
9. Rotten eggs: Blend 4 eggs, 4 cloves of garlic, 4 tbsp. of Tabasco with 4 cups of water. Allow this to ferment in the hot sun for a few days and then pour around susceptible plants. You may not be able to stand the smell, but neither will the rabbits. Reapply it rains.
Many commercial repellents are available in the form of sprays or powders. These work on the premise that rabbits won't eat something that tastes or smells bad, and usually contain garlic and/or cloves. You will find a wide variety of repellents at home centers and feed stores.
Although rabbits will eat anything (and everything) if food sources become scarce, some plants have been found to be less appealing to their pallet. Contact your local extension agency for recommendations on which rabbit-resistant trees, shrubs and plants grow best in your zone.
About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com
My domestic rabbits devour garlic leaves. It seems odd that they're being recommended to repel wild rabbits. (06/17/2008)
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