Rabbits -How To Pest Proof Your Garden
Did You Know?
Only about 7% of all rabbits live to be a year old,although sometimes it seems they are all living in your garden.Rabbits mate early and often,and they produce several litters each year ranging in number from four to seven. They do not hibernate and are usually active during the day. They are particularly destructive to young fruit trees,garden vegetables, and tulip leaves.
To protect fruit trees from rabbits,build a cylindrical fence of chicken wire or hardware cloth around the trunk, or you can purchase the perforated plastics strips which are available through seed catalogs or at you local garden center.They can be wound around the tree to a height of twenty-four inches and this make it difficult for the rabbits to make a meal on the bark.These protections for fruit trees will also discourage mice.
Fortunately, rabbits are timid creatures and are easily frightened. A toy snake or even an old piece of garden hose left in the garden will fool them,at least temporarily. A dog tied near the garden will keep rabbits away.If you have a cat that is a good hunter,this may eliminate them all together.Dried blood meal,is available at your local garden center,it is a good deterrent and is also very beneficial to the soil.It can be sprinkled near the plants.Some people dislike using it,saying it at attracts dogs.Powdered rock phosphate can also be tried.Just sprinkle it on the leaves of young plants.Chemical repellents on the market to keep animals away from ornamental plants should not be used on vegetables. Make sure you read the labels to find out what the ingredients are,and follow the directions carefully.It is possible to soak a clothesline in repellent and hang it from garden stakes a few inches from the ground,or stretch a line along your fence.
Other repellents,recommended by some gardeners,may or may not work on all of your rabbits,but you may want to try them. Moth balls or moth crystals should be used with caution,especially where children might play.I also would not recommend using them if you have asthma or other breathing or lung issues.And avoid using them close to your windows,especially if you like to leave them open.
You may also want to try scattering any of the following substances around tulips and young plants.Powdered aloe, tobacco dust,cayenne or black pepper, wood ashes or Cow manure.You may also want to try fish spray, rabbits dislike the odor of the fish.To make this spray to repel rabbits as well as insects,take three to four ounces of chopped garlic bulbs and soak in two tablespoons of mineral oil for one day.Dissolve one teaspoon of fish emulsion into one pint of water. Stir well. Strain the liquid and store in a glass container,as it reacts with metals. Dilute this,starting with one part to twenty parts of water,use as a spray.
Rabbits also dislike onions,so it may be a good idea to inter-plant onions with cabbage,lettuce,peas,and beans.Dusty miller(Cinerara diamond), is another attractive ornamental that rabbits do not like-which may discourage the rabbits.You should plant these plants early so they are thriving before your lettuce comes up.You may also want to bury soda,or wine bottles along the border with their tops about four inches above the ground.The theory is that the wind blowing across the openings makes a sound that either frightens the rabbits or hurts their ears so they will stay away.
How to build a rabbit fence
One of the best methods to keep rabbits out is to enclose the garden with poultry fence.Purchase 48 inch fencing and bury the lower ten inches.While few rabbits will burrow under a fence,by burying it you will keep the rabbits out and also other burrowing animals. You can also build cages to place over selected plants at the stage when the plants are most attractive to birds and other animals.Keep in mind that rabbit manure is a great beneficial fertilizer with high nitrogen,phosphorus, and potash content.Rabbit manure pellets can be used directly on a garden.Maybe you might consider a few rabbits of the same sex as pets.You will then have a steady supply of your own fertilizer. Happy Gardening.