Rabbit Problema with Blue Fescue ('Elijah Blue') Plants

jerry_dAugust 24, 2007

This spring I planted 9 clumps of Elijah Blue grass in the front of my small townhouse garden. To say the least, I was not happy that the local rabbits immediately "trimmed" them. Over the summer, I have repeatedly sprayed the plants with Liquid Fence and Shot Gun repellents and then bought garlic spikes which I inserted in the middle of each clump. This seemed to work for awhile and grasses recovered and started to have nice spikey clumps again. But now the rabbits are back again and are ruining the clumps. I had no idea that rabbits would bother ornamental grasses or I would have never planted Elijah Blue plants. I also have quite a number of rose bushes in my garden that I have to protect with chicken wire. But I don't want to put wire around these grases that are at the front of the garden. Any suggestions on how to keep the rabbits away from these grasses. Otherwise, I will have to replace with something that rabbits don't eat...

Any suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks.


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Sorry to hear the rabbits like that little grass and all the trouble they are giving you. I have another interest because I have been nursing some small clumps from seed. I've never had this grass before but love messing around with color and leaf contrasts in some of our plantings. I can also really relate with rabbits and the dreaded chicken wire wraps. Always wrapping any tree saplings and very young shrubs. IMO one of the worst, "wake-up call", gardening event is bringing a tree, etc. along from bare root or 3-4" pot then finding it snipped off clean and just lying there. An up-swell of fox and coyote has lowered their numbers. I will not keep my Elijah Blue in chicken wire. Mu..st ma..ke aaa stan..d uhh.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 3:34AM
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Sorry, back again. Try a hot pepper spray like cayenne. You can mix up the spices yourself (cheap) with water and by a few one dollar plastic bottle sprayers. It clogs the spray nozzle after just a few uses. Try spraying a little on the grasses, then liberally around the plant too for a "fence" effect. It worked for me on other plants, with the rabbits getting a nose clearing message and it way less harmful to the plants, if harmful at all. Hope it helps.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 4:00AM
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I can't relate to the rabbit issues, but we do have to deal with the squirrels digging up our bulbs and hostas.

I read the following on a Fernlea growers newsletter, but can't verify the results...

"If it seems that all hope is lost this fall and the rabbits seem to rule your garden - think again! While there's no guarantee to their effectiveness, here's a rabbit deterrent from my neighbor that she says works for her! (the grass is always greenerÂ!)

How to make Bunny Juice: Let 4 cloves of garlic and 1 oz of mineral oil soak for 24 hours. In a separate container, mix 16 ounces of water, 1 tsp. fish emulsion & 1 tbsp. of vegetable-based soap. Combine all ingredients, straining the garlic out and store in a glass container with a good seal. The mixture should last a few months. Use by mixing 2 tbsp of Bunny Juice with 1 pint of water and spray on areas where bunnies tend to nibble."

Here is a link that might be useful: Newsletter

    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 9:40AM
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lagrangeny(z6 NY)

Jerry !!!
Don't get rid of your OG's !!!
Rabbits & Groundhogs are both annoying rascals. Here's how to "get'em"... Get about 6 or 7 tomatoes and put alot of sugar on them; and put them about 15 feet from their favorite hole. The rabbits will almost immediately be attracted to the feast; then you can shoot them all. If there are zoning regulations against shooting in your locale - shoot them at night when the neighbors are asleep. Most will not 'get up to see what was shot' if the next day is a workday.
I have a shed.
I used to have rabbit problems under my shed.
No rabbit problem anymore.
If you have a shed with rabbit problems or other varmits living under it. You and your friend should spook them out and quickly hammer up some lattice all around the shed; you could often take a peek through the lattice to see if those annoying animals have burrowed under the latticework and might be back under the shed. May not want to shoot them while they are under the shed, they may be stuck and too far or too heavy to pull out quickly and if you couldn't pull them out in a reasonable time the smell would be quite powerful and could ruin your summer outdoors.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 9:12PM
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This juice doesn't affect the plants? I am going to try it tomorrow because two of my grasses were eaten down last night. Does it deter deer? I am not sure what is eating my grasses.

Thanks - Carrie

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 10:11PM
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rivers1202(Z8a South Carolina)

BBQ skewers -- you can buy them at Wal-Mart or most hardware stores. I'm talking about the wood skewers with sharp points on one end, not the metal skewers. I've used them to keep all sorts of critters away from my plants. Birds were recently stripping a newly-planted clump of Ponytail grass in my xeric bed. (using it for nesting material, I suppose) I surrounded it with the wood skewers and now the grass is filling out again...birds learned quickly not to risk getting poked by the skewers.

A pack of 100 costs about a dollar at Wal-Mart. The skewers are also effective at keeping stray cats, squirrels, etc., out of your garden. It only takes getting poked one time, and they learn to avoid the area. Once you notice they haven't visited your garden in a while, and it has remained damage-free, you can remove the skewers.

Just insert the skewers closely together into the ground, pointy side up, forming a ring around whatever plants you'd like to protect. Make sure they're close enough to the plant to keep animals from getting inside the ring of skewers....you want to make sure that they can't get to the plant without getting poked. Pain is a good deterrent.

It sounds cruel, but the skewers I've placed in my yard haven't done serious harm to any animal yet. My yard is full of pine trees and, consequently, squirrels. Yet I don't have a problem with them digging up bulbs or any other plants.....they don't want to get poked and they've learned to stay the heck outta my beds.

Now this is supposing that you don't have any small children that might play around the area where you'll be using the skewers. If there will be children present, then I wouldn't advise using the skewers. You don't want a child getting stuck by one of those things. I've accidentally poked myself a few times with them - they hurt and they DO draw blood.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2007 at 2:04AM
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good info, rivers - definitely will run out today and buy some - but wondered, although I could probably use my common sense - how many inches are up - of course I guess that depends on the plant - but would five inches up be enough to deter rabbits or should I put the skewer down deeper?

Thanks - Carrie

    Bookmark   September 12, 2007 at 9:43AM
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rivers1202(Z8a South Carolina)

Hi, Carrie. You'd place the skewers so that the pointy tips are high enough to poke the rabbits if they try to munch on your grasses....5 inches should be fine for your Fescue. I normally would never think of using such a thing to keep animals out of my garden, but after stray cats destroyed 3 clumps of pink muhly grass I'd lovingly tended up to bloom time, and birds began picking apart my ponytail grass, I reached my boiling point. It's a cheap deterrent and has worked fine in my situation.

I hope this technique works out well for you.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2007 at 9:24AM
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Renee - I went out last night and bought 300 sticks and I should really buy more since I have a lot of borders. I am only afraid my own cats will run through my yard/garden by mistake (they usually walk on the paths believe it or not) and poke themselves. They don't bother my flowers, but there is a stray bunny who comes over every once in a while and has chewed my fescue clumps right down. So annoying!

Thanks - going to "poke" them in right now.


    Bookmark   September 13, 2007 at 12:22PM
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rivers1202(Z8a South Carolina)

Carrie - your cats should be fine, even if they do have a run-in with the skewers. Cats will investigate every little "new" thing that shows up in their environment. Their investigation almost always includes an initial sniff test, then a bump with the nose or paw....and that's where they'll get poked, if they get poked at all...the nose. It won't cause them any great injury, but will be enough to permanently satisfy their curiousity.

Take Care

    Bookmark   September 14, 2007 at 12:09AM
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