kkinwmaJanuary 30, 2011

My greatest gardening struggle is with the rabbits. If they would eat the lawn like they eat my gardens, we wouldn't need a lawn mower!

I've had luck with the Crow - motion activated, sprays water. That's if I remember to hook it up to the hose after I use the hose for something else, replace the battery, and keep moving it around all the time : )

I put fencing around the gardens at one point, but the gardens are scattered and rabbit fencing gave them a not-so-charming prison look. We have dogs and cats, but to keep them safe they're confined in a fenced yard - no help. I take the dogs out front to chase the rabbits, but they're back a few minutes after we go away.

The darn rabbits eat prickly things (roses, echinops ritro), sticky milky sap things (euphorobias), even outright poisonous things (monkshood, and no, there weren't any less rabbits after they got into that!). They even come up the walkway and climb up stairs to eat things in pots on the front porch.

I haven't found good lists of rabbit proof or rabbit resistant plants on line. If you've struggled with rabbits, please help - tell me what they've left alone for you! My lists follow.

My resolution this year is to just stop planting "Rabbit Candy" - the things that keep getting mowed to the ground - no matter how much I love them. For me, these include dianthus, baptisias, willows, dahlias, echinaceas, hollyhocks, lathryus vernus, violas, euphorbias, echinops, asters. And other stuff that just disappears and I forget about - these are the just ones I've stubbornly planted repeatedly :(

I get moderate rabbit damage in siberian iris, clematis, monkshoods, columbines, heleniums, tall phlox, roses, campanulas. These usually survive - in a stunted, coughing up blood and limping along kind of way.

The few things they haven't (yet) eaten for me include: peonies (herbaceous and tree), hostas, bearded iris, daylilies, catmints, lamb's ears, lady's mantle, coral bells, spring bulbs (daffs, snowdrops, etc), hollies, creeping phlox, alliums, amsonias, abelias. Luckily, there's a lot of great plants in this list.

What DON'T they eat for you? Forget designing for color, foliage, rhythym, etc. At this point I'm just aiming for "plants that are still there when you go outside the next day".


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My issue is more with the rabbits in the vegetable garden. 2 things that have helped 1) Pinwheels in the garden. I pretty much have outlined the whole veggie garden with foil pinwheels - every 2-3 feet is a pinwheel. The rabbits don't like them and stay away. 2) Clover. In the opposite side of the yard, we've seeded clover into the lawn. The bunnies love love love eating the clover, so tend to stay over there and away from the gardens.

Here is a link that might be useful: Photo of someone using a pinwheel in a garden

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 10:40AM
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spedigrees z4VT

Probably the clover and dandelions in our lawns are what keep the scores of bunnies we have from eating any of my garden plants.

The foxes used to exercise great rabbit control but since the nasty neighbors' dog killed the fox babies last year :-( and the parent foxes moved to safer areas, we've had major rabbit overpopulation. But they really don't bother my gardens so they don't bother me. I've gone out at dusk and at night to find a flock of them grazing together with my pony, who is obviously so used to them that she doesn't bat an eye.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 2:37PM
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Pixie Lou - interesting idea! I'll try pinwheels next to any surviving delicious things this year. Clover - how did you get that going? I tried overseeding portions of my lawn with it but didn't get good survival of the clover.

spedigrees - yes, at times we have foxes, and when we do we don't have rabbit problems just as you say. Maybe what I really need is fox attractant...h'mmmm...what would work for that (except a flock of free range chickens in the yard, I know that draws them in this neighborhood, to the chickens' detriment!)

thanks for your responses!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 1:14PM
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spedigrees z4VT

LOL Just don't get too attached to the chickens or too used to the eggs!

Do you use any sort of chemical weed control on your lawn? Because most herbicides are designed to kill broadleaf plants like clover, and that could be why you've had poor luck with the clover seed.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 2:08PM
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Here is a picture of some of my vegetable garden raised beds full of pinwheels. I've found that the metallic pinwheels do a better job of scaring the bunnies away. Yet you will also notice that I do not discriminate when it comes to pinwheels. I usually pick up 15-20 every spring if I can find them at the dollar store.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 9:35PM
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runktrun(z7a MA)

The only thing that I have found that works for bunnies is Bobbex R which is the same thing as the popular Bobbex for deer but stronger so in my mind it kills two birds with one stone. Just be prepared for the gagging rotten eggs odor while spraying but don't worry the odor won't linger for very long.
Perhaps it is all in my mind but I like to start spraying in early spring when new growth is just emerging so the critters get in the habit of going else where for their buffet.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bobbex

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 6:44AM
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I've just ordered 4 dozen metallic pinwheels online, so my yard will look like a festival soon! Fingers crossed that bunnies hate festivals...
Bobbex R will be the next step - there would be a lot of spraying to do and Runktrun's description of the smell is quite evocative.
I bought pansies this week and put the 6 packs on the front steps waiting to be planted - the rabbits ate all the flowers and lots of foliage off that night. I guess the rabbits all made it through the winter just fine : (


    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 9:35AM
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2 jack russels . they here a rabbit munching garden under the covers of your bed at 200'. Go back to bed they will spend the rest of the night trying to dig it out of the hole. If the first scafold in a fruit tree is 3' or less and 18" spacing after she will climb the tree for a squirll, coon or hedghog. deer they chase but stop at the property lines. We have walked the lines with them at least once a week for 5 years. We plant bush beans and carrots arround our gardens I think that is their favorite foods. run out at night with a flash lite and a .22 when a 35# cyot thinks it is going to eat a jacks beans. after 4 jacks I think they don't have a clew they are not the size of a Irish wolf hound.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 4:33PM
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My first three years in this house the rabbits were fat and happy dining on my perennials and taking naps on the lawn in broad daylight--no dogs in the neighborhood nor predators for bun-bun control. The first to move in was a Cooper's hawk and there have been hawks ever since, nesting in the trees behind my next door neighbor's house. The foxes arrived last year--I assume because I have an 80 ft. long row of mature blueberry bushes. They have a den on the far side of the row that's overrun with brambles. Last year they raised 3 pups and ate all the blueberries as well as mice, bunnies & other varmints. They're back again and I assume there will continue to be no rabbits. I just wish they'd get rid of the woodchuck & his pals. Last year we trapped and relocated a half dozen or more.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 6:27AM
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spedigrees z4VT

Oh what beautiful photos of your family of foxes! I miss ours.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 2:42PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b


Liquid Fence, rabbit and deer repellent. Works very well and it smells also. Don't be downwind of this stuff when you spray it on your plants.

Also Repellex is supposed to be introducing a systemic repellent on April 15th. Google Repellex. It uses DMSO in a pill form that you plant under your plant and it becomes non-tasty to all kinds of critters including voles.

Obviously, these are things you use on non-edibles only.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 12:18PM
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Progress report;

I've caved in and we will be fencing the front yard. May have to sell a kidney to afford it, but it'll be worth it : )

In the meantime, I have tried Pixie Lou's pinwheels- and they are working! I put them on a few beds that were getting hit hard. In two months, no damage on those beds. Plenty on other beds. I've ordered more pinwheels until we get the fence installed (it'll be an all summer project).

I've tried some sprays too, but these are large beds and I just can't predict what the darn rabbits will want to eat next, I can't spray everything, and I'm not good at remembering to reapply after rain.

The best pricing I found for pinwheels was at www.orientaltrading.com; I just ordered an additional 72 metallic pinwheels for less than $20, including shipping. It's not the look I had in mind for my yard, but the plants aren't getting buzz sawed...

Thank you, Pixie Lou, for saving my plants until the fence is completed!

Gardenweed, I'm very jealous of your foxes! I'd love to have them - I'm sure you'll have no rabbit problems!


    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 8:02PM
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