rabbits ? and roses

glorybe(z3 alta can)February 10, 2006

It appears Bugs has nibbled the tops off my one & only as well as first rose bush. Will it live to bloom again? Is this natural pruning at work? Should I put a chickenfence around it and risk offending the innocent chickens? Help please

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hansa(z7 E.TN)

Hi glorybe... Are you saying that a "rabbit" has chewed off the top of your rose bush? If it was a Bugs Bunny, try putting blood meal around the plant. Not ON the plant... just the ground. The little critters, in the rodent family don't like the stuff and it would be a fertilizer for the rose. Just sprinkle a some around the plant, only on the ground, though... far enough out from it so the bunny would have to get into it to do anymore nibbling. If you still have some terminal buds, on the main stem, or any canes, above the graft (if it was a tea rose), you should get more canes coming out in the spring. If new canes come out from beneath the graft, but not above it, those below-graft canes are from the old rose stock that the tea rose was grafted on. Perhaps the bunny was just hungry, if you have a lot of snow, your rose was an easy meal. Some roses have a fruity smell. Roses ARE herbs, afterall. If that was the case, I would just go to a Co-op, or someplace where you can buy a bale of alfalfa (best choice), or at least a bale of hay.... "Bugs" is just hungry. Place the bale somewhere that Bugs can smell it. I was losing the tops of my white petunias one year and finally caught the little culprit in the 'act'. It was a groundhog. He only prefered the white ones and could clean out an area in a VERY short time. I called a nursery for some answers. They said that I could poison it. "GOSH, NO! I said... Just wanted to keep it off my white petunias." They said to put the Blood Meal (dried blood) around the petunias and on the ground. It comes in bags at any garden shop. They said that the rodent family (which rabbits and groundhogs are in) don't like the smell. Well, it worked great. The little 'hoggie' went somewhere else for his lunch. Good Luck and enjoy your roses. (I used to have 60 bushes, when I still lived in MI... zone 5.) Oh.... if your plant wasn't a grafted one, as long as there is some top left, other canes should still be able to come out. Roses can be pretty hardy, especially the old fashioned ones. Let us know how you make out.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 9:55PM
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glorybe(z3 alta can)

Thanx for the tip. I have used blood meal for squirrels and still have some so I can put some on today.I don't know for sure it's a rabbit it also could be a weasle but I bet the blood meal will work for them too.I just found my lilac was also nibbled 2of 3 terminal buds .Hopefully it's hardie enough to push some new ones up.We have no snow in calgary area so I think the plants are just too handy and as you suggest and smell good.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2006 at 11:34AM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

A rabbit nibbled the ends of my Champlain Explorer rose too. They will eat roses if they can get them. I winter protect all my other roses with cardboard, insulation and burlap so the rabbits can't get to them. An easy fix would be to wrap some burlap around your rose bush next winter. It won't be hard with just one rose. My policy with rabbits is not to feed them (you will get a population explosion) and not to go out of my way to kill them, just make their food unavailable in my garden. They will usually go somewhere else.

BTW it won't be a weasel as they are carnivores. And your rose will probably be fine if it was just nibbled a bit.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2006 at 2:17PM
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tenor_peggy(10 FL, N. Fort Myers)

Don't get me started on rabbits. They will 'prune' roses year round. It depends upon what kind of rose you are talking about if it will bloom this year. If it is a once blooming or species rose (besides a species rugosa) it probably won't flower very well this year. I found the only way to keep Bugs from nibbling was a physical barrier. Blood meal will have to be reapplied every time it rains. Chicken wire works but it eventually rusts. A fella in my old rose society back up north uses pliable green coated wire fencing around his roses. This stuff is easy to work with, won't scratch you and looks a heck of lot better than chicken wire.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2006 at 1:50PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

We have a rabbit warren down below us in the bush by the river. We cannot avoid the little varmits coming up to the garden to feed. For the past 5 years, I've had rabbits prune a 4 foot rose hedge down to a few inches. The roses always come back, and I don't have to prune them. LOL

However, I do dig up and bury my rose tree. In the spring, I dig it out from its winter bed, and away it goes again.

I've been thinking that I could hill fairly high the rose bushes, so that they cannot get too far down the stem. That may work for you. The Blood meal is a good idea as well, as it does provide for good nutrition which the roses love.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2006 at 5:38PM
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sheryl_ontario(Muncho Lake, BC z2)

My MIL has a hard time growing anything because of the rabbits in her yard. They eat the oriental/asiatic liles to the ground, too. Even the big dog doesn't deter them.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2006 at 7:13AM
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karen_w(5 MI)

I have found no deterrent to the ravenous bunnies, other than the hawk who moved into my subdivision last summer. I'm hoping he moves his girlfriend in and they start a family.
I've tried: human hair, blood meal, homemade hot pepper spray, and Liquid Fence. Each of them seemed like it was working, briefly. One year I spread Milorganite around the stuff they were chewing. I thought, "Take THAT, bunnies. You'll have to smell reeking poo to eat my plants!" They didn't care at all, but the smell chased us off the patio for the rest of the summer.
Your rose should be fine. If it doesn't have the will to live, better you should find out now. K.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2006 at 1:51PM
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