Dang Rabbits - Fall Damage and Winter Prep - November 2022

I took a walk around the garden this weekend thinking about what I needed to do to button the yard and beds up for the Winter and came across a bunch of rabbit-caused problems.  The dang rabbits are giving me a lot of worries about this Winter.  I posted about some of the problems they've caused over the years including how they went whole hog on our small Oakleaf Hydrangeas last year.  We didn't get ANY blooms because of their chomping.  They ate off ALL the most recent growth - and Oakleaf Hydrangeas bloom on 'old wood' (aka...last season's growth).  

Those dang! rabbits have destroyed all of my Toad Lillies, killed a Canadian Hemlock tree, stunted some of sedges and chewed off a bunch of branches on our Hicks Yews.  

Knowing my enemy, I've started to protect things with cages of chicken wire - including these Arrowwood (Chicago Lustre) Viburnum and some of our Hemlocks.  And...(this year)...ALL of our Oakleaf Hydrangeas.  

However...it is clear that I need to do even more.  There are things that are still exposed - and not protected by Chicken Wire - that I need to protect.  See below for photos.  Starting with...our small Mugo Pine shrub.  Look at what these jerks did:  they chomp'd off some of the tips/candles and just left them behind.  What the heck?!?


I also noticed this trunk damage to the Harry Lauder Walking Stick contorted (Multi-trunk) tree.  I'm pretty sure that these dang! rabbits are gnawing at this thing, too.  See below:


I found this story about protecting your garden from rabbits that included a few tips - some of which I've done (so far).  Their list of recommendations includes:

1. Add physical garden barriers.
2. Protect individual plants.
3. Include plants rabbits don't like - things like garlic.
4. Remove potential nesting spots.
5. Get an owl. or an owl statue.
6. Get a dog - and put dog hair around the garden.
7. Make up a home spray with hot peppers and soap.
8. Try shredding Irish Spring soap

I've done #2 (with Chicken wire).  #4 is out.  I mean...the rabbits are everywhere.  We have a dog (#6).  So...that leaves a few options.

1.  wrap the ENTIRE backyard in chicken wire around the base of the fence.  That's potentially a problem in a bunch of ways.  It may keep the rabbits out.  But, what about squirrels and Lizzie?  

2.  Protect even MORE plants.  This one feels like the right move.

and....

8.  Irish spring.  I'm going to go get a few bars and see what happens.  


 https://www.gardendesign.com/how-to/rabbits.html

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