Tip of the Week: Rabbits are more Foe than Friend
That little bunny sitting out in your yard with the cute cotton tail and twitching nose could be a dangerous foe if he and his kids and cousins like the buffet served up in your landscape. Got clover? They love it. Got petunias and pansies? Sweet! Got emerging shoots, lettuce and other veggies? Dig in, it’s a hungry bunny’s feast!
If you have plants bunnies love, your smorgasbord will keep them fat, happy and clinging to your yard. Here are useful things to know if you would like to discourage them from residing on your real estate:
The welcome mat is out if your yard provides them cover, food and water.
- Rabbits can produce up to 3 broods per year – so there is something to the adage about “breeding like rabbits.” They are prolific.
- The other side to that coin is their average lifespan is less than 6 months. They are a favorite prey of many animals in both wild and urban environments.
- Since they are not carnivores, the scent of blood repels rabbits. Blood meal is a common deterrent or blood meal powder mixed with water and sprayed around the plants can be effective.
- The smell of a predator also deters them. Products available at garden centers that carry the scent of coyote urine can be effective, but do need to be re-applied after rain or irrigation.
- Another ploy is to leave rabbit food in one consistent place in your yard. Providing their own café with food they like may help keep them from nibbling plants.
- Young bunnies can squish and squeeze their tiny bodies through standard chain length fence. To create a better barrier, use chicken wire.
- Like prairie dogs, rabbits won’t jump over something when they can’t see what sits on the other side. Small fences around veggie and flower gardens can be effective.
It’s all in the taste buds
Finally, know what tastes both yummy and yukky to them. Rabbits love the clover in lawns, many sweet annuals such as petunias, some perennials and if there’s nothing else around, they will even gnaw the bark on fruit trees. Grass is very appetizing if there are no other plants they prefer nearby and they are known to desiccate an entire lawn.
What’s not on their menu of choice?
Following are a few plants rabbits tend not to favor and which deer are also not fond of nibbling.
- Blanket flower
- Herbs, except for basil. Rabbits tend not to favor most herbs including chives, oregano and thyme.
- Oriental poppy
- Snow in summer
- Sweet violet