Burning Bush and Bunny Rabbits (Euonymus Alatus)

mary4b(4b WI)May 10, 2010

I love burning bush, but the two I bought, were eaten by rabbits. I was unaware.

Now, I'd like to try again...I know, I know...why?

We did have one when we moved here which was well protected by yews and the rabbits didn't kill it, but I did...by girdling it with rope for too long when we re-sided our home.

If I were to purchase some bushes for foundation planting, is there anything that I could do through the seasons besides fencing to keep the rabbits off them?

I can't fence them, and I can't shoot them.

I read somewhere about capsicum oil, and I know about Fence-Off. Do they work? And do they work on the bark itself, or just the foliage?

Some one also said something somewhere about using black plastic netting, the kind one uses for keeping birds from berries, I assume. .that seems like a good choice...easy and probably not visible from the road. Does that work?

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Burning bush is considered an invasive plant in Wisconsin. Maybe it's time to give something else a try - perhaps the bunnies are trying to tell you something!

The following alternatives are suggested for the mid-west:

Aronia arbutifolia (Red chokeberry) Brilliant red fall color; red berries
Aronia melanocarpa (Black chokeberry) Brilliant red fall color; black berries
Fothergilla major (Large fothergilla) White flower clusters; red to orange fall color
Fothergilla 'Mt. Airy' and 'Blue Shadow' Abundant white flowers; red to purple fall color
Itea virginica (Virginia sweetpire) Bright red fall color; arched branches; fragrant white flower clusters
Viburnum prunifolium (Blackhaw) Small white flowers in dense clusters; dark blue berries persist into winter
Rhus copallinum (Shining sumac) Brilliant red autumn color; drooping red berry clusters; glossy leaves
Euonymus americanus (Strawberry bush) Red capsules open to reveal orange-red berries; green stems in winter
Euonymus atropurpureus (Eastern wahoo) Dark purple fall foliage; red fruits are attractive to wildlife

Here is a link that might be useful: source of alternatives

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 7:02PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

I would have to agree with esh about better choices, but if your heart is set on the ubiquitous burner, nothing beats a fence. Usually once clover appears in the lawns, rabbits will leave woody shrubs alone, so winter is when they need protection. Nothing beats 2"x3" mesh vinyl coated fencing and if aesthetics is your concern, hey, its dark 18-20 hours a day in winter up here anyway. Ã


P.S. Aronia, Fothergilla and Viburnum are my first choices as well but, alas, they are rabbit food too.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 7:40PM
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mary4b(4b WI)

Thank you!

Tusgajunkie, should this mesh cover the whole plant in winter? Or does one stake it around the bottom perimeter? You make a good point about winter....and the location I have in mind isn't even in view of any of our windows, so I guess a winter fence would be just fine. I was thinking I'd need to have it in the summer, as well, but we have plenty of clover for the bunnies.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 9:13AM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

If it's a foot higher than the snow cover you'll be fine. The fence is rigid. Vinyl coated metal. I just make a circle around the plant.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 4:53PM
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