For those of you who deal with rabbits, winter shrub protection ?

ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)November 13, 2013

Do you fence them in, or cover them with shrub covers, or do you wrap them in burlap?

We got 4 inches of snow yesterday, so it's time now for us to make some choices... We have 2ft of fencing already up but that is a total joke in the winter considering we usually have 4 ft of snow in our yard for months on end..

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shadeyplace(7)

what king of shrubs are you referring to? I would think some may not need any protection. My problem is mostly deer and I spray with liquid fence.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 1:52PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i would only worry about a SHRUB.... when it was a miniscule ... tiny.. single stem plant ... and even then.. it has dormant buds to take over.. should it be felled ...

i can not.. contemplate ... protecting .. RUN THEM OVER WITH THE TRUCK SHRUBS... at 4 feet ...

it would be simpler.. and more natural to my winter garden eye ... to do a little rejuvenation pruning in spring... should the rats with fuzzy tails... nibble at 4 feet ...

i mean really now.. you are looking at 4 feet as a hurdle.. completely ignoring the fact.. that the first 4 feet of the shrub is protected by the snow itself ...

at some point.. you have to let your plants go free range ... you cant be mothering them forever ...

IMHO..no 4 foot shrub needs any protection ... period .... even a voracious deer couldnt kill a 4 foot shrub ...

ken

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 7:51PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Black plastic deer netting works great against deer and rabbits. Use clothespins to attach it.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 6:48AM
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ericwi

I have had some success with Plantskydd spray, on our blueberry shrubs, to prevent rabbit browsing in the winter. However, I have had to also put out a cup of dried corn kernels in the evening, which seems to help. The rabbits eat the corn, and they are not quite so hungry, and they tend to avoid the stinky blueberry tips. We have shrubs scattered around the yard, & it would be difficult to protect them all with fencing.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 9:17AM
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shadeyplace(7)

that black plastic netting gets full of leaves and sticks and it is hard to remove in the spring...I absolutely despise it!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 12:12PM
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Chris_MI(z5 MI)

I have one area especially where the rabbit like to hang out in the winter. So I chicken wire the my KO rose, otherwide they eat it to the ground.
In my yard they also eat the burning bushes to the ground, so next year when my husband plants his bed of grasses and a few shrubs, those burning bushes will need chicken wire protection too.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 6:00PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Some shrubs I leave unprotected so the rabbits can have at them and save me the energy of pruning. One of which is weigela, they love them for some reason.

Plants I protect are conifers in which they eat the buds...one they get those buds on pines its game over.

The shrubs just grow back nice and think in the spring. Forsythia would be one I'd protect because I'd then lose the flowers in early spring.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 8:58PM
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ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)

Thanks everyone!

I went to Home Dept yesterday and bought 200ft of this:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/YARDGARD-1-in-x-2-ft-x-50-ft-20-Gauge-Galvanized-Poultry-Netting-308411B/202515230#.UodPdOJqCT8

Today's a great day to do the fencing, since it's going to be bright sunny and a balmy 55 degrees, it's dh's day off, and it's our Wedding Anniversary. lol

I wasn't going to protect the Forsythias, but Whaas' comments on them changed my mind so we're covering them too.

I'll be wrapping my Golden Raintree, the anointed queen of our backyard, today too. That is all the winter protection we're doing.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 6:18AM
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pearlgirl

Just over the past two years, I've had rabbits tear at my
roses...so...I've used chicken wire to enclose them in. It's
easy to work with and it keeps them from, getting at my
plants. Liquid Fence work well also. Some of the rabbits
are huge. They also seem to like the oakleaf hydrangeas.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 5:58PM
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bogturtle(SE NJ 7a)

I also use liquid fence, but forget, and some damage suddenly makes me remember.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 9:16PM
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ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)

So far the galvanized poultry netting has worked. We're currently being swallowed up in snow, with 6+ more inches arriving today, and so far there's been no bunny activity....

I know the bunnies are out there somewhere, because they live in our yard. In the early mornings and evenings of spring, summer and fall, you can see them hopping across our grass, and last summer they brazenly attacked one of my burning bushes.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 9:36AM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

I had a bit of a rabbit problem until I removed the brush piles they were living in. I still have rabbits around, but not near as many or as close. Coyotes seem to be keeping them at a tolerable level. I'm also dealing with deer and a few elk. So far they just lightly browse. Well, except for a bull elk that thrashed a tree with his antlers as high as 8 ft. He really did a number on it. The tree eventually died.
Mike

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 1:12PM
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ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)

The fencing has now been completely covered up with snow.

We have 5 feet (a lot of it snowdrift) of snow in our yard. My 3 Forsythias are taller than the fencing, so now the bunnies and voles can walk right up to them and eat all their buds/branches. Uugh :(

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 6:26AM
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ericwi

You could use a snowblower to completely bury the Forsythias, and that would discourage the rabbits. However, voles have been known to tunnel through the snow, so I'm not sure this method would keep them away from the shrub. We have a dog run, with a bird feeder hanging from one end, and she was sniffing out and pouncing on voles the other day. I guess the voles are attracted to the seed that falls on the snow, under the feeder, which puts them in position to be caught by the dog. It's a jungle out there...

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 10:18AM
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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

I tend to take the Elmer Fudd approch, 'Kill da wabbit!', because inevitably if I plant something small and tender, it is a sacrifice...and that makes me boiling mad.
I had small animal live traps which I used and successfully caught several of them over the years. They would breed under my porch and all the tiny bunnies come out and do their first feeding in the flower bed in front of the porch!!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 7:50AM
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ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)

"You could use a snowblower to completely bury the Forsythias, and that would discourage the rabbits."

That's a great idea! Next time we're inundated with snow we will definitely take your advice. We never even thought of doing that.

It was in the mid 50's all weekend so all the snow has long since melted. I went outside to look for vole tracks but I didn't see any. And none of my bushes got even a nibble. Thank goodness.

We don't own any guns so shooting the rabbits is pretty much out of the question. Dh and I have never held a gun in our lives so I don't think we could do it anyway. There are SO many rabbits out here, thousands of them, because they all live on 300 acres of that my neighbor owns. Trapping them would be pointless. They have it made because he only mows maybe twice in the summer so they have all that land to themselves....

This post was edited by ilovemytrees on Sun, Dec 22, 13 at 17:21

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 5:20PM
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ericwi

Sounds like rabbit heaven there. I'm not sure how to encourage foxes and coyotes, but that is something to think about...

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 5:26PM
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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

Or owls and hawks...actually nature is doing that already (by providing an ample supply of bunnies)...and I'm sure in 10 years they'll be hunted out...but that doesn't help you much now.
Live traps do work..if you can get rid of them once caught. Just think of them as large mice. Even if you only take them 20 miles down road and release in a national forest.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 7:13AM
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ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)

We have foxes, coyotes, hawks, bald eagles, owls, tons of racoons, and even a medium sized bear living out here. The bear is a newcomer though; everyone saw it on our road through out the summer, and it was the talk of the town. It's a medium sized black bear. I don't know if they eat rabbits or not though. None of these wild animals appears to be reducing the number of rabbits we have..

Live traps, while living next to a makeshift rabbit preserve seems futile.

I hope rabbits are unable to injure mature shrubs and trees because I want to one day take down all of my fencing...

This post was edited by ilovemytrees on Mon, Dec 23, 13 at 15:20

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 3:18PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Its rare if they do but can girdle mature smooth barked shrubs. One that comes to mind are multi stemmed/shrubby magnolias.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 8:48PM
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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

Yes, if you have significant snow pack, where they can't get to anything else, they start working on soft tree bark and *any* branches they can reach. Both because they're hungry and they got these ever growing molars...to wear down.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 6:41AM
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ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)

Yesterday afternoon I was standing in the kitchen looking out our back patio glass door and noticed fresh tiny tracks all around the left side of our back yard leading up to our porch. I was wondering who they belonged to when all of a sudden the most adorable bunny appeared from underneath the porch!

It was big! But it's what it did next that got me! It hopped straight over to our next door neighbor's maple tree that is planted on our property line (the one I've griped about on here before) and it started gnawing on the trunk! The tree is about 10-12 ft tall. For the first time I got to see a bunny in action. After a little while it went over to one of the neighbor's Christmas trees and went underneath it. I figure if I saw one bunny come out from under our porch there's probably more where that came from. Bunnies are so cute, but so destructive.

This post was edited by ilovemytrees on Mon, Feb 3, 14 at 10:59

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 10:58AM
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