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Rabbits (garden pest) - Oryctolagus cuniculus - coiníní

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James Kilkelly
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Joined: 30 May 2006
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Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 8:31 pm    Post subject: Rabbits (garden pest) - Oryctolagus cuniculus - coiníní Reply with quote

Rabbits (garden pest) - Oryctolagus cuniculus - coiníní
by GPI

Also hares

Plants affected
Most plants, especially those newly planted.

Season(s) present.
Year round, but a cold frosty/snowy winter will result in more attacks due to scarce food sources.

Wild rabbit, photo / picture / image.

Appearance of damage.
Arrow On established trees, shrubs and hedging, bark may be eaten away from the base of trunks right up to a height of 50cm (20in).
Arrow New young plantings are often grazed down to ground level.
Arrow Vegetables, especially the leafy varieties are eaten.
Arrow Holes may also be dug in lawns, beds and borders.

Hungry rabbits and hares, who are especially attracted to new plantings due to their inquisitive nature.

Arrow If bark is removed all the way around the trunk of a tree, shrub or hedging plant it will die, so big trouble if attacks are regular.
Arrow The grazing of young plants to the ground can result in misshapen regrowth or plant death/disease due to energy loss.

Organic or cultural control.
Arrow Erect a rabbit proof fence with a mesh size no wider than 25-30mm (1in) around your property or vulnerable plantings. Something similar to the one shown below.......

The lower vertical 6 inches of fence may be classed as overkill be certain gardeners. Whether you go to this extreme all depends on how determined your rabbits are to get into your site.

Arrow If fencing is in place, ensure gates are kept closed as often as possible.

Arrow Get yourself a dog and let it roam the garden to scare the bunnies off.

Arrow Install plants that rabbits have very little interest in, such as aromatic plants, prickly/spiney plants, and those with tough leaves. Examples of which would be.....
Taxus baccata (yew)
Euonymus europaeus (Spindleberry)
Buxus sempervirens (Box
Cornus (Dogwood)
Choisya (Mexican orange blossom)
Rosmarinus (rosemary)
Sambucus (elder)
Aucuba (spotted Laurel)
Aconitum (Monkshood)
Digitalis (foxglove)
Ligularia (Leopard Plant)
Helleborus (Hellebore)
Nepeta (catmint)

Arrow Look into your neighbors garden to discover what has survived rabbit attack for them.

Arrow The base of young trees can be protected by spiral tree guards to prevent bark feeding. These can be shop bought or you can attempt to make your own using lengths of piping.

Arrow For short term protection many gardeners have reported good success tying up bundles of dog hair with thread and leave them around the perimeter of their property and strewn through the vulnerable beds and borders. You will require lots of dog hair, or alternatively you can also use barbers hair, so ask to take yours home with you the next time you visit. This works on the rabbit picking up the scent of another animal, so is not as effective in wet weather.

Other Control.
Similar to the hair idea, there are many chemical scent products available which can be applied around the garden to repel rabbits. Again these are for short term protection and are not as effective in wet weather. many gardeners will use homemade versions of these such as mothballs or teabags soaked in olbas oil spread around the site.

Nature notes.
Please note that does not advocate the removal of animal life, instead, this forum encourages wildlife preservation. However, there are occasions where a wildlife becomes a problem within the garden for certain people. Be aware that wildlife is a link in the chain of life, benefiting something or someone down the chain. Please at least think about this before you remove wildlife from your site.

DISCLAIMER: The control methods are suggested here as a matter of general information. Under Irish and EU law it is illegal to use any preparation as a pesticide/fugicide/herbicide that is not approved for such use. The author and the website accepts no responsibility for how a user may mix, use, store, or any effects the mixture or its elements may have on people, plants or the environment. The information here is for reference only and does not imply a recommendation for use. If you disregard this warning and make any of the preparations, you do so entirely at your own risk.

Any queries or comments on Rabbits (garden pest) - Oryctolagus cuniculus - coiníní, please post below.

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Last edited by James Kilkelly on Thu Aug 07, 2008 1:09 am; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 10:22 pm    Post subject: Rabbits Reply with quote

I've found that if the weeds, especially nettles, are let grow up around newly planted trees the bunnies don't really get at the bark.

Don't know if this is because they can't smell/see the bark of that they don't like nettles.

Also, I wanted some wood stripped of it's bark so I left it out for the bunnies (you need to rotate it for them) and they did a fine job!! Very Happy

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