Right NOW Rabbits are Terrorizing New Garden Plants –  what do I do?

Right now rabbits are being very good at bringing terror to owners of new garden plants.  This usually happens in late Jan and Feb when all the snow is piling up and the toothy critters have nowhere to go for food except for your new plants that are protruding right into their eating zone.  Some plants are amazingly tasting based on the emails and related photos I get from my clients.  Total dejection is what I extract from their rantings.   The photos are proof and I empathize.  I too have the same problems in my yard this time of the year.  What can we all do to get past this seemingly helpless situation?  There are many tricks to try to lessen the damage as well as lower the frustration.  Check out the bullets below as to what I recommend and/or do.

Suggestions and Recommendations to deter Rabbit Terror in the Winter.

  • Try wrapping the plants with burlap or the trunks with a corrugated plastic sleeve.
  • Try using a smelly deterrent like Shake Away or Liquid Fence.
  • Human hair from a brush or haircutting around the plant works well.
  • Smelly bar soap has been known to do the trick.  Irish Spring or Ivory have been top recommendations.
  • Keep the snow off the plant.  Snow acts like a ladder for easy picking up higher.  You’ll know it’s a Rabbit when you see 45-degree angle chompings. 

There is hope beyond the above-mentioned tactics

Even though plants look ravished from animal abuse and at the time it looks hopeless, take note that it isn’t the end of the world.  Plants are very resilient and usually grow through any animal damage.  Subsequent years get better as the plants grow out of animal teeth zones.  Bark also hardens on plants and shrubs in time so the once-easily edible soft skin of a youthful specimen will no longer be so easily consumed.  If plants can be protected for the first couple of years then you will be able to rest easy in the winter down the road.  Until then, get yourself armed and go to battle as early as you can in the winter season to ensure you will have full plants in the spring that can put their energy into flowering and not recovery.