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Article: Outwitting Backyard Creatures: Bulbs & Plants They Hate!: rabbits eat more on this list!

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Forum: Article: Outwitting Backyard Creatures: Bulbs & Plants They Hate!Replies: 13, Views: 196
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Madison, WI

May 5, 2008
1:34 PM

Post #4908862

Here in my Madison, Wisconsin garden, rabbits have eaten many of the plants on this list: hydrangeas down to snow line during the winter, echinacea and rudbeckia-whole plants were eaten down to just a nub last fall, and the new growth of my phlox this spring. Yikes! I was especially surprised at the coneflowers last fall.


(Pat) Kennewick, WA
(Zone 5b)

May 5, 2008
2:30 PM

Post #4909152

Guess the critters are like people. SOMEONE somewhere will eat what no one else will, and if you're hungry enough you'll eat what you thought you would never! I am so lucky to NOT be plagued with the critters, probably because I live on a tiny little lot in a Senior Mobile Home park. Trust me, some of these ladies with their walkers and canes are more dangerous than the wildlife!
Oak Lawn, IL
(Zone 5a)

May 5, 2008
8:35 PM

Post #4910631

In my Chicago suburban garden the rabbits just LOVE grape hyacinth. I've known them to nibble at black-eyed susan, and one year during December they chewed a honeysuckle vine to the ground!

Edited to say that I ALWAYS had trouble with rabbits eating the allium plants before I closed the salad bar and put up a fence!

This message was edited May 5, 2008 3:39 PM
Fairfield County, CT
(Zone 6b)

May 6, 2008
1:49 AM

Post #4912069

Yep rabbits eat my rudbeckia, echinacea, any and all tulips. I have taken to spraying with non-toxic deterrents like The Deer and Rabbit Solution, Critter Ridder, and Liquid Fence with pretty good results, but if they're hungry nothing will stop them.
Lander, WY
(Zone 4a)

May 6, 2008
5:53 AM

Post #4913066

My rabbits eat echinacea, Virginia creeper, dianthus, columbine flowers, phlox, grape hyacinth flowers, tulips and asters. Deer eat all garden greens, shrubs, most small trees, bark and new growth on pines, junipers, aspen, birch, fruit trees... of course, roses-- all parts. However, none of my critters-- and I have many, many deer and rabbits, as well as a voracious marmot and hundreds of hungry voles-- none of them eat Snow-in-Summer, Indian blankets, lovage, catnip, pepper and spearmints, blue flax, iris, Russian sage, most penstemons, or hyssop. Narcissus and Lily of the Valley are also safe-- probably because they are so poisonous.
Northbrook, IL

May 6, 2008
3:04 PM

Post #4914040

This past winter, rabbits did a phenomenal amount of damage to gardens in the Chicagoland-area. I lost 5 woody hydrangeas, and the rabbits nearly girdled a beech tree that I planted several years ago. I'm also seeing girdled crabapple trees and forsythias in many of my neighbor's yards.

It seems to me that each passing winter, the rabbits are becoming more and more aggressive. I asked about this at the local nursery, and was told the West Nile Virus has wiped out the rabbit's natural predators (hawks, owls, etc), resulting in a population explosion. I have not been able to independently verify this story and would like to know if there is any additional information available on the topic? First and foremost, I am hoping that the hawks and owls are making some sort of comeback so the natural order can be restored.

Oak Lawn, IL
(Zone 5a)

May 6, 2008
3:21 PM

Post #4914110

I have some hawks in my area that occasionally pick up a rabbit. Experience has taught me that every winter I need to protect all deciduous shrubs and young trees with chicken wire. This past winter I noticed a rabbit had been chewing on a dwarf mugo pine. Fortunately I noticed in time to protect and save the shrub. They try to eat boxwood and holly, but they spit those out. These critters are capable of doing way more damage in the winter than during the active growing season.
Champaign, IL
(Zone 6a)

June 14, 2008
4:33 PM

Post #5103351

Muscari and (young) crocosmia are definitely part of rabbits' "salad bar."
Fairfield County, CT
(Zone 6b)

June 21, 2008
4:10 AM

Post #5136176

SIGH! They completely decimated a perennial fuchsia I planted this year.

Here's one I didn't expect: Squirrels ate potted fuchsia, roots and all. They dug them right out of a couple of mixed planters.
Madison, WI

June 23, 2008
1:59 PM

Post #5146551

I just bought some of the stinky rabbit repellent--has garlic, hot pepper oils, putrid fish oil, etc (yummy) and is guaranteed to work, according to the bottle. Of course, if my garden stinks like a dead fish when I am done, I will also have repelled any onlooker and myself, in addition to the rabbits. I'll let everyone know how that turns out. I HAVE to try it! Three beautiful Elegans hostas have been butchered over the past week, my new lupines keep getting gnawed to the ground and they even eat my dragon's blood grass. Why can't they just eat the lawn grass?--it is organic! This winter I will be wrapping/enclosing all of my shrubs. Honestly, I have begun to pray for hawks, eagles, and owls to come in droves. If I wasn't in the city, I would be blasting the buggers with an air rifle (actually my neighbors all want me to do it, but I am not keen on being fined or spending a night in jail)! Wish me luck. :-)
Fairfield County, CT
(Zone 6b)

June 28, 2008
12:30 PM

Post #5172041

Good luck Art. I have no pity for garden ruining critters, I have considered getting a slingshot for the tree-rats (squirrels) and bunnies, but I settled for a super soaker water gun. It is really satisfying to see how freaked out a squirrel can get from just a little water.


(Pat) Kennewick, WA
(Zone 5b)

June 30, 2008
3:03 PM

Post #5182143

LOL... the visions of you getting revenge! I love it!
Chicago, IL

September 13, 2010
7:35 AM

Post #8096392

I'm in the Chicago area and agree that the West Nile kill of rabbit predators has definitely been a major problem here - we have 6-8 adult rabbits living on our 1/3 of an acre, which produce 3-4 generations of hungry baby rabbits a year in our yard alone. This intense overpopulation means they eat EVERYthing we don't fence in, particularly in the spring - and "rabbit fencing" doesn't work (they hop right through the upper, more open, sections). Phlox, bearded iris, and daylilies seem to be about the only things that are "safe"... If anyone out there is developing West Nile-proof crows, hawks or other birds, we would be delighted to host breeding pairs!
Silver Springs, NV

September 17, 2010
9:24 AM

Post #8104124

We live in the desert in Nevada. The only thing that works for us is an area we fenced off with a buried, double chicken wire fence. Had to add the double height to it because the cute little bunnies figured out how to get over the fence (not under). Then we put rabbit wire cages around every single other plant that is not in this fenced in area. Just discovered yesterday that someone burrowed under the rabbit wire and girdled a nicely growing elm tree. It's a constant battle. If anyone has any other ideas or anything that really works (besides lead poisoning that is), please let me know! thanks. The only thing that has survived them are daffodils, grape hyacinth, and regular hyacinth. I will plant more of these this fall and see what happens next spring.

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