Why are the bunnies eating my landscape?

Bunnies in the landscape are not cute when they are chowing down on your beautiful flowers.  This year we are noticing many more plants becoming victim to these nibbling menaces’. So why is this happening?  

  1. Understand that they have less and less native vegetation and space to live in, so they are adapting to ours. No this doesn’t mean they get the run of the yard, but it does help explain why they are starting to consume more and more plants that have been seen as “rabbit resistant” as they are trying to adapt, try new things- including your new coneflowers despite the patch that has been growing not 15 feet away are still untouched.
  2. New plants are a delicacy. Just like we like to eat baby carrots and baby spinach, the young new tender plants that are added to the landscape can also hold this appeal, if they can make it and grow in more the bunnies usually move on to other tender plants.
  3. Remember they are learning to adapt, as in trying new things- even if they don’t find a plant tasty it they might try it a few times to be sure. This is a big reason newly installed landscapes are seen as being hit as well….a new buffet if you will, has been laid out, so they find out if it’s a good place….

That’s all fine you might say, but what can be done to stop them from eating the landscape?   Well, to be honest nothing can stop them, but we can detour them. Many clients have tried products that are sold for just this purpose, but not always had luck so here are 3 home remedy tips you can try:

  1. Try applying a soap water mixture to the foliage (water down regular Dawn dish soap enough to spray) to make plants less desirable. This will need to be re applied after rain.
  2. Mix it up, they might even get used to the soapy taste-(see point 3 above) so every other time sprinkle cheap Cayanne pepper over the newly sprayed leaves ( it will usually stick to the mixture/leaves this way) . Another flavor to try is mint- add peppermint oil to the mix before spraying for the less tender leaved plants , we are still working on this one but understand the oils can result in leaf burn, so use with awareness.
  3. If things really persist use wire mesh to fence of plants/ groupings for more tender or young plants. Be sure the wire is at least 8” tall and 6” from the plant to prevent other nibbles- it will need to be taller for groupings, as the bunnies can jump in and feast if there is room for them ( yes even while sitting on the plants)
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