Friday, March 25, 2011

Rabbit proofing your Garden.

If like me you have a problem with rabbits here are a number of ways of protecting your precious crops:
Employing rabbit-proof fences is a very sensible approach to wild rabbit control. Chicken wire is a good material for making rabbit-proof fences with which to surround your garden. This wild rabbit control measures will help keep out those cute marauders poised to munch on your plants.

Simple Rabbit-Proof Fences for Wild Rabbit Control: Chicken Wire

Use chicken wire that is 36" wide. Don't be confused by that measurement: when you lay out the chicken wire rabbit-proof fences around the perimeter of your gardens, that 36" will be the height of the fencing.
Dig a trench about 6" deep and 8" wide (assuming your stakes will be about 2" wide), to form the perimeter for rabbit-proof fences. Pound the stakes in on the inside of the trench. Bend the bottom 6" of the chicken wire outward along the ground (forming a letter "L" shape). This 6" flange will prevent the pests from tunneling their way under the fencing and into your garden -- an integral part of wild rabbit control. Set the flange end of the chicken wire fencing down into the trench, with the flange pointing away from your garden.
Fill the trench back in with dirt, burying the flange (and also burying about the bottom 6" of the vertical part of the "L" shape). Staple or tie the chicken wire to stakes. Spacing between stakes is up to you; but, obviously, the closer the stakes are to each other, the more support you're providing your rabbit-proof fences.
One of the best "homemade" organic rabbit repellents is the soiled cat litter from a cat that has killed and eaten wild animals. Spread such cat litter, while still fresh, around your landscaping trees or garden once a week.
Another commercial rabbit repellent that can be used safely on food crops is Hinder. Hinder's active ingredients are ammonium soaps of higher fatty acids. Thiram repellent, however, is dangerous, and it can be used only on ornamental plants.
Remember, too, that some plants function as "natural pest repellents," at least in terms of saving their own hides. Many of the same plants that are rabbit-resistant are also avoided by deer. In the case of some of these plants, it's easy to see why: although natural, they're poisonous (yes, to humans, too). For this reason, deer and rabbits will generally leave alone foxglove (Digitalis) and monkshood (Aconitum), for example.
In the case of other "natural pest repellents," rabbits avoid them not because they're poisonous, but because they don't smell good -- to rabbits, at least. Aromatic herbs such as lavender (Lavendula) may send humans scurrying for their potpourri supplies, but they send rabbits just plain scurrying! And if you aren't keen on spreading your cat's litter around the yard as a repellent, at least install some catnip plants, or "catmint" (Nepeta) for puss. Rabbits don't like the smell of catnip. Nor will they like the smell of a garden frequented by a catnip-craving cat. It's also a lot of fun to see cats going crazy over their catnip!


Advanced Rabbit-Proof Fences for Wild Rabbit Control: Electric Fencing

Electric fencing also makes for effective rabbit-proof fences. No trench is needed with electric fencing. Again, pound in your stakes first. But for electric rabbit-proof fences you'll need to attach insulators to the stakes. You'll be suspending 2 wires from these insulators. Run the bottom wire along the outside of the stakes, about 2" above the ground. Run the top wire along the inside, about 4" above the ground. Electric rabbit-proof fences can be charged with an electric fencing charger for gardens.


Greenside Up said...

Great tips thanks Andy. One of my customers who has a field for growing veggies that isn't near his home was enquiring... I'll forward this link to him.

Jayne McCullough said...

excellent advice Andy! as ever you know everything I need to know, thankyou, you're a star, Jayne

mjdale1 said...

this is very good! I must check out yor facebook page! all the best of luck, Mike

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