Question: Do rabbits eat strawberry plants?
This, dear Readers, is a question from my own garden, because I noticed that the strawberry patch that has been growing like gangbusters for the past couple of years is
looking a little, um, sparse. New leaves are coming out from under the pine straw, but what the heck happened to that thick mat of foliage that was there when I came inside for the winter?
The answer to the question about whether rabbits eat strawberry plants, I found out, is: Rabbits eat just about anything they find that tastes good, foliage-wise. So, probably. And I saw at least a couple of rabbits out in the back yard this winter.
The University of Tennessee Extension has a booklet called Managing Nuisance Animals and Associated Damage Around the Home (find it at https://utextension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/pb1624.pdf), and here’s what they say about rabbits and gardens: “Most people consider viewing rabbits pleasurable; however, that cute bunny quickly becomes a @#&% rabbit when the vegetable garden or flower garden begins to suffer! Rabbits can cause a considerable amount of damage to ornamental flowers and tree seedlings as well.” Really?
They suggest building a tall chicken wire fence to keep rabbits out, buried in the ground because rabbits burrow, too. They say you can trap them, but they breed like, well, like rabbits so even if you catch one, there are more where that one came from. Most wild rabbits only live about a year, but a pair of rabbits can produce up to six litters a year, with two or three bunnies per litter.
Here’s what I found that seems to keep the rabbits off: A stinky but effective product called Liquid Fence. Spray it on the leaves, and the rabbits leave them alone. Some garden forums suggest that blood meal sprinkled in the bed also will keep them away. The problem with both those ideas is that they only work until rainwater or sprinkler spray washes them away.
But if I want to save the strawberries, I should do something — and fast, before those @#&% rabbits drop in for dinner.
Getting the Garden Ready: Not a how-to, but a poet’s reflection on the change of seasons. Click over to Turning Toward the Sun.
Filed under: Animals |