Garden Talk

with Rebecca Jordi

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Q: I need some ideas on plants rabbits won’t eat.

Marsh RabbitA:  Unfortunately, if the animal is hungry enough they will eat most anything. They particularly like vegetable garden plants and most anything in the rose family which includes many of our fruit trees. However, there are a few plants rabbits seem to avoid such as agaves, aloes, Gaillardia spp., cucumber, shrimp plants, euphorbias, plumbago, rosemary, squash, verbena or yucca.  Now, I know someone will call me and tell me they know one of those plants listed was eaten by a rabbit, but remember, if the rabbits are hungry enough anything edible is susceptible. You can use one of the repellents which may help reduce or prevent rabbit damage. These products work by creating an unpleasant odor, taste, or stickiness.

 Apply repellents before damage occurs, and reapply them frequently, especially after a rain, heavy dew, or sprinkler irrigation or when new growth occurs. In all cases, follow the label directions for the repellent.

 The usefulness of repellents is limited. Most, except for some of the taste repellents, can’t be used on plants or plant parts humans eat. Repellents often fail when used in a vegetable garden even if the repellents are registered for use on edible crops. The story of Peter Rabbit should be a warning to us; rabbits will get into a garden – it is just too tempting.