Your garden is just perfect for the average rabbit. They build burrows in the hedges and tunnel under fences to find the smorgasbord that is your garden. Rabbits will eat a tulip bulb as happily as your spring peas, but they like to taste everything at least once. This behaviour is a nuisance when you have planted annual plants or replaceable bulbs, but when rabbits start shredding bark, gnawing roots and shoots or snapping off the buds of woody plants, you can have a costly problem. Small but established trees and shrubs can be lost to munching rabbits.
Rabbits are clever. They don't eat whatever they come across. Instead they are always on the lookout for a new dining experience. They will go to some trouble to get at something in your yard or garden that seems promising. Rabbits are active, curious and limber. They will find a way into your yard or garden if you don't make efficient barriers. You may think of rabbits hopping, but they are skilled jumpers too. If they can burrow or slip through obstacles, they might just hop over the top.
Fencing is a must for anyone with a rabbit problem. You can build a rabbit-resistant fence with chicken wire and lumber. Use the smallest mesh wire you can find. Place posts at 3-foot intervals. Post them, square and plumb and staple the wire to the posts. Plan for a fence 3 feet in height. Get a 4-foot-wide roll of fencing because you need to bury one foot of the wire to repel rabbits digging under the fence. At the bottom of the fence, turn 12 inches of the wire at a 90-degree angle to the fence and bury it with dirt.
Individual Tree and Plant Protectors
Plants that are in the yard, not inside a garden plot, may need protection. You can make a cage for the trunks of young trees or spreading branches of shrubs. Run chicken wire around the tree in a cylinder about 18 inches out from the trunk. Set enough posts to make the fence rigid. Use wire that is at least 3-feet high. Bury the bottom 6 to 12 inches of the wire. Some plants need fencing only when young, and you can remove fencing after they are established. Finding out which mature plants they will ignore can be a process of trial and error.
An electric fence can be less expensive and easier to install than the wire fence. You need an electric fence energizer that sends a pulse over single strands of wire at short intervals. Run two wires on insulated posts, one at about 6 inches from the ground surface and the other 12 inches above it. Power them with a low-voltage energizer to avoid injuring the rabbits. If you already have a wire fence, you can add electricity to it by insulating the fence posts and running a single wire above the mesh fence.
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