Soon after moving in a few years ago, we noticed that there seemed to be a lot of rabbits in the neighborhood. It didn’t take long to figure out that they were living under an evergreen tree down the alley; though, they seemed to spend a lot of time in our yard. We didn’t have the garden built at the time so we thought maybe it was because of the flowers and small garden in our neighbor’s yard. Or, maybe it was the nice plush carpet, uh, I mean Zoysia grass we have in our yard. What a pain that is – that’s a whole other story which should probably be told from the perspective of our lawn mower – poor thing.
We never really thought much of the rabbits except when we took Bailey (our beagle) for walks. One glance at a rabbit and she would nearly rip your arm off trying to chase it. Yep, she was a beagle all right. I remember one winter walk, after a big snow fall, she was digging through a pile of snow built up along the side of the road after a plow had gone through. I couldn’t figure out why she was digging so furiously but it was hilarious so I let her continue. Then came the answer. When she pulled her head back out of the hole she had dug, she had a rabbit in her mouth; completely flattened. It seems it had been run over by a car, then it snowed and the plow pushed it to the side of the road, where Bailey apparently smelled it a mile away and had me fooled. I didn’t enjoy having to tear it back out of her mouth at the time but it’s a funny memory thinking back today – though, probably not for the rabbit.
When we built the garden and the area for the strawberries and blueberries, we put up chicken wire (rabbit wire?) fence to protect those areas from the rabbits. Everything worked just fine – no issues with the rabbits.
When we planted the apple trees, we never gave the rabbits any thought. I mean, we probably won’t have apples on those puny trees until Bert goes off to college so what would the rabbits want with them? Oh, they like to chew on the bark… who knew?!
That’s right, after coming home from work one evening I noticed a strange discoloration on the bottom eight inches of each of the trees. When I got a closer look, it was clear that something had chewed all the bark off, exposing the trunk of the tree. We thought maybe it was a squirrel until I saw a rabbit having our trees for breakfast early the following morning. I fired my sling shot at him, hitting him in the rear end on a lucky bounce. The rabbit was fine (no animals were injured during the making of this post). I know because as he ran back to his evergreen tree, he paused for a moment in the neighbor’s yard, turned and gave me a look as if to say, “You haven’t seen the last of me.” I believed him.
So, we decided to put some rabbit wire (yep, I’m going with it) fence around each of the trees – as well as the tiny rose bush they also had eaten half of. I bet those thorns went down real smooth. After cutting sections of fence, I simply twisted pieces of the fence together at each end to form a circle. That meant that I didn’t need to use any wire, string or zip ties to hold the fence together. Because the trees were so small, I was able to slip the fences over the trees. I dug out the dirt around the trees a bit so that the bottoms of the fences would sit a few inches below the dirt and mulch to discourage tunneling to our trees.
Finally, I used bamboo rods (found in any garden supply store) to hold the fences in place. I cut the rods so that each was about twice as long as the fence was high. The fence is pliable enough that I could weave the rods through the fence for support and then push them into the ground. The fences have held securely in place for several weeks now and there are no signs of additional damage to the trees.
But, I know that rabbit is still out there, scheming with his bunnies – I mean buddies. I vow to stay a hop ahead of him.