Garden Tip: How to keep critters from destroying your landscaping
By Heather Prince www.thegrowingplace.com January 28, 2013 11:36AM
At this point in the season, there's not much going on in the garden. However, protecting from critters is always a good idea. The most distressing thing this winter has been the lack of moisture. | Submitted
Two of the most damaging animals are rabbits and deer.
Rabbit damage looks like sharp, neat almost 45-degree-angle cuts, as if pruners had been used. Deer rip and tear at branches leaving jagged or torn twigs. Male deer also like to use young trees to rub the felt from their antlers leaving long sections of bark rubbed away.
For deer, fencing your yard might be impractical since fences will need to be at least 8 feet tall. Sometimes it is worth considering netting a particularly prized specimen.
The most effective way to keep rabbits from eating is to fence them out. Surround garden and vegetable beds with a barrier of chicken wire that has been bent out 6 inches at the bottom. The flared piece of wire should be buried an inch or so to discourage rabbits from digging.
Trees and shrubs can be protected with a ring of quarter-inch wire hardware cloth or chicken wire. The top of the cylinder should be a few inches higher than you think the rabbit can reach standing up on the top of the deepest snow likely. White corrugated tubing also can be used to protect the bark of smaller trees over the winter. Remove it in the spring.
There is a large range of repellent products available. The secret is to change your product every two to three years, as the rabbits catch on and are no longer discouraged. Mothballs should not be used. They are toxic.
There are plants that deer and rabbits will avoid; however, if they are hungry enough, they will eat anything!
Garden Tip is courtesy of Heather Prince, The Growing Place, 630-355-4000, www.thegrowingplace.com