Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rabbits and Squirrels

“I was just thinking about your blog yesterday as I attempted to rake leaves on the windiest day of the year. With spring around the corner, any tips you have on shade plants that rabbits and squirrels don’t like to eat would be much appreciated as I have tried every trick in the book (and on the internet) to get them to stop destroying every plant in my yard.” --Emily F.

Thanks Emily and to the rest of you who have emailed comments and questions. I will post your events soon. It’s exciting to see the hits in the 100’s since we just posted the blog on Saturday and I’m writing this on Monday morning. It should be fun to exchange information and I’m sure we will see each other at events. I’m still trying to get though my own email list and appreciate you passing the blog on to others.

Back to Emily’s comment.

Rabbits and squirrels are a problem for every gardener. Squirrels are currently attempting to destroy the bulbs in our front yard by digging in the mulch…and I used a huge container of Cayenne Pepper on the mulch. I use my dog as a deterrent, but she would rather snooze on the sofa inside. Squirrels are more of a nuisance with their digging, but the rabbits are real problem because they actually eat the plants.

Choosing the right plants for your garden will help. We have a saying, “the right plant in the right place”. You will want to be aware of the soil moisture, as some shade plants prefer dry soil. I’m going to list a few below, but for more information go to http://www.mobot.org/ and go to the Kemper Center plant information. Chip Tynan has a question and answer section that has several suggestions about dealing with rabbits and squirrels. He suggests letting the clover in your yard/garden bed grow so the rabbits eat that instead of the other plants.

I also suggest using native plants when possible. We have several groups who have native plant sales in the spring and I’ll be sure and let you know.

Narcissus ‘Tahiti’
This can be planted in areas that are shaded by trees as long as the soil is well drained. They will typically bloom before the leaves come out. This is one of our “Plants of Merit” and they are planted in several of our county parks and along the highways.

These are excellent plants for shady moist conditions. They tend to look better grouped and I’ve found them to be a good indicator of when the garden needs water. They come in pinks, reds, and whites.

Aruncus Dioicus or Goats Beard
This is a native plant and looks like the astible but more shrub like. It grows to a 3-4 foot clump. This plant will also tolerate our clay soils. It’s hard to go wrong with a native plant.

Lily of the Valley
This plant will even grow in deep shade and is even good for the north side of your house. It does spread and you will want to keep it under control. It even invaded my mother-in-law’s zoysia lawn when it grew on the west side of her house.

Lamb’s Ears Stachys byzantina
This silvery, fuzzy plant can tolerate partial to full sun. It lightens up a shady area and makes a wonderful dried arrangement.

Azaleas, Boxwoods and Yews are all good shrubs to use if you have a rabbit problem.

Herbs are other plants that tend to be rabbit resistant and even asparagus and tomatoes, but these are all plants that need full sun. For annuals choose geraniums and marigolds.

No comments:

Post a Comment