rabbits and friut trees

Flatland

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The rabbits are eating the bark off of my fruit trees. The ones in the orchard I have put netting around and that has stopped them. The problem is I have several espaliered near the house. The bottom row of the branches is within rabbit height. I can protect the trunk but the bottom two branches are getting chewed and it would be very hard to net them. I'm read that you can coat wood with Vick Vapour Rub to stop the chewing but wasn't sure if you could do this on a living tree. Does anyone know 1) does it stop rabbits and 2) does coating branches with what is really petroleum jelly harm the tree. It would only be a small % of the total tree but I don't want the bottom two branches to die
 

Flatland

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I don't want to prune the low branches because then the trellis will look very odd.
But if you can use vaseline for ants without effecting the tree Vicks should be ok.
I think it's just one more reason for the Jack Russell that I want. All the JRs I know would send of rabbits very smartly.
 

Ash

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So you have them too Flatland? What nuisances they have been wherever I have gone around my area. Even in my suburban lot, I still find them frolicking around eating up my broccoli. I've pitched up a short mesh net and hope that will keep them out of the veggie patch but I too will be putting up some apple trees and haven't yet protected them. I was hoping it would be too cold for them to be out and about to chew on the apples. Perhaps it's just wishful thinking...
 

Flatland

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The cold doesn't slow them down but at my place they don't seem to care about the veggies they prefer my fruit trees. but the only ones they have not attacked are the apples the fig & the citrus. Everything I read on the net says they attack tree bark when they are short of food at my place they have lots of pasture including lucerne but don't seem to eat those at all. lately they have started coming into my open shed as well. there is no food in there so why they do I don't know
 

ClissAT

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re rabbits eating those bottom rows of branches; could you use the 900 wide chicken mesh as a fence held up with tomato stakes? Make the fence 50cm or more away from the tree/wall & join it to the wall at each end. I know rabbits will sort of climb on things & push them down so you might need lots of stakes but will they jump the 900 high mesh? Or maybe you could use that mesh & fence those garden beds in that contain the espaliered trees.

I think I saw a rabbit here the other day. I know there are hares here but this one had white or pale fur in the inside of its ears & on its tail which is not hare like. Hares have dark fur all over as far as I know. I truly hope it wasn't a rabbit.
It doesn't seem to bother people anymore that rabbits are illegal in Qld, if they want one they just get one or more & breed bunnies. Young people have no idea of the complete destruction that rabbits can cause & the cost to this state of getting rid of the bloody things originally when the fence was put up. Even the state govt cries poor now when it comes to funding the upkeep of the rabbit fence. Rather like the dog fence in many respects.
 

LeafMeAlone

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As ClissAT mentioned, a chicken mesh or hardware mesh fence set up far enough back so that they can't get to the low-lying branches might be your best bet. Will need some reinforcing, but it's worked for me in the past (though in this case the rabbit was a pet of ours, so I guess we brought that one on ourselves...).

As for other methods, sprinkling the area with white vinegar or Tabasco sauce works well. Rabbits hate the smell. Some of the store-bought sprays also work, though I prefer the DiY methods myself. Cheaper, and more environmentally friendly!
 

LeafMeAlone

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It shouldn't! You're not using a lot i.e. it's not as if you're drenching the soil. Only sprinkling a little over the top, so you shouldn't have anything to worry about.
 

Flatland

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How often do you sprinkle more vinegar or tabasco sauce? do you just put it around so you can smell it?
 

Flatland

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Been reading farming catalog & looking at fox lights. So got to wondering if they work on rabbits as well. Does anyone know?
 

Mark

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Vicks and chilli sprays etc only help minimally in my experience, unfortunately. Water spraying devices and motion sensor lights have limited effect also and are difficult to maintain.

I understand how fencing around the espaliered tree would take away its overall appearance but it might be the only real option... My brother in-law fully enclosed their veggie patch with a mesh fence to keep the rabbits (and their dog) out and it works.

Can you fence in or reinforce the existing fence around your entire yard - just around the home to keep out rabbits?

Before rabbit exclusion fence
before vegetable garden rabbit fence.jpg

After rabbit exclusion fence
after vegetable patch rabbit fence.jpg
 

Flatland

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The way my trees are it would be very hard to fence them all off. but I may have no other choice. Still it may turn out to be more reasons to get my OH to agree to me getting a Jack Russell. Can't imagine any rabbit hanging around to chew trees with JR going for it as only a JR can
 

Ash

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Exclusion fences are the tried and true way. Other efforts like vinegar (an astringent to the furry critters) and chilli are hit and miss. I've even tried the deterrent D-Ter, and found it ineffective. $15 for two treatments that made no difference. I've had to resort to a short exclusion mesh on our veggie patch.