We’ve been having trouble with rabbits in our yard. We live in Madison, Wisconsin, in a new home, which backs up to some woods. We planted some arborvitae toward the back, and the rabbits have eaten away half of the trees. They also seem to like the lawn in the back as well. Last fall, I planted some 60 tulip bulbs in the front yard. I plan to put down some mothballs after the snow melts. Will the foliage at the bottom of the arborvitae grow back? Should we even try to save the trees? Any suggestions for the lawn? How can we get rid of our piggy guests?
Foxes and coyotes have kept the rabbits in check in our area, but deer are doing a number on our shrubs, including arborvitae. Arborvitae doesn’t like to refoliate, but can if needles aren’t eaten down to the nubs. As far as your lawn goes, rabbits are much more interested in lawn weeds than grass. A 3/4 wire-mesh fence will effectively keep bunnies out. It should be buried 8”–12” deep and needs to be only 30” high. Repellent plants include castor beans and onions. Commercial repellants may work, too. Let’s hope that it’s “hare today, gone tomorrow.” —Gardening experts George and Becky Lohmiller, Hancock, New Hampshire”