Rabbits are Eating my Spring Tulips!

The tulips in my front yard are always a welcome sign after a cold Connecticut winter.  We have a dog and a cat which patrol the yard and thankfully allow them to grow and bloom beautifully each year.  Unfortunately, this is not true for everyone who looks forward to enjoying tulips each spring. When the flowers emerge, so do hungry animals, leaving tulips looking like they were trimmed with scissors, a sure sign that rabbits have been eating them. Rabbits love tulip leaves like deer love roses and voles love bulbs!  If you want to protect your tulips (and other flowers) from hungry rabbits, there are actions you can take.

  • Build fence around your flower gardens and line the inside with chicken wire fencing. Make sure that it is pushed many inches firmly into the ground to ensure rabbits cannot dig under.
  • Gardeners have had success with sprinkling human hair clippings around the beds to trick the bunnies into thinking a human is nearby.  The smell of coffee grounds is not the favorite of the rabbit and squirrel. A bonus is that the grounds also provide nutrients that help your plants flourish!
    • Trap rabbits with a humane trap and call the local humane society to find out where they can be released.
    • Include plants that rabbits do not like in your garden.  Lavender and cat nip are unappealing to them. Plant garlic cloves in the flower beds, its strong odor will send the bunnies on their way.  Try these rabbit resistant flowers in your landscape: daylily, bellflower, iris, bleeding heart, foxglove and daffodils.
    • When the flowers are small or still seedlings, row covers can be used.  They look like fabric draped over the area you are protecting.  Not very attractive, but will protect from the hungry rabbits.
    • Make the area around your tulips hard to negotiate by creating a barrier with sharp sticks and scattering egg shells.
    • Spraying rabbit repellents that include garlic and capsaicin will repel rabbits with their strong odor.  Treating the bulbs by soaking with a concentrated repellent before planting will do the same.

There is always the option of living in harmony with nature.  Maybe Elmer Fudd should have just given up and let Bugs Bunny do his worst.  It may have been less stress in the long run.

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