Friday, 4 December 2015

Problem Area - Plant Pests ... Rabbits!

Good Morning!
Welcome to my next post related to Problem Areas. Currently I am focusing on Pests!
What exactly is a Plant Pest? 
A Plant Pest gains it's nutritional requirements from the host plant it feeds upon. 
There are various ways which it can gain it's sustenance but broadly speaking it either eats or sucks a plant's sap.
It's a good idea to take note of a pests life cycle as they are more vulnerable at certain stages.

To the non gardener these may not seem that problematic, however those that do garden know how much damage these balls of fluff can cause!
You may think that Rabbits only cause damage in gardens out in the countryside but 2 years ago my garden was visited by a rabbit and I live in a cul-de-sac situated within a town.

The main breeding season for Rabbits is between January - May but they can be produced throughout the year. An average litter consists of between 3 - 6 young. Females can become pregnant again after just 1 day from giving birth and produce up to 5 litters a year. 
Rabbits often live together in colonies known as warrens. 

Damage from this pest to our plants can be done to a wide range of plants. One of the most common signs that you have a problem with Rabbits is the damage they can cause to young Tree's, such as ring barking (see photo below). It's also worth noting that plants that aren't susceptible to Rabbits at maturity can be when they are at a young growing stage and eaten away.

Photo's from Google & RHS.

If like me you like to garden Organically there are a few things you can do -
* Young Tree's can be protected by using Tree Guards / Tree Shelters.
* Ensuring that valuable or young plants have physical barrier.

* Growing Plants known to be 'Rabbit Proof' such as -
Monksood - Acontium carmichaelii 'Kelmescott'
Lily - of - the - Valley - Convallaria majalis
 Day Lily - Hemerocallis atrina
Michaelmas Daisy - Aster amellus 'King George'
                                     Aster cordifolius 'Silver Spray'

                                    Aster novi-belgii 'Royal Ruby'
Crane's Bills - Geranium himalayense
                                           Geranium endressi 'Wargrave Pink'
Japanese Anemone - Anemone hupehensis var. japonica

There is also Chemical control available in the form a repellent spray, which may need to be re-applied after rainfall.

I hope you have found this interesting and helpful if any of you come across this particular pest!

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