Tiny baby bunnies in rose garden

I was just watering the roses and saw small brown animals scurrying around. I thought they were chipmunks. Then one ran over my foot and I realized they were baby bunnies. So small they could fit in the palm of my hand. I am a wildlife lover. I think they are in my fenced in rose garden because there are stray cats in my back yard (who I feed and want to keep in the yard). I think it is time to wrap tulle netting over each hip.

Wish me luck! I have such a good hip harvest this year that I would hate to lose it at this stage.

Central NJ, zone 7a

Better bunnies than chipmunks. At least they won’t crawl all the way up the stem to get a hip. Also it seems they’re unlikely to chew off a big stem at the base. Leave plenty of dandelions around for them.

Rabbits won’t eat the hips up higher on the bush and usually don’t even mess with those lower. It’s rats and squirrels that eat the hips mostly. Rabbits eat the whole plant. I’ve had them stand up, gnaw through a cane so the whole thing broke over about a foot and a half from the ground. Then, they ate the cane from the flower end to the gnaw area, then down to the base from the gnaw. Use the tulle if you wish, but rabbits, particularly babies, aren’t usually going to mess with hips. They want the growth shoots. Rats and squirrels want the fruit.

Those cute baby bunnies become rabbits. I had an entire field of roses cut back to the crown two winters ago. No blooms that year on the non-repeaters and the rest of the roses spent the summer recovering and had very delayed blooms–not so great when your growing season is short like mine. It was heart-breaking to see what they did to some very large and well-established roses. I couldn’t eliminate them (the bunnies) myself but I certainly hoped for an invasion of predators. Last winter was much better and there was no damage, so I guess I got my wish.

My dogs have caught 3 this year. With our up and down level of snow they can get up to the top and girdle the plants over and over. Just wait until you have feral dogs or coyotes in your garden catching not only the rabbits. In any environment where there is an adjustment in excess food something will take it. I hate it since I always cheer for the vegetarian.

My cat really prefers the little powder puff size bunnies to the gophers, so they really do not get to be a problem here, although there are some pretty big ones hanging out down the road. Cats and coyotes just do not get the whole vegetarian thing (thank goodness!).

Unfortunately, though, we’re the only predator which eliminates its food supply. Coyotes, snakes, cats, hawks, etc. do just so much, but none of them completely clean out a garden full of “critters”.