Decado
Green Thumb
Posts: 480
Joined: Sat May 16, 2009 2:52 am
Location: Crystal, MN (Zone 4)

Rabbits Decimated My Raspberries

So I just got out to looking at the garden today since all the snow is about melted away and I discover to my horror the decimation of my raspberries. About a third of them are cut halfway up and another third cut about a foot up from the ground, I only have a third of the woody growth from last year left. I had no idea rabbits could eat through woody/thorny plants like this. First of all, am I going to get much yield from these cut plants? And secondly, how do I repel rabbits in the winter? I might go about putting chicken wire around the entire garden up to the height of the chain link, but I'm pretty sure they could jump it in the winter when the snow is high enough, what else can I do to repel these stupid creatures so that they don't decimate my raspberries every winter?

User avatar
hendi_alex
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3567
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

While they could probably jump over the fence, rabbits will usually respect a very low fence of 18 inches or so. As far as your raspberry plants, it really depends upon the type. For spring and fall bearing plants, you will likely lose a good bit of the spring harvest. For single crop plants, I think that they should be pruned to just above the gound anyway as the fruit sets on new canes. The rabbits would have done you a pruning favor by cutting those varieties back. In any event, there is no long term damage done.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

Decado
Green Thumb
Posts: 480
Joined: Sat May 16, 2009 2:52 am
Location: Crystal, MN (Zone 4)

The variety I have is the kind that wants to fruit on year old woody growth, which is all I left after this fall. I learned this the hard way by cutting them to the ground the fall of 2008 and had almost no yield last growing season (which is why I'm extra angry at these little buggers). They also bear fruit all growing season pretty much. 18 inches of chicken wire isn't going to help with anything once the snow is on the ground, the snow level will be over that in no time once winter rolls back around.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27972
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

I know what you mean -- NOW -- after this winters heavy snowfall. :roll: My 24" and 28" chickenwire fences were buried in snow. But when that happens, the raspberries are under the snow too. :wink: I guess the critical time might be when only the upper 6"~8" of the fence is above the snow and the raspberry canes are exposed. I worried about that for my young fruit trees since I have plastic collars on them up to 18" of the trunk but with the snow up so high, the rabbits would've been able to reach the upper branches.

In my case, I had one medium sized blueberry bush caged in a hardware cloth -- a holdover from last summer to protect the berries from birds. The rabbits chewed off every bit of branch tips that grew out of the cage. I forgot to cage a small blueberry that didn't produce any berries last year. It has been THOROUGHLY "pruned" over the winter :evil:

You might just bite the bullet and build a complete cage around them because once you have fruits, you'll be fighting off the birds. And they'll take the berries just BEFORE you think they will be ripe enough to harvest. :evil: :evil: I plan to build either a wooden or EMT structure and walk-through door completely covered with chickenwire. I've tried the bird netting for 3 years and am tired of squirrels, rabbits, and groundHOGS ripping holes for the catbirds to get in. I'm telling ya, they're in cahoots. :mad: :roll:

User avatar
hendi_alex
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3567
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

I built a bird cage for a friend who had peacocks. After building, I thought that it would have made an excellent planting area for critter sensitive plants. I do wonder if squirrels or birds might venture through the 2 X 4 weldwire though. Might have to make some adjustment on the wire size. My pen probably will last at least 15-20 years without any significant repair. Will post a photo when I get a chance.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

Return to “FRUIT FORUM”