Winter is rarely a kind season for most of our landscape gardens and their gardeners here in Minnesota. Winds, killer evening temperatures, crushing snow layers, sunburns on bark, deer, dogs, and then there are the rabbits.
Sixty years of rumor have told me rabbits are hit with a vicious virus or two about every seven years which wipes out the vast majority of a settled rabbit population…,.I used to believe the rumor….until reviewing the last five to seven years of rabbits running around winter in my gardened grounds.
Last year rabbits caused more damage in my grounds and others our Masterpiece Landscaping company has created, was the worst in a decade or more. Arborvitae shrubs chewed to pieces to the one foot high mark….some chewings even higher where plant foliage and snowdrifts meet. Many of my plants’ rabbits came from neighbors’ habitats and nearby woods. I laid out some wire fencing in areas where my most valuable cherished plants are located. Some young woodies disappeared entirely into rabbit poop over a single night.
There is a “friend” available at most garden centers and hardware stores you might want to meet for assistance in reducing your landscaped grounds rabbit population….It’s usually sold in about a 25 pound bag….with the name MILORGANITE printed on it.
Again…MILORGANITE…and it has been around these northern areas for decades, and available in eastern Wisconsin for many, many decades more. Milwaukee is where these bags originated. One can tell by its name…”Milwaukee organic matter”…and it used to be found very close to home in the old days. It may still be ‘organized’ exclusively in Milwaukee, for the organic matter it sells originates from Milwaukee area human poop…..aged to perfection, of course!
If your garden plants have been pestered by rabbits this winter, you might want to try Milorganite for temporary rabbit control. It consists of countless tiny pellets of human organic waste and is sold as a slow release garden fertilizer. But, this fertilizer carries an odor, which of course, doesn’t bother any plants at all…..nor does it bother Mr. or Mrs. Gardeners. It seems to bother rabbits of all shapes and sizes for a while.
It can be spread broadly around the garden area or around any plants at any time for normal garden soil and plant enrichment.
Before snowfall, rabbits usually have an endless supply of herbs to eat up. After snowfall most of that rabbit food becomes unavailable forcing a change in the bunny diet….conifer foliage and bark…..young deciduous tree and shrub bark now appear on top of the rabbit diet.
So, whenever you are in the mood to fertilize your trees and shrubs after snowfall, you might want to think of human manure from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I usually wait until after the first major snowfall before I apply this unusual fertilizer. Whatever power Milorganite has over rabbits, it weakens when its pellets are lying under every major snowfall, so keep that in mind.
Spread it by hand in glove. Throw handfuls of this “aromatic” fertilizer around the crowns of shrubs and young tree trunks, bunnies usually nest or chew on. Rose shrubs, those beautiful new hybrids available to northern gardeners these days, are usually breakfast, lunch, and supper desserts to rabbits of all ages. Winged Euonymus bark near soil level can be ravaged by a bunny or two in a week. Canadian plum trees of all varieties when can be chewed to pieces by deer or rabbits in winter or anytime if there is no protection such as tree wrap around the structural stems.
Don’t be wussy about the amount of Milwaukee manure you throw around the trunks of your susceptible cherished plants. Toss to ten or even more handfuls, around each trunk of the susceptible plants you cherish more than your rabbits do…..ideally, each time after a heavy snowfall. Good Luck.
Be sure to call us at Masterpiece Landscaping at 952-933-5777 when you need help creating and maintaining beauty on your home or business grounds.