Field of Science

Yard Smart or Bunny Banquet?

Yesterday in spite of the cold rain it was necessary to take advantage of a short break in the freezing weather to finish up fall gardening by putting cages and fences around various young trees and shrubs, and the reason why is simple, if this wasn't done by spring the bark could be girdled or the shrub reduced to nubbins by the local bunny population. The Phytophactor has enrolled his gardens in a Yard Smart program meaning that the gardening practices used have a minimal impact on wildlife. Since our estate provides shelter, food, and water, it harbors a considerable wildlife fauna, although at times that seems to be mostly fox squirrels who can materialize out of thin air within minutes after you spill bird seed on the ground. However a balance has to be struck, and the bunny barriers keep our yard smart friends from turning hundreds of dollars worth of shrubbery into a banquet. Indeed a new witchhazel has already been nicely pruned back, adding to the previous years bunny pruning that occurred when heavy snow provided access over some barriers. You have to take certain pride in having some of the best fed bunnies around, and if perhaps you think this violates the Yard Smart premise, the possibility of biological control presents itself when you happen to be visiting the local pet store and they have several grayhounds retired from the racing games, and a one with big sad eyes named Bolt, a quite nice name, licks your hand and you ask, "Does he know how to chase bunnies?" What a present for Mrs. Phactor! Bolt, the bunny buster.

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