Winter Wildlife in the Herb Garden
Think no one is getting any use from your herb or kitchen garden this winter?
Your local wildlife might just disagree with you!
Many of your herb plants can be a tasty snack for your local animal neighbors…even when plants are dormant. Deer may help themselves to your trees, birds munch on seed heads, and smaller rodents might enjoy herbs, bark and seeds!
In my case the rabbits will go crazy eating everything that isn’t nailed down.
Rabbits and small rodents will eat the bark from trees, shrubs and even your herbs.
When there are several long-eared culprits around, you can spot the damage easily. Here’s how:
- The damage is usually lower than 2′ from the ground.
- Bunnies might leave prints in the snow, and gnawed, shredded or broken twigs.
- They might share their little round bunny poops with you. Just remember it’s fertilizer.
The smaller rodents will burrow just beneath the snow and head for fine dining your plants.
Here is a shot of rodent tracks beneath the snow, just after a thaw. The little rascals get around, don’t they?
There is not much you can do to deter these hungry and determined critters, unless you want to buy some extra food for them or you cage everything with chicken wire.
By the way- the extra food thing doesn’t work. Here the wild rabbits have full access to the barn where there is plenty of hay and scattered chicken feed.
They still help themselves to fruit trees, berries, shrubs, my lavender, roses and nettles.
What can you do?
Check herbs and other plants once in awhile and look for damage, and if you see any be sure to watch those plants in the Spring.
Sometimes there is no problem at all, other times there has been enough damage to warrant replacing that herb, young tree or shrub. Sometimes all that is needed is a plant ‘haircut’ to prune out rabbit damage.