A novel method for limiting rabbit damage and simultaneously fertilizing

By Lance Gardner (Lance) on May 22, 2010

A few years ago, while trying to figure out how to get my son potty trained, I found the best method was to encourage him to water the flowers. He had a favorite spot to personally water, with two unanticipated benefits. Not quite toilet trained, but it worked.

A few years ago, while encouraging my son to stop making puddles in his pants, I found the best method was to encourage him to water the flowers. He had a favorite spot to personally water, with two unanticipated benefits. Skye chose to water on a regular basis some impatiens we planted for Mother’s Day, and these grew to great size, much larger than the plants that did not receive this regular dosing.  Also, there was no rabbit damage.  The following year, we planted some impatiens in the same place, and the rabbits mowed them all down. They were replanted, and personally attended to again, with the same results: lush growth and no more rabbit damage.   

Here is a bit more background information on why this may work.  Urine is sterile while in the body (unless you have a bladder infection), and so is very ‘clean’ to use (you can actually use it to clean a wound in a desperate situation). It also contains waste products that our bodies no longer want, which is why it is being passed out, and why it smells a bit offensive to us and many other critters.  Much of this waste actually contains a lot of wonderful nutrients, such as nitrogen, for plants and microbes to use, so even though it may be sterile initially, as soon as it comes out it quickly becomes a haven for many things to grow on.  For these two reasons, I do not recommend personal watering of the edible portion of food items, at least not close to harvest time. This is at least partially why it also deters other critters. I have kept bunnies away from pole beans by sprinkling the bases, as the beans are up high, but I do not think it will work on lettuce that well, as an example. You may also want to wait until after some rain before weeding a recently attended area.

I have also been asked about more discreet ways to deliver the yellow water to the plants other than waving one’s personal belongings out in the open. I am not sure how well a squirt bottle would work, but it is possible to fill one up and use it. The metal parts in the bottle may react with the pH of the urine, however, so try it with an older bottle first, perhaps.  I would imagine watering cans, or just about any container, would work fine, as long as it pours easily. 

And as far fetched as this may sound, this method is mentioned in some of the more 'natural' books, such as "The Chicken Tractor".  You can also check out the gardening catalogs for predator urine, and you will find it. The biggest problem I have had is reminding my little water hose that not everyone wants their flowers watered in this manner, and not everyone wants to watch him, either – very little modesty so far, and the moon shines bright on many a cloudy day.  And finally, don’t forget that the original fertilizer is what all critters eliminate, and horse and cow manure is still much sought after by many. And you can be assured the sawdust in the stalls has had its share of pee and poop both mixed in. Of course, I expect that my home grown produce may be viewed differently from now on, and plants I donate may be hosed off prior to handling.  So, the next time you get irritated with the bunnies, take a big drink, wait an hour, and water away.

And sorry for the lack of photographic documentation – it somehow seemed not quite appropriate to show some pictures, and I did not take photos of the flowers from a few years ago, although I wish I had. 

Related articles:
animals, children, flowers, gardens

About Lance Gardner
I have an interest in just about anything that gets me outside, as well as anything that is alive or grows, and in making things. So my hobbies include gardening, outdoors, photography, dogs, woodworking, and most importantly raising my son.

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
So true! chelle Jul 5, 2010 7:21 PM 2
Here's a link to Amazon books--worth every penny coconut May 24, 2010 5:26 PM 0
My secret!! coconut May 23, 2010 6:34 PM 5
Salt! Audrey May 23, 2010 6:17 PM 2

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