Daylilies forum→Happy Returns Daylilies

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Name: DAG DAG
WI (Zone 5b)
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davidg2156
Jan 30, 2021 12:11 PM CST
About 3 years ago, I planted an entire row of the HAPPY RETURNS DAYLILY variety along my garden edge. I had hoped to create a carefree border, with all season color and blooms. Unfortunately, the overpopulating rabbits of the neighborhood devour these like they are candy to them--chewing them to about one inch or less that prevents them from establishing themselves.. They do not seem to eat other varieties of daylilies that I have, so I wonder what is so tasteful to them about this particular variety. I am all for nature, but sheesh...they are eating me out of house and home. I tried spraying them (with garlic oil, dish detergent, black pepper), and using milorganite (others have said that the smell of it wards them off) all to no avail. Has anyone else noticed this?
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[Last edited by davidg2156 - Jan 30, 2021 2:59 PM (+)]
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Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan (Zone 5b)

Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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frankrichards16
Jan 30, 2021 12:59 PM CST
I have never noticed that Happy Returns attracts rabbits. Once established, happy returns is hard to stop:)

You might try some wire cages around your plants until they become established.

I am rural, so I use a small caliber rifle to deter rabbits and other small varmints, this might not be an option for you.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Daylilies Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Jan 30, 2021 1:21 PM CST
I have to put cages around my plants down in the bog, not for rabbits, but for critters that like to dig for earthworms. When the plants get established the cages hardly show. I mostly use the 2x4 inch fencing, for it to deter the digging critters it only needs to be 2 sections high I have found, but I actually prefer it to be 3 sections high, one foot. That is not counting the bottom section which is really just the "legs" that stake down in the ground.
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Name: Maryl
Oklahoma (Zone 7a)
Cat Lover Daylilies Roses Container Gardener Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents
Region: Oklahoma Enjoys or suffers hot summers
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Maryl
Jan 30, 2021 2:15 PM CST
Since my garden cat passed away, my rabbit population has exploded. Most mammals shy away from daylily foliage as it's mildly toxic, but I have noticed baby bunnies have "tasted" the newly emerging foliage of one daylily in particular. I have Happy Returns and it isn't that one, but it is one that is in a rather sheltered place where the baby bunnies instinctively feel more protected from predators. If there is a lot of foliage around that they can hide in it might be the same for your situation. As for remedies, I've tried quite a few as they have attacked other ornamentals even worse. There are wire cloches you can buy to keep them away from newly emerging foliage. There are spikes you can put on the ground that can keep them from approaching, there is Rabbit repellent spray that works (but can get pricey as once it gets wet it is ineffective), and then there is fencing (which I used when they began eating the bark off my roses during winter). Nothing has been as successful as my garden cat, but he was special and letting cats roam free creates an ethical dilemma for me. Maybe a Beagle named Snoopy on a long lead?.....Maryl
Name: Wendy
mid-Atlantic (Zone 6b)
robinjoy
Jan 30, 2021 2:55 PM CST
Rabbits here like to nibble newly emerging foliage in the spring, but they do leave the daylilies alone once they are a little bigger.

Mine seem prone to digging large holes in the center of the lawn to set up housekeeping. Bleh.
Name: Tim
West Chicago, IL (Zone 5a)
Daylilies Native Plants and Wildflowers Vegetable Grower
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Lyshack
Jan 30, 2021 3:52 PM CST
My rabbits eat foliage in the spring, too. Especially in the seedling bed. And when the leaves get bigger, they like to hide from the hawks underneath the bigger daylily plants. I wish daylilies were poisonous to rabbits, but it doesn't look like it based on the evidence I see. They will eat a two foot seedling all the way to the dirt and hop away unscathed.

I'll be another vote for cages, or just fencing if these are planted in a hedge/row. If you have baby rabbits, the 2" x 4" holes will be too big. You need at least 1" by 1". And rabbits will dig right under it if you are lazy. It's best if you push the fencing into the ground a little bit to discourage that.
Name: Wendy
mid-Atlantic (Zone 6b)
robinjoy
Jan 30, 2021 5:04 PM CST
I added a row of chicken wire inside the 2x4 wire fencing to keep the baby rabbits out of my veggie garden.
Name: Robin
Southern Michigan (Zone 6a)
Region: Michigan Seller of Garden Stuff Seed Starter Cat Lover Daylilies Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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RobinSeeds
Jan 30, 2021 11:50 PM CST
Seedfork said:I have to put cages around my plants down in the bog


Larry, I'd love a tutorial on cage making at some point if you have time and the inclination to indulge us. I'm all ears! Whistling
God blessed me with dirt.
('Mipii' on The LA)
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Daylilies Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Jan 31, 2021 8:15 AM CST
Well cage making is pretty easy if you have strong hands, not so easy if you don't. You will want a good pair of gloves and wear safety glasses. The reason for the gloves is obvious, but the wire is stiff and curved and springy and somewhat hard to manage and with those sharpe legs exposed once the wire is cut is a real danger to the eyes.
I use a pair of aviation pliers to cut the wire, they allow a close smoother cut.
This is what I normally buy:
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Garde...
You have to calculate how big in diameter your want your cage to be. I usually count out twenty four sections (a section here would be 2 inches ), then I use a pair of aviation sheet metal cutting pliers and cut down the full height of the fencing (four feet). Looking at the photo of the fencing that would be 13 cuts. You want to leave "legs" when you cut the wire so you can use your hands or pliers of some sort to connect the circles you form. You just form a circle with the cut section, then bend the legs around the opposite end of the circle formed. It takes a little practice getting all the legs aligned correctly. Now you have a four foot tall cylinder.
Then you cut as described below.
Now you have to decide how tall you want the cage to be. I started off with them way too tall, four and five sections high, but I also made them as low as one section and two sections high (a section being 4 inches in hight). For my purposes I have come to prefer three sections plus the "legs". These "legs" push easily down into my soil, but if you have clay or hard soil you might elect to used a stake to hold the cage in place.
The "legs" don't provide much stability and I did have to stake a few at first to keep the critters from pushing them over, but then they learned to just dig around them and that is unsightly but seem to do no harm to the plants. The deer still occasionally have a hissy fit when their horns or feet get caught up in the cages. Sometimes I never find a displaced cage. Usually I just have to straighten it back up and replace it. I don't recall any of the plants in that case being harmed. The Armadillos have to be removed because of the tremendous damage they do, but the cages do help protect the plants until the pesky thing can be trapped and removed. That involves a different type of cage.
Name: Tim
West Chicago, IL (Zone 5a)
Daylilies Native Plants and Wildflowers Vegetable Grower
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Lyshack
Jan 31, 2021 9:09 AM CST
I bet when they are tall they would make a good tomato cage. Might have to snip a window in a couple sections for picking the fruit that ripens inside the cage.
Name: Robin
Southern Michigan (Zone 6a)
Region: Michigan Seller of Garden Stuff Seed Starter Cat Lover Daylilies Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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RobinSeeds
Jan 31, 2021 11:10 AM CST
I have cats and don't have a rabbit problem. Possums and cats seem to respect each other, so the cats allow the Possums to nibble on the young foliage. My biggest problem is squirrels' digging up seedlings and dig in pots to hide or retrieve their goodies whilst destroying mine.

I was cage making a lot last summer and finally settled on 1" vinyl coated chicken wire. Mine need to be closed at the top for the cagey squirrels that seem to be able to navigate anything.

Thanks so much for the post @davidg2156 and thanks for your tutorial @Seedfork. Larry, I appreciate your time writing this out for me.
God blessed me with dirt.
('Mipii' on The LA)

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