Throughout the orchards of the Hanwell and Norwood Green Orchard Trail, we observe rabbit bite marks on the trunks of our young and vulnerable trees. We protect the trees with plastic rabbit guards, but this method is far from perfect: it uses a lot of plastic, the guards slip up or slip down, or rub against branches and cut into the bark just as a rabbit would.
I propose that the rabbits would rather eat cake!
Across Elthorne Waterside, where the rangers cut Sycamores and other trees and left some large branches on the ground, amble evidence presents itself: branches of cut wood are gnawed at, stripped bare of the juicy bark about a foot from the ground, then show no damage further away from the ground.
This must be the work our of hairy friends! It must be like a cake to a rabbit: easy to get to, plentiful and juicy. With such nice food readily available, surely there is no need to fight the plastic guards and gnaw at young trees while holding the head at a neck-breaking angle. My neck hurts at the thought of it.
Maybe we should bring out more
cake sacrificial wood into the affected areas in spring, when the fluffy rodents are hungry but the fresh grass isn’t quite ready yet. The remaining branches can still be chipped or brought into a dry hedge later.
This might be worth experimenting, don’t you think?