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Bad Hare Day
Q: What do you do when your ends look tattered and there's no glossy shine?
A: Use hare spray!
When some newly planted young northern rata (Metrosideros robusta) were checked recently, it was found many had sustained total loss of leaves and others had torn or chewed leaves.
Forensic examination of the branches showed a characteristic diagonal end with missing buds. This split end appearance is typical of bites by the hare (Lepus capensis).
To deter a repeat of the nibbling behaviour, a bitter spray was applied as well as extra protection using tough plastic sleeves.
Hares are supposed to eat mainly grass and choose saplings when there is a shortage. Grass surrounding the young rata was lush and abundant, maybe Metrosideros is a particularly tasty treat for the local Whareroa hares!