Winegrowers Supplies  -  Protecting vines against rabbits

I recommend fine diamond mesh, 600 mm tall, black plastic nets. These last about 4 years until the vine-stock is thick enough that a rabbit can't chew through it.

The advantage of nets is that they allow air flow. If you use solid plastic tubes then the temperature of the still air inside the tube can fall well below the ambient temperature; I've seen vines in solid tubes where long buds inside a tube have been destroyed by frost (this happens at below - 2 C) while the buds above the tube are growing strongly.

The technique with these nets, which arrive 'flat packed', is to put one arm through the net and pull it inside out. This automatically leaves a turn-up of about 4 cms, which helps to keep the net cylindrical.

A vine support pole (6 mm diameter steel or 7 mm diameter Glassfibre) needs to be pushed into the soil, about 25 mm from the vine, to a good depth sufficient to hold the pole vertical and firmly in situ.
The net is then placed over the support pole, sliding it down the support pole, through holes near top and bottom of the net, so the net is held firmly at top and bottom; hence it doesn't blow around in the wind.
Scooping a little loose soil into the 'turn up' at the bottom of the net will help to hold the net better in place.

Later, when the vine has grown shoots about 20 cm tall, the net can be slid up the pole and the unwanted buds/shoots rubbed off, then the net slid down again.

www.winegrowers.info