Are rabbits wreaking havoc in your garden? How to keep rabbits out of garden?
Prevention is essential to keeping them out of your precious plants’ way. Rabbits are just one of many wild animals that might lurk in your garden.
Besides fencing, there are numerous traditional treatments and other methods that can keep the bunnies away! Plus, check out a compilation of plant varieties that they tend to avoid.
How to keep rabbits out of garden
Why Keep Rabbits Away?
Gardeners everywhere are all too familiar with the rabbit’s ravenous appetite for any fresh foliage in sight- woody plants, perennials, annuals, vegetables, and berries.
Chances are it will devour almost anything you put before it; a list of foods that rabbits refuse to eat is usually quite brief compared to their extensive menu of favorites!
Rabbits have an astonishingly high reproductive potential, which is why it’s best to avoid them at all costs if you don’t want your garden overrun.
In the north they can produce a maximum of three litters per year, each containing six bunnies; while in the south those numbers become reversed with up to six litters consisting of three baby rabbits each annually.
Additionally, the gestation period for these animals only takes about eight days more than that required for a chicken egg to hatch – making it just 29 days!
Make sure not to underestimate their fertility rate and quickly multiply their presence to keep everything under control.
Your backyard rabbit’s primary mission is to eat without becoming lunch itself, an arduous task as it stands out to over two dozen predators.
Thus, munching on your petunias isn’t a carefree picnic but rather a perilous duty. Yet if your neighborhood bunny can slip through the opening of your garden fence, it would be able to feed in peace and contentment.
How to Identify Rabbits in your Garden
The eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) is the most prolific and pesky of all nine North American cottontail rabbits.
This ubiquitous bunny can be spotted in cities ranging from Boston to Boulder, as well as southward into Mexico—anywhere but dense forests!
Brushy fence rows, field edges, brush piles and landscaped backyards are more their speed; unfortunately, they have an affinity for flowers, vegetables, bark, and bulbs that often leads to pruned peppers and clipped cosmos. They might leave rabbit hair on branches most time.
With its charming nicknames – bunny, bunny rabbit, and cottontail – it is easy to understand why the eastern cottontail may be mistaken as an endearing creature.
However, this animal has proven itself to be a bothersome pest with significant characteristics that distinguish it from others:
It can weigh up to 4 pounds; grow 15-19 inches in length; live for 12-15 months; but most notably its white tail resembling a cotton ball and long tapered ears make it hard not to notice!
Even though their vocal call is almost silent, they are known to emit a scream when feeling threatened.
Eastern cottontails find solace in piles of foliage, leaves, or deserted burrows crafted by other creatures.
Unlike their European kin who create elaborate warrens, these rabbits make do with what they already have.
Rabbits tend to escape the shelter during dawn and dusk since they are sensitive to the gradual transition from day length as spring arrives. This seasonal change marks a new period of mating season and plentiful meals for them!
If you’re observing cleanly cut damage on your garden’s foliage and stems, chances are a rabbit is a perpetrator – insects and other pesky critters usually leave jagged edges.
These precise cuts will generally be found at ground level because rabbits enjoy snacking on tasty tulip shoots and other plants.
Keep an eye out for these tell-tale signs to determine if you have bunnies in your backyard!
These low mowers graze close to the ground and sniff out the first tender young shoots and crop them short.
They love to munch on flowers, clover, peas, lettuce, beans, and more. Many of these plants are also the favorites of woodchucks or groundhogs, so check for burrows before deciding you have rabbit damage.
Once your plants have passed the seedling stage, they are usually safe from rabbit damage.
How to Prevent Rabbits
The most effective way to keep those pesky rabbits away from your garden and avoid rabbit damage is by utilizing physical prevention techniques like fencing.
We mostly focus on the eastern cottontail, yet these tips can be applied to any type of mischievous creature that seeks out succulent plants!
- Protect your garden against rabbits with a 4-foot high chicken wire fence, buried an extra 6 inches for added security. Top it off by angling the top foot outward to create an impregnable barrier that they won’t be able to climb or jump over!
- Deter rabbits out of your garden before they even have a chance to get in. Many classic solutions recommend distributing different items around the border of your garden such as dried blood meal or human hair. Sprinkle some dried blood meal on the surface near all your plants right when you can and add more following heavy rainfall. However, if you happen to own dogs too – refrain from using this approach since they may be drawn to its smell and start digging up parts of the garden!
- Clear away any brush and leaves in your yard, fill up abandoned burrows, and plug up all holes under sheds or structures. These actions make sure that rabbits won’t have a spot to live or hide nearby thus reducing the likelihood of it lingering around your property to eat everything in sight! Furthermore, by removing potential rabbit homes from your yard you’ll be able to decrease the chances of them breeding as well – so why not guarantee there’s no vacancy?
How to Get Rid of Rabbits in the Garden
If pesky rabbits have already infiltrated your vegetable garden, it’s time to implement strategies to prevent them from establishing themselves.
- If you’ve noticed your bunny’s sniffing, try utilizing sulfur or onions to ward them away! Sprinkle dried sulfur around the garden beds and plant some pungent onions that rabbits won’t enjoy. The result? A rabbit-free garden with thriving plants!
- To keep pesky rabbits away, sprinkle talcum powder around your plants to ward them off and deter rabbits from feeding on your plants.
- Rabbits possess highly attuned olfactory senses, so try sprinkling powdered red pepper around the garden or on targeted plants to dissuade them from entering.
- To help ward off bunnies from your garden, consider adding Irish Spring soap shavings to small drawstring bags and placing them around the perimeter. It has been said that this will act as a natural repellent!
- Create a potent rabbit cocktail by blending three hot peppers, large onions, and an entire bunch of garlic. Pour in enough water to cover the ingredients and leave it overnight in a sealed container. Strain afterward and add more water until you have one gallon of this mixture. Spray on desired plants regularly – especially following rainfall – for best results. Additionally, commercial products with pungent garlic oil are very effective as well!
- Keep your plants healthy and robust with a solution of 1 teaspoon of Lysol stirred into one gallon of water, then spray the mixture generously around their roots.
- By encircling each stem with a “collar” of tin cans or screening, some people can prevent smaller plants from harm. This also allows them the opportunity to reach an age and size where they become less vulnerable.
- Keep rabbits from taking part in a feast on your young fruit and landscape trees by using cylinders of 1/4-inch mesh hardware cloth. For maximum protection, ensure that the cylinder stands taller than the height of a rabbit standing on an expected depth of snow, while extending one to two inches out from the tree trunk for full coverage.
- If you’re looking to keep rabbits away, consider using commercially-available deer repellents containing a combination of dried bovine blood, sulfured eggs, and garlic. It’s said that these odors have the same effect on rabbits as they do on deer!
- It is said that hares are scared of their reflection, so why not try a classic rabbit repellent and display big, transparent glass jars filled with water around your garden? Garden stores will offer pre-made reflectors along with other deterrents – crouching cats, imitation snakes, intimidating owls – all engineered to scare away rabbits from your plants.
- If you are looking for a humane way to take care of your wild rabbit problem, trapping and releasing may be the best solution in some cases. However, before attempting such a course of action, make sure it is legal in your area. If buying a trap isn’t an option for you, consider building one instead! Place the trap where rabbits have been seen feeding or lounging around and cover it with canvas. Use fresh vegetables like apples or carrots as bait – these will attract them quickly and discourage rabbits from getting into your garden!
- Rubber snakes are essential as well. I mean, they’re probably not as smart as humans so putting a dummy predator will scare most common rabbit species.
What are some Rabbit Resistant Plants?
Bunny specialists know that rabbits have diverse tastes in plants, based on flavor, nutritional value, possible poison or prickles in the plant material, and how easy it is to access.
Additionally, their preferences can vary by region and season. To protect your garden from bunny-snacking habits then select plants they don’t find particularly appetizing – get creative!
If you’re looking for a way to manage rabbits, deer, and Japanese beetles, our list of deer-resistant plants and best/worst plants for Japanese beetles can help.
Consider planting flowers like Forsythia, Lilac Bush, Zinnias, Daffodils, Lavender, or Snapdragons in your garden; this could be the key to significantly reducing the rabbit population around your home!
If you’re looking for an effective way to fend off those pesky, hungry wild rabbits from your garden, planting the following plants might be just what you need. Most flowers smell like moth balls and are great at keeping young rabbits away.
Protect Your Plants Instead
A better option than trying to keep rabbits feeding in your garden is to protect your tender plants so they are less susceptible to damage. There are a variety of ways you can do this, depending on what plants you’re growing and how much space you have.
One way is by using physical barriers in the form of plant cages or fences. These can be made from metal, plastic, or mesh netting and are designed to keep rabbits out of certain areas. If you protect individual plants you make your garden humane and let rabbits run around free on your flower beds.
You can also use mulch around your plants to make them less attractive to rabbits. The thick layer of material will not only help retain moisture for the roots but also act as a deterrent in keeping rabbits at bay.
Rabbits may be cute and cuddly, but if they get into your garden, they can cause a lot of destruction.
Thankfully, there are a variety of ways to keep rabbits out of your garden so you can rest easy knowing that your plants are safe!
Consider trying physical barriers like fences or cages around individual plants, adding repellents like reflectors, rubber snakes, and fake cats to your garden, or planting rabbit-resistant plants. With the right approach, you can keep rabbits out of your garden – for good!