Rabbits can be a real pain in the garden, destroying your flowers and vegetables. But you can do a few things to keep them out of your garden.
The first step is to understand which plants they tend to attack and which they won’t. That will help you determine whether spraying or caged protection is required for specific plants.
One of the best ways how to keep rabbits out of your garden is by putting up fences. This will prevent them from trespassing and eating your valuable plants. It will also help keep them out of your property and make monitoring what’s happening there easier.
The fence must be tall enough that rabbits can’t jump over it and buried deep enough not to burrow underneath it. A good chicken wire, or wire mesh perimeter fence, with the bottom, bent outward and buried to a depth of at least 6 inches under the soil, works well for rabbit control in the garden.
A crop cage made of hardware cloth, zip ties, and PVC pipe is another great option for keeping rabbits out of your raised beds. It’s important to bury the crop cage 3 to 6 inches below the ground to prevent bunnies from digging through it and harming your crops.
You can also protect individual plants in your garden with a simple plant barrier. Install a layer of 1/4- to 1/2-inch mesh chicken wire around the stems of your most prized plants to keep rabbits from gnawing at their bark or destroying their roots. This method is especially effective for young trees and shrubs.
Rabbits can particularly damage trees and shrubs in winter when tender greens aren’t available. This is because they’ll eat the vascular tissues that connect the bark to the wood, which disrupts the flow of nutrients from the roots to the leaves.
If you live in an area with significant snowfalls, use a higher fence to prevent bunnies from climbing over it and nibbling on your crops. It’s also a good idea to check the bar regularly to see if rabbits have managed to dig under it and create an opening for them to access your plantings.
Fencing is the most effective way to keep rabbits out of your garden, but there are several other rabbit-repelling options if you’re limited on budget or space. Irish Spring bar soap, for example, works surprisingly well to deter rabbits.
The best way to keep rabbits out of your garden is a combination of physical and chemical repellents. These methods include fences, visual deterrents, and sprays that use odor to deter rabbits.
Rabbits prefer tender new growth, so treat plants as soon as they sprout. This includes young trees, shrubs, and even annuals just starting to flower. You may need to reapply repellents as often as once every few days, especially after heavy rain.
Some plants that repel rabbits include herbs and vegetables in the nightshade family, such as peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, okra, squash, and beans. Also, try rhubarb, onions, and other cruciferous crops like carrots, beets, and parsley.
Garlic is a powerful odor-repellent for rabbits and other garden pests. Add a few cloves to your soil before planting any edible crops, or sprinkle garlic powder on the ground or the plants you want to protect.
Vinegar is another natural pest deterrent that can keep rabbits away. The acidity of the vinegar, combined with its scent, prevents rabbits from digging further into the ground and causing damage to your plants.
Chicken wire is a solid barrier for keeping rabbits out of the garden. This type of fence is made from 19-gauge steel with small 1/2-inch holes, making it easy to install and difficult for rabbits to squeeze through. In addition, it comes in 50-foot, and 100-foot rust-resistant galvanized rolls.
Other options include hardware cloth, a type of netting that makes it easier to install and keeps rabbits out. This type of barrier is a good option for large areas and can be covered with plastic sheeting to prevent scavenging by small rabbits.
It also works well as a barrier around newly planted vulnerable crops. It can be sprayed as a granular or clip-on repellent and will remain effective for 6-8 weeks.
Repellents that contain putrescent eggs or dried blood and urine will also help ward off rabbits. These products work because they trigger rabbits’ natural flight response, which can make them flee for safety.
Scents are a natural and effective way to keep rabbits away from your garden. You can scent your garden with garlic, red peppers, and Irish Spring soap. If you like the smell of citrus or mint, add a few drops of essential oils to your garden spray.
Smells can trigger our emotions and arouse certain feelings, but they may also affect how we perceive things, according to ThoughtCo. For example, scents like lavender, cinnamon, and citrus have calming effects, while peppermint or rosemary have stimulating properties.
Many of these fragrances are not only effective at keeping rabbits away, but they can also have a positive effect on your garden’s appearance. For example, you can plant marigolds, a herb often used as a repellent in vegetable gardens because of their intense aroma, around the perimeter of your garden.
Another natural deterrent for rabbits is putrescent egg, a chemical that emits a scent that rabbits associate with predators. Adding a few jars of this chemical to your garden is an inexpensive and easy way to keep rabbits out of your yard.
You can also buy repellents that combine putrescent egg, garlic, and ammonia, an effective way to keep rabbits away from your lawn. These commercial products are safe for use around children and pets.
For a more natural option, try placing a bar of Irish Spring soap around your garden fence (rabbits do not like the smell). Then, cut it into a few pieces, wrap a string around them, and hang them low enough at the rabbit’s level so they can’t see them.
If you want to go all out, sprinkle ground cinnamon or dried sulfur around your garden. These products deter mice and rabbits effectively, but be aware that they can damage your plants.
If your rabbit problem is severe, you may need to trap them to keep them from invading your garden. If you do, contact a local wildlife center or university extension service for permission before setting up traps.