Although cute, rabbits can be a real pest in the garden. They can quickly devour all of the plants you are growing. This is a guide about keeping rabbits out of your garden.
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Although walls and fences are the most effective means of keeping deer and rabbits out of your garden, they are not always a practical solution. "Scent fences" can be an alternative - especially when they have plenty of other places to go in search of food.
By Ellen Brown
If you have a cat or dog in the home then you are vacuuming their hair off everything all of the time. Empty your vacuum canister or bag each time around the perimeter of your gardens. The pet hair scares away rabbits, gophers, and other wild animals. They smell it and think there is danger so they head elsewhere for their munchies!
By Pattie from Bridgton, ME
Females give birth to an average litter of 2-3 "kittens" and can have as many as 5-6 litters per year. The babies are born in shallow nests in the soil (called "forms"), which are covered by leaves, branches, rocks or other debris. The kittens stay in the nests for several weeks, with the mother leaving them hidden during the day so as not to attract the attention of nearby predators. (Note: If you find what appears to be an "abandoned" rabbit nest, it's likely that the mother is hiding close by. She'll come back at night so leave it alone! The mortally rate for baby rabbits is high - even higher for those raised by well-intentioned humans!).
Trunk Guards: Individual plants and small trees, shrubs, and vines can be protected using homemade or commercially bought trunk guards. To make them yourself, simply roll 1 inch mesh into a 18-24 inch cylinder (or larger if needed) and surround the plants. Close the seam using thin gauge wire or zip ties. Make sure to make the cylinders large enough so the rabbits can't browse on leaves through the mesh. Bury them into the ground a few inches or secure them with stakes to keep them securely upright.
Trapped animals need to be relocated to somewhere. Laws may vary locally, but many times this requires a written permit to do so. Once trapped rabbits are moved out of the area, those same resources become available and new rabbits move into the area. The cycle simply continues to repeat itself.
If you do decide to use live traps, check with your DNR or animal control regarding laws first. Always locate traps in the shade, check it daily, keep pets away, and have a release location planned before you set the trap.
By Ellen Brown
Tips for keeping bunnies out of gardens from the ThriftyFun community.
By michelle h
Wolf urine works too, but it's very inconvenient to chain a wolf in your yard and force him to drink coffee. I haven't tried it.
Grow lettuce, broccoli, and veggies in large containers on your sunny porch or in your yard to keep the rabbits from chewing them to a nub! :)
If you have a problem with rabbits munching on your flowers, try brushing your cat and then sprinkling the cat hair over the plants. This was the only solution that helped me after I had tried other remedies such as sprinkling cayenne pepper, human hair and blood meal over my plants (the rabbits ate the cayenne pepper!). By using cat hair, I think the rabbits avoid the plants because they think a predator is close by.
Use empty gallon milk jugs for back yard planting season. The rabbits would eat all our new pepper plants. The only way to keep them away was to cut off the bottom and top of the milk jug and bury the wide bottom part in the ground a couple inches. Sunlight and rain could come in from top and rabbits somehow didn't bother the plants. It worked every year.
Dried blood should be available at your local garden store. It is a biproduct of cattle beef processing. It comes in a powdered form and is effective for discouraging deer and rabbits from eating your plants.
In a large bucket, combine dried blood and water until dried blood is disolved. Apply using a spray bottle or garden sprayer.
Caution: Use this solution sparingly. The nitrogen in the dried blood may burn your plants if it gets too concentrated. You can also try sprinkling a little dried blood mixed with bonemeal around threatened plants.
Sources: Rodale's Book of Practical Forumulas
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Here are questions related to Keeping Rabbits Out of Your Garden.
How can I keep rabbits from eating my tulips and other plants?
By Amy C.S.
Hi Amy...There are a number of things to help with this problem that won't hurt the bunnies. These tips also work with deer and mice/voles. They don't work well if squirrels are eating the tulips. I watched a cute little red squirrel one year chomp on my beautiful Red Appledorn tulips! Bunnies, deer and mice have very sensitive noses and are afraid of movement.
You can take strong scented unused fabric softener sheets, clothespin them to bamboo skewers and place them around the tulips. If you have a fence around the tulips you can clip them to the fence. You can also take one of the little muslin drawstring bags (you can find them at a feed store), take a small piece of original scent Irish Springs soap and put it in the bag, close the bag and again clip it to either the skewers or a fence. It is the odor that they don't like so the stronger smelling the better.
You can also buy some of those inexpensive (think Dollar Store) aluminum whirly things on a stick and stick them around the plants. They will usually turn with just a slight breeze and it scares the animals. Plus it will make you the talk of the neighborhood as the eccentric neighbor! But it really does work.
I am a licensed wildlife rehabilitator and an advanced master gardener and I do talks on how to have gardens with harming the animals. Good luck and happy gardening.
How do we keep the rabbits from eating the bulbs I plant for next year's growth?
Hardiness Zone: 5a
By Rox from Champaign, IL
Wow, that is awesome info, thank you very much....I love to see the rabbits in our yard, but I do want it to stay pretty with flowers and shrubs and since my little dogs chase them the info on rabbits being territorial is very good to know.
I am hoping someone can help me save my flowers this year. We are overrun with Chipmunks and Rabbits. They totally stripped all of my flowers last year and I heard that if you spray them with Cayenne pepper they will not eat them ~ Well~ that didn't stop them. I sure hope someone has an answer for this problem.
Thanks in advance,
Helen from Ontario
There is nothing (I repeat, nothing) that will keep chipmunks permanently away from your bushes, plants, pots, and gardens. I've tried everything under the sun. The best product is Repels All, a granulated, organic substance that you sprinkle around (it will not hurt plants or gardens), that is a first choice of landscapers. Repels All will irritate their nasal passages after they've dug around in it for awhile, then they won't come back.
Anything you use will dissipate after a rain, so reapplications are mandatory, and unrelenting and diligent follow up. Chipmunks travel in groups or families, and they move in and out of your area as seeds become available (spring and fall). They will STAY in your area if you let them - if they find a good place to nest and burrow, there's no need for them to move on quickly.
My tried and true remedy has been setting rat/chipmunk traps with peanut butter, along with regular applications of Repels All. WARNING: Wear a mask or cover your nose/mouth with a towel when sprinkling it around. I've come away with a bloody nose more than once, and it always bothers my nose if I don't cover it up. The traps, which I buy at ACE Hardware, work great and are reusable.
I've caught up to 6/day with only two traps. Sometimes it's not a clean kill, though, and you'll have to fill a bucket with water and drown them. Take the traps in a night. Other animals will get a paw caught and drag it away for good.
How do you get rid of bunnies in a garden?
A friend plants comfrey. The bunnies would much rather eat it than anything you have in your garden.
What can I place in my vegetable garden and around my flowers to deter rabbits from eating them? I know I can fence in the garden, but what about flowers?
By Joe B
My grandpa always put bone meal around the garden.
Can someone tell me how to keep rabbits out of my garden safely?
By Sharon from East Hampton
Also, try buying children play snakes and place them around. See if that helps. It would keep me out. lol.
How do I naturally repel rabbits in a garden?
By John from MA
Mass home improvement stores such as Lowes and Home Depot will also have predator urine located in their garden pesticide section. Of course, if you or a neighbor has dogs, you could always walk them around the perimeter of the garden and let them do their business.
Three rabbits have eaten all 16 of my pepper plants. How can I keep them away next year? I tried deer scent, but that didn't work.
By Holly A. from Copley, OH
I cut up old garden hose (approximately 8-10 inches long) and place them around pepper plants and anything else the rabbits might eat. I have not had any problems with the rabbits in my garden since I started doing this and I have done this for several years. The reason that I heard that this works is because the rabbits think the cut-up garden hose are snakes and they are afraid of snakes. Good Luck! Hope this works as well for you as it does for me.
What can I use to get rid of rabbits in my flower beds? They are eating my flowers. I have a sprinkler system that comes on every morning for 5 minutes in these beds so it has to be unhurt by water.
I read that you can use crush red pepper sprinkled in your garden. That's fine, but does it harm you plants at all?
By Eric m.
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the comments that were provided then.
Rabbits are eating my flower tops and tomato plants.
Can anyone help?
I always plant marigolds around my garden because I've heard that rabbits don't like the smell of them. You could try that. (06/06/2005)
Rabbits love marigold flowers. Sorry but nice try. (07/13/2007)
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We're having a lot of trouble with rabbits eating all our plants. Any ideas? Thanks.
You may need to employ a variety of tactics to achieve success. If it repels rabbits, it should also deter gopher and woodchucks. Here are several ideas:
1. Fences: This is really the only foolproof method for protecting your garden from rabbits. Fencing should be 4 ft tall and extend at least 6 inches into the ground. Use metal wire with an inch mesh and you will keep them out.
2. Bloodmeal or bonemeal: This gives rabbits the impression hungry predators may be lurking nearby. Sprinkle this on top of the soil or fill cheesecloth bags and hang them from trees and shrubs.
3. Hair: Collect discarded human or pet hair and spread it around the perimeter of susceptible plants. Again, rabbits become leery that hungry predators may be in the vicinity.
4. Mason jars: Some gardeners swear that placing Mason jars in 3 foot intervals around the perimeter of your garden will keep rabbits out.
5. Vinegar and corncobs: Soak corncob halves in vinegar for 24 hours and place them around the garden. Save the leftover vinegar and resoak the corncobs every two weeks to keep rabbits at bay.
6. Powdered fox urine: This stuff may not sound very appealing to work with, but exploiting the rabbit's natural fear of the fox is a good strategy. Find this at your local garden center.
7. Tree guards: These are available in home and garden centers, but are easy to make yourself using foil, or window screen. Wrap the trunks of susceptible trees to a height of at least 2 ft above the deepest level of normal snowfall.
8. Try planting Mexican marigolds or garlic.
9. Rotten eggs: Blend 4 eggs, 4 cloves of garlic, 4 tbsp. of Tabasco with 4 cups of water. Allow this to ferment in the hot sun for a few days and then pour around susceptible plants. You may not be able to stand the smell, but neither will the rabbits. Reapply it rains.
Many commercial repellents are available in the form of sprays or powders. These work on the premise that rabbits won't eat something that tastes or smells bad, and usually contain garlic and/or cloves. You will find a wide variety of repellents at home centers and feed stores.
Although rabbits will eat anything (and everything) if food sources become scarce, some plants have been found to be less appealing to their pallet. Contact your local extension agency for recommendations on which rabbit-resistant trees, shrubs and plants grow best in your zone.
About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com
My domestic rabbits devour garlic leaves. It seems odd that they're being recommended to repel wild rabbits. (06/17/2008)