Rabbits, despite their sweet and endearing appearance, can be a nuisance for gardeners, whether they are professionals or amateurs, who are striving to create the ideal outdoor space.
As a keen gardener, I have several beautiful flower beds. Thankfully, I haven’t had too many issues with rabbits or any other kinds of pests digging up the flowers and plants in my garden. However, some time ago, one of the neighbours decided to plant some corn in order to feed it to his chickens. The chickens completed their task successfully, but the rabbits dug up all of the stalks and ate them until they were completely gone!
My next-door neighbor explained it as an impulsive decision. When the rabbits see a tasty snack that’s also high in protein, they just can’t help but devour it. To put it another way, preventing damage caused by rabbits is frequently impossible. However, the potential for damage can be significantly reduced if you enter the area before it is too late to do so.
When we talk about going in there, do you know that your neighbours put their rabbit cages right next to their house? In this manner, there will be only one door for them to open, and that will be the front door. Since rabbits are easily frightened, they don’t have to be concerned about anything approaching them from behind because they are terrified of everything. So, what transpires once those annoying vines of summer squash begin to proliferate inside of that cage? Or, what if the little bunnies climb up that cage in an attempt to escape the garden, only to find themselves unable to do so?
My next-door neighbor was inconsolable as she lamented, “My rabbit is in the cage, but her babies are outside, and I don’t know how to get them back inside.” How can I prevent rabbits from digging up my flower beds?
The following are some pointers that I have picked up over the years to assist in keeping rabbits out of my garden.
First, let’s have a conversation about the fences. It’s possible that erecting fences could solve some problems, but they could also cause more headaches than they’re worth. For instance, if you want to plant flowers or vegetables close to the fence, you shouldn’t bother because it won’t work. In any case, a rabbit would dig a tunnel underneath it (they can dig straight down for several feet). If there is no other way to prevent rabbits from entering an area, then constructing a fence may only be effective for a limited period of time even if it is done.
Keep in mind that the rabbits will still be able to get into the garden even if there are fences around it, but at least they won’t be able to get out! If you decide to construct a wall, you should at least ensure that it is elevated above the ground and that it does not have any gaps or openings beneath it through which small bunnies could escape.
In most cases, erecting an electric wire barrier all the way around the perimeter of a smaller garden will be sufficient to keep rabbits away. When enclosing their beds, I’ve seen some gardeners use chicken wire that has a plastic coating applied on top of it. Static electricity can be fatal to rabbits if they come into contact with metal or plastic, which may explain why rabbits have a strong aversion to the feel of those materials. This might sound extreme, but what about the harvest of carrots you just got? Let’s move on to the topic of the backyard gardener.
It is essential to keep in mind that rabbits, along with other pesky animals, are unable to jump. When you are constructing your raised beds or garden area, take care to ensure that there are no holes through which pests can enter. In addition to this, the sides of the bed should be raised to a reasonable height so that they are unable to jump over it.
I am aware that this may appear to be an obvious point, but the number of times that I have seen people growing vegetables right up against their house is astounding. In order to get into your garden, rabbits will first hop up onto the roof of your house. Because rabbits, like people, don’t like being turned upside down, a launching pad that also has a roof on it is an even better option. Keep your prized plants and flowers at least 6 feet away from the house to prevent pests from accessing them. This is a good rule of thumb to follow.
So, what about the plants themselves? Planting your vegetables in close proximity to one another will prevent rabbits and other unwanted visitors from entering your garden. According to what I’ve read, if you crowd a small area with a lot of tomatoes or beans, rabbits won’t be able to navigate their way through them and will eventually give up and leave. The following is how the theory works:
Rabbits do not like to enter confined areas and instead gravitate toward larger, more open spaces where they feel more at ease. Therefore, if you plant enough in one location, there may not be enough room for them; consequently, they will be compelled to move to another location instead.
What about plants that are resistant to rabbits?
What can you do to keep your garden looking great if you don’t want to risk harming Fluffy but you still want a beautiful garden? How about putting in some flowers that rabbits don’t care for very much?
The following is a list of non-poisonous and edible plants that you could plant in your garden to help deter unwanted visitors that are furry and hungry. It is important to keep in mind that some of these plants do not originate in your region. It is possible that you will need to inquire about availability at nearby nurseries or choose an alternative species that is native to the area.
You may also want to plant catnip, dill, or mint around the areas of your vegetable garden that are susceptible to rabbit damage. The plants on the following list are known to deter rabbits.
Without further ado, the following is a list of plants that are effective at deterring rabbits:
Ageratum (floss flower) (floss flower) Basil, Coleus (pepper leaf) Catnip Ivy Garden in the English Style Lavender Lemon Balm Lettuce (romaine) (romaine) Marie Growing vegetables in raised beds rather than across large areas is another smart gardening strategy. Because of this, you’ll be able to stack them much more closely together and distribute the seeds in such a way that there are no empty spaces. If you have issues with slugs, insects, or even deer, this could be the answer to your problems. However, I do not have any evidence that this would work for rabbits (although my mom swears it does), but if you do, this could be your solution!
Take into account the “territorial principle” as well. It is stated that the majority of animals will try to steer clear of areas in which they feel exposed. Therefore, by making things appear more formidable than they actually are, they will avoid them because they will associate the appearance with danger. If you plant thorny roses all around your garden or use other similar plants throughout the space, then rabbits and other animals will view it as much less welcoming; to tell you the truth, I’m not sure I’d want to get repeatedly pricked when I was trying to eat either!
The following is a list of excellent plant choices for a garden that should be free of rabbits:
The plant known as ageratum, which is also called floss flower, Indian Hollyhock, and “Joe Pye Weed,” is effective in warding off rabbits. When the plants are allowed to dry out and are then burned, a thick smoke is produced. This smoke has the potential to drive rabbits away from your garden. You can protect your compost pile from slugs and snails by placing dried leaves from this plant in the bin where you keep your compost.
Basil is an annual herb that can be used in your kitchen for a variety of culinary purposes, and there is nothing quite like using basil for these purposes. However, did you know that basil is toxic to animals? That’s right, try growing basil as a deterrent for rabbits in your garden.
Another plant that is effective in warding off rabbits is the coleus. The scent that emanates from the leaves of this lovely-looking succulent should be enough to ward off those troublesome bunnies, which appear to take great pleasure in nibbling on your prized flower and vegetable plants. If you don’t have a yard, another option for protecting your home from mice and squirrels is to plant coleus in pots and place them around the perimeter of your property.
Did you know that cats should never be given catnip? It’s accurate! Due to the extremely high level of toxicity that catnip possesses, cats will avoid it whenever they catch a whiff of it, but given that information, shouldn’t we all steer clear of it altogether? Just give it some thought: we plant catnip in our gardens to discourage cats from entering the garden; now you understand why we do this. What effects does ingestion have on a cat if the same substance that drives mice and rabbits away also makes cats sick?
5) English Ivy
In addition to its utility as an ornamental indoor plant that is suitable for hanging baskets, English ivy has the ability to ward off rabbits. You have the option of either pruning existing ivy plants or scattering the resulting ivy branches around your yard (make sure they are tied up or stuck into the ground). Alternately, you can take some cuttings from the mother plant, transplant them into pots, and then place the pots outside with the intention of preventing rabbits from eating the plants. Bear in mind that either approach is likely to be successful in preventing those troublesome rabbits from entering your garden.
The aroma that marigolds exude may be pleasing to humans, but rabbits find it extremely nauseating and unpleasant. If you have a large enough yard or garden to accommodate the planting of this lovely annual flower, you might want to think about doing so in order to deter rabbits from grazing in those areas. You are specifically interested in the stalks and the leaves. You have two options: either divide some clippings from the mother plant and transplant these into pots and put them outside with rabbit protection in mind, or you can trim branches from the mother plant and place them around your garden (make sure they are tied up or stuck into the ground). Both of these options are rabbit-proof. Either approach ought to be effective in preventing those bothersome rabbits from entering your garden.
Not only is mint useful for making tea, but it can also deter rabbits from an area. A few plants of this perennial herb strategically placed around your garden or flower beds will protect your vegetable plants and bulbs from pests that are harmful to them.
Oregano might be a tasty addition to pizzas, but if you want to keep rabbits away from certain areas of your yard or garden, planting it as rabbit protection might be a better idea. Rabbits are attracted to the pungent aroma of oregano. Oregano is rumored to be offensive to the sense of smell of foxes as well; therefore, selecting a location that will deter both foxes and rabbits simultaneously might be the best option. Last but not least, marigolds can be successfully grown in containers around the house to deter rodents like mice and squirrels without taking up valuable yard space.
If you have problems with snakes and rabbits in your garden, you might want to plant some sage. It is said that snakes and rabbits do not like this herb for reasons that are unknown, but if it is good enough for an excellent recipe for roast chicken, maybe it will save your other plants from being eaten up as well! In addition, marigolds can be successfully grown in containers around the house to deter rodents like mice and squirrels without taking up valuable yard space.
Tansy can be utilized in a manner analogous to that of oregano by making use of the plant’s leaves on their own or by burying sprigs of the plant close to the area of your garden that you wish to keep rabbits away from. You could, however, try using the flowers as well if you want a more effective rabbit deterrent. This is something you can do at any time.
Gardeners are typically of a gentle disposition due to their occupation. They would rather cultivate plants than eliminate pests. But if you’ve been trying to grow food in your garden only to have it eaten by rabbits, you might be tempted to get cruel and try poison baits, traps, or other bunny-type pesticides to get rid of the rabbits.
The use of spray water is not considered cruel because it does not cause any harm to rabbits; rabbits will simply flee the area when they hear the sound of a hose being turned on. One more visual trick is to “confuse” them by dispersing corn cobs around your garden or yard that have holes the size of rabbits bored into them. According to experts at the Cal-IPC, the cobs could be hidden by piling mulched leaves or straw high enough that the ends stick up from the top like little trees. This would require the leaves or straw to be piled high enough.
Please do not employ this method in locations where cats or dogs might easily get to them in a short amount of time. Also, do not allow the cobs to remain in place for longer than a week, as this will cause the kernels to sprout.
You could also try suspending shiny helium balloons that can be inflated with a string in order to deter rabbits from entering your garden. They might rustle gently if a breeze blows through the garden in the wee hours of the morning or late in the afternoon, providing a visual diversion from the garden’s bounty.
You also have the option of bringing an owl to live in your neighborhood, which is a more extreme measure. If an owl moves in nearby, you can bet that rabbit raids will dissipate in your yard, leaving enough food for everyone, including passing birds who stop by to eat what the bunnies leave behind. Owls do not all have the same powers of fear for rabbits, but if one moves in nearby, you can bet that rabbit raids will dissipate in your yard. There are methods that can be used to entice owls to take up residence in the area around your home. Even a small number of these intelligent creatures can keep most other animals, such as rodents, under control and possibly even some of your human neighbors.
The Humane Society makes a shrewd recommendation for one last strategy, which is to install an owl box in your backyard. These can be found at reputable garden centers as well as on the internet. You could also make your own owl box if you know your way around a saw and are handy. Once an owl has made your neighborhood its temporary home, it is possible that it will decide to stay there permanently. The fact that owls feast on rodents and insects makes them a potential ally to many of the other species that share the environment with them. They could even be your friend!
At the end of the day, it may feel like you are fighting a losing battle if you are attempting to protect your garden from rabbits and other animals. However, if we put in the effort and follow some of the advice given above, we should be able to put up a fight!
Leave a comment below and tell us what you do to prevent rabbits from getting into your garden and how you do it.