Rabbits are cute but aren’t suitable for gardeners as they can consume everything from your veggie patch to your flower beds. As a result, gardeners often try to keep rabbits out of the yard using many natural methods and won’t harm the rabbits.
The eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) is the most common and irritating North American cottontail rabbit. The urban bunny prefers to hand around fence rows, field borders, brush piles, and backyards.
Despite the cute nicknames, the eastern cottontail is a pest. It has a short tail and large tapered ears. They weigh up to 4 pounds, measure around 19 inches, and have a cotton-ball-like white tail.’
In our guide, you can learn more about keeping rabbits out of your yard because if you see one rabbit in your garden, you can quickly have a rabbit problem or entice other animals that hunt them.
By the end, you’ll know enough ways to keep wild animals and rabbits from your yard using natural products.
How To Spot Rabbit Damage?
Rabbits are voracious eaters who cause unmistakable harm. In addition, insects and other pests frequently leave jagged edges on damaged plants, so check the leaves and stems for cleanly cut damage.
Pesky rabbits devour the tasty green shoots of tulips and other plants, so this clean-cut damage commonly occurs at ground level. (Read Do Rabbits Eat Pepper Plants)
Flowers, clover, peas, lettuce, beans, and other plants are favorites. Unfortunately, these plants also attract woodchucks and groundhogs, among other animals, leaving their burrows. You can avoid rabbit damage once plants have reached the seedling stage.
Rabbit nibbling occurs throughout the year, and rabbits can sustain themselves on dead leaves and other fallen foliage during the winter. Yet, hungry rabbits eat sensitive green shoots as their key food source in early spring.
Rabbits love to hide under things so that you can find small piles of droppings around debris piles as the first signs of a rabbit problem close to the growing season.
How to Keep Rabbits Out of Your Yard and Garden
Keeping rabbits out of your yard and vegetable garden can be
a challenging part of animal control at home. Rabbits will approach when they sense the coast is clear, so some methods of repelling rabbits work once or twice and then have no effect.
One of the best ways is to have the family dog patrolling the garden plants, yet they can’t do this all the time.
Besides this, rabbits fear their reflection, and placing mirrored surfaces everywhere can make your yard look unsightly to keep the furry creatures out.
Here are proven methods to repel rabbits and keep their twitching noses away from your tender plants.
Tidy Up Hiding Places
With so many predators, rabbits instinctively avoid danger. Rabbits like to hide in bushes, low-hanging branches, and other locations. To keep rabbits off your property, remove their safety attraction. Rabbits prefer places to hide or burrow over open spaces. Fence the latticework with chicken wire to keep rabbits out.
- Trim low-hanging branches and bushes
- Seal off hiding places around your deck using chicken wire fencing.
- Eliminate hiding places around your property. For example, you are sealing them off or eliminating them.
Eliminate Food Sources
Rabbits love to eat a lot and continually search for more food. As a result, your yard may smell like rabbits.
Ensure you keep fruit and rubbish in covered containers. Rabbits are drawn to tree bark on young trees, sensitive shoots, potted plants, and other foods. You can’t remove all food sources, yet you can rabbit-proof areas full of tender shoots and make them difficult to reach. (Read Do Rabbits Eat Tomato Plants)
Protect Plants From Rabbits
Plan a little, and you can protect your yard, flowers, and trees. Protect garden plants with netting or chicken wire to keep these small animals from eating your harvest.
Chicken wire or tree guards can also protect trees as rabbits
love nibbling bark from the tree trunk of a young tree.
Mulch around potted plants can help, and while it doesn’t protect the plant, it can keep rabbits burrowing around them. Large mulch such as rocks and woodchips can help. Also, try dusting plants with talcum powder to prevent rabbits from eating vulnerable leaves.
Use Effective Rabbit Repellants
Rabbits possess a strong sense of smell, so many common rabbit repellants can comprise human hair and dog hair. Strong smelling repellants like essential oils, or hot peppers, used cat litter, and you can use garlic to repel rabbits and also deer.
Rabbits are prey animals, and predators will keep them away. With this, the smell of blood is another smell that both rabbits and deer don’t lie; thus, you can purchase blood meal or bone meal from garden centers and sprinkle it across your lawn and around plants, yard, and garden.
Many use moth balls to keep rabbits away, yet these have a pungent smell to everyone and can be harmful to pets and children.
Another popular repellant is the use of Irish soap. Hang little bags of shavings around the garden. The strong scent helps to repel rabbits.
With your dog being an effective means to keep rabbits away, using Coyote urine or another predator urine can be effective. Because coyotes kill house cats, they usually avoid such scents, as these types of animals are a threat.
Many spray-on repellants need to be reapplied frequently or after rain or snow. As a result, any bought repellent you use must be used according to the manufacturer’s directions. (Read Dogs And Crab Apples)
Rabbit Entry Barriers
Besides having enormous appetites and even larger families,
Rabbits are also avid diggers. Use wire fences, hardware cloth, or plant cages made of livestock wire to keep them away from your plants. (Learn How To Get Rid Of Rabbits Under Deck)
If you opt to install rabbit fencing to keep rabbits out of your yard and garden, ensure it is at least 2-3 feet tall to prevent rabbits from jumping into your garden.
The fence should be buried at least six inches deep in the earth. It will be even more effective if you use 8-10 inches. This will make it more difficult for them to dig beneath the fence.
The chicken wire makes an excellent and inexpensive rabbit fence. A 12 to 1-inch mech should be used on the wire. For seasonal gardens, another alternative is electric net fencing.
Use Smelly Plants
Rabbits have a keen sense of smell, which you can exploit by planting foods they have a natural distaste for. This isn’t a foolproof strategy because desperate rabbits will ignore or become accustomed to the odor. It can, however, be used to bolster other deterrents around your garden.
To deter rabbits from your plants or veggies, grow onions and garlic around your garden, as the smell can deter many animals and insects.
Rabbits tend to dislike the following plants:
- Garlic and onions
- Herbs like Oregano, mint, parsley, and basil
- Daffodils and hyacinths
Use Aromatic Substances
Many better rabbit repellents work by using the rabbits’ sense of smell. While you need to purchase most of them, you can have a couple of items around the home to use quickly. Coffee grounds are one item that most homes have.
Rabbits and other animals dislike coffee grounds, probably because of the presence of caffeine. Like many other psychoactive compounds, caffeine was first developed as a pest repellant. Slugs, snails, and ants are also attracted to it.
Rabbits smell a lot, as their twitching noses show. Try spraying dried sulfur on your plants or around them. Onions are similarly repulsive to rabbits, so grow them in your garden to keep them away.
Because rabbits are excellent sniffers, sprinkling powdered red pepper throughout the garden or on certain plants may deter them.
Rabbits will be deterred by placing Irish Spring soap shavings in little drawstring bags around the garden.
Add three hot peppers, three large onions, and one complete bunch of garlic are ground together to make a bad-tasting rabbit drink.
Cover with water and store in an airtight container overnight. After straining, add enough water to form a gallon of the mixture. Spray on plants and then repeat after rain. Commercial garlic oil products with a strong flavor are also worth trying.
Rabbit Defenses That Don’t Work
Not all repellents will work to deter rabbits. For example, using such things as scarecrows, fake owls, and rubber snakes is ineffective for keeping rabbits away.
Rabbits may hesitate, yet once they sense they aren’t under threat, they can start to venture deep into your garden.
- Noise and Lights may scare off many animals, yet such light and noise devices tend not to be scared off permanently. Over a short time, they will be immune to such deterrents. Light is a prime example, shining a torch on them, and they freeze rather than run away.
- Pesticides: The EPA hasn’t approved pesticides to keep rabbits off your plants and veggies. Neither should you use rodent poison or other toxins to kill rabbits.
Trap and Relocate
Trapping isn’t always a viable alternative to keep rabbits away. You’ll need to check local laws as rabbit relocation inside city limits or other areas can be prohibited.
Rabbits can also carry diseases like hantavirus, salmonella, and others. You should know the dangers and how to guard against them. Live trapping can leave you vulnerable to this if you get bitten.
Rabbits are considered agricultural pests in several jurisdictions, which makes transporting rabbits from your garden challenging as local or state laws govern it.
Always check laws before attempting to transfer rabbits away from your property.
Trapping rabbits pose a risk to the trapper, who may not know how to avoid harm or sickness. Besides this, you can trap rabbits, which does little to stem your rabbit issue. (Read Flowers That Rabbits Won’t Eat)
Use Scare Tactics
Rabbits won’t be scared off using scare devices. Most repellents of this type are ineffective as rabbits adjust quickly. Instead, you can use a variety of shiny objects like mirrored surfaces, old CDs, and cans to scare them away. Items that blow and swirl in the wind are more effective than stationary rabbit repellents.