how to keep rabbits out of garden

How to Keep Rabbits Out of Your Garden or Yard: 10 Best Ways

Looking for effective ways to keep rabbits out of your garden or yard? We have some easy solutions to prevent these critters from entering your garden and make your garden rabbit proof.

Rabbits may seem to be a cute, fluffy, and adorable little animal to kids. However, they can be quite a destructive pest that has the potential to eat up the landscape, or crops overnight and cause a lot of damage to your lawn, vegetable garden or flower beds.

Editor’s Recommendation: How to Get Rid of Groundhogs

These long-eared nibblers love to munch on all kinds of fresh vegetation from carrots, cabbage, lettuce, beans, broccoli, and also woody plants,  annuals, and berries. They also nibble flowers which include pansies, gazanias, petunias, and marigolds.

But first, identify the signs of rabbits activity in your garden;

Rabbit damage looks similar to deer or other animal damage and harms various plants.

These critters are most active at night and it’s difficult to spot rabbits in the garden during day time when they are hiding in their burrows or hideout. But there are some signs that help you to confirm the presence of these nasty critters in your garden.

  • Look for distinct pea-sized round droppings (poop) around the garden.
  • Shoots on herbaceous plants grazed to ground level.
  • Tufts Rabbit hair or fur around or under the nesting areas or bushes.
  • Rabbits also dig holes and scrapes in lawns and flower beds.
  • Young plants or tender shoots like Swiss chard, pea, pepper seedlings vanishing completely overnight. Check out for chewed plants.
  • These critters have both lower and upper incisors, so when they eat, they make a clean cut.
  • Patches of burned or browned grass caused by the rabbit urine.

Preventive Measures to Keep Rabbits Out of Yard

1. Create a Less Rabbit-Friendly Landscape/Garden

Keeping rabbits out of your yard means depriving them of what they want. So try and take measures to make your garden less inviting for rabbits to invade. Rabbits usually inhabit places that can give them protection from predators and where they can find things to nibble on.

This makes low-growing shrubs brush piles, and tall grasses, sheds, are their favorite hide-outs. So it’s best to clean up brush piles regularly, mow tall grasses, and remove dense shrubs, weeds, and unwanted wood and stone piles from your yard.

Opt for raised beds. Nikki Tilley, senior editor of Gardening Know How, recommends raised-bed gardening, “which they don’t seem to bother quite as much.”

2. Garden Fence & Barriers

Fencing your entire property or garden to get rid of rabbits and other animals can be effective but an expensive affair. For a more practical solution use chicken wire to fence off only the areas that are attracting rabbits like small areas like high-value crops, flower beds, and home gardens.

Rabbits can easily dig and burrow under fences so consider burying the bottom at least 6-10 inches into the ground.

3. Scare the Rabbits Away

Your pet dog or cat can act as a good deterrent to keep the rabbits out of your property. Get your dog a free run in your garden a few times a day. If the critters see a real animal guarding your property they may opt never to return back.

Another option is the Ultrasonic rabbit repellent devices. These drive rabbits away with sounds the animals find unbearable, but that’s inaudible to you. Avoid using these devices if you or your neighbors keep pets, cats, dogs, rodents, other pets.

Water scarecrows, fake snakes and owls, aluminum pie pans are other devices that are sometimes used to frighten rabbits away from plants.

However, these devices should be considered to have a temporary effect — a rabbit may run away but will return as soon as it learns that such devices are not harmful.

Best Repellents, Chemicals, Traps, to Deter Rabbits from Gardens 

You’ll want to keep them away from your garden, but using methods that will not harm or kill them. Here are some safe, humane products and tactics you can use to deter bunnies.

4. Use Repellents

This is one of the easiest ways to get rid of rabbits coming to your garden. You can sprinkle dried blood, human or pet hair, cat litter, sulfured eggs, dried blood meal, predator urine (coyote and fox urine), on the surface around all your plants, grass, vegetables, and flower bed to keep off the rabbits from your yard.

Note: If you have dogs, don’t try this method because they might be attracted to the scent and start digging up your garden.

Such repellents are completely safe for your cat or dog. They usually are water-soluble, and labor-intensive and are thus not 100 percent effective in all situations. And once you have heavy rains, you need to repeat the solution.

Rabbits may be also deterred from eating some crops by spraying it with granular repellent, clip-on garlic odor repellents, or fish emulsion.

5. Chemicals

Chemical repellents are another option to keep these cottontails away from your garden.  Ammonium soap repels rabbits, but it should be used near non-edible plants only.

To keep rabbits from nibbling, consider treating your trees with a deer repellent or fungicide containing thiram. Check the product label before applying the product to edible plants.

To get effective results you can use strong odor repellents that have potassium salts, ammonium, naphthalene as these chemicals help to protect your vegetation and flowers from being eaten by rabbits.

6. Use Traps and Relocate

Sometimes, using humane traps are the best solution. If you don’t want to buy a trap, consider building one at home. Place the trap where you’ve seen the rabbits feeding or resting, and cover it with a piece of canvas.

Carrots, cabbage, lettuce, apples, and other fresh vegetables make a great bait to catch rabbits. You can relocate it to a more hospitable environment once they are trapped.

Note: It is important to check any traps at least twice a day so that any rabbits or other birds, animals,  caught can be released immediately. It is inhumane in the extreme to allow an animal to remain in a trap without food or water for any length of time.

Note: Before you attempt this, check with your local department of wildlife to make sure trapping and releasing wildlife is legal in your area. If it is, you’ll need to learn the related regulations, such as where the rabbits can be released.

7. Predators

Your backyard rabbit’s main motto is to eat and hide without being eaten. So allowing natural predators in your neighborhood or garden is a great way to keep the rabbits away from your lawn.

You can use hawks, snakes, owls, foxes to remain active in your yard or neighborhood can help control rabbits.

8. Pest Guard Cover

Putting a physical barrier to keep the plant, vegetable or flowers off-limit is another option to protect your garden.

This bell-shaped cover, made from sturdy chicken wire, can be placed over a garden plant to keep it protected from birds, rabbits, other animals.

Natural Home Remedies to Keep Rabbits Out of Garden (Organic)

9. Homemade Repellent Liquid

Using traditional homemade DIY repellents may prove to be effective in some situations. With simple ingredients make a liquid solution of 1 gallon of water and mix some dish soap and 1 spoon of cayenne pepper sauce or crushed red pepper in it and mix it well.

Now spray your plants shortly before evening with the liquid solution. When the rabbits taste or smell the unpleasant substance, they should stop feeding.

Garlic, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and other spices are some scents rabbits dislike, so sprinkling these around your plants acts as a deterrent. Reapply them frequently as the smell may wear off easily or wash away in rain. 

10. Bunny Deterring Plant Selection

According to bunny experts, rabbits have plant preferences based on taste, nutritive value, the presence of poison or prickles, and ease of availability.

Their tastes in food can also vary by region and season, so not all plants work for all rabbits. By growing plants, they dislike or placing such plants next to the ones they do like, you may discourage feeding.

Plants that repel rabbits are;

  • Flowers: cleomes, geraniums, vincas, wax begonias

  • Herbs: basil, mint, oregano, parsley, tarragon

  • Vegetables: asparagus, leeks, onions, potatoes, rhubarb, squash, tomatoes

How to Repel Rabbits from Your Garden: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do mothballs keep rabbits away from plants?

Ans: No. Mothballs are basically indoor pesticides used for repelling insects, mice, in closets or storage areas, they are not intended for outdoor use.

Q: Does Vinegar Keep Rabbits Away?

Ans: Vinegar is bitter and acidic, and rabbits want nothing to do with it. One thing you can do is soak old corn cobs in vinegar, then place them around the perimeter of the garden. You can also do something similar with hot peppers or with ammonia.

Q: Do Marigolds Repel Rabbits?

Ans: There’s a common piece of folk wisdom that marigolds repel rabbits, deer, and other backyard mammals that eat garden plants.

While there are plants that rabbits don’t like, due to unpleasant smells and tastes, there’s no evidence that marigolds are one of them.

I hope these tips are really helpful to you to prevent and control the rabbits in your garden, yard. Let us know your opinion and suggestions in the comments section below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *