Rabbits are cute and cuddly, but not when they are eating their way through your garden. These little critters have a surprisingly large appetite, nibbling their way through your vegetables, berries, annuals, perennials, and even your woody plants and bushes.
The good news is that it’s easier to deal with rabbits in your garden than most people realize. The secret? Focus on preventative measures, eliminating the problem before it happens.
Learn how to keep rabbits out of your garden and take your outdoor space back! Yes! Pinterest has so much to offer on any given subject!
What You Need
- Fence posts or stakes at least 2-3 feet tall
- Chicken wire with spaces less than 1 inch wide
- Plant cage
- Raised garden bed or vertical garden
- Rabbit resistant plants such as hot peppers, garlic, cucumbers, and squash (see step five for more options)
- Black pepper or crushed red pepper
- Garlic powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Pure-Castile liquid soap
- Spray bottle
A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Keep Rabbits Out of Your Garden
Step One: Create a Physical Barrier
The first step when keeping rabbits out of your garden is putting up a fence or barricade to prevent the rabbits from getting into the area entirely. It doesn’t have to be an expensive solution. There are many great DIY garden fence ideas you can assemble yourself to keep the cost down.
Keep in mind that rabbits can slip through incredibly small spaces. In fact, a young rabbit can fit through a space measuring as small as 1 inch. You need to choose a fencing option that provides a solid barrier with no holes or the smallest possible openings.
One of the most effective available is chicken wire with spaces less than 1 inch in size.
To assemble your fence, dig down into the ground at least 2 to 3 inches deep and start your wire at that point. It will help prevent rabbits from digging or burrowing underneath your fence to access your garden.
Step Two: Focus Barriers on Specific Plants
Whether you’re set on growing plants that are considered highly valuable to rabbits or delicate plants that wouldn’t survive the abuse of a hungry visitor, some plants may need a little extra protection.
There are two ways to keep these plants safe, depending on your budget. The first is to purchase a commercial plant cage or bunny barricade. These are pre-made wire cages that are easy to assemble and set up around your vulnerable plants. But they come at a price. A lower-cost alternative is to build your own plant cage using chicken wire.
Step Three: Remove Possible Nesting Opportunities
One of the big problems that come with having rabbits in the area is that they reproduce at such a fast rate. A couple of unwelcome visitors can quickly turn into a big problem if it isn’t taken care of.
When it’s time to nest, rabbits look for low-lying shrubs, dense vegetation, or overgrown grass. These areas provide the cover that they need to give birth and raise their young away from the prying eyes of their predators.
Cleaning up and removing these opportunities will help to remove the temptation. Rabbits searching for a place to call home will keep moving, looking elsewhere for the best place to build their nest. It involves cleaning up along fence lines and the side of buildings, removing debris or woodpiles, keeping your grass cut short, and sealing any areas where a rabbit may be able to get under a building on your property.
Step Four: Build Raised Garden Beds
If you aren’t comfortable fencing in your garden, another option is to lift your prized plants up and out of the reach of those pesky rabbits. Not only will building a raised garden bed help keep unwanted visitors at bay but there are also many other benefits to this style of gardening, such as:
- More control over soil quality
- Fewer weeds
- Less soil erosion
- Better drainage
- No soil compaction from people or animals walking in the area
- A longer growing season
For those that aren’t overly handy, there are many great raised garden beds available to purchase. There is a wide range of sizes and price points, making it easy to find something that best suits your needs.
Step Five: Plant Rabbit-Resistant Plants
There is no such thing as a rabbit-proof plant. Young rabbits haven’t learned what they should or shouldn’t eat yet and will try just about anything once. But adult rabbits have a more refined taste.
Rabbit-resistant plants generally have strong scents that can turn rabbits away. It will help cut down on the number of plants that the local rabbits are nibbling on and may even encourage them to stay away from the area entirely. Some options include hot peppers, garlic, basil, rhubarb, mint, lemon balm, periwinkle, columbine, yarrow, cucumbers, corn, and squash.
Step Six: Use Scent as a Deterrent
Several natural and safe products can be sprinkled on or around your garden to keep rabbits away. Check your pantry or kitchen cupboards for black pepper, crushed red pepper, or garlic powder, and sprinkle it lightly across the garden bed. It will need to be reapplied after any rain.
Fur from your pet dog or dog urine can also be spread around the area to create fear in local rabbits. It would give them the impression that there is a predator nearby. Of course, allowing the dog itself to roam the area around your garden can also help!
You can create your homemade repellent spray using the scent of cayenne pepper and garlic powder to keep the local rabbits at a safe distance. It is a great DIY solution, but pet owners should use it with caution as the cayenne pepper can cause irritation and digestive upset in dogs and cats.
Homemade Rabbit Repellent Spray in 3 Easy Steps:
- Combine 4 tablespoons of garlic powder, 4 tablespoons of cayenne pepper, and 2 teaspoons of Pure-Castile liquid soap in a spray bottle with 10 cups of water.
- Shake the bottle thoroughly to be sure that everything mixes evenly.
- Spray your DIY rabbit repellent on your plants, the soil, and garden edging or barriers that surround the area.
While there are chemical repellents available that can be used to keep rabbits away from your outdoor space, they aren’t safe for use on or around plants that are being grown for food. If you choose to rely on a chemical option, be sure to read the label of the products carefully and follow all directions.
Prevent Unwelcome Visitors from Hanging Out in Your Garden
After all your hard work in setting up and maintaining your prized garden, the arrival of an unwelcome visitor can be devastating. Don’t give up that easily! With so many options available to remove rabbits from your garden and keep them away, there is something for everyone.
Choose a single option or combine multiple. Embrace the process and experiment with the suggestions to find out what will work best in your unique situation. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying your garden, relaxed and visitor free.