Although rabbits can be cute and interesting to watch, they can also wreck havoc on your garden. There are several varying methods you may try to discourage these little mammals from visiting your garden. You may find that you have to change methods periodically if the rabbits are getting used to or tolerating one method. It is generally best to use more than one method for best results.
Although no plants are guaranteed to be 100% effective in repelling rabbits and other animals, there are quite a few that they do not favour. See our section on Deer and Rabbit Resistant Plants for a list of the most common ones. You can try planting a border of some undesirable plants around your garden to ‘hide’ the ones you know the rabbits will munch on. One plant that rabbits specifically do not like is lavender. Another is catmint, which ties in to the next method of keeping these little critters out of your garden…
If a garden has the scent of an animal that a rabbit may find threatening, the rabbit is less likely to visit that area. By planting catmint to attract your cat to the garden, you are discouraging the rabbit at the same time. You can scatter some used cat litter around the perimeter of your garden. This is especially effective if the cat has caught and ate any wild animals. Placing some tufts of cat or dog hair may also leave enough of a scent to deter rabbits.
Motion Activated Sensors
There are motion activated devices that can be used to scare away rabbits, as well as other animals. These devices will release a spray of water if motion is detected. These work both day and night. The downfall to a device like this is that it doesn’t detect what or who is making the motion. Kids or people may get an unexpected surprise if they unknowingly play or walk within distance of the sensor. It may also scare away pets or birds from your feeder.
If nothing seems to be keeping the rabbits away, you may need to build a physical barrier. Chicken wire can be wrapped directly around the trunks of trees to stop the rabbits from nibbling on the bark. For young trees, protective covers can be purchased from your local garden center.
Chicken wire is also one of the most effective things to use to make a fence around your garden. Because rabbits burrow, for any fence to be effective, it has to be dug into the ground. Dig a trench, 6 inches deep and six inches wider than the stakes you are using, where you want the fence to be. Pound the stakes into the inside of the trench. You can use as many stakes as you want, but the more you use the sturdier your fence will be. Once your stakes are in place, bend the bottom six inches of the chicken wire in an ‘L’ shape facing away from the garden. Place the chicken wire into the trench with the ‘L’ lying flat on the bottom of the trench. Fill the trench in with the dirt you removed making sure to completely cover the chicken wire at the bottom of the trench. Then simply tie or staple the wire to the stakes to complete your fence. If done correctly, this type of fence will prevent rabbits from burrowing under to reach your garden.
If all else has failed, you may have to resort to traps. You can get humane traps that will not kill or harm rabbits. These are available from our garden store. Keep in mind, though, that if not released far enough away, the rabbit may still find his way back to your garden.