Cute, fluffy, and loved by kids everywhere, rabbits are adorable, except when they’re chowing down in your veg garden. A close cousin of the hare, the European rabbit is a prey animal that has successfully colonized every continent and even taken over our homes in the form of domestic pets. Sometimes farmed as livestock by the meat and fur industries, rabbits feature strongly in literature, such as Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit and Douglas Adams epic masterpiece Watership Down. They frequently pop up in folklore, and are associated with fertility and spring – think Easter Bunny. Bre’r Rabbit, a popular character in the folktales of the Southern states of America, uses cunning and tricks to beat his enemies, including running rings around old Bre’r Fox. If, however, you have these little furry digging machines in your garden, the tables have turned and you need to outsmart them.
Rabbit proofing your garden
Once they’ve decided your plot provides a bounty of delicious snacks, rabbits can be quite determined, and will dig under fences, push through hedges and cross wide open spaces to reach their new larder. So one of the easiest ways to tackle these pests is not to allow them access in the first place.
Installing rabbit proof wire fencing is your best method, but there are several points you need to consider first:
- The holes need to be small – chicken wire works well, and even keeps baby rabbits out
- The fence needs to be dug into the ground by at least a foot to prevent rabbits burrowing underneath
- Rabbits cannot climb or jump very high, so a height of about three foot is perfectly adequate
Nifty tricks to use against rabbits
Automatic motion-activated sprinklers are a great idea to send bunnies packing. Orbit Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler is a good choice.
With day and night detection, it targets the specific times that rabbits like to feed, and with an adjustable spray quantity, you can cover a wide area, humanely chasing the rabbits away.
Human or dog hair, cayenne pepper, and garden manure spread around your garden will make sure your plants safe, and if you spray your vegetables with a mix of vinegar and water, no rabbit will want them.
How to deter rabbits
If fencing is not an option, there are some simple ways you can make your garden unattractive for them.
Rabbits dislike open spaces, so remove any undergrowth, shrubbery, and low hanging branches, and they’ve got nowhere to hide. Although they prefer a neatly trimmed lawn, if you keep the grass short, it exposes the rabbits at their most vulnerable, and they won’t want to hang around.
Repair or fill in any spaces where rabbits might find shelter, such as under porches, decking or sheds. Using wooden boards, or wire mesh, to do this, ensures they won’t break through and set up home.
There are certain plants that rabbits dislike, and will steer clear of. These include goatweed, verbena, impatiens and honeysuckle. They tend to avoid thickly growing ground cover plants, too, such as big periwinkles and bougainvillea.
If all else fails, call in the pest controllers to humanely deal with Bre’r Rabbit.