Rabbits have a habit of inviting themselves into backyard gardens and feasting on fruits and vegetables meant to create tasty dishes in a nearby kitchen. In the process, these furry foes can destroy months' worth of gardening work and careful nurturing efforts.
As even trees and decorative flowers can succumb to regular nibbling, gardeners should do everything that they can to keep rabbits' visits to a minimum and maintain the integrity of their beautiful bounties.
If you can identify which species of rabbit has made your garden its favorite buffet, do some research to find out what types of food appeal to it the most. Jackrabbits and cottontail rabbits enjoy pilfering beans, peas, apples, raspberries, and blackberries, so if you grow an abundance of them, you may see an increase in their populations.
They can also find other, less obvious food sources irresistible, such as tree bark and flowers like roses and tulips.
Certain scrumptious plants and vegetables may require more protection than others. Should rabbits always find a way into your bed of vegetables, try a strategic diversion: plant clover and plantain weeds around the perimeter of your garden so the rabbits will encounter them first. These common, vegetative growths tantalize rabbits and can deter them from crops meant solely for human consumption.
For a more hands-on approach, sprinkle cayenne pepper flakes or vinegar in or around your garden. These hot and sour tastes repel rabbits, since they prefer mild and sweet foods. Place either of these ingredients into a spray bottle with water to create potent mixtures that you can apply directly onto plants.
Constructing a fence
Any fencing or netting that you invest in will have to account for rabbits' propensity for jumping and burrowing: make sure that a fence has a height of at least 3 inches and extends into the ground for about the same measurement.
Wrap pliable netting around trees with bark that rabbits like to nibble on. Netting or mesh holes on physical barriers should have openings of less than ½ inch wide to ensure that rabbits can't squeeze through them.
CHECK OUT: Angie's List Guide to Fences
While many home owners employ electric fencing to keep rabbits out of their gardens, using humane traps can produce the same results and can allow you to remove these furry pests from your property once and for all.
Trapping generally has a higher rate of success when employed against the cottontail species of rabbits. When considering what bait to use, look to your own garden for ideas: use whichever vegetable or plant seems most attractive to the hares.
Rabbits have reputations for being skittish creatures. Capitalize on their shyness by introducing their natural predators into the area around your garden. Let a cat or dog patrol your vegetable patch. Leave barren trees standing so that they can provide the perfect perch for hungry owls.
You can also sprinkle some fox urine around your garden to give these pesky critters the impression that a dangerous predator lurks just around the corner. If you'd rather minimize the animal traffic that your garden already experiences, buy lifelike, but inanimate, natural predators and strategically position them in your backyard.
A toy snake placed within your garden or a wooden owl perched above it can send rabbits hopping for their lives.
Hiring a professional
Many pest professionals can help you manage the population of rabbits around your home. Ask pest control companies about trap rentals, if you'd rather try to contain the problem yourself before having them come onto your property.
When using traps, ensure that your local laws permit you to transport and release rabbits within your region of residence. If laws prohibit these actions, consider letting pest professionals handle this for you.
Check Angie's List for reviews of companies that can help you in keeping rabbits out of garden perimeters humanely and safely.