fbpx Clicky

How to Repel Plant-eating Rabbits

How to Repel Plant-eating Rabbits

Have you ever seen a rabbit jumping outside your yard? Rabbits are characterized by their distinctive ears, fluffy short tail, and whiskers. There are more than 30 species of this long-eared animal or bunnies as we best know them. They thrive in different environments and would usually live in a burrow or some sort of protective tunnel. Nevertheless, they all share a lot of things in common. This is feasting on all your plants. 

Why are there so many rabbits in your area?

Why are there so many rabbits in your area

Ever wondered why there are so many local rabbits attacking garden centers for food? That is because they can breed three to four times a year. However, most of their offspring may not make it to their first year. This can be the reason for their insatiable reproductive habits. Each gestation period can produce 3 to 8 kittens or kits (not bunny). Given four to five weeks, a kit can care for itself and can start a family of its own after two to three months. 

If there are no predators like hawks, eagles, falcons, owls, and wild dogs, in the area, it will be teeming with rabbits soon enough. 

Are rabbits solely herbivores?

Are rabbits solely herbivores 001

Do rabbits eat meat? Let’s find out! Rabbits are known to have a voracious appetite. Being herbivores, there are certain plants rabbits love to eat. Their plant-based menu is so intensive that it almost covers all kinds of fresh vegetation and only a few plant aversions. Being opportunistic feeders, their diet may include fruits, seeds, roots, and tree bark. 

They are found all over the world and their habitat may include grasslands, deserts, meadows, tundra, forest, wetlands, and woods. They can withstand various temperature extremes, making them very resilient animals. They create home tunnels called warrens, by digging in the ground.

This tunneling home system can include rooms for nesting and sleeping and can be as deep as 3 feet underground. For a quick escape, they make multiple entrances from their warrens. Since they are social creatures, they can live together in large colonies. They are busier at dusk and dawn compared to when in broad daylight. This is the ideal time for them to find food.

How do I know rabbits are in my vegetable garden?

How do I know rabbits are in my vegetable garden

How would you know if rabbits have entered your garden? You’d know if a rabbit problem is starting to get in once you see the following signs:

  1. Rabbit droppings scattered or in piles within your garden
  2. Plants like flowers and vegetables that are cut to the ground 
  3. Chewed up bark of trees in spring

What you have in your garden may be their favored plants. Some of these include cucumbers, lettuces, carrots, beets, peppers, swiss chard, beans, and even a newly planted broccoli. They do not restrict their diet to vegetables found in your vegetable garden alone. Hungry rabbits are also fond of flowering plants like petunias, zinnias, hostas, phlox, clematis, sunflowers, pupils, nasturtium, and other flowering plants. If you have these plants in your entire garden, chances are rabbits will find your place a haven of their food source. 

Garden plants deterring rabbits

Garden plants deterring rabbits

However, there are some plants they hate, too. The heavily scented herbs and flowers that they won’t eat may be worth having around your garden to keep rabbits at bay.  Some of these plants are Sage, Lavender, Marigold, Delphinium, and Beebalm. Lemon balm, Periwinkle, Yarrow, Catnip, Columbine, Spicy globe basil, and Onion are not susceptible plants that one rabbit loves to eat. This is also true with Oregano, Mint, and Leeks.

How to repel rabbits

How to repel rabbits

So, how can we exactly prevent rabbits from causing damage especially to our newly emerging plants? Rabbits may eat any available green plants they can find especially when they are too hungry. One of the best ways of keeping the rabbits out of your garden is installing a rabbit-proof fence or even get electric fencing installed. 

A 2–foot fence can protect your garden from cottontail rabbits, while a 3-foot high fence won’t let jackrabbits in. A fence with openings of 1 inch or smaller can be your best option. You have to support your fence with sturdy stakes so don’t forget to secure the bottom to the ground. This is because rabbits can wriggle their way into your property. Thus, it would be a good idea to bury your fence underground at around two to 3 inches as determined rabbits may use their digging skills to get in. 

If you only have a few vegetables to protect from the nibbling rabbits, you can also secure them by encircling a chicken wire cage that is pinned securely to the ground. Or you can opt to use hanging baskets or tall containers to grow your lettuces and others that they best love to nibble.

Blocking rabbits’ sense of smell

Rabbits have sensitive noses that can detect any changes in their food. To repel rabbits from eating your plants, you can offend their sense of smell by using rabbit repellents that you can make at home or buy at the store. You can also use repellent sprays. Make sure the one you choose is safe for children and pets.

Chasing scurrying rabbits with a rake won’t work in scaring them. They will still keep coming back to check their food source. You cannot be up all night but you can install motion sensor lights or any electronic rabbit repellent available in stores.

These devices are inexpensive yet effective in keeping the rabbit population away as well as other pests prying on your plants. If you have dogs or any other pets, they can also be good rabbit chasers. The smell of dog and cat hair and their urine can also repel rabbits from checking your garden. 

Remove ideal rabbit conditions around your garden. Rabbits will stick to areas that can provide them food and covering or protection at the same time. Having dense vegetation, pile-up garden refuse and tools or containers lying around can be a good covering for them while sneaking in your plants. 

Homemade rabbit repellant

Did you know that you can make your own repellant to prevent rabbit damage to your plants? A homemade mixture of Tabasco and water can be helpful. Spray the mixture on, and rabbits will stop eating them when they taste the spice. If you grow peppers, use them instead of Tabasco sauce for spraying your garden. Don’t forget to spray more after it rains. Use old soaps or strongly scented soaps which you can cut into smaller pieces. Wrap a few chunks using a mesh bag or old socks and hang them around the garden. 

You can also use coffee grounds, banana peels, and eggshells around your garden to repel them. Ground black pepper can also do the job of keeping ants and rabbits at bay.

For added measure, you can buy products at the local shop that are made from natural ingredients that won’t harm your vegetables. They are made to target rabbits and protect your garden at the same time. Some of these sprayers are made to stick well that respraying after an average rain is not necessary. They also smell nice to humans but are repellent to rabbits. 

Install decoys to solve rabbit problems

How clean is your garden? Free your garden from debris like dry leaves, brush piles, rocks, dry plants, buckets among other things will provide a better view of your garden and will remove any materials that act as rabbit protection. You can also rid of the tall grass and low bushes that can shelter these rabbits while waiting to prey on your vegetation. 

Using fake snakes or owl decoys will make your garden free not only from rabbits but also from other pests as well. This can be the most natural repellent there is and does not need preparation or rabbit cocktail mixture.

Some models may even have a rotating head that can further scare the rabbits and other pests away. Rabbits are scared of snakes and will not hang around in areas that potentially have one. You can also buy rubber snakes to scatter around plants targeted by these furry nibblers. 

Setting up pinwheels around your garden can also help in keeping rabbits off. The motion and sound created by their spinning can be enough to scare rabbits and other birds away, thus saving your tomatoes and other vegetation from possible attack. 

What’s up with human hair?

Does human hair really work to keep rabbits away? We do know that young plants with tender young shoots are among a rabbit’s favorite food to nibble. A chicken wire wrapped around your vegetables can help but did you know that a person’s hair can also do some sort of magic? Yes, you got that right – human hair!

Keeping rabbits away using a bag of cut hair can be really effective. Simply spread it around your garden and this can keep those salad greens eaters away not from just that area but all throughout. Aside from keeping them out from your carrot patch, hair can also serve as a good fertilizer once they break down into the ground.

FAQ on How to Keep Rabbits Away

FAQ on How to Keep Rabbits Away

What can I spray on my plants to keep rabbits away?

Rabbits are not only cute; they are voracious eaters in your garden. They prefer a wide variety of fresh vegetation, including annuals, perennials, woody plants, and berries. They also reproduce fast and this is the reason why one rabbit colony can decimate your garden overnight. There are several ways to keep them off pants:

  • Make a rabbit cocktail by combining 3 hot peppers 3 large onions and a bunch of garlic grind. Add water and let sit overnight. Strain, then add more water to make a 1-gallon mixture. Spray afterward.
  • You can also make another plant spray using 1 teaspoon Lysol and 1 gallon of water.
  • Try another plant spray by using a squirt of dishwashing soap on a gallon of water. Steep for two days and pour on spray bottles. Generously spray on your plants’ leaves and stems. This can be used in vegetables, too. 
  • Try dusting your plants with talcum powder to keep rabbits away.
  • Predator musk spray or fox urine spray can be used if available in your local store. Foxes are rabbit’s natural predators and a sniff of their urine can deter them from your garden. 

What repellent keeps rabbits away?

Are there effective repellants available? Rabbits will leave your garden and their targeted plants alone when they have detected a different taste to their favorite plant. Rabbit repellent can be one of the best options you can take to discourage these pesky animals from munching on your vegetation. 

  • Use Irish Spring soap as a critter repellent. Make this by cutting the soap in half inches pieces. Place two chunks of this soap in a drawstring pouch or cheesecloth and staple it in a wooden garden stake about 5 feet apart around your garden.
  •  Use talcum powder to dust your plant leaves. Rabbits are great sniffers and will be repelled by the powdery talc.
  •  Powdered red pepper can be sprinkled on targeted vegetables or around the garden to keep them out.
  • Use a solar-powered ultrasonic outdoor animal and pest repeller. This can detect the presence of rabbits and other animals in your garden. It can emit powerful ultrasonic sounds together with flashing LED strobe lights that will scare the rabbits and other pests away.
  • Fertilizers repellent are natural soil amendments made from blood meal and bones. Since rabbits are herbivores, the smell of this slaughter-house by-product will deter them from using your garden as a food source. 
  • Add plants in your garden that rabbits hate. Plant them at the edges of your property or areas where you think rabbits are most likely to use in entering your garden. Not only will they deter rabbits, but they can also add more color to your garden. 

What smell will deter a rabbit?

Rabbits are herbivores and a blood-meal is not their style. They hate the smell of dried blood (or even the fresh ones) and other strong-scented plants. The scent of feces and urine especially from their predators will also make them stay away from the area. 

There are also available granular repellents sold in stores that are biodegradable and environmentally safe. They contain active and natural ingredients like egg solids and garlic oil that can act as a natural defense for your plants.  

Using garlic clips that can be bought in sets can help your plants to grow into maturity with their leaves and stem intact. Concentrated garlic clips emit a powerful aroma that can be 1000 times stronger than garlic juice. They are safe and organic and will not harm your plants. They can be clipped on trees and other shrubs and have a long-lasting odor. They are designed to emit odor but keep moisture and rain out. Since rabbits have sensitive noses, garlic clips placed around your garden will protect the area from total garden infestation for as long as six months. 

How do I keep squirrels and rabbits from eating my plants?

Squirrels and rabbits are small, cute mammals that can be a welcome addition to your garden if only they will not pillage on your lovely flowers and appealing vegetables that you have worked so hard to grow. They will feed as long as there are green leaves and fruits around them and will keep coming back for more. Keeping them off your property can be a challenge. 

  •  Distractions. You can set up a bird feeder away from your garden. You can also toss raw peanut seeds, sunflower seeds and corn feed around that will distract these sly creatures away from your garden which is their target area. Using this method can appease their ravenous appetites. 
  • Guard Dog. Most pups love a good chase and rabbit or squirrels chasing can be a game to them. Use also the dogs’ hair to add as mulch in your garden to add more deterrents for these cunning crop killers. Having a dog or cat presence can be an effective solution for keeping squirrels and rabbits away.
  • Spice Up. Make your garden too hot for the squirrels and rabbits’ taste. You can keep your unwelcome guest from returning by sprinkling cayenne pepper on seeds scattered around or make a cayenne spray by mixing cayenne and water in a sprayer and misting your plant leaves. You can also steep hot pepper leaves in water and use them to mist over your plants. 
  • Garden Fortress. You can build a fence around your yard to keep the pesky animals from wrecking your space. Make sure to bury the fence at around 6 inches to ensure complete security just in case rabbits will use their digging skills to get in. 

Sharing is caring!

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

A bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

Related Posts

Subscribe To Our NewsLetter!

Scroll to Top