Trying to figure out how to keep rabbits out of your garden can be frustrating. They’re furry, adorable and hard to hate—until they devour all of your tender garden vegetables and greens. You might not believe it, but those whiskered nibblers can do real damage. In fact, they can mow down a carefully cultivated vegetable garden in just a day. And don’t even think about growing tulips if you don’t have a solid Rabbit Control Plan in place.
So, how do you stop rabbits from eating your tulips and home-grown veggies? Here are just a few ways to stop these fuzzy marauders:
Try Anti-Rabbit Sprays and Repellents
Fortunately, there are quite a few effective anti-rabbit sprays and repellents that you can use to deter rabbits (many of which are also effective at deterring squirrels too). Unfortunately, few of them are organic and many fall squarely on the pesticide-y side of the fence. So, unless you’re steadfast about keeping an all-organic garden, try these food-safe repellents to stop rabbits: blood meal (obviously not recommended for vegan gardeners), moth balls, soap chips, and anti-deer spray (which I find particularly effective).
A lot of folks swear by capsaicin/hot pepper sprays to control rabbits too, but remember, while hot pepper sprays can be organic and food-safe, they can also permanently maim and harm animals. Basically, rabbits and squirrels get it on their paws and in their eyes, and then scratch themselves to oblivion trying to dig out the stinging pain.
One of the best ways to keep rabbits out of your garden (not to mention other annoying garden pests too, like squirrels), is to have a dog or cat handy. Not only is the wabbit-chasing exercise good for your pet, cats and dogs are all-natural, environmentally-friendly, rabbit-curing goodness. And, although I’ve never tried it, rumor has it that spreading cat or dog hair around your garden works well to stop rabbits too. Apparently, the scent makes bunnies think predators may be lurking about so they bounce away to look for greener pastures.
Keep Rabbits Out With a Gated Community
If you’re not concerned with aesthetics, one way to control rabbits is to put a physical barrier like a gate, fence or even good ol’ chicken wire around your garden. Effective, re-usable and all-natural, gates and fences are tried-and-true garden savers. The key is to make sure that openings are too small for even baby bunnies to squeeze through.
Plant a Decoy Garden to Stop Rabbits
The most humane (but labor intensive) way to deter rabbits from eating your garden is to plant a delicious decoy garden. What does a decoy garden look like? Well, it’s accessible (no gates and fences here!), it’s full of tasty treats that make rabbits lick their lips (that’s assuming that rabbits have lips …), and it’s far enough away from your real garden that wandering rabbits won’t accidentally stumble into forbidden territory. Plant your decoy garden with plenty of foods that hungry bunnies are sure to enjoy (grasses, herbs, vegetables and plants in the rose family do well), and you’ll keep your real garden safe. And if you have children, get your kids in on the act by putting them in charge of the faux plot. Not only will they learn how to garden, their summer project may teach them a thing or two about animal behavior too.