How To Keep Rabbits From Eating Plants

How To Keep Rabbits From Eating Plants
How To Keep Rabbits From Eating Plants

Rabbits love to eat. Because they’re herbivores, they especially love eating green plants. I usually recommend that you learn as much as you can about which plants rabbits love to eat. In fact, I get asked by people all the time about how to deter rabbits from snacking on their backyard plants.

So how do you keep rabbits from eating plants? Choose plants that naturally repel rabbits so they won’t want to come into your yard. Try creative repellents like dog fur or urine, pepper spray, wind chimes or motion activated water spouts to scare the rabbits out of your garden. Or you can create a little rabbit garden away from your garden so rabbits won’t be interested in your garden. All these practical tips will stop the pesky rabbits from eating your plants.

How To Recognize Rabbit Damage on Plants?

Rabbits eat plants clean. They rarely leave any leftovers. So, if you’re wondering what’s been in your garden, check the leaves and stems on your plants to see if there are clean cut bites. You’ll typically see the damage from the ground up, since rabbits tend to first eat sprouting, tender shoots. They love flowers and vegetables like peas, beans and lettuce. Usually rabbits eat the first shoots you can see of a plant, the little sprouts might look clipped off.  If you see these signs, you’ll know you’ve got rabbits eating your plants. During the winter, rabbit will gnaw on trees and twigs. They especially love the bark of trees, often eating the bark all the way around the tree trunk.

Other signs that rabbits have been in your yard:

  • Look around your garden area for rabbit pellets. Look under plants and shrubs where rabbits like to hide.This means rabbits are hopping around your yard.
  • Look for signs of digging or fur caught on branches or shrubs.
  • If your plants suddenly disappear overnight, there’s a good chance you have a rabbit or rabbits in your yard.

First Steps To Keep Rabbits From Eating Plants

Once you know for sure that you have rabbits in your yard, there are some first steps you can take.

  1. Clean up your backyard-Rabbits like to hide under overgrown shrubs and bushes. They prefer dark, shady areas to stay cool and well hidden. So trim your shrubs and bushes back. Cut tall grasses. Get rid of rock piles or buckets in corners of the yard. Also, clear out underneath of your deck or porch areas.
  2. Grab a repellant from your local home garden store. There are many granular or spray rabbit repellents that work well. Rabbits will stay away from when they smell these repellents.
  3. Set up motion-activated lights or water sprouts to scare away the rabbits.
  4. Tree guards-Wrap your trees to protect them from rabbit damage in the winter. Wrap around the lowest part of the tree trunk up to two feet high.
  5. Plant garlic-The smell of garlic keeps rabbits away.
  6. Fence in your yard-Fencing in your yard can help deter rabbits entering it. A fence of three feet made of a dense material is good. You will need to add some fencing underground to keep the rabbits from digging under.

What Plants Repel Rabbits From Eating Plants?

Rabbits love to munch on grass,vegetables and flowers.Unfortunately, they love to munch on them in your backyard. If you’re strategic in what you plant in your backyard, you can keep rabbits out. Rabbits dislike a lot of plants. Here is a list of the plants rabbits won’t eat.

Flowers

  • Mexican marigolds
  • Lilac bushes
  • Zinnias
  • Daffodils
  • Lavender
  • Geraniums
  • Four O’Clocks

Bushes and trees

  • Azaleas
  • Boxwoods
  • Japanese maple
  • Tulip tree

Perennials

  • Lamb’s ear
  • Flox
  • Peony
  • Primrose

Vegetables

  • Asparagus
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes

Herbs

  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Parsley

What Flowers Do Rabbits Like To Eat?

Pet rabbits enjoy snacking on flowers. Your pet rabbits might get into your flower garden if they’re left alone in your backyard. So, it’s best to keep your pet rabbit in a pet run or homemade pen where they can safely munch on the grass without harming your flowers. Here’s a list of your pet rabbit’s favorite edible flowers.

  • Yarrow
  • Common Hollyhock
  • Common Daisy
  • Calendula
  • Dahlia
  • Coneflowers
  • Sunflowers
  • Hibiscus
  • Lavender
  • Camomille
  • Rose
  • Dandelion
  • Pansy
  • Violet

Creative Ways To Keep Rabbits From Eating Plants

There are many natural ways to keep rabbits from eating your plants. Here is a list of some of simple ways you stop a rabbit in his tracks.

  • Throw dog fur, poop or urine around your plants or shrubs. Rabbits will smell predators and think there’s one in your garden.
  • Sprinkle blood meal around your garden or backyard to keep rabbits out.
  • Spray a *hot pepper mixture on plants your pet rabbit or wild rabbits might eat. They will hate the spicy taste.
  • Leftover bars soap( Irish Spring works best) will deter rabbits from bothering plants. Place them around plants or shrubs.
  • You can always put up wire fencing to keep rabbits from eating your plants.The fence should be at least three feet high. Plus, you will need to bury more fence about 6 inches deep to keep rabbits from digging under the fence. Most gardening shops have rabbit or deer fence for sale.
  • Fake snakes or owls scare off rabbits.
  • Pinwheels that spin and shine in the sun will scare away rabbits.
  • Ultrasonic devices also scare rabbits away from plants. You might need to change out the sounds or rabbits will get used to the sound and not be scared anymore.
  • Wind chimes-again these might work for a while, but rabbits often get used to sounds.
  • Sprinkle garlic powder or cayenne powder on plants-Rabbits hate the strong smell of these powders. Unfortunately, you will need to keep reapplying after it rains.
  • Vinegar-create a spray of vinegar and drench your plants with it. Rabbits will steer clear of the vinegar smell.

*Hot pepper spray recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of dried chili peppers
  • 1/2 cup of jalapeno peppers
  • 1 gallon of water

Directions:

Put the pepper and water into a large pot. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 30 minutes. Keep a lid on the pot because the fumes will be strong. Remove from the heat and let cool. Strain the peppers out of the water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spray your plants from bottom to top. Always reapply after a rain.

Can Plants Keep Rabbits From Eating Your Plants?

Sometimes you need to come up with a different approach to keep rabbits from eating your plants. So, instead of repelling or scaring them out of your yard, you can try attracting them to a different part of your property and away from your garden.  Plant a bunch of plants they love like alfalfa, clover, peas, parsley and rosemary on the edge of your property far away from your garden. This is divert the rabbits away from your backyard to the food they love.

Will Mothballs Keep Rabbits From Eating Plants?

Mothballs are an old remedy for keeping pests away especially moths. Unfortunately, many gardeners have tried using them in the garden to keep rabbits away. Mothballs can be toxic for many animals since they aren’t designed to be used in a garden. So, don’t use them to keep away rabbits.

Will Baby Powder Keep Rabbits From Eating Plants?

Rabbits don’t like the smell or taste of baby powder. Baby powder might be a suitable repellent for a short time. Unfortunately, it can blow away easily when it’s windy outside and washes away when it rains. So, ultimately baby powder would be a temporary measure at best.

Can I Trap Rabbits to Keep Them From Eating Plants?

If you have tried everything and still can’t get rid of the rabbits in your yard, you might need to resort to trapping. This is a last resort and not usually considered by most homeowners. But it is a viable solution if you are desperate to save your plants.

Select a trap, place it in your yard in an area where the rabbits spend the most time. Then choose a bait that will attract the rabbit like fruits, vegetables or alfalfa. Set the trap and check it often to see if you’ve caught your rabbit. After you’ve caught the rabbit, be careful not to get bit. Wear glove and speak softly to the rabbit as you transfer him to a wooded area not too close to your home. After you’ve removed the rabbit, take special precautions to keep other rabbits away.

Rabbits are cute, but they aren’t cute when they devour our beautiful garden. Fortunately, there are creative ways to keep them from munching on the plants in your yard. Planting rabbit repelling plants, spraying homemade rabbit repellent on your vegetables or growing a little rabbit garden far away from your garden are all practical ways to keep rabbits out of your yard. Try several of these tips to see which one works best in your garden.