How to Keep Rabbits Off Your Lawn & Garden: 14 Ways
Rabbits are generally cute and harmless creatures capable of eliciting an “aww” reaction from both kids and adults. This perception can be traced back to Disney movies such as Peter Rabbit or the Easter bunny. Fictional rabbits are cunning, opinionated, and furry creatures that everyone loves. But don’t get fooled by their cuteness, rabbits can be very destructive and can create problems in your garden.
To say that a rabbit’s eating habit is voracious can be a bit of an understatement. Rabbits can potentially wipe out whole crops in just a couple of hours. They can eat and destroy your carefully manicured lawns, flowers, and your prized vegetable garden. Whether shoots, grasses, roots, and berries, their less-than-discerning tastes allow them to feed on anything within their reach.
If you are concerned about rabbits in your vegetable garden and flower beds, there are a handful of methods you can use to deter them from accessing your compound. We have broken down the methods into three main categories: scare tactics, scent and taste deterrents, and habit-related actions. But, before we get to rabbit control measures, how does one know they have a rabbit problem?
How to Tell if Rabbits are Eating Your Grass and Plants
A rabbit population can triple in size over a short time when left unchecked. With many rabbits running around your yard, don’t expect to get a bountiful harvest from your home garden. Therefore, finding ways to keep rabbits off your lawn will save you the energy, time, and money spent to clean up after them. But how do you know if there is a rabbit invasion in your garden?
Rabbits are considered crepuscular, which simply means that they are most active during dawn and dusk when there are minimal chances of human encounters. So, it is quite difficult to notice their presence if you are not keen enough. If you haven’t actually caught the rabbits in the act of destroying your valued vegetable gardens, here are some tell-tale signs that you have a rabbit infestation in your compound:
- Since rabbits live in underground burrows, check for tufts of hair around any holes in your yard
- You will notice pea-sized rabbit scat or droppings around your yard. Rabbits are naturally messy, and droppings look different from that of other animals
- Plants in your yard will look like they have been pruned instead of nibbled on as you would expect from insects
- Young and tender plant shoots disappear
- Tracks in the soil around your vegetable garden
- Gnawing on barks and tree trunks or woody plants
The 14 Ways to Keep Rabbits Away From Your Garden and Lawn
If you notice there is a rabbit infestation in your yard, the next step is to get rid of them. Today the internet is replete with different methods of getting rid of rabbits from your yard. Unfortunately, some of the methods can be brutal and downright unethical.
As annoying as rabbits can be, it is important to pause and remember they are also vulnerable animals. These highly preyed-upon creatures tend to seek refuge in homes when humans and predators encroach on their natural habitat. Therefore, you need to exercise a modicum of respect and care as you try to keep them off your lawns and gardens.
Fortunately, a few effective and morally acceptable rabbit deterrent methods exist to keep these hungry hoppers away.
Sometimes, a good scare is enough to keep rabbits off your lawn and garden. Since rabbits have many different predators, they tend to be squeamish and are scared easily. They are less likely to return to a spot where they experienced a sense of imminent danger. These scare tactics are inexpensive and can be a lot of fun. Here are some of them:
1. Motion Activated Repellants
In our technologically advanced age, it’s no surprise that we would utilize motion-activated devices to scare rabbits away from our yards. Motion-activated sprinklers will automatically turn on once a rabbit gets close to the monitored area, dousing them with water.
It is effective because you don’t have to be present to discourage the fluffy animals from feeding on your vegetables. The only downsides are that your sprinkler has to be constantly fitted with fresh batteries. You also have to run a water hose to the area where your motion-activated sprinklers are.
2. Ultrasonic Rabbit Repeller
This is yet another scare tactic that is possible due to advancements in technology. Ultrasonic sound devices use high-frequency sound waves that may be inaudible to humans but very loud to rabbits.
These devices emit an annoying sound when rabbits enter a protected area and stop once they leave. Most of these ultrasonic machines are solar powered, so you need only set it up once and get protection for the entire season.
3. Light Reflectors
You can also deploy reflectors to scare rabbits away from your garden. This simple yet effective device reflects sunlight. Reflectors may have initially been used to scare away birds, but home garden enthusiasts have successfully used them to scare away rabbits too.
You don’t necessarily have to purchase a reflective surface for this scare tactic. Simply fill up a glass jar with water and place it where rabbits like to eat. The reflected image will be enough to dissuade rabbits from coming back to your yard.
4. Keep a Pet Dog
If you don’t have a dog in your yard, consider adopting one to scare away the rabbits. These hopping animals are naturally timid, and the presence of a dog or even just a whiff of their scent is enough to keep them away from your garden.
Dogs have been a top predator of rabbits, especially near human populations for decades. They are especially ideal in fenced-in yards where the dog is free to roam around the compound.
Rabbit Scent and Taste Deterrents
This is perhaps one of the most common methods for keeping rabbits away from your garden and yard. The method utilizes scents and tastes those rabbits absolutely dislike to discourage them from feeding in your yard. The common rabbit scents and taste deterrents include:
5. Powdered Red Pepper/Chili Pepper
The technique involves creating a perimeter barrier by spreading cayenne pepper around a vegetable garden bed. You could also spread it around the deck perimeter where rabbits like to live.
Just like humans, rabbits dislike the smell of powdered peppers because they irritate their noses once inhaled. They are less likely to visit an area sprayed with chili pepper, thus protecting the plants.
Alternatively, you could use powdered pepper to make a spray or paste and apply it directly to the leaves and stems of your plants. The paste dries up in about 30 minutes and will discourage any rabbit from making a meal out of the plant.
6. Pet and Human Hair Rabbit Deterrent
If you own a pet, you already have a great solution for keeping rabbits away from your yard. You simply have to collect a bunch of your pet’s hair, be it a dog or cat, and spread it around the perimeter of your garden bed or other areas where rabbits tend to gather.
Pet fur produces a raunchy smell that rabbits dislike. Also, it makes the rabbits believe that a predatory animal is around their immediate environment. Rabbits will not want to stick around if they think they are likely to become prey.
Human hair is also an effective deterrent because rabbits have an aversion to human beings. Simply clean up your hairbrushes and scatter the hair around the yard. Make sure it covers plants such as legumes that attract rabbits to the yard.
7. Soap Shavings
Soap shavings are a lesser-known but effective rabbit deterrent method. The most common soap brands used for this method are Irish Springs and Ivory soap varieties. These products are less offensive than other typical commercial rabbit deterrents.
8. Commercial Deterrents
If you lack time or patience in using natural rabbit prevention methods, you could opt for commercially produced rabbit deterrents. These products are available at a home improvement store or a garden center. They release an unpleasant taste or odor that scares rabbits away from your garden.
The only downside to using commercial repellants is the rancid odor produced. It can sometimes be even more overpowering and just as damaging as the rabbits themselves. Also, if you are highly sensitive to smell, this may not work very well in your favor.
9. Predator Urine
As aforementioned, rabbits have a long list of predators. However, coyotes and foxes are known to make frequent meals from these fluffy animals. Therefore, some urine from foxes and coyotes would work great as a rabbit deterrent.
However, predator urine is a more extreme rabbit deterrent method because it has a very potent smell that can be offensive and irritating to humans as well. It is ideal in areas located further from the house or garden that you wish to protect.
These products are readily available in a sporting goods store and typically retail in small bottles with a nozzle.
10. Coffee Grounds
If you are a coffee enthusiast, next time you make that delicious cup of cappuccino, don’t throw away the used coffee grounds. Ground coffee produces a very strong smell and taste that does not appeal to rabbits.
You need only scatter the ground coffee around trees, flowers, and plants to prevent rabbits from eating them. Besides dissuading rabbits from your yards, ground coffee beans are a natural fertilizer and can promote the healthy growth of your plants.
If the aforementioned scare tactics and rabbit deterrents don’t work, consider employing additional habitat-related actions to keep rabbits off your lawn and garden. These techniques include:
11. Keep the Garden and Lawn Clean
One of the easiest preventative tips to keep rabbits away from your lawn is by keeping it trim and neat. Rabbits tend to favor unkempt lawns with high grasses as habitats over a well-manicured lawn. Keeping the lawn neat is not only aesthetically pleasing but helps reduce food sources for the rabbits.
12. Remove Rabbit Habitats
Rabbits typically live in secluded environments. You can easily find them in underground burrows or under a pile of debris near or on the decks of your home. They can also make nests in tall grasses, brush piles, and ivy patches.
Therefore, you need to clear out all the debris from your yard until the rabbits have no more hiding spots to breed and multiply. In addition, ensure that you seal off any gaps on your deck where rabbits can sneak through.
This is perhaps one of the oldest and most effective rabbit preventive methods. It involves putting up a perimeter wall around your garden using a chain-link fence or chicken wire fence. It is an especially useful approach in yards that have raised bed gardens.
14. Trap and Relocate
If all the above-mentioned tips and tricks of rabbit prevention don’t work, you can always opt to catch and relocate the rabbits. Move them to a different environment where they are less harmful. The upside is that once you trap the rabbits and relocate them, you don’t have to worry about their re-emergence in your yard.
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Rabbits may have cute and cuddly countenances, but they are capable of causing damage to your gardens and lawns if their population is left unchecked. They are a common problem for professional and home garden owners.
Fortunately, keeping rabbits away from your lawn and garden isn’t difficult. Scare tactics like motion-activated repellants will effectively scare them away. You could also simply spread scented soap around the perimeter or cover your plants with chili to deter the rabbits.
If these two methods don’t work, you could always take a hands-on approach such as mowing your lawn, fencing your yard, or clearing out the rabbit’s habitat. All the methods outlined in this article are easy to set up and require minimal maintenance. You could also combine the methods and techniques for optimum results.
Featured Image Credit: Pixamio, Pixabay