Keeping Rabbits out of your Garden

Edited by Debbie, Timbuktu, Nate Pepperell, Nerissa Avisado and 7 others

Rabbits like gardens and yards that provide food and cover. Garden vegetables that are well-watered and tender (including bulbs, tulip, tasty tree bark) and any other types of vegetation keeps the rabbits' stomachs satisfied. Debris piles like stones, brush or wood are great shelters from heat and danger. If the rabbits are nourished and feel secure, they are likely to take up a permanent address.

Rabbits in garden.jpg

What Makes Rabbits Garden Pests?

When rabbits decide to take up residence in a yard or garden, they chew on and eat most of the vegetables and ornamental plants such as lettuce, carrots, beets, peas, broccoli, fruit trees, herbs and ornamentals. If there is a lot of ground cover and food available, they won't move on.


Rabbits are not polite guests. They'll eat everything they can and they multiply like, well, rabbits. Beyond garden damage, rabbits can also take to nibbling wiring and vehicles. A bit less adorable now, aren't they?

What Do Rabbits Do To A Garden?

Most rabbits are of the cottontail species. Cottontails like to live at the edges of open areas. In fact, they are seldom sighted in thick forests or open grassland. This love of edges means they love the urban taking the yards, parks, playgrounds and office parks.

  • Rabbits seem to like everything. Even plants that they might not like as mature plants, they gnaw on sprouting plants. Rabbits are persistent and have a strong taste for vegetation. Rabbits march into gardens, orchards and fields and gnaw on everything from lettuce to trees.
  • In springtime, when plants are about to bloom, they seek newly emerging plants.
  • In summer, they feast on grass and vegetables, fruit and berries.
  • During the winter, they gnaw on bark, buds, and berry canes are sought after.

To recap, rabbits become year-round trouble and can move in anytime.

Signs of a Rabbit Problem


Make sure a rabbit is the culprit. Twigs browsed by rabbits looked neatly clipped, but plants browsed by deer appear ragged and torn. Rabbits' tracks are easily recognizable in soft soil or snow. You may see the rabbits themselves - a dead giveaway to their presence - most often near dawn and dusk.

Natural Ways to Eradicate Rabbits

Get rid of rabbits as soon as you notice the damage.

  1. 1
    Live and kill trapping are the most common methods for extermination in suburban and urban areas.
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  2. 2
    Exclusion fencing is appropriate.
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  3. 3
    Protecting individual plant or tree specimens can be effective.
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  4. 4
    Habitat adaptation plus repellents can be effective when applied by an expert.
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  5. 5
    Scent fences
    Use cat litter and sprinkling it all over the lawn and the ornamentals, but not around edible plants. Replace weekly or after heavy rains.
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  6. 6
    Sprinkle human or dog hair around the area, or even hang some from a nearby tree or landscaped area of your yard. Use two mesh bags and fill them with a decent amount of the hair. Hang the bags at a height of about 4 feet and more than 3 feet apart. Change hair weekly.
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  7. 7
    Deodorant soap
    Hang bars of strongly-scented soap from the trees or shrubs in need of protection. Hang them about 4 feet high and 3 feet apart.
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  8. 8
    Spray garlic oil solution on trees and shrubs. If it rains, spray again. Or, plant the powder from garlic capsules (bought from health stores) at the bases of trees. Homemade garlic oil is prepared by soaking 6 cloves of minced garlic in 2 tablespoons of mineral oil for 24 hours. Strain out the garlic and add 1 pint of water to the remaining liquid, and spray the plants.
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  9. 9
    When rabbits smell the urine of a potential predator, they tend to scamper off. Bottled urine from predators like mountain lions, coyotes and wolves can be bought commercially to create a sort of scent barrier. You can also try using your own.
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  10. 10
    The scent of vinegar also helps repel rabbits. Cut cobs of corn into halves and soak in a bowl of vinegar for 10 minutes. Create a scent fence by scattering the cobs around your flowers or vegetable garden. Store the used vinegar in a labelled bottle and repeat the process every 2 weeks.
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Tips, Tricks and Warnings

  • Rabbits can be infected with tularemia also known as "rabbit fever." This can be passed on to people if they eat undercooked, infected meat or handle a sick animal. Wear gloves if you must handle a wild rabbit. Wash thoroughly afterwards.
  • Other health risk diseases from rabbits are Powassan virus and rabies. Avoid contact with wild rabbits, especially those that look strangely fearless around humans.
  • Rabbits look cute and fuzzy, but they are wild animals and will defend themselves when threatened.Their teeth and claws are weapons, plain and simple, and it's advised to avoid touching a rabbit. Even sickly ones could try to attack, since they don't know you're trying to help it.
  • Allstate Rabbit Control can help with any rabbit problems you have. They are professionally trained to trap and remove rabbits from your property.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


Article Info

Categories : Gardening

Recent edits by: Shelley, Rob, Maria Quinney

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