Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How to Stop Rabbits from Eating your Garden

The past couple of years, we have had a problem with rabbits in our neighbourhood. It started off small, just a rabbit here or there, but now... well, you know what rabbits are like. And we've discovered that they are all quite fond of our hosta garden. I've been looking into ways to get rid of them, and we'll definitely be trying them in the next couple of weeks. We definitely want to keep away from installing a fence if possible – a lot of people recommend this for vegetable gardens, but we wouldn’t be able to enjoy our hosta garden quite as much if it was fenced in.

Here are some of the things we're thinking about trying:
  1. Garlic bulbs or concentrated garlic oil around the garden.

  2. Old items of clothing – shoes, shirts, etc – in the garden. If an item smells too much like humans, then the rabbits will tend to avoid the area. (This may not work in areas like ours where the rabbits don’t seem afraid of us at all.) Cut hair also works – you can get this from a hairdresser.

  3. Urine or dried blood from a rabbit's natural predator – coyotes, foxes, wolves, etc – sprinkled around the garden bed. You can usually buy this at a garden centre. Probably not the best way to do get rid of rabbits in a vegetable garden; make sure to wash anything that you eat first! This may also make your garden smell.

  4. Flakes of soap. You can either buy these, or grate your own soap, but make sure that the soap is pure, with a neutral pH level and it doesn't contain anything that may damage your plants. Reapply soap flakes after heavy rain.

  5. Moth balls and moth flakes apparently keep rabbits away, but be careful not to place them around vegetable gardens, or where any children or pets may get to them. You might also want to avoid putting them near an open window, as they may make your home smell.

  6. If you can spend the time doing so, create a raised bed garden. Even just a slight difference of about one and a half feet will prevent the rabbits from eating your plants.

  7. Place things in your garden that rabbits might mistake for other animals – a hose will look like a snake, for example.

  8. Use empty pop bottles in your garden, either as mobiles or half buried in your garden. The wind blowing over the opening of the bottle, or the bottles banging together will scare the rabbits away.

  9. Some home remedies that people have been using are listed below. Please note that using hot sauce or cayenne peppers may scar the leaves on your plant initially, but should grow back. These mixtures should be applied to your plants for a few days in a row – after this point, the rabbits should have learned not to go near your plants – after that, only apply when the rabbits starts coming back.

    • 1 Tbsp hot pepper sauce or hot Tabasco sauce mixed with warm water

    • 1 clove garlic, 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp dish soap, 1 quart warm water all pureed together

  10. Rabbits really like clover, so if you plant some of that the rabbits will be more likely to eat that than your plants.
As I said above, we want to avoid installing a fence, but if you think the fence would work best for you, it's a good idea to dig a trench around your garden that you’re going to install the fence in. Remember, rabbits are diggers, and they can squeeze under fences that have even the smallest space in them. If the fence is about two feet above ground, it should be tall enough that the rabbits won't be able to jump over.

1 comment:

dave said...

Has anyone tried the ScareCrow outdoor animal deterrent?
http://www.gardensupermart.com/store/c336046p17035882.2.html

How effective is this unit?