Garden

How To Get Rid Of A Rabbit

Evil rabbit - yuck!

Dear Casual Gardener,

Giant, vicious, plant eating rabbits have invaded my garden. I want to find an environmentally friendly way to handle the situation.


Any help?

 

Signed,

Feeling Like Elmer Fudd

 

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Dear Elmer Fudd,

You have the plague many fellow gardeners suffer all across the United States and most local police departments discourage the use of your trusty shotgun to make Hasenfeffer Stew. They look so fluffy and sweet, it’s amazing the terror they cause. Let’s be clear; rabbits eat everything! Ultimately, there is nothing that is completely rabbit proof.

There are many ideas for deterring the little critters. You can purchase fox urine pellets, which might discourage the rabbits due to the predatory animal scent. Using live traps to catch and release is another humane way of handling the situation. Rabbits do not enjoy the scent of dried blood meal or the taste of chili powder – try sprinkling around their favorite plants. Human hair has also been known as something rabbits do not like to be near, so going to your local hair stylist and asking for the leftover clippings to place in your garden is always a good idea. Young rabbits investigate by nibbling and can do thousands of dollars of damage to perennial landscaping, trees and gardens due to their voracious appetites. They soon learn which plants are tasty and which ones to leave alone that might hurt them or taste terrible.

In general, rabbits dislike very aromatic plants, plants that ooze caustic milky sap, prickly plants, plants with spines, or plants with tough leathery leaves. Russian Sage, Catmint (Nepeta), Yucca, Allium, Daffodils, and other aromatic plants would be a good choice to help solve the rabbit issues. Bushes to consider when landscaping a difficult rabbit area would be varieties of Barberry and Shrub roses. Fencing is also a good idea, but remember that rabbits can squeeze through holes and jump over low fences, so make sure you have an appropriate solution for the little monsters.

My own experiences with rabbits have been far from pleasant. You should know that throwing rocks does NOT work! Several years ago, much to my shock, I saw a lovely, furry little delight chewing on my prized Hosta (the expensive one I had babied for an entire season). In a fit of enraged, garden-fury, I dashed out the front door, grabbed a softball sized rock, aimed for the mulch this side of his fuzzy bunny tail, and heaved-to like a professional pitcher. Much to my surprise, I missed the mulch and unintentionally hit the rabbit on the back left hip. Peter Cottontail was also surprised. He shouted out a gut-wrenching scream and performed an Olympic back flip three feet into the air before running off at full hop.

At that moment I heard a shrill and tear-filled, “Mom! How could you?” When I turned, there was my four year old daughter staring at me with murderous eyes for hurting her precious Bugs Bunny. I vowed I would never again break my girls heart and have been trying the aromatic solution ever since. No stew for me!

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    Shawna Lee Coronado
    April 20, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    I am reminded that in the end the only thing that will keep a rabbit away is a good fence.

    Indeed!!!

    Shawna

  • Reply
    Gatsbys Gardens
    April 20, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    Those rabbits ate every plant in my daughter's garden last year, some very expensive plants like clematis, phlox, all of her specialty coneflowers, dianthus. I can't even remember all they ate! We used every spray and dry repellant, dog hair, garlic, etc.

    I ordered a product called Plantskydd from the internet. It is granular, non-toxic and lasts through rain up to four months.

    I bought the shaker bag and launched an experiment in three gardens, mine, my daughter's and daughter-in-law's. Not one rabbit has been sighted in two months. This is amazing since we knew rabbits had inhabited out yards full time all winter.

    All of our plants look lush and green untouched by rabbits. The product is guaranteed by the company to work and so far it has for us. We had even resorted to using rubber snakes.

    It is Plantskydd for Critters.

    Eileen

  • Reply
    reg
    April 21, 2010 at 1:04 am

    Thank-you very much for the info on this. I used most ideas here with little success. That said we had an explosive few years of them. So that could have been the problem. Desperate times for rabbits I guess. I only seen one so far this year and still trying these things it seems to be working. So my observation is that maybe some years there are so many of them that they will do any thing to survive that they would normally avoid.

  • Reply
    Shawna Lee Coronado
    April 21, 2010 at 1:28 am

    Good point! Of course, there's always a fence if necessary!!!

  • Reply
    Heidi
    April 21, 2010 at 3:07 am

    You're right about the aromatic plants! I planted a bunch of pungent crown imperial bulbs in my main garden area and the rabbits pretty much leave that area alone.

  • Reply
    thewritegardener
    April 23, 2010 at 1:03 am

    Your rock tale reminds me of the time I was tossing softballs with my daughter when I spied a cottontail eating a new pelargonium I had just planted. Needless to say I thought I was aiming well behind the bushytail but was off the mark by a body length – POW! A head shot. Afterwards a consoling session for utterly dismayed daughter who witnessed the “accident.”

    I've heard you have to bury the bottom of the fence 6 or 8 inches or else the rabbits easily dig through and under it.

  • Reply
    Shawna Lee Coronado
    April 23, 2010 at 1:09 am

    Great advice! BURY THE FENCE! Thanks Write! Love it!

    Shawna

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