It’s a banner year for bunnies across much of the metro area. They love to nibble on almost all flowers and veggies. If rabbits are in your yard, you’ve probably got a problem with them gobbling up plants you would rather eat yourself!
While rabbits seem innocent and look cute, they are hungry critters. If you’ve ever seen your pansies or petunias disappear overnight, you’re probably not a fan anymore!
There are three key lines of defense to deter rabbits:
· Targeted protection
· Use of repellents and
· Providing food they will eat instead of your plants!
Target what matters most and what they are intent on eating. You probably can’t fence off your entire yard to keep rabbits out, but you do want to eat your snow peas and lettuce and enjoy looking at your annual flowers and perennials. Protect them with raised beds and/or fencing.
For veggies, build a raised bed high enough rabbits can’t see over to the other side. They won’t jump where they can’t see. Or create a fence with chicken wire with holes less than 1 inch and install the fencing a few inches below the soil line.
In terms of repellents, you will find a variety of recipes on the internet and garden centers also sell repellents. Apply them at the end of the day because bunnies eat mostly at night. They must be applied again after rain or after sprinklers run as water washes them off the plants.
Certain plants act as repellents – garlic, sage, catmint or rosemary, mint and any plant in the onion family. Mechanical repellents include imitation owls, snakes and pie tins that make noise. Be sure to move them around every 2 weeks so rabbits don’t become accustomed to them.
Finally, FOOD is the last and probably best line of defense. Unlike humans, if rabbits have their first choice, they will pick weeds to eat over our gardens! If you give them a healthy weed patch by seeding an area with clover and alfalfa, they will have their own buffet and leave your veggies alone! If you’re willing to tolerate some weeds and the rabbits living in your yard, you will go a long way to save your plants!