How To Keep Rabbits Out Of Your Garden

How to keep rabbits out of your garden

Rabbits are a common nuisance to the gardener; they may at first look cute hopping across your yard – but they are not so cute when they are munching their way through your prize flowers and vegetables! In some states it is illegal to hunt rabbits (or a hunting permit is required), so how do you naturally keep them out of your yard? The type of plants that you choose for your yard may determine whether or not your yard becomes a local bunny hang-out.

Signs of Rabbits Eating Plants in Your Yard

Rabbits vary in size and particular species across the United States but they all have one thing in common – they love an “easy” lunch year round! They will eat a wide variety of plants that includes vegetables, fruits, flowers and woody plants. Rabbits will also gnaw on young trees and strip off the immature bark to reach the green plant underneath (source). Other animals, such as deer, also love to eat many of the same plants that rabbits eat.

Plants That Rabbits Love to Eat

Although rabbits will eat a wide variety of plants, they do have some favorite plant species; if you plant the following species in your yard, you will have to find a way to protect them because rabbits love to munch on them:

  • strawberries
  • carrots
  • lettuce
  • peas
  • cabbage
  • grasses (source).

Plants That Rabbits Usually Avoid

However, there are some plants that rabbits don’t usually like; in addition, if a rabbit tries something once and doesn’t like it, it will tend to avoid that plant in the future. There is no guarantee that rabbits won’t eat any of the following plants but these plants are generally noted as non-rabbit food :

  • tomatoes
  • corn
  • squash
  • potatoes
  • cucumber (source)
  • geranium
  • juniper
  • rosemary
  • daffodil
  • lavender
  • lilac
  • sage
  • cedar
  • pine
  • ash
  • oak (source).

Plants That Rabbits Avoid in Specific States

So, what keeps rabbits out of a garden? Some plant species are native to the area in which you live; therefore, it is worth finding out from your local garden center or gardening group if there are any particular plant native species that rabbits generally avoid in your local area. For example, in Arizona rabbits usually avoid common Arizona plant species such as:

  • Manzanita
  • jojoba
  • agave
  • yucca
  • desert marigold
  • hummingbird bush
  • Mexican bird of paradise
  • Arizona yellow bells (source).

Making Your Yard Less Attractive to Rabbits

You can also discourage rabbits from your yard, without the use of toxic chemicals, by changing the environment. Rabbits like a place to nest and call “home”, so if you make a point of regularly clearing your yard of fallen leaves, branches, twigs and weeds, rabbits will have less places to live (source). Some form of fencing around landscaping plants and trees will also discourage rabbits from gnawing on bark and leaves.

Why Rabbits Avoid Some Plants

It is not quite clear why rabbits avoid certain plant species but many of the plant species that rabbits don’t generally like are fragrant plant species. Fragrant plant species often have high levels of toxicity; just as a plant is attractive to bees and hummingbirds in an effort to attract pollinators for plant fertilization, plants also seem to have an “in-built” defense mechanism to avoid being eaten by predators. Daffodil bulbs, for example, are known to contain a large amount of poison.

Rabbits and Your Yard

There are several plant species that you can plant in your yard and most likely stop rabbits from eating them; however, there is no guarantee that rabbits will definitely avoid any of the plants mentioned here but they have been noted to have been avoided by the majority of rabbits. Unfortunately some of the vegetable crops and beautiful flowers that we love to grow in our yards are favorite foods of rabbits too!

Photo by Andy Ciordia


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