Rabbit Proof Your Garden
Are bunnies nibbling on your plants? I do think they are cute in the yard…but not so cute when chomping on my coreopsis, or munching my miniature roses. Well, they used to think I offered a free all-you-can-eat salad bar until I finally got rabbit-wise.
After trying and/or hearing a multitude of rabbit-proofing the garden tricks…I’ve found five that have worked for me:
1.) Liquid Fence Spray: This stuff is great (and they make a deer formula too). And best of all, it does it with eco-friendly ingredients, so you don’t have to worry about your kids, pets, plants or the environment! Bunnies have a natural aversion to the scent of Liquid Fence. I also like the fact that it’s long lasting and rain resistant. Wear garden gloves when you spray it on your flowers, plants, and shrubs (and hold your nose too – it’s a far cry from Chanel No. 5). You can pick it up at most garden centers or online on the company website.
2.) Chicken Wire Fence: I found this is the best solution for my vegetable garden (and for tender young perennials). The fence should be at least 36 inches high to prevent athletic rabbits from jumping over. (Tip: since chicken wire fencing normally comes in rolls, it’s easier if you have a helper when setting up the barrier. Otherwise, it’s a bit awkward trying to unfurl it and keeping it in place)
Bury bottom of the fence approx. 4-6 inches into the soil and turn the fence outward to prevent rabbits from digging underneath. If the bottom is not buried, the fence should be staked down around the perimeter to discourage digging. I discovered this after I found some baby bunnies snoozing beside my strawberry plants. I hadn’t secured the make-shift fence well enough so they snuck in for a snack and a nap. (No worries…I safely let them out and they were reunited with their mother)
3.) Dried Bloodmeal: I’ll preface this one by saying it usually works. Bloodmeal is extremely high in nitrogen and a great additive for your garden. You can sprinkle it around your plants and in your garden beds. My mother used to use this for years with much success. Take care not to sprinkle the powder directly on your plants. The high nitrogen content can burn the leaves.
4.) Flower Chick’s Rabbit Repellent Tonic: You can make this recipe easily at home and we’ve found it to be very effective at keeping bunnies away from our plants.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid
1 tablespoon of cooking oil
1/4 cup of Tabasco sauce
1 gallon of water
Here’s What To Do:
Combine the first five (5) ingredients in a bowl and then pour the mixture into an empty gallon milk jug via a funnel. Then, fill the jug with water and shake to mix.
Pour as needed into a spray bottle and apply to your plants. The cooking oil and dishwashing liquid help make it “stick” to the plants. Reapply after it rains.
The rabbits don’t like the taste (who would?!?) and it doesn’t harm your flowers or vegetables … Try it out for yourself and see!
5.) Pick Plants that Rabbits Prefer Not to Eat: (Here are a few to consider)
Allium (flowering onion)
Echinacea (Purple Coneflower)
In summary, I’ve heard a multitude of rabbit proof garden solutions. Some of these I’ve tried and many I have not. They range from the “absurd” to “a possibility” category. They include: planting marigolds around the edge of your garden, spreading hair clippings around, human and fox urine, Bounce fabric softener sheets (I admit I have used these for a mosquito repellant, but not for a bunny deterrent), cat litter, cutting up old garden hoses to look like fake snakes…etc.
Here’s my take on this whole topic: try my above five recommendations above first. If they don’t work for you – then experiment with the other suggestions. I’ve found that the situation can vary year by year.
I never had rabbits decimating my hostas until last year when they chewed them down to a nub. Ugh! Before that nada…they never looked at them. This year the hostas are thriving again! One of our neighbors has the biggest healthiest looking hostas in the subdivision. Her secret bunny potion? Her big ‘ol boy dog Harley, great dane/lab mix, loves to relieve himself all over the plants. Hmmmm….