Spring can be an especially trying time for gardeners as families of rabbits devour the flowers faster than they can be planted. Rabbit populations are high, and the new foliage is much tastier now than later as it begins to harden off.  Between increased deer populations and rabbits, what’s a gardener to do? Well, first, to determine if it’s rabbit (or rodent) versus deer damage is easy. Deer browsing leaves a jagged or torn surface on twigs and stems, where rabbit or rodent damage will leave a clean cut surface, at almost a 45-degree angle like they used a new pair of pruners! And rabbits seem to nibble just about anything especially new shoots in the spring.

If you’ve determined its rabbit damage, here are a few of the many suggested ways to repel rabbits from your prized plants:

Physical Barriers- Fencing is the most effective way to eliminate rabbit damage. Use poultry fencing or something similar, 24-30 inches high, making sure it’s partially buried in the ground. Netting is another very effective way to eliminate rabbit damage. Using nylon garden netting,
place the netting over desired plants or plantings and anchor it to the ground. Most nettings blend in with the plantings and are not that noticeable.  Constructing framed screened covering (critter covers) resembling tents covered with netting or poultry fencing, and then place those over crop rows or individual plants. Gluing PVC pope together to form the framework is the best way to go
Rabbit Repellents (start using repellents BEFORE damage occurs) – There are many commercially manufactured rabbit repellents available. Liquid Fence, Repellex (labeled for fruits and veggies) Rabbit and Dog Chaser, and Deer Scram, are a few ‘fairly effective’ repellents, and do realize these need to be reapplied on a semi-regular basis (read the labels). Just like using deer repellents, the best results may come from using different products each time you reapply (to keep changing the scent). –Fox or Coyote Urine is used to simulate a predator deterrent, and is available in bottled form. –Hot Pepper Wax Spray is another repellent available and is also labeled for fruits and vegetables.

Here are a few collected home remedies you may want to try (use at your own discretion:

  • Mulch around plants with sweet gum balls (stick to fur on rabbit’s feet!).
  • Dried Blood Meal sprinkled around plants –Talcum powder sprinkled around and on plants.
  • Human hair, dog or cat hair placed around plants.
  • Strong smelling hand soap placed around plants.
  • Distribute lemon peels around plants.
  • Sprinkling a dried onion/garlic powder around plants.
  • Distribute corn cobs soaked in vinegar (soak for 20 minutes) around garden every 2 weeks.
  • Although not labeled for gardening, mothballs have been used (do not use near edibles) with limited success.
  • Sprinkle crushed dried hot peppers around plants.

Trapping the rabbits may be another option for the frustrated gardener, and there are many
critter removal services available to do this.

RABBIT RESISTANT PLANTS

PERENNIALS
Achillea
Aconitum
Alchemilla
Anemone
Aquilegia
Artemesia
Aster
Astilbe
Baptisia
Bergenia
Campanula
Cerastium
Cimicifuga
Corydalis
Delphinium
Digitalis
Doronicum
Epimedium
Euphorbia
Filipendula
Geranium
Helleborus
Hemerocallis
Hosta

FERNS
Athyrium
Dryopteris
Matteuccia
Osmunda
Polystichum
Houttuynia
Hypericum
Iris (Tall Bearded)
Iris (Japanese)
Iris (Pseudacorus)
Iris (Siberian)
Kniphofia
Lamium
Liriope
Lobelia
Lupinus
Malva
Myosotis
Nepeta
Papaver
Polemonium
Pulmonaria
Salvia
Sedum
Sempervivum
Stachys
Trollius
Viola
Yuccca

VINES
Clematis
Hydrangea anomala petiolaris
Schizophragma hydrangeiodes
(Japanese Hydrangea)

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