Dealing with Bunnies in the Garden | 11 Tips
Although our website’s name is Bunny’s Garden, it’s not because we grow the garden for the bunnies. Instead, it’s a fond nickname my daughter and I share. Although we love them, finding bunnies in the garden is not the goal.
Rabbit damage may begin as a few missing leaves or disappearing plants. Some plants may be smashed down to the ground when bunnies hop into raised beds.
You may find rabbit droppings, dropped fur, or other clues that you have bunnies in your garden.
One year, we even found baby bunnies in our green bean bed! As much as they munched, we just let them go and grow until they hopped away.
What to Do about Rabbits in the Garden
Bugs, wildlife, weather, fungus, and bacteria – it always seems like something’s out to get our gardens!
Rabbits can rapidly take down a veggie patch or some of your favorite flowers. Try some tips to keep the bunnies at bay in the garden so you can actually enjoy what you grow!
Here are some ideas for what to do to discourage them and protect your garden from rabbits.
1. Fence the garden.
Creating a fence around the garden can help deter bunnies. If you can afford it, install a legit fence around your garden. Be sure to secure it into the perimeter so animals don’t dig under it.
My current garden is not conducive to a fully fenced area. So instead, I crafted a raised garden fence out of HDPE plastic to keep rabbits and other varmints out of my veggie garden.
For a reusable and durable option, try chicken wire to prevent rabbits from getting in the garden.
2. Plant extra.
Gardeners of all ages and abilities will advise you to simply plant more than you need.
If you account for a certain percentage of excess with each crop, you should make out okay. What that percentage is, likely depends on which garden pests you are battling.
For example, deer can mow down an entire vegetable garden in short order. Groundhogs in the garden also pose a pretty serious threat to your crops.
Rabbits can be hit or miss with their chomping. Sometimes they decimate your greens, your beans, or berries.
Other times, they may prefer to eat the clover in the yard instead!
Of course, if you live on a smaller property or have confined gardens, multiplying your plots may not be possible.
If that’s the case, keep on reading for a bunny deterrent tip that will work for you.
3. Grow things they don’t like.
Some plant-loving pests can be especially stubborn. If you find it too difficult to beat the rabbits in the garden, try planting more things that they don’t like.
At least then you should get something of a harvest!
Consider a cut garden brimming with calendula, snapdragons, strawflower, lavender, lantana, and other lovely blooms. Bunnies are also believed to dislike daisies, gaillardia blanket flower, and columbine flowers.
Rabbits won’t want to eat them, and hopefully it will make your yard seem less appetizing!
Likewise, you can plant some deer-resistant plants as well for continued luck with your bouquets, fruits, and vegetables.
4. Embrace companion planting.
Similar to growing things rabbits won’t eat, embrace companion planting strategies.
Some fragrant herbs may deter wildlife from nomming your plants. Rabbits seem to dislike pungent onions as one example. Similarly with flowers!
In fact, you can even grow a border of the things they hate AROUND the things they love.
It doesn’t always work 100% of the time, but it’s worth a try!
My mom swears by planting a border of marigolds all around her garden. She’s done it for years and almost always has a bountiful harvest.
5. In desperation, try rabbit repellent.
Sometimes you can get rid of rabbits in the garden with wildlife repellent granules. Most times the fragrance alone is enough to deter them.
Liquid fence is a popular brand of deer and rabbit repellent you can try. This is rated as being safe for pets like dogs and cats as well as plants and vegetation.
It is surely comforting that you can find all-natural options that are safe around kids and pets.
6. Deter bunnies with decoys like owls or snakes.
While the novelty is sure to eventually wear off, you can try decoy animals. The solar-powered owl that moves its head is a good start.
Some gardeners also report success with rubber snakes.
The key to the trick is to move the decoys around so the animals don’t know they are fakes.
7. Sprinkle bloodmeal.
Ward off squirrels, bunnies, and other pests with a sprinkling of bloodmeal around your most prized plants.
Remember that bloodmeal is actually a fertilizer, so use care not to overtreat.
Also, bloodmeal is water soluble so avoid applying it in the rain to get the most out of your effort.
8. Place human hair or dog hair near plants.
Lean into the tribal knowledge shared by gardeners and hairdressers alike.
Bring home some hair from your next haircut or pull it from your brush.
Also, brush your dog outside or drop clumps of dog fur around your favorite plants.
On a grosser note, you can also walk your dog around your gardens to leave other… smells… to help discourage bunnies from the garden.
9. Use wire cloches to protect small plants and seedlings.
I bought wire wastebaskets from Dollar Tree to use as cloches (plant protectors). They’ve definitely paid for themselves at this point!
Simply place the wire basket over your zinnia seedlings or other young plants.
If you find animals knock it over, you can use landscaping staples to secure it to the ground!
10. Try pinwheels for startling movement.
You will love seeing the whimsical pinwheels spinning when the wind blows.
Best of all, this can work to deter animals (like bunnies) from venturing into your garden!
You can choose large pinwheels or smaller ones. You can even find iridescent or metallic pinwheels that catch the sun and shine brightly. Sometimes this is enough deter wildlife from the garden as well!
11. Let the clover grow wild.
While you might enjoy a manicured lawn, hear me out on the benefits here. Rabbits much enjoy clover over many other plants, and so do bees.
By allowing clover to grow in your yard, you can feed the rabbits something you won’t miss!
You’ll also be helping pollinators a great deal!
Win-win! This is my biggest vote on how to repel rabbits from the garden.
Another Gardener’s Tips on Keeping Rabbits Out
“My solution to keeping out rabbits is pretty much the same as yours,” says Jim Tjepkema, a backyard gardener in Minneapolis.
“I’ve done this for a long time so I have come up with a number of ways to do it. I don’t have ground hogs so I only need to fence beds that have things the rabbits eat, which is many things, but not everything.”
“Rabbits will surprise me and start eating things they haven’t eaten before,” he says. “I watch closely to see if they have started eating anything new and get a fence around such things as soon as I see a little damage.”
Jim talks more about his method of preventing rabbits in the garden on our DIY raised garden stake fence post.
Bunnies in the Garden – Some Benefits!
While I think we are all on the same page about keeping rabbits out of the veggie patch, I think I’d be remiss not to mention one other thing.
As seen on the Instagram gardening community, many gardeners are using rabbit droppings for fertilizer. Of greatest note – rabbit manure doesn’t need composting before use. (Source: Michigan State University Extension)
If you have a pet bunny or know someone who does, you just scored big!
Consider using rabbit manure as a less smelly, less messy alternative to other fertilizers.
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Rabbit-Proof Your Garden!
Do you have any other rabbit garden proofing tips?
Feel free to hit us up with questions or more ideas to protect the garden from bunnies.
We always love hearing from you!
Excellent tips! I even picked up a few new ones to try this spring and summer! Thanks!
Hi Susan, thanks for stopping by! I am so glad you found the tips helpful and hope you are able to enjoy all that your garden has to offer. Best wishes with your garden!