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What to do About Rabbits in Your Garden

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 12 Mar 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Dealing With Rabbits In Garden Gardening

Although they’re often seen as lovely, fluffy little creatures, if rabbits decide to invade your garden, they can wreak havoc as they will literally nibble on anything that takes their fancy. There are dozens of ‘supposed’ methods of deterring rabbits from coming into your garden -anything from human urine, moth balls placed in a flower bed, sprinkling bacon grease around the edge of the garden to even using human hair and lion dung (not the sort of thing you could readily buy in the UK) but the truth is that none of these methods have been scientifically proven to work. Likewise, there will be many gardeners who’ll tell you that rabbits only prefer certain plants such as roses and buttercups, for example, so they’ll stay away from everything else. But that’s a myth as well. The fact is that an invasion of rabbits can simply gorge on anything that grows in your garden including gnawing away on tree trunks as well as plants.

Keeping Rabbits Out Of The Garden

There is only on sure-fire method of keeping rabbits out of your garden and that is to erect a properly constructed and installed fence around your garden’s entire perimeter. It needs to be made of chicken wire and be at least 4 inches high above ground with a minimum of an inch buried into the soil and turned outwards in an ‘L’ shape at the bottom to prevent them from burrowing underneath. You can opt to spray certain plants with specially designed chemical solutions which are also successful at keeping rabbits away. However, many gardeners wish to garden organically or do not wish to use pesticides in any areas of their garden. And, particularly, if you’re growing crops for human consumption, you won’t want to be treating them with chemical pesticides.

If The Rabbits Are Already Established

If the rabbits are already established in your garden, you can buy specially designed traps which will capture them without harming them but you’d then need to ensure that you released them in an appropriate place at least a few miles away from where you live or seek advice from the RSPCA or your local Environmental Health Department. The traps work by placing nuts or some other appropriate food on the trap which is at the end of a tunnel-shaped enclosure. Once the rabbit walks over the middle of the trap, it triggers the closure at both ends so they are trapped inside. The same kinds of traps work for squirrels too. Some people will resort to using a ferret to weed out rabbits as well. And remember to look both in, underneath and around your shed as this is one of the rabbits’ favourite spots to breed and seek shelter.

Problems With Rabbits And Tree Trunks

Rabbits will often choose to gnaw away at the bark of a young tree. Therefore, if you’re experiencing that problem, you can buy tree guards which you then wrap around the base of the tree so that they can’t gain access to the bark. You need to make sure these are high enough though as rabbits will go up onto their hind legs to access bark and any other foliage that takes their desire. And, be sure to have identified that it is a group of rabbits and not hares that are the problem in this regard as the latter are even bigger and can reach up higher. You’ll know by the damage they’ve already inflicted on a particular bark, how high you’d need to ensure the tree guards are, and then also allow for an extra few inches. Completely fencing your garden off with chicken wire doesn’t come cheap nor does it look that appealing. However, it is the only proven humane method of keeping rabbits out of the garden.

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Don't go to the expense of installing chicken wire around your garden. Rabbits can chew through it. I spent 2 days last year patching up the chicken wire that completly surrounds my garden. Within a couple of weeks more holes appeared, more damage done to the new fruit trees in the garden. I am looking into installing weld mesh, which although more expensive, the little fluffy bunnies cannot chew through!! It is much cheaper to buy off the internet.
kazzaYork - 26-Mar-11 @ 9:33 AM
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