How to Keep Rabbits Out of Your Garden
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How to Keep Rabbits From Eating Your Garden
For many people, the image that comes to mind at the mention of a rabbit is that of a fluffy, fluffy, and adorable rabbit. But for those who love gardening, a rabbit is a destructive and irritating pest that consumes the landscape and causes costly damage.
Rabbits will eat almost any homegrown food they can reach and can damage other plants in the landscape as well as household items. Much of this damage is due to gnawing. Rabbits chew on trees and shrubs, especially young ones with smooth bark and tender shoots.
This can cause significant damage if large areas or essential bark or branches are removed. Also, as anyone who has pet rabbits at home knows, rabbits will chew on almost everything they find, including furniture, shoes, clothing, and electrical cords.
The most common rabbit found in yards and gardens in the US is the eastern rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus). In fact, their main habitats are landscaped and planted areas rather than wilderness areas. It has large, pointed ears and brown, white, and black speckled fur. It grows 15 to 19 inches long and weighs two to four pounds.
The eastern cottontail rabbit nests under hedges and other crops, underbrush, and within burrows abandoned by other animals. It does not dig jaws like other species of rabbits.
6 Ways to Get Rid of Rabbits
The best way to control rabbit damage in the garden is to discourage their presence and prevent access to plants. Professional control is also available through pest management companies that provide nuisance wildlife management services.
Just like when trying to protect yourself from wildlife, the main recommendation is to use fences around the garden or any other area that requires protection. Chicken wire with 1/2-inch to 1-inch mesh is a good option to protect yourself from rabbits.
The fence should be at least two feet high to prevent rabbits from jumping over it. To prevent rabbits from burying under it, the fence should extend at least 6 inches below the ground or be secured to the ground to keep the bottom edge firm. The net fence can also be used for temporary control of seasonal gardens.
Individual Plant Protection
Use 1/4 to 1/2 inch wire mesh or cloth to form cylinders around new trees, shrubs, or vines. Bury the fence 15 cm deep to avoid digging. Leave several inches of free space around the plant and, if the fence is fragile, add reinforcement to prevent rabbits from pushing the net and trying to nibble.
If you found evidence of nesting rabbits, remove them and modify or block the area to prevent them from returning. Proactively reduce nesting options by removing low-lying bushes that provide shelter for rabbits.
Remove tall, dense vegetation and piles of wood and debris. Control vegetation along fences. Seal spaces under buildings.
Catching live rabbits is an option, but it is generally not recommended that you do it yourself as it can be challenging to deal with the trapped animal. Because rabbits are considered agricultural pests in many states and can carry disease, there are often laws that regulate where and how wild rabbits can be released.
Chemical repellants can be applied to some trees, vines, or other plants that are in danger from rabbits. But this can create an unpleasant odor, taste, or stickiness. Due to this and their toxicity, most repellants are not suitable for use on vegetables or other food plants as they can render the plant inedible to humans.
Also, repellants generally only work for a short period of time and need to be reapplied frequently. If you choose to use a repellent, carefully read and follow all label directions before use.
In areas where rabbits are abundant, they will naturally attract some wild predators like foxes, hawks, owls, and snakes. Even in inner-city urban areas, wild predators can recognize the food source and settle down to hunt rabbits. These small predators rarely pose a danger to family pets and pose no danger to people.
So instead of going out of your way to chase away foxes or hawks, welcome their presence as a solution to your rabbit problem. Or, if you have a family dog with hunting instincts that may roam your fenced yard, rabbits are highly unlikely to feed on any of your plants.
House cats can also be an effective deterrent, although most experts advise against letting house cats roam outside where they can pose a danger to songbirds.
What Causes Rabbits?
Rabbits can and will eat any tender plant, which is why they are naturally drawn to home gardens. In spring they feed on freshly sprouted grass and clover; in fall and winter, when there is less food available, they will survive on whatever bark and seedlings they find.
But often, the favorite food of rabbits is the exact same foods that owners enjoy: the delicious products found in orchards and fruit bushes. Favorites include vegetables like beans, beets, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, and peas; herbs like coriander and parsley; and nuts and fruits like almonds, apples, berries, plums, etc. Certainly, many rabbits are also very fond of ornamental flowers, shrubs, and trees.
Of course, there are other wild animals that also feed on young plants and gnaw on trees and bushes; Deer, chipmunks, chipmunks, marmots, and raccoons are familiar villains in this drama.
But when you see plants cut down and bark gnawed away, with rabbit fecal granules present in the area, it's almost certainly the rabbits' fault. And you could also get verification by locating the unmistakable prints of the rabbit's long hind legs etched into the ground.
How to Prevent Rabbits From Ravaging Your Garden
Defending yourself against rabbits is an ongoing battle. No matter how you choose to prevent, discourage, or get rid of rabbits, or how successful these methods are at this time, you will need to be constantly vigilant. Rabbits breed like... well, rabbits, and they will always come more to investigate your garden and landscape. Continual defense of the rabbit requires:
- Periodic inspection of fences to make sure rabbits do not go under or around the fence.
- Inspect plants weekly for damage.
- Looking for signs of rabbits: fecal pellets, chewed plants, gnawed bark, etc.
- Take action as soon as you see the first sign of rabbits
What Are Some Common Signs of Rabbits?
A very reliable sign of marauding rabbits is an area full of round fecal granules - rabbit droppings. Depending on the species, they can be 1/4 to 1/2 inch in size. You may also see rabbit fur or hair stuck on or under tree branches, rabbit trails, or nesting areas under bushes or shrubs.
Do Noises Deter Rabbits?
Devices designed to scare or deter rabbits, such as noisemakers, flashing lights, or ultrasonic sound waves, do not scare or affect rabbits. In a matter of hours, rabbits will learn to ignore these measures and will happily continue to feed on your plants.
Are Rabbits Afraid of Scarecrows?
Any number of fake owls, snakes, and hawks are marketed as "scarecrows" designed to scare away rabbits and other vermin. They do not work.
Is it Safe to Use Pesticides?
There are no EPA registered pesticides or toxic baits for rabbit control. And although rabbits are rodents, under no circumstances use poisons for rat or mouse baits, thinking that they will poison rabbits.
There is no way to control the use of such poisons outdoors, and they are much more likely to kill neighborhood pets than rabbits.
Do Rabbits Carry Diseases?
The most common disease transmitted and transmitted by rabbits is tularemia, also known as rabbit fever. Tularemia can be transmitted from infected rabbits to humans through contaminated food or water; eat infected rabbits; through blood-feeding insects such as ticks, mosquitoes, fleas, and flies; or inhalation of dust from feces, tissue, or urine of infected animals.
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