Preventing Damage from Rabbits
Rabbits are some of the most common garden pests in Simcoe. We can’t blame them from loving our plants—after all, we have that in common—but the damage they leave behind can be devastating. Here’s how to keep rabbits from eating your plants.
What Does Rabbit Damage Look Like?
If you notice small ball-shaped droppings around your garden, you’ve stumbled upon a dead giveaway that rabbits have stopped by. Thanks to their tendency to gnaw and nibble, the rabbit damage you’re most likely to spot will look like chewed-up bark on small trees and shrubs, or large chunks of plants that have been munched away. Rabbits have also been known to damage other materials found around the yard—like patio furniture, garden hoses, boots, and shoes.
How to Protect Your Garden From Rabbits
Once you know your yard has become a hangout for local rabbits, you’ll want to send a clear message that you’re closed for business. These methods are easy, effective, and humane.
Preventing Rabbits from Nesting
Rabbits’ ability to hide is their primary natural defence against predators. Most yards are chock full of perfect hiding places for rabbits to make their homes and raise their babies. Thatch left on top of lawn, tall grass and weeds, and shrubs sitting low to the ground are some of the most popular rabbit habitats.
Keep shrubs pruned to keep the first 6” of the plant clear of branches and foliage. While trimming and removing weeds and thatch, work gently at first. Rabbits hide their babies in these areas, so you’ll want to make sure you can give the mother rabbit a chance to move her warren before you go over the area with a mower or weed wacker.
Finally, take care of the man-made structures in the area. Clean up any piles of junk or overturned wheelbarrows. Finish by sealing cracks in your fencing or around your house so rabbits can’t nestle through.
If the rabbits in your yard are really out of control and trying the deterrent methods above aren’t working, a repellent is a very effective last resort. There are a few rabbit repellent products on the market to choose from; some emit an odour rabbits hate, some have an unpleasant flavour, some play a tone that keeps rabbits away. A combination of at least two is the most effective way to go. (Just make sure to keep any chemical products out of edible gardens, for obvious reasons.
If you want to outsource your rabbit problem, keep in mind that rabbits have a few natural predators in the Simcoe area. Try installing an owl house on your property to bring in a free rabbit patrol service. Coyotes are common rabbit predators in the area, and while you may understandably be a bit hesitant to invite them into your yard, if you have a bad rabbit problem, it’s probably a good idea to refrain from scaring them away or deterring them from your yard.
Rabbit Control Myths
You may have heard some of these ideas for controlling rabbits. Not only are they potentially dangerous, we promise you they don’t work as well as our harm-free solutions.
Pesticides and poisons are never worth the risk. Rabbits are very good at sensing when a substance will harm them. You’re more likely to accidentally poison nearby pets.
Scarecrows aren’t effective against rabbits at all. The only time they aren’t tacky is at Halloween!
Flashing lights and noise makers might work while they’re in use, but what’s the point of having a garden that not even you can enjoy?
Rabbits are a nuisance in the garden, but they’re also gentle beings that don’t deserve to be controlled in inhumane ways. Fortunately, these cruelty-free tactics can help to restore harmony between your garden and the neighbourhood bunnies.