It’s almost time for Easter, and no icon represents the holiday like the cute and cuddly rabbit.
Easter was a pagan fertility ritual long before it became a Christian holiday. And rabbits represent fertility, just like the egg does.
You’ve heard the old phrase,”breed like rabbits.” The whole idea of being “born again” came from the Christian idea of Christ rising from the grave, but what it really represents is the cycle of life. And spring is the time of new birth in nature.
Rabbits can be cute and cuddly in the pet store or when they come in the shape of chocolate Easter bunnies in your basket, but if you have a garden, they can be real pests.
They are very adept at eating your tender and very expensive vegetation and flowers.
The average gardener has long since stopped viewing rabbits as cute little critters with fluffy butts, and now sees them as destructive oversized rodent pests.
While the determined gardener often experiences success by building a veritable fortress of rabbit-proof fences around their garden, with accents of chicken wire and high voltage, others are still searching for a more peaceful and aesthetically pleasing solution to rid their veggie patch of these pesky vegetarian thieves.
Rabbits have been known to eat rose bushes, thorns and all. They can eat an expensive flowering plant all the way down to a barely recognizable stub.
Fortunately, there are a couple of ways that you can address the problem:
Perhaps the most barbaric, you can be like Elmer Fudd and get out the shotgun, or resort to harmful traps or chemicals.
But, the rabbits are still kind of cute after all, aren’t they? It would be a shame to kill them. Gardener’s Path understands this dilemma, and brings you the following five tips:
Five Ways to Banish Little Bunny Foo-Foo From Your Garden
1. Repel Them
Unfortunately, neither bad pickup lines nor crude jokes have any effect on rabbits. Instead, plant some naturally repellent plants in and around the rabbits’ favorite victims.
Rabbits avoid foxglove (Digitalis) and monkshood (Aconitum) because they’re poisonous.
Other plants simply smell gross to rabbits, or repel them for other reasons. A good bet is to plant some Mexican marigolds, dusty miller, garlic, onions, lavender, yarrow, butterfly weed, Russian sage, Stylophorum (Celandine poppy), and especially catnip!
And if some four-legged furballs are on your side, remember that the smell of a garden frequented by a catnip-craving cat will also smell quite foul and fearsome to Bugs Bunny and company.
According to the Healthy Planet Magazine, “There are many deterrents available that should be your first line of defense.” First, you can try putting up chicken wire or fencing. (Maybe they should make electric fencing for garden pests…?)
But sometimes they can get around even the best fencing. You can get some blood meal and sprinkle it around the plants. It can make a pretty smelly deterrent. But that’s the problem.
Another thing you can try if you don’t like the smell of blood meal is a liquid called Plantskydd. It is also blood-based, but the smell dissipates in about a day.
2. Startle Them
Fill 1-gallon (4-liter) glass bottles with water and set them among your plants. Sunlight bouncing off the glass may startle the bunnies, and send them fleeing. Other reflective yard art may do the trick as well.
You can also buy a motion-detecting automatic sprinkling system if you can afford it.
Individual automatic sprinklers are also available for about $50. But, depending on the size of your garden, you might need multiple hoses.
Contech CRO101 Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler – simply hook it up to your existing garden hose.
3. Expose Them
No, you don’t need to shave their fluffy tails or open their tiny trench coats. Instead, remove brush and keep grasses low, so those timid rabbits won’t have anywhere to hide.
4. Scare Them
Ferrets are skilled rabbit-chasers. If your request to borrow a weasel draws strange looks, see how they react when you beg for ferret poop instead.
Hopefully a pet shop or ferret-owning friend will stop laughing for long enough to help you out, and you can scatter the droppings around your plants.
If you have a menagerie that includes indoor cats, keep in mind that soiled cat litter from a cat that has killed and eaten wild animals is one of the best organic rabbit repellents around.
If the smell isn’t a nuisance to you, spread the dirty cat litter – while it’s still fresh – around your garden once a week.
5. Attract Them
Attract them away from the garden, that is. Plant a patch of clover or alfalfa away from your main garden to divert the rabbits’ attention, and satisfy their voracious appetites. If you can’t beat them, feed them the stuff you don’t want.
So, next time these long-toothed thieves encroach on your territory, pull out this tipvlist and get to work! (Bonus: some of these tips may also work to keep deer from eating away all of your hard work as well). Or, get a head start and begin accumulating rabbit repellants before spring sneaks up on you again.
What will you do to keep hungry bunnies away from your garden patch this year? Let us know in the comments!