I love to grow tomatoes. But one day I came out to my garden to find 5 of my Roma tomato plants eaten almost all the way to the ground.
It took me a little while to figure out who the culprit was, but my first inclination was rabbits, so I decided to build a fence. I was trying to avoid this because it adds a little extra work to the garden – finding a way to get the hose to reach, building a fence door, and it just looks a little less natural.
But after that, I knew it had to be done.
While they are cute, rabbits can be a menace to your garden, eating away at all of your hard work. If you hope to have a bountiful tomato harvest this year, you might need to find some deterrents for these pilfering pests!
Table of Contents
- 1 How to Tell if Rabbits Are Eating Your Plants
- 2 Do Rabbits Eat Tomatoes?
- 3 What Do Rabbits Generally Eat?
- 4 How Far Do Rabbits Travel for Food?
- 5 How to Keep Rabbits Away from Your Tomato Plants
How to Tell if Rabbits Are Eating Your Plants
So how did I know it was a rabbit eating my tomatoes?
First, I had seen a bunch of baby bunnies around, so I had a gut feeling.
Second, they left some droppings behind to solidify the thought.
Deer eat a lot of the same foods as rabbits, so it could be a deer munching on your plants. Since most rabbits prefer to eat in the early morning or around dusk, the only way to know for sure is to put up a trail cam and/or catch them in the act.
Or find some droppings left behind, which I did.
Do Rabbits Eat Tomatoes?
Yes, Rabbits do eat the tomato plant and tomato fruit. And rabbits eat tomato leaves and the fruit of your precious tomato plant, and they aren’t very picky when it comes to tomato varieties. They’ll eat Roma’s, yellow tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and plenty of others.
What Do Rabbits Generally Eat?
Rabbits are herbivores, so they eat a lot greens and many plants. A rabbit’s diet usually consists of grasses, clover, and even hay. They’ll also eat a bunch of vegetables that grow in your garden, like cucumbers, lettuce, and kale.
A healthy diet for a bunny includes straw, hay, and bermuda grass – which I have a TON of.
They have a sensitive digestive system, but they will eat many leafy greens throughout the day.
How Far Do Rabbits Travel for Food?
Rabbits don’t stray too far from their burrow. They usually stay within 200 yards of their main home, but when they are young they can migrate up to 2.5 miles.
How to Keep Rabbits Away from Your Tomato Plants
What can you do to prevent these adorable, yet annoying rabbits from eating your tomato plants? Here are some ways that might work to keep them away.
A fence is one of the best ways to keep rabbits away from your tomato plants. They can’t jump very high, so if rabbits are the only animal eating your tomato plants, then you only need a short fence to do the trick.
Be sure to make your garden or raised bed off-limits by placing chicken wire around it. Make sure the bottom of the fence is sunk into the ground to prevent digging. Rabbits can squeeze through very small openings and burrow under fences that are not sunk into the ground.
You can get chicken wire at your local garden center, or you may even have some laying around. Here is the fence I built after finding rabbits in my garden.
Placing wire fencing around your plants may help keep rabbits at bay, but you will need a way to secure the bottom of it so they can’t burrow under it. Another option is to use chicken wire with a lattice-style bottom to keep them out.
Things to Keep in mind:
- Make the fence high enough to keep rabbits out
- Make sure the bottom of the fence is well-grounded and doesn’t have small spaces underneath that rabbits can dig below to get in
- Don’t just use pickets, make sure to cover the bottom foot or two with chicken wire or welded wire
Rabbits are smart and stubborn creatures, so they may try to find other ways around your fence. One of their favorite tricks is going through the pickets in fences made from wood.
2. Motion Activated Sprinkler
Rabbits do not like getting wet unexpectedly. A motion-activated sprinkler will be a great option for keeping rabbits, and also deer, squirrels, raccoons, and more out of your garden.
This sprinkler is great and will do just what it sounds like it does – turn on when it senses motion. I also highly recommend getting a trail camera to catch this action on video because it’s quite hilarious.
Pro Tip: Make sure to turn this off if you are going into the garden. And if you forget to turn it off, please send me the video of you realizing it just a second too late 🙂 Sorry, but that’s some funny stuff.
3. Predator Scents
Rabbits won’t go near a spot that smells like a predator is nearby. Planting predator urine or their scent can be a great option. Blood is another
4. Red Pepper Spray
Rabbits also hate the smell of red pepper or garlic, so creating a spray that incorporates both is a great option. Deer also hate this scent, so you can kill two birds with one stone here.
Rabbits sniff a lot, so once they smell these scents they’ll be unlikely to stay around for long.
5. Rabbit Repellents
If you don’t want to use a commercial repellent or spray mixture of any kind, then there is still hope for keeping your garden rabbit-free. Here are some things that may work to keep rabbits off of your tomato plants:
Use a spray that is safe for plants and place it around the outside perimeter of your garden to keep rabbits away.
This rabbit repellent contains garlic and red pepper, which will save you from having to create the spray yourself.
6. Decoy Garden
What do rabbits love to eat more than tomatoes? Clover.
Clover provides a lot of the nutrition they need during the summer months, so it’s a staple for them.
So I left a patch of clover that was on the other side of the yard to give them something to munch on that wasn’t something I wanted to munch on.
This has worked quite well for me. I just don’t mow that patch of the lawn often, and I always see the rabbits over there instead of in my garden.
They’re going to be here anyway, might as well give them something to eat!
7. Companion Planting
Companion planting is the practice of planting certain plants in close proximity to each other that will benefit from one another. Generally, this is thought of for keeping worms and pests away, but planting certain crops near your tomatoes can help keep rabbits away from your tomatoes.
Garlic is the best companion plant for keeping rabbits (and deer!) away from your tomato plants. And the best part is the garlic scent will make the tomato fruits themselves taste better!
Growing tomato plants is so rewarding, but there are a lot of pests you’ll need to watch out for. Not only do you have to watch out for tomato worms, but rabbits are pesky creatures that you want to stay away from your vegetable garden as much as possible.