7 Effective Ways to Keep Rabbits Out of the Garden

rabbits in tomatoes

If you are searching for how to keep rabbits out of your garden, chances are that you have tried everything. It’s frustrating, I feel your pain.

The truth is that there is no “one size fits all” solution to the problem. Different rabbits react differently to different repellants or deterrents and thus what works for one garden may not work for another. And that’s why I put a list of everything I’ve found that has worked in some capacity for you.

How to Tell if Rabbits Are Eating Your Plants

If you’re not sure if it’s rabbits that are eating your plants, here are some good ways to know:

  • Check for holes in your soil where they might be burrowing
  • Look for rabbit prints
  • Rabbit scat or droppings – Check for any droppings as well. Rabbits tend to be notoriously messy eaters and their poop will look different than other animal poop.
  • Tracks in the soil could indicate their presence.

When Rabbits Ate My Roma Tomatoes

I read a lot of lists to make sure I wasn’t missing anything for this post. And the one thing I kept seeing was people saying that rabbits don’t like tomatoes. RUBBISH!

I came outside one day and all 5 of my Roma tomato seedlings were eaten, some almost back to the stump. I had a feeling that some bunnies were the culprits, as I’d seen a lot of them roaming around. I thought they were cute until that morning.

I discovered a pile of rabbit scat nearby and knew that rabbits had eaten my tomatoes. I knew I had to get a fence, even though I really didn’t want to. No more rabbit damage on my watch!

If your plants have been eaten entirely, you may notice that they are missing altogether or that there is visible evidence of rabbits in the form of feces or burrow holes near them.

rabbit scat

Rabbits are most active at dusk and dawn. This is when you will have your best chance of catching them in action.

You can also get an inexpensive trail cam to set up as well.

What Garden Plants do Rabbits Eat?


How to Keep Rabbits Out of Garden

Here are some great ways to keep rabbits out of your garden, or at least away from the plants you don’t want them around.

1. Fences & Netting

A fence is, in my opinion, the best way to keep rabbits out of your garden. However, a rabbit can and will jump over fences if they are lower than 1-2 feet.

If your fence is higher than 2 feet, then you should have no problem keeping them out.

Fencing can be expensive but you don’t need super fancy rabbit fencing.

I put together a fence made out of chicken wire and T-posts. It took me around 2 hours to put up, and my garden is 50×50 feet. So this is a pretty easy one to create if you have a smaller garden.

chicken wire fence
Here is the fence I put together from chicken wire and T-posts

2. Chicken Wire Cages

Instead of building an entire fence, you can also just wrap chicken wire around the plants you want to protect. If you place it on the ground as well, this can discourage rabbits from digging around your plants.

These cages work wonders because rabbits seem to love tender plants and seedlings you’ve just planted in your garden.

3. Foul Smells & Sounds

This one might seem counter-intuitive as your garden is out in the open. But the more you can put foul smells around, the better off you are at deterring them.

For example, crushed eggshells have been shown to deter rabbits because of their smell. You won’t notice a big difference from day one after applying it, but over time and

4. Motion-Activated Sprinkler

Motion-activated sprinklers are one of my favorite methods for keeping animals out of the garden. It’s pretty self-explanatory — animals (or sneaky neighbors!) create motion around the garden, and then WHAM! They’re getting showered with an unexpected torrential downpour.

The Garden Enforcer - Motion Activated Sprinkler

A motion activated sprinkler works wonders for keeping animals (and people!) out of your yard. It sprays intermittently as it detects continuous motion so animals won't get used to the timing of it.

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Pro Tip: Get a trail cam and put it near the sprinkler (maybe above or below it) and you will now have a new favorite TV show 🙂

5. Plant a Decoy Garden

This is one of the more effective options for me.

Aside from having a fence, I let the clover and weeds grow near the other end of my yard to keep the rabbits over there, instead of trying to eat my tomato plants.

6. Companion Planting

Companion planting is a great solution for gardens because you get an extra set of vegetables while keeping some of the other ones “safe” from predators.

They can also be used to deter rabbits from eating your veggies as well if you plant a few of these along with your flowers. Here are some of the plants rabbits aren’t huge fans of.

Rabbit Resistant Plants

  • Asparagus
  • Basil
  • Bee Balm
  • Black-Eyed Susan
  • Chives
  • Daffodil
  • Garlic
  • Hot Peppers
  • Lavender
  • Leeks
  • Lemon Balm
  • Mint
  • Onions
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Yarrow

7. Make the Environment Less Comfortable

Momma rabbits like building nests in higher grasses, or near shrubbery. Dense vegetation, debris piles, control vegetation near the edges of fences.

Don’t let weeds get high, move your compost pile away from your garden. Get rid of brush piles, bushes, and tall weeds around the garden. This can help prevent momma rabbit from building a nest for her baby bunnies near your garden beds.

8. Shiny Pinwheels

Some people have success with these, and that’s because wild rabbits are not big fans of shiny things, their own shadows, or moving lights.

9. Fake Owls

Owls will hunt rabbits and squirrels, so these are quite effective. You will want to move these around a little bit so they don’t get used to them.

10. Pet Presence and Animal Hair

Dogs LOVE chasing rabbits – mine almost caught one the other day ::facepalm::

An added bonus to this method is that they leave behind hair, and the scent can keep rabbits, deer, squirrels, and other pests away.

Next time you give your dog or cat a brushing, save the hair and sprinkle it throughout the garden.

11. Cayenne Pepper Spray

You can use cayenne pepper spray on the plants rabbit seem to enjoy most to help keep them away. Thankfully, this method also works at preventing deer and squirrel from munching on your plants as well.

Mix 2 tsps of cayenne powder or other hot peppers and combine that with 6-8oz of water. You can also add garlic powder in there for added benefit. Spray this around your garden on the plants you want to keep rabbits away from.

12. Irish Spring Soap

Irish Spring is not something I’d personally ever use in the shower because the scent is overwhelming to me — and apparently the same goes for garden pests!

Rabbits dislike this scent, so hanging some Irish Spring in pantyhose, or a mesh net near your garden will help get rid of your rabbit problem.

An added bonus is that this one keeps deer away as well.

Rabbits are a common problem in vegetable gardens. People use different methods to keep them away, like motion-activated sprinklers and Irish Spring soap. All of these solutions can help you get rid of rabbits from your garden without harming or killing the animal. If none of the above sounds appealing, there may be other options for keeping animals out that we haven’t mentioned here – so feel free to reach out!

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