When cared for properly, a yard can enhance the curb appeal of your home and provide many years of enjoyment. But if you’ve ever had the misfortune of dealing with rabbits in your yard, then you know this is all too often not the case.
Rabbits may be fun to watch in movies but they’re destructive in real life. Even worse, they multiply at an alarming rate. I’ve learned this the hard way, so, in this article, I’ll teach you everything I know about how to get rid of rabbits in your yard and how to keep them away from your property for good.
- 1. Let Your Dog Run Loose
- 2. Commercial Rabbit Repellent
- 3. Catch and Release Traps
- 4. Call in the Pest Control Experts
- Install a Parameter Fence
- Fence Vegetable Plots
- Mow Your Lawn and Clear Tall Weeds
- Plants That Repel Rabbits
How to Get Rid of Rabbits: 4 Methods To Try
Fortunately, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to get rid of the rabbits in your yard. I’ve tried many things over the years but I’ve had the most success with the following methods:
1. Let Your Dog Run Loose
One way to keep rabbits away from your yard is to let your dog run free. Dogs will instinctively chase the bunnies and scare them off. This method is particularly effective if you have multiple dogs.
Unfortunately, it’s not the best option if you have a small breed or if you don’t want to keep your dog outside all day long.
2. Commercial Rabbit Repellent
You can buy rabbit repellents at most garden centers. Most repellents contain natural ingredients that emit an odor that repels rabbits from the area where it was sprayed.
You’ll probably have to reapply the repellent every week or so in order for it to remain effective. A few examples of commercial repellents include Get Off My Garden, Rabbit Scram, and Critter Ridder.
3. Catch and Release Traps
Another good way to get rid of rabbits is with a catch and release trap. Rabbit traps are usually safe and effective.
However, you must take great care to release them away from your home and not in a place where they may be harmed. Trust me on this one — release them a good five miles or so from your home, or you might just wake up the next day to find out they’ve returned.
4. Call in the Pest Control Experts
If you’ve tried all of the methods above and still can’t seem to get rid of those pesky rabbits, then I would recommend calling in a pest control expert.
Qualified pest control technicians are experienced with getting rid of rabbits, and there are a few additional things they can do that should solve the problem.
Rabbits can be baited either in their burrows or at bait stations, depending on the situation.
Bait stations are usually made from wood, plastic, or metal and manufacturers recommend placing them in strategic places around the property.
If your technician isn’t using bait stations, then they will likely use a shovel to dig out the burrow enough to place the bait into the hole. The bait isn’t made to kill the rabbit but will make it ill so that it is no longer able to reproduce.
Rabbits have an acute sense of smell, so fumigation is often used to get rid of them. This method involves placing white phosphorus bombs in strategic places around your property. The fumes will kill any rabbits nearby without harming people or pets.
A qualified pest control technician will know how many bombs to use for various sized properties and exactly where to put them for maximum effect.
Natural Rabbit Deterrents
There are also a few natural ways that you might be able to get rid of rabbits and keep them out of your yard. I haven’t personally tried these methods but I’ve heard good things, so feel free to try them out.
Ultrasonic and Noise Deterrents
You can purchase ultrasonic devices that emit noises that rabbits find unpleasant. The idea is that the sound will deter the rabbit away from your yard or garden.
The most effective of these devices are probably the motion-activated ones, which only scare off the rabbits when they are actually in your yard or garden.
While some gardeners swear by such deterrents, according to the FTC, there’s ample research suggesting that they may not be as effective as advertised.
Pepper Spray or Garlic Repellents
You can either buy pepper spray repellent or garlic spray repellent from a gardening store, or make a solution yourself by mixing 1 oz cayenne pepper powder with 1 gallon of water and spraying it on the plants that rabbits like to eat.
Another option is to mix 1 head of minced garlic with 1 quart of water and let it sit overnight. Then strain out the pulp and mix the liquid with 1 quart of water and spray it on the plants they like.
Rabbits can smell these odors, and they will stay away from any area that smells like them.
Try a Motion-Activated Sprinkler
If you don’t want to use chemicals in your yard, then you might want to try a motion-activated sprinkler. These sprinklers get triggered by movement and spray water at the object that was detected.
Rabbits will stop coming around in your yard because they don’t like the feel of water on their fur while they’re trying to eat grass or other plants.
What Attracts Rabbits To Your Yard?
Vegetation is the main thing that attracts rabbits to a yard. Rabbits will eat just about any plant or vegetable but their ideal menu includes grasses, clover, dandelions, and other leafy greens.
In addition to plant foliage, rabbits will also eat the bark and stems of trees and shrubs, as well as fruit that has fallen from trees. That said, there are a few other things rabbits may find irresistible in a yard.
Bird Food, Crops, and Insects
If you have bird feeders in your yard, that may be what’s attracting the rabbits. The seed in bird feeders is an easy food source. Consider replacing your birdseed with nuts for squirrels. That way, you’ll keep the squirrels around but avoid attracting rabbits.
If you have crops, then this could also be the culprit. Rabbits love vegetables and are particularly fond of carrots, so they may help themselves to the product in your garden if they have access.
Rabbits can also be drawn in by the presence of bugs. One of the most common attractants is the humble earthworm, and if you have them, you may well have rabbits!
A Place To Burrow
It doesn’t take much for a rabbit to make its home. A small hole in the soil under a bush or deck can be sufficient. Basically anywhere that is dark and usually undisturbed with a nearby food supply is what they really love when it comes to making a burrow.
Personally, I use lattice around my deck to prevent rabbits from moving in, and for me. It’s worked wonders.
Access to Water
Having a water source on the property is a big draw for rabbits. A rabbit may hide in the bushes near your garden, then come out at night to eat your plants. It may seek shelter under your deck or porch, where it feels safe.
In the early morning hours, rabbits tend to go to their water source to drink and cool down. So, if there’s no easy way for rabbits to get to a water source, they’ll look for one closer by, and that could mean your yard.
Signs of Rabbits In Your Yard
There are a number of tell-tale signs that rabbits are lurking in your yard. The biggest one to look out for is grazing. Rabbits are voracious grazers and will take every opportunity to munch their way through the grass in your yard.
If you notice a circular pattern of neatly trimmed (or otherwise eaten) grass, that’s a good sign that a rabbit has been wandering through your yard on its daily feed.
There are a few other clear indicators that a bunny is on the loose in your yard, so let’s go over them now:
Damage to Your Backyard Landscaping
One of the biggest drawbacks of having rabbits in your yard is that they can do a number on your landscaping and leave an otherwise well-manicured yard in shambles. So, if you see any of the following, then there’s a great chance you’ve got rabbits.
Burrows in Borders and Hedges
Rabbits like to burrow under bushes and hedges, so if you see a hole or some freshly dug dirt near a bush, it’s a good sign that you may have rabbits in the area.
Rabbits will also dig holes underneath mulch beds or compost piles and spread the materials around the yard. Look for disturbed mulch or dirt around your trees and shrubs.
Chew Marks on Furniture
If you have wooden furniture on your patio or deck, check for bite marks along the edges. Rabbits like to chew wood, so if your furniture has teeth marks on it, there’s a good chance they were made by an overzealous rabbit.
Sightings or Droppings
Another clear sign that you have rabbits in your yard will be the droppings and markings they leave behind. These can be found in various places, such as near your garden, under a deck or shed, or even on vegetation.
Rabbit droppings are black and round with a white tip. They are often mistaken for mouse droppings, but these will be longer and thinner.
Burrowing Under Decks or Sheds
One of the biggest indicators of rabbits in your yard is burrows. Rabbits like to burrow under decks, sheds, porches, and even building foundations.
These burrows can weaken structures by eroding the dirt around them and can also be a hazard for people walking around your property.
Damage To Your Lawn
If there are rabbits in your yard, you will notice damage to your lawn. They love to chew the grass down to the roots, which causes severe damage. In most cases, the grass will turn brown and die where it has been chewed.
Rabbits also like to eat flowers, vegetables, and fruit. Therefore, if you see chewed leaves on bushes or plants, this could be another sign of a rabbit invasion.
How To Keep Rabbits Out of Your Yard
So, now that we’ve gone over what attracts rabbits to your yard, the signs of a rabbit in your yard, and how to get rid of rabbits in your yard, let’s look at how to keep rabbits out of your yard. After all, there’s not much point in removing the rabbits if they’re just going to come back.
The good news is that there are a few easy ways to keep rabbits out of your yard for good. I’ve tried each one of these suggestions and now I no longer have any rabbits visiting my property.
I’m sure that if you follow these tips, you’ll have the same level of success.
Install a Parameter Fence
The first step to keeping rabbits out of your yard is to install a fence around the perimeter of your property. The fence needs to be between one and two feet tall and made from chicken wire or other mesh material with small holes that rabbits cannot fit through.
If you have a large property, it may be easier to divide it into smaller sections and install smaller fences around each section rather than one large parameter fence.
Fence Vegetable Plots
Another option is to install a protective fence around your vegetable garden. This type of fence needs to be at least two feet tall.
You can use either chicken wire or – perhaps a more aesthetically pleasing option – wooden fencing for this purpose. But whatever you do, make sure there are no holes in the fence that rabbits could crawl through.
Mow Your Lawn and Clear Tall Weeds
A lush lawn and tall weeds provide cover for rabbits. You should mow your lawn frequently and remove any weeds or tall grasses that might attract them.
Read this article for advice on How To Cut Extremely Long Grass.
They also like to hide in bushes or under decks, so make sure there aren’t any piles of wood or brush in your yard where they could build nests.
Plants That Repel Rabbits
If you enjoy gardening but are finding your garden nibbled, the University of Arizona says there are plenty of rabbit-resistant plants that will keep them at bay.
Adding these in addition to what you are already growing in your vegetable gardens, borders, raised beds and pots will help keep them out of your yard and away from your garden.
They always steer clear of plants that are poisonous such as foxgloves, tulips, and peonies for example.
Try planting daffodils around the edges of your property because the bulbs are poisonous for rabbits to eat. Marigolds are another herbaceous plant that repels rabbits because they give off an unpleasant odor that bothers their sensitive noses.
Rabbits also don’t like plants with fuzzy leaves such as lamb’s ear. Their hairy foliage can irritate their skin or their eyes if they rub up against them.
Many herbs and vegetables have bitter tastes or strong smells and can be used to repel rabbits. Plant basil, lavender, oregano, thyme, rosemary, onions, and garlic to name but a few to keep rabbits out of your yard. This is especially helpful if you plant them next to plants that rabbits enjoy eating such as lettuce or carrots.
Verdict: Keeping Your Yard Free Of Rabbits
Rabbits, although cute, can make a mess of your yard, damage your landscaping, destroy your crops, flowers, and vegetables, and otherwise be a major pain in the backside. Fortunately, there are a few effective ways to get rid of rabbits in your yard.
By letting your dogs outside to run freely, you can scare off most rabbits. But this will require that you let your dogs out all day, which isn’t always an option. Commercial rabbit repellents work well and are generally inexpensive but you may not want these sorts of chemicals on your lawn, especially if you have pets that may eat the grass.
Your best bet will usually be a rabbit trap. The idea is to trap the bunny in a way that doesn’t hurt it. You’ll then need to take it a good five miles or so from your home and release it somewhere where it won’t come to any harm.
There are also a few natural methods you can try that might help you get rid of the rabbits in your yard, including using ultrasonic or motion-activated noise deterrents, creating a pepper spray concoction for use on your plants, flowers, and crops, or installing a motion-activated water canon to soak the rabbits, which annoys them immensely.
When all else fails, contact your local pest control expert who will be able to try some additional methods such as baiting their burrows or fumigating your yard. In most cases, pest control services are cost-effective and will get rid of the rabbits in your yard almost immediately.
However, once the rabbits are gone, you’ll still need to take a few precautions to prevent them from coming back again. The best way to do this is by installing a perimeter fence that the rabbits can’t fit through. Alternatively, you may want to install fencing around your flower beds and vegetable gardens.
Last but not least, you can try planting things that rabbits don’t like to smell, such as basil, lavender, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. This is a win-win because who doesn’t love fresh herbs growing in their garden? I know I do.
It’s taken me many years of dealing with rabbits in my garden to learn these tips and tricks, so I sincerely hope this guide will help you get the rabbits out of your yard and keep them out. Happy gardening!