Rabbits are cute, delicate, and beautiful, but they dig holes in the ground. They may seem innocent, but they can cause considerable damage to your lawn. They eat tender parts of newly growing plants and have extremely high reproductive potential, which makes them a serious garden infestation.
They produce three litters, (a litter is the live birth of multiple offspring at one time in animals) of 6 babies each, per year and in some cases six litters of 3 babies each per year. Either way, they multiply rapidly.
How to Identify Their Presence?
Eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) is the most annoying species of rabbits, and it can be found in abundance. They have big ears, grey or brownish skin with a short tail. They weigh 2-4 pounds (0.9-1.8 kg), and in length, they can be 15-19 inches (38-48 cm). The life span is 12-15 months. This species of cottontail bunny is rarely found in forests.
Their primary habitats are field edges, brush piles, fence-rows, and landscaped backyards. They feed on flowers, barks, bulbs, and vegetables and leave the plants pruned and clipped. They rarely leave their shelters in daylight; instead, they come out in the early morning or late evening to feed and wander in nearby gardens.
In your yard,
- Rabbits often take refuge under a deck or shed, but they don’t live inside a house or walls.
- Check for the bunny’s baby nests before you start mowing.
- Look for dry grass patches. They can be the home of baby bunnies.
- Lift the dry patch gently and see if baby bunnies are there.
A low population of rabbits in your garden is not a big deal, but as they increase their number rapidly with a gestation period (gestation period is the length of pregnancy) of just 31-33 days, you must know how to control them and keep them away from the flowers and vegetables you grow.
Why Do You Need to Keep Them Away?
These wildlife creatures are not harmful, but they can cause trouble when their population explodes. They can ruin gardens, berries, trees, and even grasses. They also feed on carrots, peas, lettuce beets, and beans.
The main purpose of this intruder is to eat without being eaten. They have more than two dozen species of predators, but they can dig through the soil and move from your neighborhood garden to your place safely.
Natural Ways to Keep the Rabbits Away
There are many methods through which bunny infestations can be controlled; some of these natural ways are effective and also less harmful to wildlife. These are discussed below:
- Mowing your lawn: Get rid of unnecessary bushes and tall grasses. Vegetation like this makes the perfect home for rabbits. Trim the grass and remove all plant debris from the garden regularly. A neat and clean lawn does not attract rabbits to colonize the area.
- Sealing of extra holes: Seal any hole you find in your lawn, under the decks or the sheds. You should also cover the holes in rocks or in chicken wires. Make sure that you have blocked all the holes; it will prevent their entry in the garden.
- Eliminate water sources: Rabbits like a place where they can find water, food, and shelter easily. Fencing your water sources will be a beneficial method to get rid of the rabbits. The fence should be at least 6 inches deep so that the rabbits can not pass under it.
- Trees: Plant rabbit deterring trees; if you have a spot for a tree in your garden, choose a tree that has a strong odor or is prickly. Other plants that rabbits find unpleasant are bee balm, mint, rosemary, onion, verbena, and bougainvillea. Growing these plants can help keep them away from your garden.
- Fencing: Fencing can control their entry in the garden, decks as well as the sheds in your vicinity. A small trench using chicken wire, around your deck with at least 2-3 feet (61-91 cm) of height and 1-inch diameter mesh holes, can be effective. The depth of the trench should be a foot deep and a half foot wide.
- Trunk and vine guard: Use a trunk guard on all the young trees and vines. The guard should be 2.5 feet high to prevent rabbits from reaching the plant.
- Keep a pet: A dog or a cat can help you restrict the entry of rabbits. Rabbits are afraid of these pets and avoid to go in such places where they are present.
- Traps: You may set traps to catch them. Use live traps instead of killing ones. If the trap fails to catch rabbits, you must move the trap to some other place. Check it every 12 hours. Use a good bait in the trap such as carrots, apples, berries, or corn.
There are also some other methods to control their entry into your garden that includes:
Many repellents are available on the market, which is useful, but there is not a certain single repellent that can be called an all-rounder. It would be best if you use a variety of these commercial products to see which suits best. But before buying, check the ingredients as they should not cause any damage to your plants.
Blood meal fertilizers are dried blood of animals. The use of this fertilizer increases the soil fertility, and its odor keeps the rabbits away because rabbits are herbivores, and they don’t like the smell of blood.
You can also prepare a repellent by yourself at home, just following these steps:
- Take a gallon or container (approximately 4 liters).
- Add some warm water in it.
- Add dish soap (about 1 tbsp.).
- Add crushed red pepper (1 tbsp.) and shake the mixture well.
- Add 3-5 crushed garlic cloves and put the mixture under the sun.
- Pour this mixture into a spray bottle and use it.
Rabbits are fast-growing herbivores. But even a small number of this mammal can cause some serious damage to your garden. They dig holes in your lawn and harm the grass. They feed on your vegetables and flowers and destroy your landscapes. That’s why. One must know some techniques to overcome the problem of rabbit infestations to preserve the original look of your garden.