Keeping rabbits out of gardens

sarah.streitzMarch 6, 2010

I am planning on doing some raised bed gardens in my Bloomington backyard this summer. Even though there is still 3+ feet of snow, I have seen a number of active rabbits in the backyard. What are some strategies/recommendations to keep them out of the gardens? I tried surrounding a previous garden with chicken wire, but it was a pain to work around it. A friend recommended dried tiger's blood. Has anyone tried it?

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garystpaul(4)

It's delicious, Sarah. No, just kidding. I have the same problem you doÂthere seems to have been an explosion in the rabbit population in st. paulÂand so am eagerly awaiting responses from the experienced. I've put chicken wire around some small roses, a hydrangea and some barberry plants, since in past years I've come out in spring and found them chewed almost to the ground. Last summer I also tried a product, DeFence, that seemed to work OK., and I made a witch's brew in the blender: habañeros, garlic, some vinegar and a few drops of liquid soap as a surfactant; this worked for a while also. Problem with these is you have to keep reapplying after rains. Same thing, I suppose, with coyote urine and, um, tiger's blood (even if such a thing is available, I don't like the idea for lots of reasons).

As I say, I hope others have found the 'perfect' solution (so to speak) and can share it here.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 9:59PM
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mean_74(4A)

Winona was infested with rabbits last summer. We live in town, but my eleven year old got about 5 of them with his BB gun. That slowed them down quite a bit. Of course the neighbors are now scared of us..

I have found that my raised beds are tall enough to keep them out. The are about 12 or so inches tall. Last summer was the first year for the raised beds and we never had a rabbit in them and had 0 damage.

Of course that didn't stop my son from going after them with the BB gun anyways.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 9:56AM
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thisismelissa(z4a-S Twin Cities MN)

I too have a rabbit problem..... a big problem with over 300 hosta on the buffet.

In the fall, I drive stakes all the way around my garden and once the snow thaws, I put up the chicken wire until the plants harden off in late June.

Last year, after the chicken wire was removed, I put Liquid Fence down twice and the only return from rabbits was on the plants planted after the liquid fence was done.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 12:27PM
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zenpotter(z4 MN)

I have been doing some research here are the ideas I came up with.

1. rabbit fence, it has smaller mesh at the bottom getting larger as it goes up.
2. brush your cat or get cat fur from someone else and scatter it around your garden.
3. hot chili powder or cayenne pepper around the base of plants.
4. soak corn cobs in vinegar for 5 min and scatter in the garden.
5. plant marigolds around the veggies.

I will probably try them all.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 8:42AM
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thisismelissa(z4a-S Twin Cities MN)

zenpotter....

All of those techniques CAN work, but only #1 works time after time. The rabbits just get used to the other scents.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 3:57PM
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sandysgardens

Bunnies could slip between the boards of our privacy fence. I had enough of their destruction last summer and we spent several evenings stapling chicken wire to 900 plus feet of privacy fence around the backyard. I have a flower board that runs around most of the fence line so it doesn't look like an eyesore when flowers are in bloom.

Tried the BB gun route, but most of them were so skittish that any movement and they were off and running. Amazing how fast they could slip through the fence boards without breaking stride. Squirrels though, Mr BB gun has a good track record.

Moth balls too are another thing to use, but have to be re-applied after rain or a lot of watering.

Sandy

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 4:30PM
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zenpotter(z4 MN)

What do you do about raccoons? The only thing I have found is human urine. Have any of you found anything else? I do not want to use a BB gun. Don't even own one.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 7:48AM
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sandysgardens

Haven't had raccoon problems in the backyard yet. We have a family of three that the neighbor has seen at our birdbath in the front yard once in awhile at midnight. We don't think they've been in the backyard yet.

BB gun won't have any effect on the raccoons. Would need a twentytwo or another type of rifle and wouldn't be advisable in the cities. The raccoons at the lake rake ahavoc on the hummingbird and oriole feeders. They seem to leave the flower beds alone, so far.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 10:44AM
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zenpotter(z4 MN)

We live in the city, but on creek so there are many critters around including lots of raccoons. They hang around in our yard at night. They are so smelly it is not fun having them hang around. They also try to get into the compost bin.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 1:30PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

I fenced in my vegetable garden years ago with chicken wire to keep rabbits out. Deer jump right over that low fence.

Used to make chicken wire cages to fence in tulips & pansies, though it works, it doesn't look too attractive.

I have tried many different sprays, homemade & commercial, soaps, animal urine, and powders. The only thing that works reliably for me is Liquid Fence which I have used for about 5 years. Like thisismelissa I spray it on young growth and rarely have had rabbits or deer eat the plants. After two or three times the critters usually stay away from those plants and they do not need to be resprayed.

Two negatives, Liquid Fence smells badly until dried. I try to apply it while neighbors are at work, though the neighbors have not complained, they have noted the bad smell (an implied complaint?). They are tolerant because I share my gardens/garden produce with them and their children (my helpers) and because they are nice people.
Expensive: I buy the concentrate and use the half price deals that I get from radio web sites to buy a gift certificate which brings the price down. With my large garden beds a gal. concentrate lasts 1 1/2 - 2 years. Can sometimes be found on sale at Fleet & Farm.

I used to throw tennis balls at rabbits from my windows. LOL, I do not have good aim so the rabbits would sit still until I was out of tennis balls, waiting me out. Later I had to go out and pick up the tennis balls. Not very effective.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 5:52PM
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mya_(z4 MN)

Liquid fence works, but a gun works better. I'm at war with them this year. They girdled 2 apple, 2 pear, 2 peach, a cherry, and a 4 in 1 plum tree this winter. Oh, and I forgot to mention the summer bearing raspberries they ate to the snow line for the 3rd year in a row, and the 50 goji berry seedlings they mowed to the ground last summer. Our cats and dogs will be eating lots of raw meat this year. :)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 6:35PM
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louisq

Shoot the mean kid with a bb gun so he understands the pain he inflicted and feed the rabbits!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 8:44PM
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DaveLindahl5432(4)

Get a black lab with a fence and the rabbit population will subside quickly. I had this prob in Waconia and I don't have a prob no more but the neighbors still do because they don't have a fence and don't have a hunting dog.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 1:50PM
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wiscgardener58

Over here in Wisconsin we run into rabbits all the time and I have had trouble finding a fence that is visually appealing, maintenance free, easy to install, and affordable. A few years ago we decided to create 17 raised beds in our garden, and the original idea was to place chicken wire directly around each raised bed, but based on past experience I knew that having the fencing so close to the garden area makes working in the garden difficult and inefficient. Based on this I decided to enclose the entire garden area with a rabbit fence, leaving a 24â walkway between the beds and the fence allowing for greater mobility when working in the garden.

I did some research to try to find a fence that would fit into the visual aesthetic of our garden, and chicken wire was just too unsightly. Picket fences are visually appealing, but I was turned off by the substantial maintenance season after season. I decided to create my own fence that provided the qualities I was looking for: attractive, maintenance free, lightweight, easy to install and affordable. After doing much research I decided to use copper tubing (to avoid rusting and to match other lawn decorations). I also used polypropylene mesh netting that was designed for rabbit fencing. I created 30 panels that were of two different sizes (4âÂÂx2â or 2âÂÂx2âÂÂ). Creating these panels did not take too long and cost much less than what I had anticipated. From there I used rebar poles to easily install the panels around the garden, including the creation of a swing-gate that made accessing the garden easy! Installing the fence took me an afternoon and that included the trial and error of determining the best way to do it.

Because the fence has exceeded all my expectations, I want to share it with others! I have decided to make and sell the fence panels. Below is a link to the website I have created, and I would love to answer any questions you may have!

Here is a link that might be useful: Preassembled Rabbit Garden Fence

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 1:56PM
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