The Q&A Archives: Pesty rabbits

Question: We have rabbits that come in the spring and summer and eat our bermuda grass. What can we do to keep them out of our yard. Thank You

Answer: Although there are repellants you can purchase and apply, you'll need to reapply them after watering your lawn. In this same vein, some people apply blood meal to their gardens to repel rabbits. Although organic and healthy nutrition for your garden, it is very smelly.

The best suggestion is to put up a barrier between your yard and the open areas where the rabbits are entering your yard. Another suggestion that has met with some success is to plant deterrant type plants along the boundary between your garden and where the rabbits are entering - some of the more pungent smelling herbs such as Yarrow or Artemisia are often used, along with rosemary, oregano, catnip, catmint and
even lavender - the smell is strong when the animals bruise or nibble or try to sneak past the border planting, but it is not unpleasant to people - with this strong smelling boundary, they often don't realize you have tasty grass and other plants further in the yard. Plus you get the benefit of adding these
beautiful plants to your garden and cooking with the culinary varieties.

Other people suggest you empty a cat litter box scattered along the edge of your property - rabbits fear cats as predators so they will often choose another yard to enter if they encounter strong cat smell at the edge of your property. I've even heard good results hanging small bunches of cat or dog hair in 2-3 inch bunches inside muslin or cheesecloth or nylon (hose) "bags" along the edge of your property (tucked up inside shrubs) - less smelly to us, and the same benefits of deterring the rabbits to other non-cat houses.

Why are they eating your grass? They like to eat in small grass patches with plenty of nearby cover from shrubs in case they have to flee from a hunting cat, coyote, dog, etc. The good news is that they usually don't eat enough to harm your grass, especially if it is bermudagrass which grows fast enough to keep ahead of their munching.

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