Rabbits reproduce at an extremely fast pace. Learning how to keep rabbits from eating the lawn or garden can seem impossible.
“This year I have seen more rabbit damage in lawns than ever before,” Jeff Disler, plant health care consultant. “Especially in south metro areas like Littleton, Parker, Castle Rock, just everywhere. ” Disler, who runs tree spraying for Denver based ArborScape, speculates that drought has reduced their natural food supply, causing them to target new sources of nutrition. Namely – your lawn.
Rabbits will eat grass and regurgitate it onto the lawn. This leftover product is very acidic, and can easily burn out patches of grass. In fact, the rabbit will return to the same spot up to three times and repeat the same process.
By the end you have unattractive black spots or dead growth made by the acidic, digestive fluids of the rabbit.
So what do you do when rabbits begin to eat up your garden or chew up your grass and newly planted trees and shrubs? Below are some tips and tricks to minimize the damage these pesky animals create.
The first step is to make sure that the yard and surrounding area is unattractive to rabbits. This encourages movement onto better foraging grounds then your yard.
Regular mowing and picking up clippings and other debris helps. Debris such as accumulated grass, sticks or leaves gives rabbits a place to hide from predators.
If you still get rabbits and you want a sure-fire way to protect your area, the only method that doesn’t cause damage to your lawn or garden is erecting a fence.
It’s recommended you use chicken wire that is 3 feet high and 10 inches deep, so that the rabbits can’t hop over or dig under it.
If you are trying to protect young trees or shrubs, hardware cloth will deter the rabbits from eating them up. Simply wrap the cloth around the base of the tree or shrub. Hardware cloth is generally located near the chicken wire in the hardware store.
Live traps are a common way to get rid of rabbits. Live traps allow you to catch the rabbit and then release them somewhere else. The only problem with this strategy is that rules vary by location on releasing wild animals, so make sure it’s legal in your area. Or hire a local critter collector.
The last recommended way to manage rabbits is to implement rabbit repellents. The problem with repellents is that while there are many choices of products, they all seem to provide variable or inconsistent control. We recommend you try the following and see if they have an effect:
- dog hair
- blood meal
- fox urine
- rabbit repellent
Spread any one of these ingredients around the areas that you don’t want rabbits to enter – and make sure to reapply after rain or snow to keep the rabbits at bay.