5 Mistakes That Could Be Attracting Rabbits to Your Garden

Plus, tips on what you should do instead.

<p>Beverly Goldschmidt/Getty Images</p>

Beverly Goldschmidt/Getty Images

Rabbits are cute, but can nibble away all the hard work you put into your vegetable garden. While it may seem impossible to keep some wildlife away from your crop, there are a few mistakes you should always avoid to help make it harder to access, according to garden and pest control experts.

Grass Is Overgrown

“Allowing grassy areas in your yard to become overgrown,” says Carly Mercer, General Manager of the woman-owned landscape company Love & Carrots which creates the ideal nesting sites for rabbits.

Alex Gray, the Kansas City district manager for wildlife service Trutech, also adds that the “biggest mistake people make is providing plenty of food and shelter for rabbits in their yard.” Gray explains that besides overgrown grass, rabbits also like to hide in bushes, shrubs, and woodpiles to get away from predators and people.

Vegetable Garden Is Too Close to Landscaping

“Rabbits generally don't prefer to cross a large open expanse of lawn to get to feeding areas,” says Mercer. “Having landscaping next to your vegetable beds can provide rabbits with safe passage as they make their way into your beds.”

Gray adds that while gardens attract rabbits, you may find even more bunnies in your yard if you are using organic mulch and compost.

Related: How Much Mulch Do You Need for Your Garden?

Growing Vegetables Low to the Ground

Growing veggies too low to the ground can easily attract rabbits and provide easy access to your crop.

“If you are growing directly in the ground and are experiencing a lot of rabbit damage to your plants, you may want to build a raised bed at least 2' tall to garden in,” Mercer says. This way, rabbits can’t easily jump in your garden bed.

Not Covering Young Gardens

According to Mercer, rabbits love potatoes, carrots, and kale but tend to go after the smaller shoots and younger crops that aren’t covered. She recommends keeping these crops covered with a row cover or netting until they get larger to keep the bunnies from nibbling your veggies.

Providing a Water Source

You may have a water source in your yard right near your garden that is perfect for rabbits without even knowing it. And Mercer says an easily accessible water source will keep rabbits coming back.

“If you have a leaky spigot or hose causing regular pooling, or an accessible bird bath, these are sources that rabbits can drink from,” Mercer explains.

Tips to Keep Rabbits Out of Your Yard

“Rabbits are attracted to gardens,” says Thomas Peters, Director of Landscape and Horticulture at Serenbe. “It's an easy buffet of tasty options for them to take advantage of.” Here are some of Peters' tips to consider.

  • Install low fencing that is secure to the ground.

  • Keep the area mowed in a radius around the garden space so rabbits won't be able to hide.

  • Place a fake owl near your garden to deter small animals.

  • Allow your dog and/or cat to roam the garden space occasionally to help keep rabbits from getting too comfortable with the garden.

Matthew Morrow, Director of Horticulture at NYC Parks agrees chicken wire, keeping the grass short, and allowing your pets to roam the yard are all solid preventive measures to keep rabbits out. However, he also adds the importance of the active gardener, too.

“Gardeners who use their yard more can also help deter rabbits,” he says. “And give people more time outdoors.”

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