Children’s stories steeped in rabbits hopping through gardens are a delight to read, but if a fairy story turns into fact in your own garden, the situation could be disastrous and frustrating. Jackrabbits eat up to 1 pound of vegetation each day, which makes them the most damage-causing of those species, but desert cottontails and brush rabbits also cause significant damage to garden plants when dense cap is nearby to protect them from predators. You can reduce damage by eliminating hiding spots and growing plants that rabbits tend to prevent.
Less Palatable Shrubs
If you visit twigs on shrubs cut off at a 45-degree angle and within two feet of the ground, then it’s most likely rabbit harm. Rabbits tend to prevent shrubs with leathery leaves or that are extremely fragrant. A tree to try that deters rabbit nibbling is rhododendron (Rhododendron spp), hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. Its evergreen leathery leaves tend to create rabbits hop on past. Hydrangea (Hydrangea spp.) Grows year round in USDA zones 3 through 9. Rabbits avoid varieties that emit a strong fragrance, like Hydrangea angustipetala “MonLongShou,” which is hardy in USDA zones 6 through 10.
Rabbits tend to munch primarily on flowering plants around the outer perimeter of beds. Planting species that they don’t care for along borders helps deter this practice. Some perennials to try out that prosper in USDA zones 4 through 9 are daylily (Hemerocallis citrina), iris (Iris Germanica) and bee balm (Monarda didyma). If you prefer to grow annuals, strive sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus) and marigold (Calendula officinalis).
A fence will keep rabbits out, but in case your vegetable garden doesn’t have one, plant crops less palatable to rabbits like corn (Zea mays), peppers (Capsicum annuum) and cucumbers (Cucumis sativus). This will not guarantee rabbits will prevent your crops, but it should lower the quantity of crop damage. If you are a avid tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) grower, you will be happy to know rabbits have a tendency to pass tomato plants.
Rabbits avert some plants, but if food is scarce during certain times of the year, they’ll eat whatever is available — even highly aromatic herbs that they normally avoid. When it’s the time of year when food is plentiful for rabbits, plant herbs they generally shy away from such as chives (Allium schoenoprasum) and sage (Salvia officinalis). Both grow year-round in USDA zones 4 through 8.