Hi and thanks for reading my question. I have rabbits under my porch (evidence – rabbit scat, defoliated euonymous and chewed off serviceberry bushes on perimeter of porch. I have a garden with collections of plants that were expensive (dwarf evergreens, perennials, hellebores, ornamental trees etc.) that I have worked hard at to nurture. I love wildlife and cannot bear to hurt a living creature, but I am very worried about my collection of plants, given the damage they have already done. I know that babies are under the porch and the problem will only get worse. I have read about using rabbit and deer repellants in various forms – liquid and granular – whose smell drives rabbits away, supposedly to allow us to then make the porch inaccessible to them (after the babies depart) to prevent them continuing to “squat” on my property in East York. Have you or anyone you know had experience using these products to safely and humanely get rid of rabbits before they decimate my entire garden? I have read advice on this forum about companion plantings of anything in the allium/onion family that deters rabbits but I don’t have time to wait for those things to grow this spring!! I will keep it in mind for future, however. Thank you, I appreciate your advice.
Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners. Rabbits can be very destructive in the garden. Here are some ways to deal with them :
- Fencing : You can put chicken wire or hardwire mesh 2-3 feet high and several inches below ground around the vulnerable plants. You could also add hardwire mesh to your existing fence if you have one, to make it more difficult for rabbits to get into your garden.
- Habitat : You can make your garden less hospitable by removing brush, brush piles, stone piles and other places where rabbits live and hide.
- Scare devices : Rabbits are very nervous animals, so you could install motion sensitive lights or sprinklers, or anything that makes noise, like pie plates on a string that will blow in the wind.
- Repellents : These are not always effective, and need to be replaced when it rains or snows.. Examples are chili powder, blood meal, and garlic spray.
- Plant what rabbits avoid : See the last link below for suggestions.
- Trap and release : You need to check if this is legal where you live, and if so you can either do this yourself or hire a specialist in wildlife removal.
Here are some links to information that you might find helpful :
Protecting Trees and Shrubs from Rabbits
Living with Wildlife – Rabbits
When Bunnies Aren’t So Funny : Rabbits in the Garden
Best of luck in dealing with your rabbits.