How to Keep Rabbits From Eating Outdoor Plants


Rabbits may find your vegetable garden or flower bed a literal buffet of tasty snacks. A hungry rabbit population can quickly reduce your lush plants into little stubs sticking out of the ground in just a matter of days. Combine preventative and deterrent solutions to keep rabbits away from your outdoor plants and defend your garden's lush look.

Step 1

Install a fence around your outdoor plants. The University of Illinois says fencing is the best method of garden protection from rabbits. Make the fence approximately 42 inches tall with the lower 6 inches sunk into the ground to keep out rabbits that may try to dig below the fence.

Step 2

Clear away all tall vegetation, like low-hanging shrubs or tall stands of grass, on the outside of the fence. Use pruning shears and/or a lawn mower. Keep a 15- to 20-foot space open around your fenced area. This will deter rabbits, which do not like crossing open areas.

Step 3

Spray the plants with a rabbit deterrent spray, typically formulated with capsaicin or similarly nasty-tasting chemicals. Rabbits will avoid plants coated with the spray, according to the University of Wisconsin.

Step 4

Set up a motion-activated sprinkler in the middle of the garden bed. When a rabbit activates the motion sensor, the sprinkler bursts to life with a loud noise and a jet of water. The devices are often pricey, but can effectively scare away not just rabbits, but other animal pests like crows and deer.

Things You'll Need

  • Fencing
  • Rabbit deterrent spray
  • Motion-activated sprinkler
  • Pruning shears
  • Lawn mower


  • "Wildlife in the Garden: How to Live in Harmony with Deer, Raccoons, Rabbits, Crows, and Other Pesky Creatures;" Gene Logsdon; 1999
  • University of Illinois: Protecting Your Garden From Rabbits
  • University of Wisconsin: Protect Your Garden, Landscaping from Rabbit Damage
Keywords: control garden rabbits, deter rabbits, keep out rabbits

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.