Keeping Groundhogs and Rabbits out of your garden
Rabbits and Groundhogs
I like critters. I also like gardening. Its just very difficult to have a happy symbiotic relationship with them. I enjoy watching the rabbits hopping all over the place, munching on the weeds and laying about in the shade. The groundhog is a good weeder also and I have no problem with them existing, they are very entertaining to watch. I just wish they would stop eating my garden. I understand why they like it so much. I myself enjoy its rewards. We all just like the same thing.
So what do I do to dissuade them from my garden?
Fencing and Plant boxes
Fencing and Plant boxes
Building a wire fence can help keep the critters away. You can also Build a plant box.
- If your going the way of just the fence you will need to make sure you build your fence into the ground as well as above. Both your groundhog and rabbit have no problem burrowing into your garden from under the fence. If you put your fence a couple feet into the ground that should be enough. Also having the fence above ground about three feet is enough to dissuade a rabbit but a groundhog will try to climb it so you will need a lip about a foot long going away from the garden so they hit a dead end when climbing.
- If you want to make a plant box garden I would still recommend the wire wall on top, but instead of putting a wire fence two feet into the ground I would cover the bottom of the box with a wire mesh. This allows for drainage for the plants and the critters cannot dig up through. I also recommend cedar wood because most plant loving animals do not like it so it is a kind of repellent and it also looks good.
Building the fence will also keep some other animals away too. Build it tall enough and the deer can't get to it either.
You can repel the animals away.
- Epsom salt: an old trick that groundhogs and rabbits don't like. It is also good for some plants. This will have to be reapplied after every rainstorm. Deer do not like this either.
- Hot pepper can be sprayed onto the plants you are trying to protect. Rabbits and groundhogs do not like the flavor of spices and groundhogs do not even like the smell. This will have to be reapplied occasionally.
- You can either add some urine, like fox or other predator (that you can get at your local garden store) or you can either add blood. This sounds pretty medieval but it has worked for years and the blood is good for the garden when it breaks down.
- You can have plants that the animals don't like. Neither the rabbit or the groundhog like inpatients, yarrow, coral bells, bleeding heart, ferns, verbena, and forget-me-nots. Rabbits do not like periwinkle which is a good ground cover you can grow around the fence. Groundhogs don't like onions or chives which make a good border plant. There are tons of different perennials and annuals that you can grow that rabbits and groundhogs don't like depending on your zone that can help bring color to your garden and keep them away.
- Another old trick is to take an old sock and fill it with soap or hair and hang it near the area that they come from.
You want your garden and have your critter too? You can build them their own garden. Just find the common area they come from, or even find where their holes are, then just build a garden for them near their locations. Alfalfa and clovers are the beloved food of rabbits and groundhogs so just fill their garden with those plants and they will not really have any need to travel elsewhere for their food. You can even make more than one towards the outskirts of your yard and possibly they will leave most of your area alone, but still be around for your viewing. This is a pretty good symbiotic solution that allows everyone to get what they want.