How to Repel Rabbits

Rabbits are very opportunistic, so when it comes to repelling them, it's important to have a strategy that protects your entire yard. Below, Havahart® provides step-by-step instructions teaching you how to repel rabbits from problem areas and keep them from causing damage to the rest of your treasured landscaping.

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How to Repel

1Identify Patterns of Activity

The best rabbit repelling solution depends on where and when your rabbits are causing the most damage. Their habits generally change with the seasons, so you may have to employ multiple repellent solutions according to the time of year. Common rabbit activities include:

  • pilfering flower gardens
  • eating grass, clover and alfalfa
  • damaging tender crops like beans, peas, cabbage and lettuce
  • nibbling on young seedlings
  • girdling the bark of young trees
  • occupying animal burrows
  • chewing on woody plants and shrubs
  • clipping twigs

2Choose the Best Rabbit Repellent

After determining your rabbits' behavioral patterns, you can use the information below to determine the correct repellent solutions for the area of damage you have identified. It's important to not only focus on problem areas but also take preventative measures to ensure that all of your valued landscaping is protected. Rabbits adapt easily to changing environments, and once you repel them from one plant or area, they will move onto unprotected areas.

Liquid Spray Repellents

Best For: Protecting flowers and plant surfaces from direct rabbit damage. Spray liquid repellents to the point of runoff directly onto plants you want to protect. Liquid repellents are great for:

  • grasses
  • seedlings
  • flowers/buds
  • trees
  • ground cover
  • shrubs
  • alfalfa
  • clover
  • bulbs
  • ivy

TIP: To deter rabbits from eating vegetation, focus application 2-3 feet from ground level - this area is most vulnerable to rabbit damage.


Granular Repellents

Best For: Creating a protective barrier around plants and landscaping. Granular repellents are great additions to liquid repellents, providing protection for perimeters of:

  • vegetable gardens
  • burrows and dens
  • flower beds
  • structures
  • ground cover
  • pathways

TIPS: Granular repellents are the optimal solution for repelling rabbits in cold weather, since liquids cannot be sprayed on plants in damp, cold conditions. For more information about repellent types, read Repellent Styles: Liquid vs. Granular Repellents »


Electronic Repellents

Best For: Scaring rabbits away from large areas with eco-friendly bursts of water. Electronic repellents are smart, effective devices that seek out and discourage rabbit activity in almost any area, such as:

  • yards
  • flowerbeds
  • nurseries
  • shrubs
  • gardens
  • parks
  • structures
  • woodpiles
  • vegetable patches
  • pool areas
  • brush cover
  • trees

TIPS: Though electronics are typically pricier than traditional repellents, they are more cost-efficient in the long run, as there is no need to reapply or rebuy season after season. Many consumers find that installing several electronic repellents around their property, hidden nicely in their flowerbeds, is the best method for keeping rabbits out. For more information about using electronic repellents, read Why Electronics »


3Apply as Directed

Correctly applying repellents is critical to achieving effectiveness and longevity. It's extremely important that you follow the label directions on the package to gain the best result. Some critical steps to keep in mind include:

Reapply your repellents as often as the directions suggest. Most repellents will have to be reapplied after heavy rainfall to maintain repellency.

Distribute granules at the proper rate, keeping in mind the formula's specific coverage area. For example, if the bottle covers 10 acres, use 1/10th of the bottle to protect 1 acre.

Spray leaves, stems, flowers and bulbs generously, until they're completely soaked and the liquid begins to run off.

Position your electronic repellent so the sensor faces the direction of your rabbits' activity, and carefully follow the sensitivity guidelines to ensure your electronic solution reacts properly.


4Reduce Attractants

Keep rabbits away by reducing the availability of protective cover, which rabbits need to feel comfortable living and feeding in your yard. Some steps you might take include:

  • mowing grass regularly
  • raking leaves
  • pulling weeds
  • trimming back excess vegetation
  • covering and filling in abandoned animal burrows
  • cleaning up debris, woodpiles and brush

Expert Tips

Rabbits favor tender, new growth. Keep an eye out for sprouting plants, shoots, buds and seedlings and treat them with repellents immediately when they appear. In the wintertime, rabbits prefer woody plants with thin bark, so you should focus your repelling efforts on younger trees and shrubs.

Rabbits rely on their heightened sense of smell to seek food and detect danger. Choose a liquid or granular repellent that repels by odor, using either putrescent egg, dried blood, or a mixture of both. These ingredients emit a scent that’s proven to trigger a natural flight response in rabbits.

In order to repel stubborn rabbits, choose a repellent that targets both scent and taste - a repellent that includes the ingredient capsaicin will give your plants a severely spicy taste and discourage a rabbit from taking another bite.

For large-scale rabbit protection, apply liquids using a pump-sprayer, which is designed to release more repellent with less effort.

Periodically check the sensitivity of your electronic repellents to ensure that they are functioning at the optimal level.

Reinforce your rabbit repelling plan by planting some commonly recognized rabbit-resistant plants like marigolds, salvia or lavender. Although the repellency of these plants is unproven, many gardeners and landscapers trust them as a barrier crop to help keep rabbits away.


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