When your first see a rabbits in your garden you will often think of the soft, fluffy bunny from your childhood memories. But for any keen gardener this will soon turn to desperation as you realise the destruction is down to this “cute” animal.

When rabbits are found in the garden they are almost always a pest that can ravage a garden, eating just about any tender young plants in the spring, but their favourites are certainly the vegetable grower’s nightmare such as beans, lettuce, carrots and peas (amongst others) and they can be grazed to ground level.

Plants and vegetables are not the only crops that can suffer from rabbit attack as they can also gnaw bark away from the base of tree trunks, especially in winter time. This can kill the tree if the bark is removed from the entire circumference (known as ring-barking). They can also dig holes in lawns and flower beds.

The best ways. to keeps rabbits off your plants can be broken down to:

Animal and rabbit repellents

Repellents usually come in the form of a spray that you use to treat your plants. This leaves an unpleasant taste for the rabbits, however this can also be bitter so is not suitable for edible plants intended for human consumption. Ultrasonic repellents are a new addition to the market that appear to work well.

Fencing and netting

Gardens can be protected from rabbits by fencing off all entrance points. Fences need to be at least 140cm high and have wire mesh (maximum of 2.5cm diameter) sunk below ground to a level of at least 30 cm. Where it is not possible to protect a whole garden individual plant and trees can be protected with a mesh cage around them, or around the trunk of a tree.

Plant species that rabbits dislike

Not all species of plants are attractive for rabbits to eat such as aquilegia, berberus, dahlia, ice plants (sedum), lupins, saxifrage and verbena. Making your garden a unwelcome place with these unattractive plants can go a long way to repel rabbits.

Using a combination of these techniques can fortify your garden against even the most determined rabbits