Fences, habitat removal, trunk guards, repellents and deterrent plants are some of the methods that are effective at keeping rabbits out of the garden and from eating plants. If these measures fail, trapping rabbits with live traps and relocating or eliminating them is a last resort.
Fences are by far the most effective method of rabbit control. Gardeners make fences from a variety of materials, but chicken wire is a popular and cost-effective option. The fence only needs to be 1 to 3 feet high, and burying 6 inches of fence keeps tenacious rabbits from digging underneath. Potential rabbit habitats can be eliminated by sealing off openings under decks or sheds, and clearing debris and thick brush. Trunk guards, made from wire mesh, cardboard or hard plastic, prevent rabbits from chewing on the bark of young trees, shrubs and vines.
There are a number of rabbit repellents sold at nurseries and garden supply stores, which usually contain foul smelling or tasting ingredients like dried blood, tobacco dust or capsaicin-containing pepper sprays. One disadvantage of repellents is that they are washed away by rain and watering, meaning they must be reapplied frequently. Gardeners may also strategically place types of plants that rabbits hate throughout their gardens, including tomatoes, lilac, rosemary, sage, rhododendron, digitalis and echinacea.