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Rabbits: Cute or Cruel?

by Laura Bradley, master gardener

You can generally tell if someone is a gardener or not by the way they react to rabbits. If you are outside with someone and they say, "Look at the cute bunny!" chances are they have never woken up to evaporated lettuce, mowed down tulips, or nibbled tomatoes. These admittedly adorable mammals seem to be especially pesky and prolific in Evanston. I am asked for a rabbit solution that is legal and humane at least once a week during the growing season.

While there are hundreds of products available that promise to discourage our favorite pests from eating our most prized plants, in the end a solid fence is your best bet. It is recommended to use hardware cloth, wire mesh, or rabbit fencing with small spaces. Bend the bottom of the fence at a right angle pointing outward and bury it a few inches down in the soil to discourage digging. If rabbits are your only problem, a fence that is two feet high should be sufficient, but if you have deer go higher, and to protect from birds you need a top cover. If you have raised beds, you can attach the fencing to the walls of your bed.

What is the most effective strategy you have for keeping Peter Cottontail out of the garden? What have you tried that did not work? What is the craziest solution you've seen or heard about? Log in to to leave your comments.