Garden Varmints – Blocking Bunnies

Joanna: “Awe, look at the cute bunny! Isn’t it great, how there’s cute bunnies everywhere in Seattle now?”

Peter: “Bunnies are a pest! If I had my air rifle right now, I’d shoot it. I don’t know why there hasn’t been an uprising against bunnies in this city yet.”

Yes, it’s a little ironic that my friend, Peter, is against his namesake Peter Rabbit. But now, three seasons after that conversation, I have been turned. Almost. I still get a little giddy when I see a bunny hopping across the street as I’m driving, but not so when I see one in my garden. Last winter the bunnies decimated my jasmine, roses, and about 200 bulb shoots in my back yard. Droppings everywhere. I’m sure you’re wondering why I didn’t break up the bunny garden party sooner. Well, it was because I was very focused on winter-composting an enormous pile in my front yard (the topic of a future blog post, btw). 

Still, the nibbles were subtle at first. It looked like my plants had a slight pruning, but nothing significant. I let it go. Then, the bunnies got greedy. Canes gnawed down to sad little stubs. Shredded leaves, decapitated tips, and broken tendrils that were painfully obvious. I could not and did not let it go. 

Instead of arming up, I barricaded. I stapled chicken wire at the base of my entire back yard fence, while also taking care to bury it. This might seem a little extreme, but bunnies can jump, dig, and squeeze into the tightest of places. Bunny spray, pellets, and cayenne pepper all help deter bunnies… but rain and sprinklers make their effectiveness fleeting. Plus, it takes hours and gallons of the rank stuff for complete coverage. And then, 1-2 weeks later, you have to do it all over again. And again. And again. 

You may be thinking, I just spent thousands of dollars on a new fence and don’t want to mess it up with chicken wire. I wouldn’t either… so instead of using staples, use ties to attach the chicken wire to your fence. Or, you could just shoot the bunnies (please don’t). 

Here’s the humane way to block Peter Rabbit and protect your garden:

  1. Measure the entire length of your yard, including gates and doors.
  1. Purchase chicken wire with 1-inch mesh and at least 3 feet wide, a heavy-duty stapler, and a couple boxes of compatible staples (or wire ties). Order more than you think you’ll need since running out mid-project is a complete drag. Trust me.
  1. Also consider purchasing Bonide Go Away pellets and Natural Armor spray, to be used in tandem with the chicken wire to quickly get the bunnies to shove off. 
  1. Dig a 6-inch deep, very narrow trench at the base of your entire fence using a bladed edger or a sharp spade. 
  1. Place wire into trench then attach it to your fence so its flush and secure with the staples. If you decide to use ties, know that it will take a lot longer to get this project done. 
  1. Once installed, spray all of your plants with Natural Armor on dry day. 
  1. Then, generously sprinkle the Go Away pellets in all of your garden beds and around any potential entry points that you could not barricade with the chicken wire.

Once you’ve spent many, many hours doing the above… you will not have any more bunny issues. Your plants will grow unscathed, your mind will no longer curse those VARMINTS! and peace will be with your garden.

Have a bunny problem too? Gardinia would be happy to help, learn about our Garden Consultation service.


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