Sweet and innocent as rabbits may appear, they can ruin a garden, eating the leaves and flowers of many low-growing plants. Outside of the garden, rabbits are essentially harmless, so most people prefer to deter rather than exterminate them. Rabbit repellents are a humane alternative to trapping and shooting. Additionally, they are less expensive and less complicated than fencing and are safe to use around children, pets and plants.
Rabbit repellents fall into one of two categories: those applied directly to the foliage (contact repellents) and those spread over the soil (area repellents). Both types of repellent rely on strongly scented herbs and fiery flavoured spices to keep rabbits at bay. These substances offend the rabbits' keen sense of smell and delicate taste buds, effectively deterring their presence.
Garlic is the traditional remedy for harmful entities -- from the fictitious vampire to the actual virus that causes the common cold. Garlic contains compounds such as sulphur and allicin, which account for its characteristic pungent aroma. Many of the garden's most persistent invaders are put off by the overwhelming scent and flavour of this popular herb. Spreading garlic throughout the garden keeps everything from whiteflies and aphids to rabbits and deer away from the tender shoots and fresh, leafy greens.
Homemade Garlic Spray
To make a homemade, garlic-based rabbit repellent, chop up 1 bulb of fresh garlic and combine it with 1 tablespoon of ground cayenne pepper and 2 quarts of water. Boil this mixture for 15 to 20 minutes, then let it cool. Pour the solution through a coffee filter to remove any solids, and transfer it to a plastic spray bottle.
Spray vulnerable plants with the garlic repellent every five days or so. This keeps the garlic scent strong while ensuring the complete coverage of any new plant growth. Push slivers of raw garlic directly into the soil as an additional anti-rabbit defence mechanism.