Tips for Keeping Deer and Rabbits Out of Your Garden

Are you dealing with frequent deer and rabbits in your garden? You’re not alone. Most gardeners have faced a battle with unwanted garden visitors wreaking havoc at some point. In the middle of summer wildlife’s natural cuisine begins to dry up, which brings gorgeous deer and adorable bunnies to your garden in search of food.  Deer eat nearly everything, especially your favorite plants. Rabbits enjoy nibbling on almost any tender spring shoots, stems, and buds. Flowers and vegetables are equally delicious.

Below are tips from our experts for protecting your landscape and garden plants from deer and rabbits.

1. Choose Deer and Rabbit Resistant Plants

Planting as many animal-resistant plants as possible will put you ahead of the game.  Keep in mind that there are no deer-proof plants. Deer often stay clear of plants that are poisonous, fuzzy, coarse, spiny, bitter or aromatic. If deer are unclear about something, they’ll try it, so even plants that are classified deer resistant aren’t always safe. When natural food is scarce deer can stomach almost anything, but they usually avoid these plants if other food is available.

Some examples of our most popular Deer & Rabbit Resistant Plants are:

ANNUALS

PERENNIALS

• Ageratum • Bellflower • Caladium
• Calendula • Cleome • Cosmos
• Dahlia • Dusty Miller • Impatiens
• Lantana • Marigolds • Tricolor Sage
• Heliotrope • Ranunculus • Saliva
• Snapdragon • Sweet Alyssum
• Vinca • Verbena • Zinnia

• Anemone • Cardinal Flower
• Catmint • Coneflowers
• Coral Bells • Creeping Phlox
• Columbine • Foxglove
• Hens & Chicks • Larkspur
• Lavender • Mullein • Monkshood
• Ornamental Onion • Ostrich Fern
• Red Hot Poker • Rudbeckia
• Russian Sage • Sedum • Lungwort
• Yarrow • Yucca

You’ll be able to find many of the plants listed above and more deer and rabbit resistant plants in our nursery in Bucks County, PA with experts to help you choose the right plants for your landscape.

2. Put Up a Garden Fence

Fencing is probably the most effective means of managing deer damage.  The only way to truly keep deer from eating your plants is to fence them out, a task easier said than done. Whitetails, which tend to plague most suburban gardens, are quite the jumpers.

Make sure fences are at least 8-feet high with no more than 6-inch by 6-inch gaps.

If you have a pest bothering a single garden bed, a simple solution might be to use a row cover or small hoop house to place over top

3. Use Deer and Rabbit Repellents

Repellents can be divided into two groupings: direct and indirect repellents. Direct repellents repel through bad taste and often contain a bittering agent. Indirect repellents repel through sight, smell, or sound. Used together, these repellents work by reducing the attractiveness and palatability of your plants, making them undesirable deer and rabbits.

Both repellents listed below are available for purchase at our Garden Center in Richboro, PA.

You can also check our weekly coupons for deals on repellents for deer, rabbits, and other garden pests!

Deer Out™

Ingredient: High content peppermint oil

An all-natural, effective deer repellent that’s guaranteed to keep deer out of your garden for up to 3 to 4 months without the use of chemicals or poisons so it is safe for pets and children. It can be sprayed directly on your plants and uses a custom blend of oils with a peppermint scent to keep deer away.

Liquid Fence® Deer & Rabbit

Ingredients: Putrescent egg solids, garlic,
sodium lauryl sulfate, potassium sorbate

This rain-resistant repellent works on scent, so deer and rabbits don’t even have to take a bite. Since animals’ natural aversion to this scent will never diminish, this product DOES NOT have to be rotated with other repellent brands. It’s also harmless to your plants and animals.

4. BONUS TIP: What Happens If You Find a
Fawn or Bunnies in Your Garden?

There is a strong possibility that you did not find abandoned bunnies or fawn. 

Female deer hide their newborn fawns in brush or tall grass and move some distance away to feed to avoid drawing predators. Though it seems that they are vulnerable, their spotted pelts look like dappled sunlight which offers great camouflage when on the ground.

Rabbits are very specific about the location of their nest. Moving it even a foot or two away will cause the mother to abandon it. Mother rabbits typically visit the nest intermittently during the night or in the early morning, and only for a few minutes at a time to quickly nurse. If you don’t see a mother rabbit near the nest, don’t assume that the babies are abandoned.

If you notice a fawn or bunnies that are clearly injured, then it is perfectly acceptable to intervene and seek help.  Start by calling your local licensed wildlife rehabilitator or animal control department that can either take the animal or help locate someone who can. If you discover a hidden fawn on your property, it’s recommended to keep both your pets and family away until it leaves. Please do not closely approach or handle wildlife.