UC Cooperative Extension Ventura County
669 County Square Drive Suite 100
Ventura CA 93003
Monday - Thursday: 8 am to 5 pm
Friday: 8 am to noon or by appointment
I have talked to a wild life specialist with the University of California who has done considerable research on wild rabbits. He indicated to me that “rabbit-immune plants” are hard to find. His work shows that plants that appear resistant in one location are eaten when planted in another location and exposed to a different rabbit population. He also said that the size of the plant often makes a difference, i.e., the bigger, more mature the plant at planting, the better. Even this is no guarantee! It seems that rabbits will eat almost anything when conditions in their native habitat get severe enough.
Finally, he indicated that the only sure way to remedy rabbit damage is a rabbit fence, in other words “exclude them from your yard and garden.” Rabbit fences require some special construction. The specialist indicated that rabbits prefer to go “under” a fence, the second preference is to go “through” a fence, and finally they may go “over” a fence. If the fence is at least two-and-half to three feet high, most rabbits will not go over the fence. Therefore, if you install a fence, you should use a three-foot roll of one-inch mesh wire at least two and-one-half-feet high above ground. Thus, the rabbits will not go over or through the fence. When installing the one-inch mesh wire, dig a trench at least six inches wide and three to four inches deep. Bend the bottom six inches of wire so that it forms an “L” in the trench with the bottom of the “L” facing the outside of the yard perimeter. This way the rabbits will hit wire when they start to dig under the fence.
The specialist indicated he had 100 percent success in excluding rabbits from an area using this system of installation. Any rabbit that did find its way in came through a gate or other intentional opening in the fence.