Rabbits can be a nuisance in some gardens, and many people look for humane and natural ways to keep them away from their precious plants. One often-mentioned solution is planting chives around one’s garden; however, the effectiveness of this trick is questionable.
This article will explain whether chives help deter rabbits and other animals from invading your garden. We will cover the advantages, disadvantages, and alternatives to using chives to protect you so that you can make an informed decision about how best to secure your garden.
Chives are a perennial plant from the Allium family, the same family as onions and garlic. They have a mild onion flavor, making them a popular herb for adding flavor to dishes.
The plant produces hollow leaves with purple flowers, which turn into round seed pods that can be used in dried flower arrangements. Additionally, chives have been found to have medicinal properties.
Chives are an attractive addition to any garden that can provide a natural insect repellent and defense against rabbits. Rabbits are one of the main pests that tend to damage gardens, to eat or trample plants and flowers during their travels.
While it is impossible to guarantee that chives will keep all rabbits away from your garden all the time, they may provide some protection in most cases.
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How do Chives Deter Rabbits?
Chives, or Allium schoenoprasum, are a popular herb belonging to the same family as onions and garlic. Chives grow in clumps of slender hollow green leaves from 20-50cm tall and are native to the temperate regions of Europe and Asia.
They have a mild onion flavor and are an essential ingredient in many recipes.
In addition to its culinary uses, chives may help keep rabbits away from vegetable gardens. Chives have sharp-tasting foliage that is acidic, oily, and potentially toxic to animals like rabbits when consumed in large amounts.
The odors released by the oils discourage animals from grazing on plants with chives growing nearby. Chive oil contains sulfur compounds which may also contribute to its efficacy as a rabbit repellent.
As an added incentive for planting chives near valuable vegetables, they can contribute nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and magnesium fertilizer for nearby plants without significantly contributing to weed growth.
When using chives as a method of keeping rabbits at bay, it is essential to consider the following:
- How long do the effects last for
- If there might be unintended side effects such as reduced pollination or plant growth due to the presence of chive flowers or bulbs nearby.
It is best practice to use multiple deterrent methods, such as physical barriers, other repellent natural elements (garlic), or chemical sprays/baits depending on your local pest infestations and needs.
Other Ways to Keep Rabbits Away
Although using chives to deter rabbits is a viable solution for your garden, there are some other methods of pest control that you can use. These methods include:
- Using physical barriers such as fences.
- Using natural repellents like odor-based repellents.
- Using biological control options like introducing predators to the area.
Let’s explore each of these methods in further detail.
Fencing is one of the most effective ways to keep rabbits away from your garden. Rabbits have poor eyesight and cannot climb, so a fence with a minimum height of two feet should effectively keep them out.
Galvanized welded wire with openings no larger than 2 by 4 inches is ideal for keeping rabbits from pushing through. To further deter rabbits from attempting to jump over the fence, attach some shiny objects to it that will reflect in their eyes and discourage them from attempting it.
You can also discourage your neighbors’ pet rabbits from entering your property by burying chicken wire several inches underground around the perimeter of your yard. Bury several inches on either side, and you should see an improvement in rabbit activity near your garden:
- Fence with a minimum height of two feet.
- Galvanized welded wire with openings no larger than 2 by 4 inches.
- Attach shiny objects to the fence to reflect in their eyes.
- Bury chicken wire several inches underground around the perimeter of your yard.
You can use many effective repellents to help keep rabbits away from your garden. Some repellents come in varieties like granules, powders, or sprays to spread around the perimeter of your garden or foliage.
The most common store-bought repellent products contain chemicals that give off a strong scent or taste that rabbits find unpleasant. These usually contain predator urine, garlic, pepper, or vinegar.
Other organic methods of discouraging rabbit presence include:
- Planting bitter-tasting plants like foxglove, lavender, and chives around the perimeter.
- I am planting certain herbs like mint and rosemary, which have an aroma.
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Rabbits are prey animals, so predators near their territory can drive them away. Wolves, foxes, bobcats, and even some species of birds may keep rabbits away.
However, these wild predators are not always an option and must be implemented carefully to avoid other risks, such as injuring pets or allowing an opportunistic predator to reside in your area.
The king snake has proven especially effective at controlling rabbit populations when released into yards that have a problem with bunnies getting out of control.
Though some people might be reluctant to attract snakes into their yards, these burrowing reptiles present little risk for humans or pets if given space to live undisturbed by human activity.
Conclusion: Do Chives Keep Rabbits Away?
Research shows that chives can be an effective deterrent to rabbits. However, rabbits are intelligent and can quickly get used to chives’ smell, making them less effective over time.
The best way to keep rabbits away is to use a combination of techniques, such as fencing and planting garlic, onions, and other odorous plants.
Chives may also be combined with other techniques for a more successful outcome. Additionally, it is essential to remember that although chives are known for repelling rabbits, there are no guarantees, as every animal’s behavior is different due to its habitat and preferences.
For best results, ensure that the area you wish to protect from rabbits is properly fenced or otherwise sealed off from possible entry points.