Wild rabbits may be cute, but if you maintain a vegetable garden they will swiftly become one of your most destructive and tenacious foes. Their voracious eating habits and ability to breed rapidly mean that just a few rabbits can quickly destroy any vegetable patch that isn't well protected, and home gardeners throughout the country should erect a sturdy, well-chosen perimeter fence around their growing vegetables to protect them.
Fortunately, residential fencing suppliers and installers offer a wide variety of fencing types that can effectively keep rabbits away from your garden. Here are some of the most effective fencing types for protecting your precious vegetables from rabbits both large and small.
Woven wire fences
If you're trying to keep rabbits away from your growing garden, a traditional picket fence isn't going to cut it — even the most well-fed rabbit can squeeze through remarkably small spaces, and the gaps in a picket fence provide little, if any, protection for your vegetables. Fences made from woven wire mesh, such as chicken wire or hardware cloth fences, are a much safer bet, as the gaps between the individual wires are far too small for any rabbit to penetrate.
Woven wire fences also have the advantages of being relatively inexpensive, and they are highly durable and long lasting, especially if you choose fencing with a protective, anti-rust coating (such as galvanized or powder coatings). Aluminum wire fences will last even longer and do not require protective coatings, although they tend to be a little more expensive.
Woven wire fences are available as panels or continuous rolls, both of which must be supported by sturdy fence posts. Wire panels are generally much easier to install, but they are also more expensive and will leave rabbit-sized gaps if your garden is on uneven ground. Continuous fencing is much more suitable for rabbit deterrence, but is difficult to install, and you should have it professionally installed by residential fencing specialists for the best results.
Timber panel fences
While fences with small gaps will effective keep rabbits out of your garden, you can go one better and choose fencing with no gaps at all. Solid panel timber fences are highly effective rabbit deterrents, and are a lot more visually appealing than a utilitarian chicken wire fence. They are usually pretty inexpensive, and provide a great deal of privacy — perfect if your garden also has a swimming pool, or you live by a busy road.
If you do choose timber panel fencing, make sure that the wooden slats that make up each fence panel are horizontally aligned. Vertical slats leave small gaps at ground level, and a particularly strong or determined rabbit (especially jackrabbits in the west) may be able to push the slats apart to make a gap wide enough to enter.
Unfortunately, there is one big drawback to using timber panel fences against rabbits. Anti-rabbit fencing needs to be buried at least a foot deep to stop rabbits from simply burrowing underneath your fence. This exposes the bottom part of a timber panel fence to moist soil, which can cause mold to form and badly damage the lower portions of your fence. If you do choose this option, consider setting the buried portion of your fence in concrete, or have the wood treated with strong anti-fungal compounds before installation.
Vinyl and PVC panel fences
These plastic fences provide the same uniform, gap-free protection as timber panel fences, but in a form that is largely immune to mold and fungal growth, making them perfect for deterring burrowing rabbits. They are also extremely long lasting with minimal maintenance, and higher-quality versions can be found that closely mimic the appearance and grain of a natural wood fence. They are also very long lasting, although PVC fences can perish over time if you live in an area with constant, intense sunlight.
All of these advantages naturally come at a cost, and vinyl fencing especially tends to be more expensive than standard timber fencing options. It is also far from the most environmentally friendly option, although some plastic fence panels can be recycled once they are no longer required.
To learn more, reach out to a company like Crown Fence Co.