Rabbits, with their fluffy tails and twitching noses, might be delightful to watch from a distance, but when it comes to your garden, they can transform from cute creatures into voracious pests in no time. Understanding how to protect your precious plants from these furry invaders is crucial for any gardener looking to maintain a thriving outdoor space. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps of rabbit-netting installation, ensuring that your garden remains lush and undisturbed.

Why Rabbit Netting?

Before we jump into the "how," it's important to understand the "why." Rabbits can cause extensive damage to a garden overnight. They have a wide-ranging diet, munching through various vegetables, flowers, and even young trees. Rabbit netting serves as a physical barrier, effectively keeping rabbits at bay and safeguarding your gardening efforts.

Choosing the Right Rabbit Netting

When selecting rabbit netting, consider durability and mesh size. The mesh needs to be small enough to prevent rabbits from squeezing through - a size of about 1-1.3cm is recommended. Materials can range from plastic to wire mesh, with galvanised wire offering the best longevity and protection against rust.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Rabbit netting of your choice
  • Posts (wooden or metal)
  • Hammer or post driver
  • Tie wire or heavy-duty cable ties
  • Wire cutters
  • Shovel or post-hole digger
  • Optional: Ground staples or pegs

Installation Steps

1. Planning Your Barrier

Measure the perimeter of the area you wish to protect. It's advisable to install the barrier at least a meter away from the plants to prevent rabbits from reaching through the netting. Consider adding one or two access points for yourself.

2. Placing the Posts

The posts should be placed around the perimeter, spaced approximately 2-3 metres apart to provide sufficient support for the netting. Use a post-hole digger or shovel to create holes about 30-40cm deep, ensuring the posts are secure when placed.

3. Attaching the Netting

Start attaching the netting at one corner, securing it to the post with tie wire or cable ties. Unroll the netting along the length of the barrier, pulling it taut as you go and securing it to each post in turn. For added stability, you can bury the bottom of the netting about 15-20cm into the ground. This prevents rabbits from digging underneath.

4. Securing the Netting

Once the netting is attached to all posts, use ground staples or pegs at intervals along the base to secure it to the ground, if not buried. This step is crucial; rabbits are persistent and will exploit any gaps.

5. Testing the Barrier

Inspect your installation thoroughly. Ensure there are no gaps or loose areas in the netting where rabbits could squeeze through or under. Make adjustments as needed.

6. Maintenance

Regularly inspect the netting and posts for any signs of damage or wear and repair promptly to ensure ongoing protection.

Extra Tips for Success

  • Consider a double barrier for high-risk areas, placing two layers of netting 30-50cm apart.
  • For young trees or individual plants, cylindrical netting guards can provide targeted protection.
  • Incorporating a gate within your rabbit netting setup can facilitate easy access while keeping the area secure.

The Bottom Line

Rabbits might seem harmless, but to a garden, they are anything but. Installing rabbit netting is a highly effective way to ensure the fruits of your hard work remain untouched and continue to flourish. With the right materials, a bit of effort, and ongoing vigilance, your garden can remain a rabbit-free zone, letting you enjoy its beauty and bounty without interruption.