Experts and BHG readers answer.
Will my shrubs be ok after rabbits chewed on them during the winter?
How well your plants survive rabbit munching depends on what shrubs you're growing and how badly they were eaten. If the shrubs typically send up new shoots from the root system, I wouldn't worry, because the new stems will come up regardless of rabbit damage to existing stems. Remove the damaged stems at ground level, and let the new shoots take over. If, however, your shrubs don't send up new stems, and the rabbits girdled existing stems (ate off the bark all around them), the girdled shoots will die. Cut back the girdled stems to just below the injury. Most deciduous shrubs will send out new growth below the cut. You may want to select one or several of the new sprouts to take over as the main shoot(s) to avoid excessive branching. Evergreens are less likely to sprout from a severe cutback, so avoid pruning them severely unless you have to.