Justin W. Hancock

All the Snow

webrabIt’s snowing again this morning here at BHG headquarters. For the most part, I don’t mind — the snow is lovely to look at and makes a great mulch for my perennials.

But it does have a downside (other than being difficult to drive or walk in): A lot of snow makes it difficult for rabbits and other critters to find food.

So if your area has snow, you might want to check your shrubs and young trees to see if rabbits have been nibbling.

Bunnies essentially cause two types of damage: They chomp back small stems (and in some cases, can cut a shrub back to the ground… or snow level).

The other type to watch for is nibbling on the bark. The tubes plants use to transport water and nutrients from the roots to the leaves and stems are just underneath the bark. If rabbits gnaw on the bark, they damage those tubes. If they eat all around the stem, it’s girdled, and that’s essentially like putting a tourniquet around the tree.

You can protect your plants by wrapping the stems in tree wrap or using chicken wire or another material to essentially cage out the rabbits. Rabbit-repellent products may also work, but follow the directions carefully as some may not be effective in cold temperatures.

In my yard, rabbits seem to be the most fond of viburnums, witch hazels, dogwoods, and sumacs.

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  1. [...] of the things you do want to watch out for, though, is rabbits. Heavy snow robs of them of their usual food sources so they may ravage trees and shrubs in your [...]