Animals Eating Oakleaf Hydrangea
Looking out my front window yesterday I noticed that rabbits had recently done considerable damage to my oakleaf hydrangeas chewing the branches down to approximately a universal one-foot length. Will they survive? Last year we planted a serviceberry tree, lacecap hydrangea, rose of Sharon and blue muffin arrowwood viburnum. Do I have to worry about the rabbits also feasting on these?
Your oakleaf hydrangea will survive. Just check the base of the plants as the snow melts. Voles may also be enjoying a tasty meal in the landscape. If the plant is eaten to the ground it should send up new growth but won’t flower this season. Oakleaf and lace cap hydrangeas bloom on growth arising from old wood. Even without flowers the beautiful bark, lovely leaves and great fall color make oakleaf hydrangea a nice addition to the landscape. Keep an eye on your other plants – the rabbits and voles have been known to eat these as well. And with cold temperatures and snow cover they may expand their feeding area yet this winter. Consider spraying the plants with an animal repellent and adding clanging pans or other scare tactics to protect your landscape. Next fall consider encircling these and other new plantings with 4 feet tall cylinder of hardware cloth. Sink the bottom few inches into the soil to keep voles and rabbits from feeding on the base of the plants.