Dealing with Rabbit Damage to Shrubs
The rabbits ate the bark off the top branches of several of my bushes. Do you think we can save the plants? The bottom 12 to 18 inches is free from damage.
Sorry to hear about the rabbit damage. Voles and rabbits can cause a great deal of damage in our landscapes over the winter. As the snow melts, many gardeners discover missing bark (white stems) around the base of trees and shrubs. Stems and branches that had the bark eaten all the way around will most likely die. But it is worth waiting to see if enough of the cambium (tissue that carries water and nutrients between the roots and leaves) survived to support plant growth. Prune your shrubs below the damaged areas. Make cuts back to the main stem, where a branch joins another branch or above a healthy bud. Some shrubs chewed at ground level may re-sprout from their roots.
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