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Rabbit-Damage-to-Burning-Bush-THUMB.jpg

Rabbit Damage to Burning Bush

I have had chicken wire around my 2-year-old burning bushes to prevent the bunnies from eating them. This winter, because the snow was so high, they were able to get to the branches and a lot of the bark is stripped off. Should I cut off the damaged branches or leave them?

Deep snow and large rabbit populations result in damage to burning bushes and many other landscape plants. If the rabbits ate all the way around the stem and through the cambium that lies beneath the bark, those branches will die. You see the cambium contains vessels that carry water and nutrients between the roots and leaves. I would wait and see. Sometimes the buds will sprout and the leaves begin to grow using the stored energy in the buds. When they reach about half their normal size they wilt and die if the cambium has been damaged. Prune off the damaged wood and reshape as needed. Those with damage at ground level may get new growth from the roots. A bit of luck, some pruning and lots of patience can help you eventually train the plants back into an attractive plant.

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