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Rabbit-Damage-to-Cherry-Tree-THUMB.jpg

Rabbit Damage to Cherry Tree

I have a 3 year old dwarf cherry tree. Each winter the rabbits have trimmed the branches that reach the ground. I realize this results in a loss of flowers when it blooms but is it harmful to the tree? Should I trim it? It can't be fenced in because of it's location in a cascading garden.

As long as the rabbits confine their eating to the branch tips your tree will be fine. If they decide to start munching on the trunk you are likely to lose the tree. A circle of hardware cloth used to form a narrow fence around the trunk can help protect that part of the tree. Sink it several inches into the ground to prevent vole damage and as high, at least 4 feet, as you can to keep rabbits from nibbling on the bark. As they chew on the trunk they often damage the cambium tissue that containers the vascular system that carries water to and from the roots and leaves. If they eat through the cambium layer all around the trunk the tree will die. If this is not possible consider a combination of scare tactics and repellents. This may be enough to encourage them to dine elsewhere.

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